Huge Tinnitus Spike After Driving in a Car — Or Could This Be Linked to Hay Fever?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Nicjane, Jun 16, 2021.

    1. Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi hope all is well,

      I am 20 years old and have had what I would consider mild/moderate tinnitus for 4 years. It’s a high pitched hissing sound and kind of sounds like there’s more than one hiss but I’ve been dealing with it pretty well, I could hear it sometimes while watching TV and at night but outside or inside a car I couldn’t hear it.

      On Sunday night I was out in the car for around 3 and a half hours (the car is between 65-75 decibels) I had my ears covered for half of the time with a hoodie and headphones to keep it secure (not playing music) I thought this might protect my ears a little rather than wearing earplugs as I was scared of the occlusion effect although I think that there may have been occlusion as the low frequency sounds sounded kind of amplified.

      I woke up during the night on Sunday and noticed that my tinnitus sounded louder but I went back to sleep hoping it would be back to baseline in the morning. My tinnitus has increased by several levels and I can hear it over everything now even inside the car and it has stayed like this since Monday. I’m very depressed as I cannot cope with this new level. I have barely slept and I’m having constant panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

      I’m praying that is is just a temporary spike but I am terrified that it may be permanent as I haven’t really had many spikes that have been so noticeable.

      I also want to mention that I was suffering with hay fever on the Saturday and Sunday so I’m not sure if it could be linked to that.

      Please if anyone can help or give some advice/their honest opinion it would be much appreciated as I am really struggling and can’t function.

      Thanks.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hey,

      Hayfever may have an impact on your tinnitus levels, that's for sure.

      When it comes to driving, I can relate, everytime I drive for more than 45 minutes my tinnitus gets louder - not temporarily though, always permanently.

      But then again, it's been getting louder months after months, so I can't really cheer you up on that one.

      One thing I know for sure though is that your emotional state will play a HUGE role on the way you can deal with your tinnitus. Loud doesn't mean necessarily impossible to function. I have 7 or more different sounds, they get louder and louder, only 2 of them are partially maskable; yet I'm in a better mental state than I was when I first had very mild tinnitus 15 years ago that I could only hear in silence.

      Now my brain can't even imagine what it would be like to have a life without so much noise in my head day and night, but it's just the way it is.

      Treat your psychological and emotional state very carefully. Until there's a cure out there, it's the best way to deal with tinnitus. I'm not necessarily speaking of TRT or masking sounds, I'm more referring to sophrology, hypnosis, and mindfulness therapy. Many people on the forum will tell you it's not a cure so it's not worth it. Ignore them, as research in many fields is more and more focusing on the impact of mental/subconscious/psycho on the body.

      I'm not talking about esoteric stuff, but neuroscience.

      I repeat: awfully loud (psychoacoustically speaking, because internal sounds don't measure as external sounds) doesn't mean psychologically unbearable. Hard to believe, yet it's how it works.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      Hi Nicjane,

      Long drives can strain the neck and make it stiff, and I believe it can impact tinnitus.

      Do you think it could be the cause of your spike?

      In any case, I think it is temporary, just take care of you.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. Deamon22

      Deamon22 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma
      A lot of spikes from what I read on here start to fade after a while. It could also be that part of the spike is because of the allergies. However, I personally would use foam earplugs for longer drives. Don’t worry about the occlusion effect, at least I notice it way more with other earplugs, foam earplugs don’t create occlusion for me. Correctly inserted foam earplugs will give you the most protection. Hopefully your spike will resolve soon.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. Stacken77
      Cowabunga

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise(likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I second this.

      Deeply inserted foam earplugs have very little occlusion effect. I would personally recommend deeply inserted foam earplugs and some really good earmuffs, just to ensure that a spike doesn't happen in the future.

      When walking around in town wearing earmuffs, I sure get the stares, but the health of my ears must come first.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi, thanks for taking the time to reply! I think it’s more to do with the headphones and hooded sweatshirt combination but I’m just worried that the vibrations or sounds from the car have done permanent damage. Praying that this spike is just temporary.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for replying! So do you think the combination of a sweatshirt wrapped around my ears and headphones to secure it whilst driving could have caused a permanent increase?
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for replying! It’s amazing that you are living a better quality of life with loud tinnitus than you were with mild tinnitus. Is your tinnitus completely unmaskable?

      I go on frequent long car journeys and have never really experienced any spikes, maybe a small spike for an hour or so but never anything long or permanent. So I’m really panicking about this spike and I’m worried that I may have done damage by wrapping my ears in a sweatshirt and placing headphones on top.
       
    9. Deamon22

      Deamon22 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Trauma
      If anything the road noise and no earplugs COULD have spiked your tinnitus, since headphones normally don‘t give any protection (aside from maybe a few dB). But normal car travel is not very loud, so I would just give the ears a rest and hopefully after a while the spike will subside.
       
