Music, Surgery and Science

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by walkthroughwalls, Oct 21, 2014.

    1. walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi all,

      I'm a 28 year old male from The Netherlands. I have two degrees in music and I'm currently studying for a degree in Computer Science.

      I've had loud-music-induced T since I was 17.
      Among the musicians I played with in my teens, nobody knew what T was. The only information I got was that loud music would make you slowly go deaf and, according to some people, wearing earplugs was for wimps.
      I also regularly used headphones or ear-buds, as no-one considered them harmful, but I don't remember ever turning them up loud.

      I've always hated loud sounds so I started wearing Alpine earplugs pretty early on. On a certain gig, I played two or three songs, took a break, talked to people, then played another couple of songs. These Alpine earplugs can be a bit of a pain to insert properly, so at one point I left them out and played five or six songs without them just like everyone else.

      When I came home I had this crazy loud beep in my ears. I couldn't concentrate on the conversation going on in the room, or anything else for that matter. I could hardly sleep. Over the next days it got less loud, but the beep remained.
      Wow, did I just mess up my hearing at the age of 17? And I don't think I could've known better... The gig wasn't even that loud. My ears just seem to be insanely sensitive.
      Luckily, the T was only noticeable near complete silence and overall very manageable.

      Fast forward a couple of years. I'd replaced the Alpine's with custom made earplugs with ER-25 (-25dB) filters, which I used all the time. When I expected things to get really loud, I'd use yellow foam earplugs. Almost completely quit listening to headphones/ear-buds. I got two bachelor degrees in music (bass guitar and double bass). Played music all the time and never had a problem.

      In the meantime... a parallel story evolved:
      I was born with two permanent teeth missing which became apparent around the age of 12. It was then decided to 'not correct anything' for some reason. In the following years, my dentist kept telling me that there was no reason to see anyone on this issue. When I was 26 I was finally sent to an orthodontist who told me that I have a common problem that got way more complicated than necessary because it had been neglected for so long. He set up a three year plan to correct my teeth which included surgery which took place in the summer of 2014.

      A week after surgery my T went through the roof! A very loud and high pitched (12kHz) sound emerged. Previously, my T was lower (2Khz) and would get covered up by any background noise, but this new sound cut through anything. I spent a couple of days in bed, feeling utterly helpless and powerless. It was paralyzing.

      I went back to the hospital. The surgeon assured me that this could not have come from any noise during the surgery and sent me to the ENT. An audiogram was made which showed that my right ear is perfect and my left ear only has a slight dip in 8kHz. The person taking the test described it as 'a very good result for someone your age'.

      When I got to the ENT, he told me both my ears looked fine, my permanently semi-clogged nose was nothing special, and the T would probably go away within a month. And if it didn't, there was nothing he could do, so in any case, there was no reason to ever see him again. He assured me that I could continue playing music like I've always had (=with earplugs).
      I left the room feeling ignored more than anything else...

      Fortunately, the T did subside to more manageable levels within a couple of months. In the meantime, I decided to leave the music business and get a degree in Computer Science.

      (Mostly because the music business wasn't a good fit for me, but also because of loud drummers, struggling to hear myself clearly (or anything else for that matter), always having to squeeze all possible volume from your amp or double bass... and last but not least, not wanting to participate in destroying an audience's hearing. Yes, I do think musicians have a responsibility here... and apparently I'm one of the few.
      I just wasn't enjoying the overall experience, although it wasn't strictly necessary to quit because of my T.)

      Last Friday, I rehearsed with a band for the first time since surgery. This band is loud, so I used my ER-25's and switched to yellow foam earplugs after our first 'set'. The volume levels must've been around 115 dB. I made sure I put my earplugs in before entering the studio, so not a single note would hit my unprotected eardrums.

