My tinnitus began 9 months ago as a result of using defective ear muffs at a shooting range. Previously, my life involved a lot of noise - live music, bars, power tools, motorcycles, guns... all these things I have completely stopped since. Additionally, 5 months prior to that I suffered a concussion and had recently recovered from a long spell of post-concussion syndrome which earlier in the year had changed my life and health quite a bit. Anyway, with those two experiences combined I feel I have lost a lot of myself and my identity and have felt really depressed, as I know a lot of others on this forum do. I managed to cope with it fairly well eventually after it got quieter (or I habituated? I don't know) and didn't think about it too much unless I was trying to get to sleep at night, at which point I would put on some white noise. i.e... compared to many on this forum, I would consider the tinnitus mild most days. Annoying but not the center of my life. I went to see some fireworks last weekend for the 4th of july... I realized on my way there I had forgotten my ear plugs.. I hadn't seen fireworks in years and didn't remember them being super loud so I just grabbed some toilet paper out of the car, wet it and stuffed it in my ear, and planned on sitting in the car if it got too loud. Well when the fireworks started, I was 3 blocks away getting food at a vendor tent, and RAN back to the car as it was extremely painful and loud to my ears, even with the TP. I got stuck behind a train crossing the railroad tracks to get back to my vehicle, and had to wait behind the train listening to loud fireworks for 5 minutes. When I got back to the vehicle, the folks I was with kept opening and closing the doors, and I ended up being exposed to quite a bit of noise. We were about 5 blocks from where the fireworks were being set off I think. Here's the kicker.. I shoved that stupid toilet paper so far down my afflicted ear that I couldn't get it out, and my roommate had to pick it out with tweezers when we got home.. came out in one piece but covered in tons of wax so I know it was way in there. Ugh. So now my tinnitus is really high pitched and quite a bit louder. I can't drown it out, and it's maddening. It is louder than voices, than the TV... it's been one week. My ear is also in mild achey pain off and on, kind of like when the noise injury first happened 9 months ago, but much milder (9 months ago the pain was extremely severe for about 1 week, intermittent and mild for about 2 months.) Is this my new baseline, in your experience? I feel like such an idiot. I know all about ear plugs, etc, and have been good about it until now. Could this be a temporary spike? I am really hoping. Could this just be my anxiety blowing this up (ha. ha. ugh stupid joke.)?? I know no one on here is psychic, but this is my first spike and I don't know what they entail. Also, how do you stay positive?? I feel like I live every day on edge, losing my personality and fighting to keep my energy levels up. I have no idea how I'm gonna be a good worker, partner, or mother to anyone while constantly distracted by this annoying little sh** in my ear.. luckily I only have work to deal with at the moment, but I have hopes for those other aspects of my life which seem increasingly difficult to work toward. I'm 31.