My High-Pitch Reactive Tinnitus + Lower Pitch Resonances

Discussion in 'Support' started by Keith Handy, Feb 9, 2021.

    1. Keith Handy
      Worried

      Keith Handy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + sleep deprivation + noise
      I live in a building that is mixed residential and commercial. At the beginning of November 2020, a business moved in next to me that would play loud music all day. This happened without any warning, and I was trying to stay home as much as possible due to COVID-19. The first thing I did was try to mask their thumping with my own low-pitched noise which I generated on the computer.

      I now constantly go back and forth between whether or not I had done enough of this to damage myself this seriously, considering I did not really notice any ringing until weeks later. In fact, many of my sounds have had an even more delayed onset.

      The second thing I did, still early November, was order a $300 pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones, so I could start to get my things in order in the apartment without being overly distracted. I knew I was going to have to leave soon for my sanity, but now I'm not sure I succeeded in the "sanity" part.

      The symptoms might have started ramping up already without me knowing it. Although nothing was sounding bad to me in the "real world" yet, I noticed that some of my music was sounding a bit "off" in the new phones, like the compression algorithm was doing something a little wonky in the highs. I put up with it and gravitated towards music that sounded better.

      I was spending less and less time at the actual apartment and more time trying to find other places to sleep, and exhausting myself by spending time waiting in my car and other places when I would normally be lying around, chilling out, winding down for the night, etc.—and the places I did find to sleep, I could not sleep in late like I normally would.

      A few weeks into November I made the dreaded visit to the landlord's office... I did not want to be "that guy" but I needed some kind of an option. They said they had another space that would open up for me in January.

      Around this time, or a few days later, is when I started to notice the actual high-pitched ringing. It had somehow crept up on me instead of just "switching on" like most cases I read about. Mind you, I'm already a wreck in a multitude of ways by this point. I start googling, I hope it's ear wax impaction or something. I make an appointment with my primary first thing in December and get to the Audiologist/ENT on the 17th. Hearing test went fine (many discussions about the limitations of audiograms here), ENT found nothing (many discussions about the futility of discussing tinnitus with ENTs here too), I was sent off with a sad little pamphlet. My mom texted me to ask how it went, and asked me to call... and I broke down crying on the phone.

      Since then I've been noticing various changes to my collections of sounds. Some come and go. The high pitched sounds seem to be agitated by all external sound, both high and low, while the lower pitched sounds seem to resonate with external sounds close to their frequency. It seems like if I give my ears as much of a break from sound as possible, it takes more to ramp them up. Stress and noise both send them through the roof. The effect on my concentration, humor, work, even ability to daydream, is severe. Music is mostly out of the question, and like many others here, that was my love (and hopefully will be again). Stuff that needs to get done gets done because I plow through it joylessly, such as the move into the new apartment. Sometimes the ringing has mercy, but hoping for those moments is not living.

      I've spent hours and hours on this site searching for clues about what to expect, and how to at least not make it worse. I definitely don't think my job is helping (loud, stressful, busy supermarket), but I don't know how long of a leave I could take without getting into financial trouble. I get scared, when I'm there, that I'm hurting myself more. Maybe a few weeks, but I doubt anything would change noticeably for the better in such a short time. The new apartment is not that much better than the original one, noise-wise, so I'm plugging up a lot and using the NC headphones without music. A night doesn't go by that I don't have dark thoughts, but I've started working on deep breathing and seeing if I can get more "sleepy" feeling again. I have to remind myself that a lot of people are suffering through a pandemic, I don't have to keep this apartment or job forever, and if I can learn to manage, there may be some hope in the future with regenerative treatments like FX-322. (I know they've had clinical trials near where my parents live, which is frustrating in a "so close yet so far away" kind of way.)

