Musician with Mild Tinnitus Spiked to Unbearable Levels Recently

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by IbanezGuitarist, Jul 18, 2014.

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    1. IbanezGuitarist

      IbanezGuitarist Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      First, this is my first time posting here and this was originally posted on reddit, so if I'm not posting the right area,etc apologies.

      Since around December of 2009 I had very low level tinnitus due to loud live music, and didn't use earplugs a lot at that point. Since that point, I've never been in loud situations without earplugs if possible. I continued to go to shows and play guitar in bands with ear plugs, limiting my exposure time to the loud music as well. Last year, I was in a band that played quite a few shows (as well as I went to a couple) during last summer, but used earplugs and was mostly fine from what I could tell.

      Then this summer rolls around this year, I start a new general labour job where the noise levels aren't too bad so I wasn't wearing hearing protection. The other reason was there were machinery and dangerous places where hearing things were very important. About a month ago, there was a particularly noisy day which by the end my ears slightly hurt. Didn't think much of it until I went to bed and at 3AM I woke up to terrible ringing in my right ear, which none of my tinnitus had done before.

      Eventually, it seemed to go away but after that I wore earplugs 24/7 at that place even in quieter areas. A few weeks later I had a band practice that was about 3 hours with a few breaks in between. Although I had earplugs of NRR 29db in the entire time, as soon as I finished I removed the earplugs and there was a loud ringing still. Again, seemed to go away later but scarred me and wished I had worn a set of headmuffs ontop.

      Lastly, I went to a gig where I ended up showing up earlier that anticipated and was there for about 3-4 hours. Upon leaving the gig, I removed my earplugs (which I had in the entire time) and noticed there really wasn't any ringing. A few days later, I started to get bothered by some ringing and noticing it more and more, and had trouble watching videos with talking due to the loudness of the ringing. Its been 3 weeks, and my right ear's ringing sounds permanently like what happened at the start, a terrible loud ping that isn't going away or subsiding.

      I went to the doctor last week who said I just have some fluid behind my ear and I'll be fine, but the ringing is still very loud and I'm going back tomorrow. This new level of ringing is so loud nothing seems to drown it out or mask it, its extremely debilitating and has caused me to fall into a depression I just barely got out of right before. I feel terrible, and keep wishing I could have not been in those loud situations, as I can not even do anything worth while in my spare time or just enjoy a show or movie anymore. I'm lost at what to do with myself.

      Sorry for the long winded post, just wanted to cover everything. I originally posted this on reddit, and got some negative responses along the lines of stop being around loud music but I'm sure you guys will understand I was extremely careful but let my guard down for too long.
       
    2. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Hello and welcome! Thank you for the thorough information. First of all, the fluid in your ear can indeed cause the ringing to seem louder as there is less external noise coming in. From what I've heard it takes quite some time to absorb.
      Secondly, Im sorry but I must tell you that I agree with the people on reddit. Noise damage can be cumulative. So if you did use plugs while playing it could be that you damaged your hair cells all along and the effect just shows now. Also, quite often the label on a plug is different than how much they really protect. For example, I have a pair of 12 db plugs and a pair of 33 db plugs - the 33 db are definitely not that much stronger, but rather around 20 db. Of course if you use custom made plugs (eg. plugs made especially for your ear canals) the protection might be as strong as the manufacturers claim.
      Many tinnitus sufferers continue listening to loud music afterwards, however it is impossible to say for whom it gets worse and for whom it doesn't. You seem to be one of the people who is affected by it. My advise to you is to use common sense instead of calculating decibels. If it seems to loud it probably is and by loud I mean that if you can't hear the people speak several meters away it is most likely dangerous to your ears. I believe some members such as @I who love music have very useful stories so you might want to read their posts.
      Of course as tinnitus is not dangerous and if the ringing and possible hearing problems do not bother you I don't see why you shouldn't stop listening to loud music. In your story you mentioned that recently at the practice you had problems with hearing albeit protection so you might just have to accept that it will slowly get louder. If you do not want to get it louder why not play music more quietly? Tell your companions about your problem. Hearing issues are becoming increasingly common so it might be a good idea to start speaking about protecting their ears and enjoying music at reasonable levels.
      And of course there are many other things that cause tinnitus to get louder such as stress and certain medications. However whereas its very hard to control stress a 100% it is possible to choose whether we are around loud music or not.
      Im sorry if I did not say what you expected and musicians might have a different take on this. Bear in mind though that I am not blaming you, just saying that we all have to be more careful than the average person about noise levels.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. IbanezGuitarist

      IbanezGuitarist Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Hey thanks for the reply. I'm not offended by you, it was the guy on reddit. The reason being that he made it sound like I had not made sense of noise issues, and I was not caring about my ears. I should mention I do not plan on going to another show ever again, and brought up the sound issues to my band. I guess what I'm trying to say is I was extremely cautious for years and I seemed to be fine, only for me to mess up this last month. Really, it was the massive noise jump which caused a panic but like you said it might be cumulative just showing now. I don't think I'll allow myself to be in loud situations ever again, your post was actually good and informative. I've actually seen the posts by that member, and feel like I've done what he did years back. I'm only 21 and not sure now how I'll continue with school as I was fine programming before but now my concentration is worse.

      I guess I seem angry because for the last month I've been feeling terrible thinking why I was in those situations, but it's definitely a musician thing. I let my love of music get in the way of rationalization and now I feel I'm paying. I guess some will argue I had a chance to stop but things are much more apparent after the fact.

      Lastly,I plan on going to a convention this weekend.I'm not going yo any of the concerts, but I plan on bringing earplugs in case there are done loud areas. Do you think I'll be fine if I take breaks from the show floor throughout the day? I plan on being a lot more conscious about this, borderline paranoid.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Most people (80%) with tinnitus habituate on their own. The other 20% need help (TRT from qualified therapists) and for around 5% the condition is so debilitating and annoying that they are not able to live with it. Therefore I see no reason why you should not habituate. It just takes time and needs the right way of thinking. You might also benefit from ordinary therapy. If you want you can consult a psychiatrist or a psychologist (depending on the system in your country). Eventually your concentration will come back and you will continue to live as you did before. I would not advise you to quit school because that will only make you concentrate more on your issue.
      You can still enjoy music without turning it so loud.
      It is impossible for anyone to say whether you will be ok or not. If you have been to that type of convention before and you know how loud it is you should be able to tell whether you are going to be fine or not. If you do not you might show up. If it seems to loud you can leave. Taking pauses and wearing plugs doesn't always help so if you decide to stay it is a risk. Personally if I was scared it is too loud I would not go - for me 4-5 hours of fun is not worth months or years of efforts to habituate and deteriorating hearing. Also, if you are single and want to meet girls there are many other ways to do that - it does not necessarily have to involve loud music.
       
      • Agree Agree x 3

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