Low/Moderate Music Volume and Its Effect on Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by FrontRoomFanatic, Oct 6, 2019.

    1. FrontRoomFanatic
      Dreaming

      FrontRoomFanatic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Damage (Music)
      Hello everyone, this is my first post, but I’ve been reading a few threads on and off for a few months. My tinnitus started in June and it’s a high frequency tone. It appeared after I bought some over-ear headphones and the bright treble of this particular pair set it off. I’m of the opinion that my use of in-ear headphones for 6 years prior to buying the over-ear set done the damage, and the new pair pushed it over the edge finally. I’ve had a hearing test and my hearing was reported to be very good in both ears, thankfully.

      My question is related to music as I’d like to continue to enjoy it, albeit safely. I simply won’t use headphones ever again. As a result I have looked at many speakers and HiFi equipment, and also got to demo some equipment at home. I found some speakers a bit ‘bright’ in the treble which weren’t suitable. Also one pair which I felt my tinnitus reacted to and raised in volume for a short time overnight. The pair I’ve settled on uses a soft dome tweeter and wood pulp woofers. They sound warm and comfortable to listen to. I’d like to buy these.

      My questions really are; How safe is listening to music via speakers? And are there factors relating to sound, outside of volume itself, that need consideration?

      For context, I bought a sound pressure level meter (dB Meter) to determine the volume I’m listening to the music at. I sit a meter and a half approx away from the speakers. The meter usually reads between 55dB and about 68dB , with occasional brief spikes at 71dB depending if a high treble producing instrument is being played. I won’t ever raise the volume above these levels. I’ve read that up to 85dB is safe for up to 8 hours, but I’m not sure if this is accurate for someone with damaged ears or not. Again for context, I plan to listen to no more than 45 mins - 1 hour per day max. I’m just not sure if there are any factors I’m not considering that you guys may have insight into, and can share with me to try and make sure I don’t make my tinnitus worse? Appreciate any input. Thanks.
       
    2. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      This is the industry guideline and it's based on the long-term audiograms of people exposed to such noise levels.
      I expect the numbers to come down in the coming years.

      With the quoted volume on your stereo you should be in the safe zone, though I listen to music lower than that. Find out what works for you. If you find it agitates your tinnitus then you know what to do. Regarding tinnitus, no two days are the same for many people. Yesterday I couldn't stand listening to my speakers. The day before I was alright. The only difference was that I had gone for a run just before, so exercise elevates mine temporarily.

      All the best. Let us know what your findings are.
       
    3. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Also, this is exactly what the guidelines don't take into consideration with their 85dB limit. Many people with tinnitus have normal audiograms...
      If they would only compare the "Western" average against some native tribes' thresholds think we would have a different set of data.
       
      • Genius Genius x 1
    4. John Mahan

      John Mahan Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I use headphones everyday. In the four years since contracting tinnitus, aggregate volume level of my tinnitus has reduced. You have no proof in-ear or over-the-ear headphones caused your tinnitus. People get tinnitus all the time without ever using headphones. Vast majority of headphone users never get tinnitus. If you abused your ears by listening to elevated volume levels through headphones you are falsely accusing your headphones. Driving your car into a wall is pretty dangerous as well but cars serve the overall public pretty well.

      You can believe in whatever mythology you like. If you subjected your ears to high volume listening with any music source, you hastened the onset of tinnitus. Put your ear next to a fire truck siren every day will do the same thing.

      Low to moderate sound levels is good. High sound levels is bad. Words to live by independent of sound source.

      Over protection is bad btw just like keeping your eyes closed every day for a month is bad for eye sight. The brain needs stimulus. Goldilocks is the goal.

      You didn't mention hyperacusis or ear fullness. 50-60 dB is ok...but maybe even start a bit less after just contracting tinnitus and incrementally add sound to your life. Doing this with headphones is fine. For me, it is preferred.

