Hyperacusis — Can "Normal" Sounds Cause Damage in a Person Who Has Tinnitus and Hyperacusis?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Roseanna H, Dec 18, 2016.

    1. Roseanna H

      Roseanna H Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Janurary 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear phones
      Hi everyone,

      Needing some advice. I have hypercausis, and i was just wondering can sounds that are deemed 'normal' and aren't too loud in decibels actually damage a person's ears who have tinnitus and hypercausis?? Sounds can be uncomfortble on my ears (sometimes making them spike a few minutes/giving me ear fatigue) and sometimes sounds just seem so so loud.

      I worry that my ears will get more damage, although these sounds are actually supposed to not be dangerous, and the decibels aren't high enough. No one else seems bothered by these sounds.

      Examples are things like - cutlery and plates banging around, a shredder for cheese used at work, kettles, washer machines etc.

      What are your thoughts?
      Thanks Roseanna -x-
       
    2. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Hi Rosanna,
      The sounds wont cause no more damage although they will cause you problems hearing them and some pain.
      It's all about desensitizing your ears and your reaction to sound.
      Remember you are in control and just walk away and give the sound no emotional reaction and build up time around the sound...
      It will get better so try not avoid the sounds altogether...lots of love glynis
       
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    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Roseanna H
      Hi Roseanna,
      I have written many times about hyperacusis just as others in this forum. My hyperacusis was so severe conversation with people at times hurt my ears. Normal sounds might make your tinnitus spike because your ears are sensitive at the moment. However, I don't think it will cause any ear damage. Use the noise reducing earplugs at work but try not to use them outside of work. Only use them in noisy situations: If you go out to a club, concert or the cinema.

      Use sound enrichment at night as I've previously explained. This will help to desensitize your ears and auditory system. It will take some time but your sensitivity to sound will decrease, so I advise not to use the earplugs too often. Please read the post below.
      All the best
      Michael

      Answers to Hyperacusis and Habituation

      Two questions often asked about tinnitus are: How long does it take to habituate? How do I know if I have hyperacusis?

      Hyperacusis

      One of the main causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. Quite often though hyperacusis, (sensitivity to sounds) accompanies the condition. This is because the nerves in the auditory pathway have been subjected to noise trauma and thus become highly sensitised. Hyperacusis can be extremely painful. It can cause tinnitus to spike sometimes making it last for days until it settles down again. Within this time the person affected can be in a lot of discomfort.

      Music that was once pleasurable to listen to through a home music system or radio is now an ordeal so one prefers not to listen to it. The closing of doors, washing up of kitchen plates and cutlery is enough to send a person running for cover, as it can feel like a pneumatic drill is piercing through your ears and head. It can become such a problem a person is afraid to venture outside their home in fear of road traffic noise sparking an increase in their tinnitus due to their sensitivity to sound.

      One of the best ways to treat hyperacusis is by using “sound enrichment”. This can be achieved in many ways but I one of the best to wear white noise generators. Two should be worn to keep your auditory system in balance. The sound level of these devices must be adjusted correctly so as not to cause further irritation to a person’s auditory system, which can make the hyperacusis and tinnitus worse. It is best to always make sure their sound levels are set just below the tinnitus. Wngs are usually worn for up to ten hours a day. Two things are achieved over time.

      The hearing system is constantly subjected to low-level non-intrusive white noise, which will help to desensitise it. Secondly, they help the brain to focus less on the tinnitus and push it further into the background making it less noticeable. This form of treatment is also known as TRT.

      An alternative to wngs is to use a tabletop sound machine that plays nature sounds. This can be used for sound enrichment to help the healing process of hyperacusis. Again it is best to set the sound level just below the tinnitus. As previously explained sound machines can be very useful at night by the bedside and in the day used to fill in the background ambiance in room.

      Treating hyperacusis takes time as there is no quick fix and everyone will respond to treatment differently.
      Please bare in mind that a person with tinnitus and hyperacuisis, if the hyperacusis is left untreated sensitivity to sound will always remain a problem. In some cases hyperacusis can get better naturally without using sound enrichment but there is no guarantee.

      A word of caution. Some people use earplugs to help suppress external sounds because of their sensitivity to sound. Earplugs are available but should only be used when in noisy surroundings and not to suppress normal every day sounds, as doing so can prevent the healing process of hyperacusis.