    10. Pitseleh

      Pitseleh Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Out of the 7 sounds I have, only 2 can be masked. The others I hear over everything, yes. Some are really loud, others are frequencies that you don't hear that much in a normal environment so they basically stand out.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    11. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      No, the sweatshirt and headphones (not playing) probably would not have hurt your hearing. At highway speeds, rough roads and wind can generate quite a bit of noise. Since you frequently go on car journeys that road noise could possibly be wearing at you a bit. Regular headphones generally wouldn't provide much protection.

      I also like traveling and being out on the road so I completely understand you here. I think you should try wearing earplugs while driving at high speeds, at least until your spike settles down. I don't think you would need anything super strong like foam earplugs. I regularly drive with Earaser 19 dB earplugs or custom molded Westone 16 dB. These cut down the road noise significantly, and I can listen to radio without having to turn it too loud. Also never drive with your windows down at high speeds.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @kingsfan, hi, thanks for your reply! I was worried that the sweatshirt and headphones may have caused some sort of occlusion effect/increasing the vibrations and low frequencies of the car that could cause damage, or is that not possible?

      This spike sometime seems to be a little quieter after being in silence for a while but then seems to increase when other sounds are present. It’s still very loud either way.

      How long do spikes usually last and do you think this is just temporary?
       
    13. Stacken77
      Cowabunga

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise(likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      This may very well be a temporary spike. According to @Bill Bauer, spikes can last anywhere from days to months. Some report even having a spike for years. Just look after your ears, be a little more vigilant with protection in day to day business and you ought to be fine.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Everyone here is telling you it is hay fever or a neck strain or the position of Jupiter in the heavens but I am almost a year in and driving spikes me massively, just for reference.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    15. LivingGhost371

      LivingGhost371 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      I do think there's a link between spring allergies and tinnitus. Mine is always worse in the spring, it's worse this spring than every, and for the first time I've been having other allergy symptoms - gagging, congestion, etc that get worse if I spend time outdoors, and others have reported a really bad allergy season. There's two possible mechanisms: Eustachian Tube Dysfunction from congestion and the body's inflammation response.
       
    16. Stacken77
      Cowabunga

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise(likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Just curious; even with double protection?
       
    17. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Yes, the plugs and muffs actually seem to trap the noise carried up from the tires/road rather than blocking it. I believe that is because the sound is being conveyed through the structure of the car rather than in the air, hence protection doesn't do much. I think the same would be true if you were running with earplugs/earmuffs - the impact of your footfall on the ground would sound really loud.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    18. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      What kind of road were you driving on? I haven't experienced any occlusion with any type of earplug while in the car, except when talking. Maybe if you were off-roading you might experience some. I don't think you should stress about the headphones/sweatshirt thing anymore. There could be a million reasons why you are experiencing a spike, but I really really doubt that is one of them. It could have been the road noise or something your were exposed to days or weeks before the increase.
       
    19. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Very interesting. I have not experienced this. I'm sure it depends heavily on the car, tires, and road. About 6 months ago I replaced all of my tires with "quiet tires." I'll be honest, I really didn't notice a difference with them. I drive a sedan so maybe that helps with the noise over a sports car or truck. I had a Mini Cooper before my current car, and I'm extremely glad I don't still have it with tinnitus. It was loudest ride I've experienced.
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Does driving cause you temporary or permanent spikes? I drive a lot and it has never really caused any spikes that I’ve noticed.
       
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Some roads were a little bumpy and some smooth but at its highest the decibel level was around 72 decibels. Also I only had the sweatshirt and headphones on for about 2 hours and I had a break from the car for 2 hours in between.
       
    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you! Hopefully it is just temporary.
       
    23. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Temporary but very intense. I haven't driven for more than 40 minutes since this all happened so it's possible driving all day could cause a permanent worsening.
       
    24. xyz
      Alienated

      xyz Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006 mild T 2019 T worsening H onset
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown / probably noise induced
      The car/road noise I also absolutely hate. Currently I am driving only when I absolutely have to and then am using foam earplugs + NC headphones.
       
    25. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      Were you exposed to any noises during the drive? Were the windows open?
       
    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      No other noises. Just the road noise. I was in the car for an hour with a few stops. I got out of the car for 2 hours for a walk and then I went back in the car for an hour and a half. I didn’t notice any change in tinnitus until I woke up in the middle of the night that night.
       
    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nicjane

      Nicjane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      The car/road noise has never been an issue for me and I travel quite frequently. But since Sunday I’ve had a big increase in tinnitus pitch and volume.
       
    28. Ava Lugo
      Gloomy

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/03/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      Which ones are the loud ones you hear over everything, besides the super high pitched ones?
       
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