Hello There Tinnitus and All Its Friends!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by OceanInShell, Dec 12, 2017.

    1. OceanInShell
      Kick ass

      OceanInShell Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NIHL, musician
      So I discovered tinnitus (or it discovered me) around 2002-2003. I went for a hearing test, I was in the normal range. However, I was a part-time aspiring musician, so I knew there must be some noise-induced hearing loss that might not be pushing me out of the normal range yet. Add to this that I had also recently developed full blown obsessive-compulsive disorder, and life was... challenging.

      Like many people I've read about here, I experienced hyperacusis, anxiety, and relied on earplugs at first, even in relatively quiet environments.

      To make a long story short, as a consequence of OCD (among other things), I ended up getting divorced and having to fight for access to see my child. I was also borderline homeless for a time.

      But somehow, at the bottom of it, I found some something within myself, along with the help of some good friends and an exceptional psychiatrist. I wound up being able to see my daughter more often, I chipped away at my issues, and in fact the tinnitus became background to a lot of other struggles and "recovery".

      I would say from 2005 to 2017, I have hardly noticed my tinnitus. It receded into the background. In fact, if someone mentioned tinnitus, I wouldn't even think of myself as having it by around 2012 or so. I was more cautious around loud noise, but I also allowed myself to enjoy life without constantly using earplugs. I sometimes used supplements after noise exposure if I felt it was too loud, but generally, I felt the sound was shifted to the background.

      But now in 2017, it's crept back up. I think some of it must be that I've aged, and a combination of noise exposures and the aging process have shaved some of the high end off my hearing. I notice it's a little tougher to hear people in crowds.

      That would actually all be fine, you can compensate pretty nicely now, even listening to music, you can get a nice tone with a good set of headphones, and you don't have to blast it to make up for some of the difference.

      But the tinnitus. It is back. And mean. As I'm writing this, I have a pair of headphones on that are pretty good at lowering environmental sounds, and all I hear is the tinnitus. I don't have music coming through them at the moment, but I would say just two or three weeks ago, if I'd had headphones on and the music stopped for some time, I'd been typing, I wouldn't even have noticed a thing, I'd have just kept typing away.

      So I think there must be a hugely subjective element at work with tinnitus, because as stress creeps up, I think it shifts the volume. Plus, I'm still prone to obsessing, at that places my attention on the noise. Exhausting.

      At the same time, the quality of the tones is obviously very really, as they are just like they were over a decade ago -- in particular, in my right ear there's a blinking, almost morse-code electrical tone that I know I've heard before. The rest is a mess of high frequencies, whining, hissing. No calm ocean waves or soft breeze. It is a set of disharmonious notes so high up, even with my musical training, I can't really make out what the pitches are.

      In digging around the web to see what developments there have been, it seems there's more now than a decade ago. I see people getting laser therapy, stem cells for hearing loss, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and on and on.

      I know that as I age, my hearing will progressively deteriorate (I'm middle age now). So I'm determined to be a little more proactive about preserving it, but also thinking about what treatments I could try for the tinnitus part. Also, I would love to hear from musicians who have lost hearing progressively over a few decades, did they find their tinnitus got worse, or did they find they adapted to it? Because part of me still suspects that there's a very big psychological component, and that if you're focused on the sound in your head instead of the increasingly muted sounds other there, the "mixer" in your head is going to crank up the volume of the tinnitus instead of getting a nice comfy balance of levels.

      That should be plenty for now --

      So with that, hello all!
    2. Kolisar
      No Mood

      Kolisar Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hello @OceanInShell , and welcome.

      I believe this is common, I certainly have this problem.

      You may want to be careful with this. @Michael Leigh wrote the following post on headphone use and tinnitus:
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/headphones-and-tinnitus.12062/ I would recommend reading that post (and, to be honest, searching out his other posts as he was written quite a few posts that provide some excellent information about tinnitus, this is a good one to start with https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/ )

      This is also common. As you read through the posts here you will find many people have come to the conclusion that stress will exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus.
    3. AUTHOR
      Kick ass

      OceanInShell Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NIHL, musician
      Good point! I actually noticed, anecdotally, that when I listened to music through speakers, and at a medium volume, not only did it mask the tinnitus, but I felt like I could hear more detail in the music. That seemed to be the case for a number of years. Only very recently have I noticed a more "dulling effect" to my hearing, but I'm getting older, so I know some of that is to be expected. But that is making it somewhat harder to mask the tinnitus.

      I've actually wondered about laser therapy -- I'm a VERY sceptical person by nature, but one anecdotal result I stumbled across was a boost of about 25db in the high frequencies. This seems almost absurdly good to me, I feel like if I could get even 10db back, I would be in better shape. But I'm very dubious of the science behind this.

      And thanks for welcoming me, pleasure to meet you!

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