      So anyway, I'm at about 2 1/2 months. Seriously, if I can get back to hearing music I love without being frustrated by it, I will be the happiest person in the world, I will never again judge other people for their taste in music, and I will shower praise on everyone in my life who has listened to me going on and on about how horrible this is.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Syb
      Pensive

      Syb Member

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990, 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss & possibly a neck / C spine issue?
      ...Okay I just read through this post real quick and the fact that we both started to experience tinnitus after buying these Sony headphones — on top of all the other similarities — really disturbs me. What the hell?

      Do you think there's any chance that the clamping of the headphones on our heads / ears / neck could be the issue rather than the actual headphones & ANC? This is what I was initially suspecting after my audiologist told me that the ANC couldn't be the cause, but. Reading your post, I'm once again having doubts. I mean, we have the same headphones — the XM3 or XM4, right? It's just so freaking weird.

      I mean. On the other hand, in my case, a lot of things point towards my neck or spine being the issue but... I'd be lying if I said that the doubt that the headphones are somehow the culprit has completely left my mind.

      Do you still use them? With ANC?

      I was too scared / paranoid ever since this whole thing started so I put them on a shelf for weeks... but, weird coincidence, I decided to use them tonight (without ANC, still not comfortable with that possibility) — because what the heck, I've used earbuds recently and it didn't spike me or made things worse. And, headphones are headphones, right...?

      Edit: Ugh, this...
      ...is exactly how it started for me too. I'm so weirded out by the similarities! Damn.
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Keith Handy
      Worried

      Keith Handy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + sleep deprivation + noise
      XM4, yes. I had that same period of suspecting them and putting them aside for weeks, another part of why your story seemed familiar. But I don't want to be superstitious, if we can't come up with a genuine scientific reason why these phones could be a problem. I know the literature said something about an algorithm to make your low-bitrate mp3s sound more natural (ha!), but it was vague as to whether that had to be activated by the owner. I wasn't able to pair the phones with the app on my ancient Android so I didn't get to experiment with EQ, but I found them very bottom-heavy by default, and maybe my brain was constantly listening too hard for the highs. I don't know. My best guess is I had an infection or stress overload. Millions of people use headphones.
       
    4. Syb
      Pensive

      Syb Member

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990, 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss & possibly a neck / C spine issue?
      That's what I've been trying to tell myself for weeks now. Heck, my sister uses the XM4s on a daily basis and has no issues whatsoever.

      I guess I might be trying a little too hard to find a definitive cause for my tinnitus by comparing similarities between my case and other people's.

      Sorry if I seem superstitious — I'm usually not a superstitious person, but sometimes I get so... desperate to understand my situation and find a solution that I just don't know what to believe anymore. It's kinda sad haha.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Keith Handy
      Worried

      Keith Handy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + sleep deprivation + noise
      Don't take it as me accusing anyone of superstition so much as me trying to overcome my own tendency... we have so little real info and it's too easy to become afraid of everything as a result. I've analyzed my situation to death. It just got too crazy and weird for acoustic trauma to explain the whole thing, in my opinion. And I need to know that in order to know how to live from day to day... not that I know it 100%, but trying to approach knowing so I can make the best guess as to whether or not it's safe to be around normal levels of sound, and/or to use masking sounds that help me cope.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Keith Handy
      Worried

      Keith Handy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + sleep deprivation + noise
      Well, I'm just about at the five month mark. Only one month 'til I'm "chronic," hooray! I should just note any changes... at this point, most of the troubling sound is high pitched hissing and squealing. I guess I could be glad that a lot of the other stuff has subsided, but the high pitched stuff has been the most torturous part this whole time. Anyway I've had some days, periods, and moments where the hissing recedes a bit, or sounds like it's breaking up or getting "swirly," so I hope that's a good sign. But all of this is so erratic, and I still have times when I just want to reach into my head and kill it.

      I am long-term optimistic, short-term pessimistic.

      To five months. *clink*
       
    7. Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      Right there with you. Hit my five months a couple of weeks ago. From what I’ve read people still improve materially after the 6 month mark. Some people take a couple of years to recover. Best of luck brother.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
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