Moderate Sound Levels Do Not Matter?

Discussion in 'Support' started by MountainCreek, Jun 21, 2016.

    1. MountainCreek

      MountainCreek Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car Radio
      What I am telling below could at best concerns sound induced tinnitus only.

      Based on my many experiences with tinnitus, I would like to tell about my view on tinnitus. Ten years ago I set up a very simple theory for tinnitus, which I think could be easily falsified by performing an experiment on many people (or rats maybe) with tinnitus and check the outcome. I have had tinnitus for an extended period of time four times the last ten years. These periods have lasted from between two weeks and two months. In between these periods I have been completely tinnitus free (as far as I could hear, but this may be a truth with modification since I believe tinnitus may cause damage that we can not hear even after the tinnitus sound is gone).

      The reocurrances of tinnitus is worrying me. Doesn't that mean an overall decay of my hearing, and shouldn't I worry that I may get tinnitus more frequently and for longer periods in the future? I think I should worry. Eventually it may get permanent no matter what I do.

      At this moment though, I don't have tinnitus. I just managed to get rid of it.

      Here is my theory about sound induced tinnitus, the case when the ENT doctors can see nothing wrong with your ear (nor see any paricular recent drop in your hearing maybe). I think this applies to most people who get tinnitus. I believe tinnitus is like any bruise or damage on the body, and its treatment should be the same. Bruises can come in many different forms and colors. They can be blue, purple, red, yellow, rectangular, polygonal, circular, you name it. Tinnitus can be of any frequency, sounds like an old fishing boat engine, or a symbal in an orchestra, pulsating with the heat beat, constant, turning off at night, turning on at night. I have experienced all these kind of different tinnitus in different periods of my life.

      How do we treat a bruise, no matter its shape or color? We leave it alone and we don't touch it.

      How do we treat tinnitus? Doctors today say we shall not bother ourselves with it. This is almost in line with my thoughts, but not quite. Sound waves actually touch the tinnitus. Leaving tinnitus alone means removing all sound waves. Zero dB environment means leaving tinnitus alone.

      Now how come that people who have cut off the nerve between the brain and the ear still can hear tinnitus that does not go away? Sound waves propage through anything right? So sound waves go straight into the brain, as well as via the ear. Maybe, but of course I can not be sure, but maybe if these people were put in an environment with zero dB, their tinnitus would improve as well. Despite they can not hear the sound. The sound waves still can hit the brain and maintain their tinnitus.

      My theory is that tinnitus is not a perpetuum mobile. It has to take its energy from somewhere to survive. My theory is that tinnitus takes its energy from moderate sound waves.

      Why bother about this? No one has got tinnitus by moderate noise levels. They can not harm us? Or can they?

      Of course I can be wrong. But I can just look over any tinnitus forum, and I find lots and lots of people complaining about the same thing. The typical story is that a person gets tinnitus and goes to an ENT specialist who assures the patient that moderate sound levels will do you no harm to the tinnitus. You can go to work and you don't need to do anything particular. You may avoid going on a rock concert and that's all. Whether the tinnitus gets worse, or permanent or not is happening at random and is not related to moderate sound levels you may surround yourself with according to ENT specialists today.

      Then on the forums there are tons of people who complain that moderate sound levels of masking mashines during the night tend to make their tinnitus louder the next day, and so on. Doctors keep silent or they seem to deny this. Why? I have no idea. It seems lots of money has went into masking sounds and this theory how to treat tinnitus with moderate background sounds. It might be money behind this, but I am not sure. I hope ENT science is a real science not biased by the fact that there is a huge money inflow into one certain small set of (masking sound) projects, but that the tinnitus researchers allow themselves for provocative new ideas to be tested.

      My theory is that tinnitus is a bit like a broken leg. It takes lots of damage, either a hard twist once, or a prolonged tear during years, to damage the leg so much that it breaks.

      That however, does not mean that it requires lots of force to maintain a broken leg broken forever. I like to ignore the fact that the leg has to be put in the right position in order to have any chance to heal (since I don't know how to put the hair cells in the right position to heal, probably that's impossible). Let us assume that this has been done. Then to heal the leg, we must not move the leg at all. And we must not let anything touch the leg that can move it even the slightest bit.

      If tinnitus is like a broken leg placed in the right position, tinnitus should be treated with zero dB since sound waves moves the small bones and hair cells. But more importantly, they cause stress to the brain by triggering nerve signals in the brain associated with sound. I believe the brain needs to take a rest from this sound induced stress and that it what tinnitus may try to tell us to really do.

      I think a bruise is a better analogy. Here we don't need to worry about the right position as with a broken leg. A bruise is healed by leaving it alone. If tinnitus is like a bruise, we leave it alone by remaining in zero dB for 24 hours, 7 days a week until the tinnitus is gone.

      Does it go away this way always? For me, yes. For others, we need to perform experiments to check it out. I can not tell. I can not tell if my tinnitus was temporary to begin with or if it had become permanent if I had not been in a zero dB environment.