      Habituating to Tinnitus.

      Habituating to tinnitus often seems shrouded in mystery for the more seriously affected people that are in distress and have had to seek help at ENT. It can be particularly difficult for people that are new to tinnitus to comprehend. How does one know when they have habituated to their T and more importantly what does this actually mean?

      The following doesn’t apply in every case of tinnitus for there are some people that have large fluctuations in their tinnitus and every day can be a different experience. This is one of the most severe forms of tinnitus and medications may be required to help cope with the condition. Habituating to this type of tinnitus is still possible to an extent but does present additional problems.

      To others I will say this: You’ll know when you have habituated to your tinnitus regardless of whatever treatment you are using via ENT etc as your brain will over time push it further into the background so it becomes less significant, in a similar way to the people that have mild tinnitus. Although your tinnitus may be present and on occasions it will spike, over time it will cease to be so much of a problem unless you deliberately focus on it and bring it to the forefront of your mind.

      Michael
       
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    4. Mithrandir
      Ape-like

      Mithrandir Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Shock Disorder (TTTS)
      Hi Roseanna,

      You don't be afraid by noise but avoid loud noises and take a lot of rest. Ear pain is a signal of something wrong, you can find on the site of tinnitus.org the most interesting paper about the syndrom of tensor tympani : http://www.tinnitus.org/Tensor tympani syndrome_Klochoff.pdf
       
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    5. joseph Ghass
      Angelic

      joseph Ghass Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2015
      it is all about energy disregulation of auditory nerves that causes thia hypersensitivity.

      One of the causes of this is inflammation or a sound trauma.

      in both cases an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and anti-oxidants intake will regulate nerve energy and stop all these symptoms.
       
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    6. Roseanna H

      Roseanna H Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Janurary 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear phones
    7. Kelvin

      Kelvin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Work
      Many thanks for that Michael Leigh...I have been using foam earplugs when normal sounds are unbearable, so may have been making my H worse or at least not letting it heal. Do you have any suggestions for good white noise generators ? In you experience ( I fully appreciate we are all individuals...) it normally ok to use a white noise (android / IOS) type application played through standard head/earphones ...but set to low volume ?
       
    8. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      Joseph,

      When you were researching, did you experiment with colloidal minerals?

      Thanks.
       
    9. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Hi Roseanna, I had very severe H, to the point that when I spoke a bit over a whisper it would seem like I was yelling in my own ears, I couldnt stand the voice of some other people, taking a shower was like being under a huge waterfall etc..

      Plastic is very annoying but it cannot really damage you. It will be very uncomfortable, but you can get used to it over time. Same for the odd clanking of dishes etc, which is a lot louder than plastic, but still should be bearable over time. What are a really killer and you should be very careful with, specially at the severe stage of H, are the sounds of machinery, loud beeps, sirens, etc, the sounds that bother everyone and that go over 100 dbs, sounds that can damage anyone over time. This kind of sounds can make recovery difficult and give you bad setbacks.

      Try to listen to sound you like, music or white or pink noise at home and then on the street be very careful. But try to go out, for a stroll in a park, etc.. quiet activities.

      I hope you improve from H soon!
       
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    10. Roseanna H

      Roseanna H Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Janurary 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear phones
      Hi Juan, thanks for the reply.

      Yes! I completely understand the shower being like a waterfall part. Bearable over time, so your ears adjust and get used to these sounds. I think the problem with me right now, is alot of this hyperacusis stuff is getting to me physiologically too, if that makes any sense. A lot of loud sounds I hear do feel uncomfortable on my ears. Other times i'm not sure if sounds really are, or if its in my head, me assuming it's uncomfortble because it's a louder sound. it's hard to explain!
      I listen to alot of white noise yes, I am very careful when i go out anywhere though, and usually always wear my ear plugs.
      Hyperacusis can be hard to adjust to, just like the tinnitus :(

      Thanks!
       
    11. bill 112
      Fine

      bill 112 Member

      Location:
      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      How did you acquire T and H?
       