      But there are many who believe in ghosts and believe that tinnitus is an enigmatic warlock that becomes unhinged by the headphone boogieman. Many believe in the supernatural and that clowns are evil.

      Good news for you is you will be fine. Hopefully you, me and many others in America will have their tinnitus tamped down by forthcoming bi-modal stimulation to break up the synchronicity of neurons which cause tinnitus in the brainstem. Unconfirmed word is, it will be available last half of next year. Fingers crossed.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      You seem to be going through the right questions.

      For me 85 db isn't safe for 8 minutes any more, even with earplugs. You may be able to avoid things getting that bad for you if you avoid headphones and loud environments.
       
    6. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor Ambassador Advocate

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      Be careful and listen to your spikes. If you keep spiking with speakers then that's a good indication that things can get worse and you should discontinue using them. My tinnitus was also caused by over ear headphones. I always took care of my hearing, always wore earplugs to events, but what doctors don't tell you is the duration can make all the difference. 75 dB should be fine. but 8 hours at 75 dB can cause damage. That's what happened to me after just 2 weeks of listening to over ear headphones. Before that, I always used speakers. This is where I think you are at as well. Cheap bright speaker would spike me but after a while I would not get spiked anymore. But when I thought things were ok, 7 years later I tried headphones again for exercising and my tinnitus spiraled out of control, this is what I hope doesn't happen to you. Now I can't use a phone, listen to music or step outside without ear plugs and ear muffs. So follow your spikes, if you are spiking, listen to your ears and take care of them.

      For audio gear, get a good EQ or better yet, a Low Pass Filter so you can cut all frequencies above a set kHz, completely. I'd start with cutting out 8 kHz and up and lower it until you don't spike. Also consider switching to vinyl. You can also try notching you music. First determine what kHz your tinnitus is at by matching it with a tone generator. There are free ones online. Then remove that frequency out of the music or at least lower that frequency on an EQ.
       
    7. John Mahan

      John Mahan Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Sorry about the correction but headphones did not cause your tinnitus. Abuse of headphones 'may' have caused your tinnitus. You don't know that either. Everyday our bodies change and cells mutate. You may have heard that old people far and away have worse hearing and more tinnitus than young people independent of headphone use. Cells change everyday.

      Also, doctors do tell us that duration is a big contributor to hearing loss. My audiologist told me. I can't imagine doing to my ears what you did. 8 hours a day at 75 dB for two weeks?

      Not many people understand what causes tinnitus. There are people just like you who abuse their hearing repeatedly and never get tinnitus including all the fireman that race to the fire with the siren blaring. Genetics is big. People seem to forget that and always blame sound.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Funny Funny x 1
    8. John Mahan

      John Mahan Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      You are conflating headphone use with loud sound. You are comparing a person screaming in your ear with one that is speaking normally. People even whisper sometimes.

      You may have heard about the person driving the car that ran over the dog. The car is never blamed.
       
    9. MattS
      Relaxed

      MattS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Power Tools
      The question, as everyone has indicated, is how does the speaker volume work for you? I think most people would say that one hour @ 55-70 dB should be safe. Moreover, you likely get that level of sound exposure all the time in the outside world anyway. But the percussive/tempo/frequency/pressure changes of some compositions seem to be able to effect people differently; and some speakers emit high frequency noise that can aggravate no matter what the volume. So: by textbooks standards, you're likely okay, but monitor yourself and let your own experiences drive your decisions.