      However, I have indications that it might have become permanent had I not gone to zero dB. The tinnitus was either at constant level or it became worse when I was not in zero dB, but remained in moderate dB. Improvement did not happen at once I went to zero dB, but in lack of any better idea I was stubborn enough to remain in zero dB for a long long time. Several weeks in a row.

      Many ENT experts say this is not good. One may get hyperacusis and the brain will make tinnitus sound louder and it makes habitualization process more difficult. Moderate sounds and trying not to think on tinnitus is the right way. If it were true that tinnitus can not be cured by silence, then I would agree on this.

      I never have had any problem with hyperacusis. I notice my ears get more sensitive to sharp sounds for a minute if I stay in silence for two weeks. But it doesn't take me more than a minute to adapt to a new sound level. I believe nature is fantastic and the hearing mechanism we have is constructed to very quickly adapt to new sound environments. I just don't buy it, that silence can do any harm, like inducing hyperacusis. If I shall believe this, then I need to see the research paper showing this to me.

      How did I achieve zero dB for extended period of time? This is the main problem in our society. As an author, I simply stay in my arm chair in my most silent room in my apartment and let my wife do all the house work and cooking for me. To maintain my physical health, I lift some weigths regularly.

      I sit in my arm chair most of the time, and many hours I focus just on the tinnitus sound. When I feel tired by listening to it, I go to bed and I read a relaxing book which requires no thinking. Just reading and relaxing. My tinnitus appeared to get worse when I did stressful kind of work, like trying to find a certain paper and worrying about things. So I just let it go.

      Remaining in the arm chair for two weeks, I could kill one sound. First out went the tttttrrrr sound, but then other sounds of higher pitch got stronger. I remained in the arm chair most of the time, but like any human I had difficulties to stick to imprisonment and went out in the mountain. Tinnitus got severe at occasions I played with my three year old daughter. I started using hearing protector each time I saw her. Tinnitus remained the same level, didn't seem to become better by remaining in zero dB.

      Here is my theory for this, which is more like a description of what I sensed rather than a theory. TInnitus seems to be like a train moving forward. It is very difficult to stop a train. Even if you turn off the engine, the train keeps rolling in the same speed. TInnitus seems to behave the same way. Turning off the engine means going to zero dB. TInnitus keeps rolling as if nothing happened. But just as with the train, by waiting long enough, the tinnitus gets less aggressive, the train goes in a more pieceful speed. One can start enjoying look out through the window and see the cows eating grass. Life quality increases. Tinnitus gets managable. No sleeping problems. But it remains. A lower tinnitus remains. Stay in zero dB for some more weeks, the remnant leaves. Tinnitus free. That is my experience. I have gone through it four times in my life. For each time it gets more and more difficult to remove the tinnitus and I view that as a damage that is getting so severed that zero dB in the end may not be enough to remove a new tinnitus I may get in the future. Just like a bruise you keep hitting on time and again, might maybe become a permanent bruise? I have little experience about bruises. Can they ever become permanent? If so, then maybe tinnitus also can become permanent. I think I should be worried about this scenario.

      For now, I just wish that ENT doctors stop telling their patients that moderate sound levels do not matter. I think they do. If ENT doctors could agree with me, then it would make my life a bit easier. I could easier get acceptance from people around me, from my wife and my parents. When I tell them that I got tinnitus again, so now I need to isolate myself for the next 30 days or so, then I could simply refer to that my ENT specialist recommended this to me.

      As for now, I have to stand alone in this tragic business. But anyway, once again the outcome is positive. I am once again tinnitus free!
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. AUTHOR

      MountainCreek Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Car Radio
      I shouldn't lie. I still have a low tinnitus, about 5 dB maybe, that appears to half in volume for each day I remain in my room. Let me also be more specific about what I mean by zero dB. Obviously we can not achieve that other than in vacuum where we can not survive anyway. What I use as norm is dB much lower than dB of the tinnitus sound I want to kill, so that the tinnitus sound can be clearly heard all the time. In my room I suppose dB never exceeds 10 dB. Stay there for 30 days. (Almost) nobody can do such a thing, right? So, not surprisingly, there may not be much statics from humans on this point.

      But how about rats? It seems very easy to perform an experiment with rats. Induce tinnitus in rats, put them in a silent chamber and isolated from each other (in case they make their own sounds) and observe how their tinnitus levels change over time.
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      If tinnitus/hyperacusis is more a nerve thing than a hair cell thing though, then it would follow that if a nerve is already damaged, then initially at least, even moderate sound would have to be processed by the already damaged nerve, therefore the threshold for the nerve to sustain further damage would be lower, given that it has already lost its integrity.

      You start putting a broken leg to the floor once you know that it is structurally possible to do so, and you gradually increase the weight load as you can. If nerve damage is the primary cause of tinnitus/hyperacusis, then it would follow that reducing the stimuli to the damaged area would allow some healing (nerves = ages to heal but still...), then it would be reasonable to gradually increase the sound exposure to the level the repairing nerves would allow. the biggest hindrance to all this as a treatment system comes down to time, money, and our ability to control our individual realities.

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