First Spike, Could Use Some Wisdom Please?

Discussion in 'Support' started by tjd3355, Jul 13, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      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.
       
    2. It will likely subside a bit eventually or you will habituate to it. The best advice is to not get too excited when you don't hear it and don't get too depressed when you do. Other than that be as healthy as you can, protect your hearing and hope for the best. Big hugs.
       
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      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    3. Xorthian
      Balanced

      Xorthian Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      Initial 2012. Massive spike 4/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noisey Lifestyle. Increase from infection.
      You might have external ear infection from removing wax with toilet paper. Go see an ENT. Do not take eadrops until he sees your ear canal and tympanic membrane.
       
    4. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Thanks for the positive response Constable... I am indeed here hoping for the best. PK- I will see when an ENT can get me in, I was also thinking of doing that just to make sure all the paper came out of my ear.
      You know, one time I went to a local Chinese doc about it, to see what he would recommend for my concussion symptoms and tinnitus. He did some acupressure and a sort of head massage (although pretty aggressive and fast, not really a relaxing type of massage!) and the tone dropped to a low hum after that for about two weeks which was awesome. I almost think I could stand this fine if it weren't so damn high-pitched and eeeeee-ing. But alas, it returned and subsequent head massages did not have that effect anymore. Oh that low hum was so soothing though...
       
    5. @tjd3355 I'd also recommend you pick up some downbeats off Amazon. They are ear plugs that come with a carry case you can easily put on a key chain. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A3Z44R2

      I also used to enjoy firearms and went to the range a lot. I even took a combat pistol class and loved it. I was always careful to wear ear protection but one time I used electronic muffs and didn't feel like it protected me as well as regular ones. Still, always had protection and never had my ears ring afterwards. Now, I sadly feel scared to go to the range even with protection. I think it's important to not let T stop us from enjoying our lives and I never felt a spike in T when shooting but I am still starting to train myself to lose interest in firearms as I don't believe it's a good hobby for a T person. I'm still undecided but I'm leaning towards giving up my firearms. Will I actually do it? Hard to say . . .
       
    6. jimH
      No Mood

      jimH Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      30 years+
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Given how recently this occurred, it's probably a severe spike rather than a new base. I've had T since 1978 and have experienced many over the years. They can last anywhere from a matter of hours to a few months.

      Sustained anxiety can exacerbate the situation. Like adding fuel to a fire. So, the sooner you can get your anxiety level down, the better. Easier said than done, I know. To help reduce your anxiety, reassure yourself frequently that this is more than likely just a temporary situation. Which I believe it is.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    7. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @Constable85, I read your other post about owning guns, as I have been thinking about that too. I live in a cabin in the woods alone and would love to be able to have a gun again as protection. Most people I know that live in rural areas like me depend on their guns, whether to hunt for food or to be prepared to use it as protection against people or grizzlies or to defend their livestock. So, I feel pretty torn and a little pathetic, all of a sudden feeling scared to use one. Granted, a shooting range is much louder than shooting at targets outside. But I'm pretty shell shocked still from the sounds in the range that particular day.. just cause now i know they hurt me so much.. I kept telling myself "it's fine, it just seems louder than normal but I have the muffs on so it can't be THAT loud".. it was actually physically painful and each time a gun was shot I felt like someone was punching me in the head. What a moron I was, I didn't know about tinnitus then... so then with all that going on I started shooting a .50 cal Desert Eagle... rest is history.. anyway, remembering feeling those painful loud sounds that ended up changing my life so much makes me anxious and freaked out even now, so I don't think I could shoot a gun again, unfortunately. Really want to respect this condition, and those in this forum who have it louder than I, and try to do everything I can to protect my ears... it was way worse at the beginning, hyperacusis and crippling ear pain, and I don't want to live like that again.. could one shot with a loosened ear plug make it permanently worse? I definitely think that is a huge risk. I have been thinking about taking some martial arts classes, as I don't think someone should be unable to defend themselves at all, and I'm only 90 lbs so it's not like I'm taking anyone down with brute force :) And, I still go fishing all the time. But ya know.. it's just not the same!! miss guns and all the other good times to boot. i've never led a quiet life, yet here I am.
       
    8. @tjd3355 yea, in your living situation I would suggest you keep your gun(s). Just have some heavy duty muffs lying next to them. These are the best I've found so far http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPCHBCQ
      Those are big and bulky but they have an NRR of 31 and protect your ears very well. You hear a strange noise or know someone is in the cabin? Grab your gun, call 911, barricade yourself in your room and throw the muffs on and wait with your gun pointed at the door. Just my .02.
       