      The next day I felt tired and weak. I was hearing less high frequencies and my T had gotten louder. It has stayed like this up until today (Tuesday). I've tried to rest as much as possible and to not subject my ears to anything even moderately loud (I now ride the bus with earplugs in). The T is now noticeable during lectures, I'm having a hard time concentrating and I feel tired and weak all the time. The doctor's assistant looked into my ears and told me they look fine. The beep I'm hearing is just your normal 'disco-deafness', is nothing to worry about and will go away 'automagically' or something.
      I have a bunch of assignments to finish and the exams start next week. I'll post a what-to-do thread in 'Support' as soon as I finish this post...

      I have a weird mixture of feelings about this all. It's helplessness, powerlessness, anger, confusion, loneliness, feeling not-understood, feeling that it's unfair...
      I don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, eat healthy, read the news, think about global issues and how my choices impact them, I try not to be judgmental, study hard, am ambitious, don't waste time, play with passion, have ideals, am concerned about fellow human beings, etc. etc.
      I tried telling a couple of people around me about my T, but it's pretty much ignored.

      If I would have known what the consequences are of loud music, I would have been far more careful. Yet, I didn't know, I could not have known and suffer the consequences anyway. And the specialists around here don't seem to care.
      I wish my dental problem was taken care of when I was 12, or least that my dentist would have sent me to a specialist sooner. I followed the advice of medical specialists, and still ended up in the worst possible scenario.
      Also, I've abused my ears far and far less than the musicians around me. Yet, they don't seem to develop T or are even bothered by it. So why do I sit here with this beep in my head even though I did everything within my knowledge to prevent it?

      I feel that life is just a cruel joke and I feel more suicidal than usual.
      Can anyone relate?
    2. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador

      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Dude you have no idea how much I can relate. I will PM you later with my story(very similar to yours) . hold strong my friend.
      • Useful Useful x 1
    3. Peter61

      Peter61 Member

      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:

      I can relate to your story more than 100%... In your case it seems to be a combination of circumstances that caused your T. There was obviously the amplified music environment, which is a danger to a human's hearing anyway. There was also the fact that your hearing is probably more sensitive than average, which is genetically determined. Some can endure deafening noise for years and have no problem with it, others expose their ears to loud noise for just a short while and end up f...... There was also the dental issue that also contributed to your T., that's pure coincidental. Plus there was the lack of information on the dangers of loud noise, how are you to know when nobody ever tells you ? So it seems like Murphy's Law, or bad luck, or whatever you want to call it. Life can sometimes be a nasty bitch... All I can say is that you are here with people who totally understand you, who are here to support you and know perfectly well what it means to suffer from T. So hang in there, and never give up. Hopefully a cure is under way, be it through a drug to calm down the hyper active part of the brain that causes the T, or through hair cell regeneration by stem cell technology. Again, you are not alone.
    4. AUTHOR

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SoulStation, thanks. I'll try to. Is that a Hank Mobley-reference, by the way?

      Peter61, you're spot on. It's unfair, and I have a hard time dealing with that.
      Most of my life I've felt like a space-shuttle, ready to launch and achieve greatness, but held back by society's prejudices, bullying, nepotism, incompetence, backstabbing and now this...

      I survived a number of schools. Gave up everything to become a musician, only to find out the hard way that the 'world of musicians' is not for me. I figured out a way to go to school again. Now I'm about to finish my first term at college. I put in tons of work and my grades are among the highest. I was well on my way to acing every course and then T hit, while it may have been prevented if I would have gotten more accurate information.

      You can't really blame 'bad luck', but I certainly think I would've been better off if I had been around less ignorant people and more competent doctors. (And this isn't the first time...)

      *Sigh*... Why do I have to deal with this? I'm not some doom-metal-dude who's abused his ears for years even though he was aware of the dangers... I'm just a hardworking, earplug-wearing vegetarian. Karma, where are you?

      Today was spent visiting different offices at my college, asking for delays, exemptions and resits. It may be the case that I'll be forced to leave college if I fail more than three classes this year.

      I never found life a particularly enjoyable activity, and this is not helping.
      • Hug Hug x 1

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