    12. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @Kelvin I just happened to see your post. Please write @Michael Leigh if you want to contact me. Since you are in the UK, try and get a referral to ENT via your GP and they will probably refer you to a Hearing Therapist after test. Hopefully you'll be able to get the white noise generators FOC. You can buy them privately but I don't recommend you do this at the moment. They can bought from: http://www.puretone.net/pt_tinnitus.html Please read my post below about hyperacusis that you might find helpful.
      All the best
      Michael
      PS: I don't recommend playing white noise or any other through headphones into the ear. It won't be as good as white noise generators and could cause more problems.
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
       
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    13. Kelvin

      Kelvin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Work
      @Michael Leigh - thanks you so much for taking the time to reply.
      Not yet got involved with GP and NHS as I cant bear that blank stare of despair ( followed by waffle ) you often get from GPs. Maybe I will try. It would be good to rule out anything nasty - which I am sure its not. Wishing you some pockets of quiet bliss over Xmas.
       
    14. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Exercise and diet are very important and can make a difference. The tension and the discomfort you experience due to H may make the muscles on your neck, shoulders, feel very tense and contracted, and that affects too, has an impact on how we hear.
       
    15. japongus

      japongus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      What utter nonsense. Of course normal sound can be damaging, if the threshold for normal sound to be damaging is lowered. Where the threshold is, no one knows. I went to nightclub after my first acoustic trauma/shock at a concert, and got permanently worse, from more ear damage, and I'd been to the same nightclub without issues before the first acoustic shock/trauma.

      When the going gets tough, the sound therapists dishing out their crap recommendations always run away and accuse you of not trying hard enough. And all sound therapy does is take advantage of how people placebolly drift in and out of this condition anyways.

      And another thing, the tinnitus and its nature is certainly a predictor of where this worsening can go towards. If you have it from TMJ then it probably won't get worse as another nerve is affected. But if you get it from acoustic shock, then a vibratory tinnitus can come hand in hand with sound sensitivity, it can even be the cause of the sound sensitivity. So a middle ear can vibrate, and that vibration can be the reason why external sound reverberates even further, because it's lost its tone and this usually quiet area is receiving external sound when it's already loud inside, not because of some desensitization bullshit.
       
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    16. Sen
      Caffeine

      Sen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October, 2012.
      It all depends on how you define "damage" and how you define "normal sound."

      If by "damage" you mean hearing loss as measured on an audiogram, and by "normal sounds" you mean workplace safety standards, then no, normal sounds cannot cause damage to your ears in most cases.

      I'm not aware of any research that uses different definitions than these two, so there may be unknown factors regarding things like worsening tinnitus and hyperacusis. Tinnitus and hyperacusis are generally not considered to be "damage" according to currently understood physiology, so whether a sound is damaging or not using the above definitions might be entirely irrelevant to whether or not T or H can worsen. They could worsen from a normal sound, from a very loud sound, or from no sound at all.
       
    17. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      yes, yes, and again yes. It could be that Rob at the other place is right after all and not all sound sensitivity is strictly hyperacusis (all volume, as he defines it), or indeed that sound sensitivities could be open to a classification system depending on the kind of descriptors the sufferer uses. When my tinnitus winds up to an intense, buzz/hiss blend, normal sound takes on that characteristic as well, and when the tinnitus slips back to being a softer hissy whine the sound sensitivity goes away. This cycle is stuck on 24-48 hourly repeat, regardless of what I do or don't do.
       
    18. japongus

      japongus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Rob was just bluffing and retreating with everything I threw at him. Thinking all sound was auditory is what made him lose the argument with Marsha Johnson too, and why he had to ban me. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he banned Astrid.

      The ''tinnitus'' can indeed be a predictor of what sounds can do to you and they can be signs of damage to the ear. In fact the ''hyperacusis'' can come as a result of the ''tinnitus'' and the ''tinnitus'' can be purely a muscular issue, a punctured nerve or muscle.

      The same reasoning you gave me is the one Anxiousjon gave me after visiting Harold Kim. It also corresponds with my experience where, criminally and contrary to sound therapy dogma, had I taken the ''tinnitus'' seriously I wouldn't have exposed myself to a nightclub that furthered the damage.

      And yet, kikonours on doctissimo who went down lib's path, talked about sound sensitivity ''without pain'' while clueless idiots in America that follow Jastreboff talk about ''hyperacusis with or without pain''. Meanwhile, Jastreboffists admit they can't improve the ''tinnitus'' they can only make you ''habituate'' to it, but if vibratory hyperacusis- which btw is also painful if it's loud and a strong enough of a vibration- is merely a result of the ''tinnitus'' as it clearly is in this widely underreported etiology, then what the fuck are they talking about when they say Jastrebluff also helps ''hyperacusis''. And why if this is a muscular issue isn't Jastrebluff also helping with entirely non-auditory issues like patulous eustachian tube... what utter nonsense.