      I agree with @John Mahan though: the best thing is probably too start low, and build up your capacity for louder sounds gradually. If you're 4 months in, you may already be out of the seriously-acute stage, so the volume levels you've chosen may be appropriate. But you could consider staying lower for a few weeks, then adding a few decibels for a few weeks, then a few more, etc., etc., always monitoring your reaction. That will help ensure your in the safe zone for yourself, while also working to build up your aural capacity.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      FrontRoomFanatic
      Dreaming

      FrontRoomFanatic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Damage (Music)
      Thanks to all for the responses so far. I would hate to give up music for good, and I’ve spent a lot of time / mental energy researching and doing the leg work of getting different speakers to try at home. I just couldn’t find anything online that would tell me how tinnitus may (or may not) react to loudspeaker design. As I noted, I did determine the possibility of soft dome tweeters, and wood pulp woofers being perhaps preferable. I did have the cold recently which raised my T during this demo phase which is unfortunate, but I have these speakers for another week before they have to go back. Hopefully I’ll feel able to buy a pair of them. If not, then I’m not sure what I’m going to do.
       
    11. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Really? If one cannot hear it, surely it can't do any harm, can it?
       
    12. MattS
      Relaxed

      MattS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Power Tools
      Well, what I meant was that really cheap speakers can get all tinny, and may exacerbate some tinnitus symptoms.

      But since we're on the topic: I think the extent to which frequencies beyond our auditory system's sensitivity can influence functioning of the system remains a completely uninvestigated territory. I'm not suggesting that unheard sounds can cause harm, per se. Not trying to be all conspiracy theory on you or anything. But I do wonder about the possibility that some of these hidden frequencies may underlie certain currently 'idiopathic' symptom variations. Fluorescent lights, electronic buzz, radio, Bluetooth and WIFI frequencies...each of these emit its own frequency distributions, and there's a part of me that wonders if part of the reason that tinnitus is increasing isn't just because society is louder, but because society is so electronic.

      Who knows; but these are some of the things I think about when my mind is idle. ;)
       
    13. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I see. One should better invest in a pair with a good flat frequency response then :)

      I think tinnitus is on the rise because of a noisy society for sure. But you have a point in the other things too. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but the rate at which new technologies and products are launched without long-term studies on health is unprecedented in history. They cocked up before with asbestos, Softenon, Trobalt, etc ... So it would be foolish to think it can't be possible.

      But you know, in the Middle Ages they thought leeching was a good idea, so we can have it worse ;)

      Back on topic: Don't spend a fortune on speaker wire for short distances!
       
    14. John Mahan

      John Mahan Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      FRF,
      We need to sort out a few things. You will never see anything published on loudspeaker design relative to tinnitus. Further you will never see any study correlating headphone design to tinnitus either. Because the sound source aka the messenger matters much much less than the message which is the sound.

      Two things...
      - Sound volume
      - Sound duration

      Now you get it. Sound volume can be adjusted for loudspeakers and headphones. I listen to each. I can set my speakers or my headphones to be barely audible. I do not listen to either loudly. My ears don't tolerate loud sound well anyway, including somebody shouting at me on the bike when passing in the opposite direction.

      Give up music? Whatever for? I am a huge music fan and listen everyday. I was installing a new crankset on one of my roadbikes today and was playing music through my home theater system. You don't have to spend a lot of money for good speakers and a subwoofer. A modest amplifier will drive them nicely as well. All about the size of the room.

      I am an audio freak...I don't really like the term audiophile....but speakers have a signature...they have personality like people...same with headphones. People into audio buy them according to their preference. Some are bright aka embellish highs...I tend to like a bit bright because of my high frequency hearing loss, and some are warm which embellish both highs and lows and some augment bass. I hear bass sounds just fine and don't like bass embellished. Pick the speakers and headphones that suit your hearing aka frequency response and moreover your preference.

      You are going to be ok. As you re-emerge, walk before you run. Buy some speakers or headphones you like and begin listening at barely audible levels and increase from there. Common sense really and have fun.

      There is a thread circulating here that talks about negativity. I like to think about love.
      Nobody captures it in song better than Bocelli. Please have a listen softly on any sound source of your choosing. Hear the last note he hits. He is extraordinary. The great Elvis Presley made this song famous:

      Andrea Bocelli - Can't Help Falling In...


      Speaking of love, I just love this:

      Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony (with Andrea...
       
Loading...

Share This Page