    9. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @jimH , thank you for the encouraging words. I'll try to calm down and wait it out. Worst case, If you have been able to live with this since 78 then I can too right? Lost the lorazepam I was prescribed a couple days ago (annoying timing) but maybe that's for the better anyway. tomorrow=deep breaths and some hard work, might keep me off the internet a while at least ;) ... hope you had a good day today.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @Constable85 , thank you for the plug and muff tips. I have been shopping for some online today and there are a lot of choices all with similar reviews, so that's really good info. I was also thinking, if silencers were legal a lot of ears would be saved.. I can see your point about having a gun on hand, especially cause 911 takes a long while to come up my way. I'm not ready to shoot one again yet, but I'll try out these muffs with a chainsaw or something first and I may get more confidence, at least to have something on hand for emergencies.
       
    11. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      I've had T for a year now and I've had it spike several times. It's always temporary and comes back to baseline. Anxiety will fuel its fire though and make your perception of it much louder. Work on the anxiety, although I know that's easier said than done.
       
    12. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @Nich , are your spikes usually noise induced as well? Thank you for sharing your experience. I will work on the anxiety factor. Been exercising, playing cards, working long hours, talking to friends, playing the radio for background noise, distraction seems to be key. Too much time alone is a thing to avoid right now. Speaking of your mind affecting T: I have done a test; If I think about deliberately making my tinnitus louder, I can clearly hear it rise up a few notches in volume.. weird.
       
    13. Gosia
      Balanced

      Gosia Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      earplugs/ hearing loss
      You should see a doctor asap cause it might be that you pushed cerumen to far which provokes tinnitus even at no-tinnitus people. That can also cause infection. Never let a non professional remove anything from your ear ! don't you know how delicate all this is ? And for the furture - should you realise you forgot your ear plugs, go back and take them / go to the nearest pharmacy or just don't go at all. The last thing we can allow ourselves is thinking that 'it will be ok, somehow'. If you live in a place where you're not safe without a gun, consider changing the place of living rather than taking a gun. What would you do if you lived in any other country than the USA ? In Europe we all live the whole life without even thinking once of getting a gun and somehow it works. Having a gun is not sth normal that you have to give up because of T.
       
    14. Leodavinci
      Wishful

      Leodavinci Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Kansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/26/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      @tjd3355 I hope you don't have reason to worry for your safety other than a general view about rural America. Gosia is right that owning a gun for personal safety in Europe, and for that matter most of the world, is very rare and is viewed as unnecessary at best. Violence in the USA has been going down dramatically for many decades, although its still about twice the European average. Many dangers that we are afraid of are not as bad as they seem. Many are worse - hearing loss/T is on almost no ones radar!! Shooting a gun to protect yourself is never easy. It seems like you've decided that shooting it now is too risky for your hearing. I agree. Living alone can be tough, especially with Tinnitus, and just having a roommate in the house can help make you feel secure. Consider personal protection sprays like mace and maybe getting a dog. I just came on the forum to discuss my recent spike. Fireworks at a distance of 5 blocks - even the illegal crazy s*** - are not very loud to most people. My 4th was spent with 40 people, young and old, watching loud high grade fireworks at a distance of 40 feet for over an hour with not a care in the world while I had my ear plugs on. Your spike will likely go down since I doubt the fireworks could have caused hearing damage.
       
    15. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      My spikes are typically more from sinus problems. Although, when exposed to lots of background noise or loud noise I always have louder T for several hours or sometimes the rest of the day. I have gotten to where I don't monitor the change in my T much anymore. when I first got T someone on here told me to stop monitoring the noise and instead monitor how your feelings toward the T change. For me it was great advice and took a lot of time to stop obsessively monitoring it. But when I did I became a lot less likely to get upset when it changed. And now I know that 95% of my problem with T is the anxiety and panic it can cause by being a catalyst to get me thinking disturbing thoughts and catastrophysing. T itself can be hella annoying from time to time (and hard to freaking hear over) but really it doesn't impact my life. Just the anxiety it causes.
       