      And hey, there may be other etiologies where the tinnitus comes from elsewhere and sound exposure doesn't make it worse, well that's not my fucking problem is it. Jastreboff fanbois are like the author, autistic.
       
    19. japongus

      japongus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      In addition, I also suspect that the myoclonus can spread and not just get louder, so two many acoustic traumas with a damaged muscle rattling the other muscles around would render tenotomy ineffective, as it would spread to the levator palatini. Or the chain of ossicles could tear in new fissures in muscles unreachable by tenotomy, but only because the tt or the st link them.
       
    20. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Which would seem to illustrate escalation of an untreated primary disease process. Is this not our fundamental issue?
       
    21. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/17/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      So Japongus,

      What is your conclusion? T and H ears ARE more vulnerable to sounds than normal ears?

      I've tried the "toughen" my ears way, and made things worse a few times, now I have stopped that, I protect and stay indoors till things get better, and my Tinnitus is improving, getting quieter, can sleep on it now without masking.

      I'm 2 months into T, a few times I tried to go to a bar, sat in there about 15 minutes, music was at about 70db or so, it caused a 1 week spike at least...
       
    22. SilverSpiral
      Sad

      SilverSpiral Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ACOUSTIC TRAUMA
      The most accurate and honest answer I can provide to the question in the title of this thread is "probably not in most cases, but probably in some". And it would seem to depend largely on the nature of your condition, and there seems to be no medical way of being certain.
       
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    23. bill 112
      Fine

      bill 112 Member

      Location:
      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      Little noise exposures this year have worsened me sevenfold,mainly unexpected noises.

      The worst part for me is that my pain isn't instant,so if I was to drive with earmuffs and plugs on I wouldn't notice any pain until I got home and then it hits too late for me to do anything about it.

      Same with watching tv,it doesn't seem loud to me so I can tolerate it no problem then my pain and T go crazy after so it's impossible for me to gauge what's too much,right now everything is too much for me,I can't wear earmuffs as my own voice rattles my head and ears so I'm stuck exposed to the elements of whatever happens in my home.
       
    24. japongus

      japongus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I think that some etiologies of T certainly indicate damage that can be further worsened with sound exposure, while others don't. Where the level is at decibel wise, time wise, and what etiologies are real damage to the ear, real damage to the surroundings of the ear, and which are merely passing phases and T that rises from say a magnesium defficiency, nobody knows. The remarkable thing is seeing sound therapists preach that all types of T don't indicate damage nor a reduced threshold for further damage.
       
    25. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      bill,
      I know you have written that sound exposure has heightened your H to unbearable levels....but have you ever considered your H may have become worse due to an unidentified neuropathology that hasn't been diagnosed?
      Possible that blaming sound exposure short of high dB levels both for improvement and degradation of H may not be the true root cause.
      My thoughts.
       
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    26. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      What kind of pathology?
       
    27. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
    28. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Are you thinking a sort of cascading neurological injury?
       
    29. bill 112
      Fine

      bill 112 Member

      Location:
      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      Could you elaborate on this?Are you asking if sound damaged my brain or do I have an underlying neurological condition that's causing my symptoms?

      Because I know it's in my ears,I can physically feel it,it's bizarre and hard to put across to people but I can actually feel the nerves in my get pissed off from sound.
       
    30. stophiss

      stophiss Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      too full a life
      To be simple about it, it stands to reason that T and H are neurology based perhaps influenced by physiological changes to the body and hearing apparatus. Cells die and mutate throughout our lives. To me, our neurology can change throughout our body either for the better or for the worse independent of environment as cells mutate daily. Genes one day working properly can one day not...certainly true of the aging process and yes can be influenced by environment. A human replaces all cells within their body every 7 years. Just like all of us one day contracted H and T...some of whom perhaps not due to acoustic shock and unusual sound exposure...our neurology for whatever reason took a turn for the worse. No different that a person contracting diabetic foot neuralgia when older after running track in high school. The nervous system changes with time. In the case of Bill, quite possible his sound exposure after he was much better after contracting T and H had very little to do with his regression. He developed perhaps heighten neuropathy of the brain for unknown reasons would be my assertion.
       

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