    16. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @Gosia The plugs, yes..usually I do carry them with me at all times. I've since bought a big pack that I can literally stick a pair everywhere.. pockets bags car work etc etc.. so I will never be without again. I do my best to avoid pretty much every loud situation now, but you're right, that one time where you get complacent and think "ah, it won't be so bad".. well, it usually is that bad. Now I know. and back to square one with the ear pain hyperacusis and everything else I thought I'd gotten over. In terms of guns, I am not entirely pro-gun in terms of self defense (except for against predators, the animal kind in parts of the country where that makes sense, pretty much only for grizzlies in my case) but I do think it's important for people to have a way to protect themselves if they need to. Whatever that is. Machetes, flame throwers, german shepherds, ninja stars, karate chops, anything, instead of relying on others. I need to find out what mine is if not a firearm. I love loving in the woods, it kills my anxiety which helps everything, and the wind/creeks/leaves can almost mask my tinnitus when a white noise machine can't even touch it. Also, I don't have to worry about sudden loud noises from cars, motorcycles, music, people, etc etc... city noises.. my ears just got blasted by the loudest motorcycle i've ever heard going down the street yesterday in town for example..made me think, do I have to wear plugs EVERYwhere? maybe so.. anyway, in rural areas I am much less afraid of violent crime as well. It is rare that it happens in the places I spend time, unless it's domestic. If I lived in town, I feel like the likelihood of being in a situation where I would have to defend myself against another person would be greater. Not that I'm too afraid either way and I dunno, it's just where I live :) I understand your point though.
      @Leodavinci , I do have a mean looking/sounding pit bull, good thinking :) I don't feel afraid. I just don't want to be unprepared. But you are right in that this damn noise is the thing I should be building up ammo against! When you say "fireworks aren't that loud to most people" it made me think... wow.. those fireworks I saw were painfully loud, how could they not be loud to someone else?? but you are right, none of my friends were holding their ears or running to the car. Guess my ears are still more sensitive to loud noise than I thought. Even though I thought their noise sensitivity had pretty much disappeared. And I wonder too about nerve memory and how it relates to trauma- I can still feel pain on the spot on my head where I got the concussion for example sometimes, especially when I'm tired or something. Maybe the ears have a little bit of PTSD type nerve reaction as well that causes noise to create physical ear pain. Since, the hyperacusis is back after being gone for 7 months... everything is loud, I turn music down really low, dishes are so loud, hearing people talk for too long makes the ears hurt, etc etc. Just like in the beginning. but I think that part will diminish with time as it did before. That's awesome you were able to enjoy your fourth of july with plugs!
      @Nich , good advice. the anxiety is pretty crippling. As soon as I went on a hiking trip and employed the technique similar to what you are referring to, (read about it on one of Iwholovemusic's posts), my tinnitus perception went down considerably. It's still there and I would say the hyperacusis has gotten worse even for the time being, but my anxiety was really fueling the fire, just like everyone on here says it does. It's great you can go about your life and not let it consume you. I can too at this point, through the bad hearing and annoyances and limits it places on what I can do in my life. If it were louder, I know that it would be much more difficult.
       
    17. Robert44

      Robert44 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud concert
      just ordered Downbeats. Thanks for the recommendation. Two things we never have enough of are ear plugs and toilet paper. by the way can someone tell me how you put someones name in a thread on the computer? I see everyone doing it. They have the @ sign then the persons name after it.???? Can't figure it out. Thanks
       
    18. Newbie
      Alienated

      Newbie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi
      I don't know what to make my own post. I am 20 years old and I have had tinnitus 1 year and 3 months. It was so mild I never heard it over anything at all only at night or in the morning. 1 week ago I noticed it was louder in my left ear where I could hear it over absolutely everything! I panicked so bad (which I do for everything) and have been obsessing over it since . For the first week it was a wavering high pitch noise that would become louder with noise. Today it seems to be a really Loud hissing which I can also hear over everything. I have cried every night since I got this loud ring and my anxiety is through the roof. I can't take my mind off it at all. Could someone please tell me is this just a spike and I'll go back to the way it was or is this permanent and will I have to habituated to this new noise? I never found out what caused my tinnitus. All I remember is it came on after a severe time of anxiety and stress. Could it be anxiety induced? Could someone please tell me if they have ever had mild tinnitus that spiked for awhile then went back down ?
       
    19. Richard zurowski

      Richard zurowski Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      27/12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection.
      @Newbie . Anxiety and stress comes with tinnitus. And can make your tinnitus a whole lot worse everybody with tinnitus goes through spikes . and they can last for some time They will stress you out and give you anxiety. Go see your doctor he or she will give you something for this . You need to try and relax easier said then done I know but it will help you. Your tinnitus will go down to baseline again. There is also Lots of advice from members on this forum which will help you.
       
    20. Newbie
      Alienated

      Newbie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Richard zurowski thank you for your reply. I know I need to calm I'm just a stressful person anyway and I have read some horror stories on these forums that have really scared me! I know my tinnitus probably isn't the worst out there but I was so used to it after a year and all of a sudden it spiked it's like a really high static sound over everything! Do you know if anyone's who's tinnitus has gone after a year or does it mean I have it permanent? I feel hopeless
       
    21. Richard zurowski

      Richard zurowski Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      27/12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection.
      @Newbie . I agree there are some horror stories on tinnitus talk and a lot of negativity as well. And that's not good for people like yourself who need to look on this forum for help. Having said that there is also a lot of good advice as well. Your anxiety and stress will indeed cause tinnitus to increase in volume mine was from an ear infection but my anxiety pushed the volume up to a very loud ringing sound. Your tinnitus volume will go down I'm sure but you need to try and find ways to help you relax that way will also bring your anxiety down as well.
       

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