My Story : Noise Induced Tinnitus, Treating with Hyperbaric Chamber

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by izis, May 4, 2013.

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    1. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      Hello.

      I've been meaning to share my story and maybe help other people to get through similar troubles, but never sat down and started writing. Partly because I wanted to wait until it gets better/worse. It now looks like this is the final state of my tinnitus and will remain permanent as it is.

      I am 23 year old, healthy & athletic, music lover. My struggle started after attending a party in the end of the summer 2012. As I engage in lots of time consuming activities I never went out often, but attended at least 2-3 large rave parties each year. That being said, I used to listen to a lot of music at home, mostly on my speakers at moderate levels or on my mp3 player (with ear buds) at high levels of volume, but never for long periods of time.

      Not knowing what it was at the time, I experienced tinnitus in the past already. In the morning, after each and every big clubbing experience (there's been about 15 of them in 5 year's time) I always had ringing in my the ears and was, as I described it at the time, a little deaf too (sounds seemed muffled, felt like I have cotton in my ears - I now know this is called Temporary Threshold Shift). All this passed in a couple of hours, or at least after a good sleep, so I never gave a second thought to it and enjoyed my normal silent life. I thought my ears are "only tired" from all the loud music. The way I saw it, every fellow clubber was having the same issues and it was a normal thing. While it's probably true, that most of people had similar experience in the morning, it's far from normal and very alarming. I realized that ears don't get tired, only damaged, too late.

      On a party 1 month before that final event caused permanent damage, I noticed that I have trouble hearing people speaking to me in a club. All my other friends could converse but I couldn't understand what they were saying. Also in the morning, after several hours of dancing in a 120 dB environment, I couldn't really understand the lyrics of the track that was playing and only heard the music. I now know that all this is a sign of noise induced hearing loss and am pretty sure I had it to a small degree even before the final night out caused tinnitus.

      Things were going fine at that final night out. I had a great time and as party was coming to an end at 7 AM, somehow ended in the DJ booth. I only stayed there for a couple of minutes. I remember standing close to this speaker and feeling the noise shaking my body. When I came out of the booth damage was surely already done, as I remember not understanding what the DJ was saying on the mic after music stopped, but I didn't notice it until I walked out of the club, where I saw I'm almost deaf on my left ear and have terrible ringing in my both ears. I felt this was a lot worse than at any other times before and was quite worried for some minutes but thought it will disappear as it always had until now. I tried to have a good time at the afterparty (with no music playing) which lasted all next day, but felt worried. When I sat in the silent car to drive home I realized I'm in trouble. The constant ringing was extremely loud and I couldn't hear anything on my left side. When I got home I immediately checked the internet, learned about what just happened to me. The nightmare started. Still, being only 12 hours from the damaging event, I felt positive it will go away after a good night of sleep. After a sleepless night it wasn't better at all, my left ear was still completely shot, so I panicked and visited the only doctor that was working on Sunday, hoping for a magic pill or injection. He knew little to nothing about it and sent me home saying I should rest in silence. I got home and read all about acoustic trauma, noise induced hearing loss & tinnitus and learned there is really no cure for it and it can only disappear on it's own if the damage is not too big. After another night with no sleep I visited my own doctor the next day and was worried sick. He said we should wait a few days but I was back at the office immediately the day after, demanding he should send me to the Ear specialist in the hospital (ENT). I told my ENT about the terrible ringing and being almost deaf on my left ear, so he sent me for a hearing test which revealed normal hearing on right side and a 50 dB dip at 4000HZ in my left ear. When I explained to ENT what happened he said I'm in a lot of trouble and can only hope it will get better. He gave me some methylprenisolone pills (no betaserc-like drugs at all!?) and told me to stay in silence and rest my ears.

      It didn't get better. Five days in I really started losing it. I never fell in such a dark place and just writing about it makes me relive all those horrifying moments all over again. My life seemed finished. I didn't sleep & eat for a week, cried or was at the edge of crying all the time and lost 5kg's in an instant. I felt like it's not happening for real and will wake up from this nightmare soon. It wasn't getting at least a bit better. I had my earplugs in all the time. My hearing was extremely sensitive to everyday sounds (keys, car brakes, pots in the kitchen,..) I was spending all my time on the internet and soon learned more about the topic that any doctor I talked to ever did. I discovered that only things that can help are: it can disappear in time if your lucky, you can take some pills and steroid shots (my ENT laughed at this idea) or visit a hyperbaric chamber with 100% oxygen (doctor laughed at this saying I'm not a scuba diver). I read all about it and discovered there's little to no chance it will help, but can have a positive effect if you act early. Without informing any of the doctors about my plans (as I'm sure they never heard of it being helpful with hearing damage) I found the only chamber in our country and made all the arrangements. They told me there's a small chance it will work but that it is worth trying. I was willing to take the risk of spending 10x100eur=1000eur for nothing as I was beginning to seriously doubt my ability of leading a life with this terrible noise in my ears. I couldn't do anything, my life was put on hold. On the 10th day after the "accident" I started the therapy and did 10 x 90min sessions. First 3 sessions had no effect but some hours after the fourth one, while sitting on my bed the terribly loud constant ring suddenly changed into a quieter hiss and then even disappeared for a moment. Finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I could sleep again. The hissing sound was much more pleasant and quieter than the ringing before. I was positive it will get better and better after this but it never did. I didn't notice any further improvement after remaining 6 sessions, but was still over the moon with the improvement and very happy. If someone offered this kind of improvement before starting the therapy I would've taken it without a second thought.

      I returned home, it was 3 weeks since the "accident". My hearing on the left side was, as far as I could tell back to normal and my ear didn't feel shot anymore. I was left with a constant hiss of moderate volume. I lived in complete silence and stayed away from all loud noises and wore earplugs whenever I left my home. I slowly started putting myself together again and kept wearing earplug in my left ear 24/7 for the next 3 months to try and give my ear a rest. I still had bad days and sometimes the hiss was accompanied with a high pitched ring, but was trying to get on with my life. As things didn't seem to resolve on their own 4 months after the party, I decided to visit one of the top ENT specialists in my country. He told me I still have a chance of my tinnitus lowering in intensity & volume, but recommended focusing on habituation instead of waiting what will happen. I removed the earplug from my ear and started getting used to environmental sounds again. He recommended acupuncture and I did 10 sessions of that too (400eur). Although it was really interesting and I felt great after each session, it to be honest, didn't affect my tinnitus. I followed his instructions and started listening to recordings of nature to try and occupy my mind and shift my attention to it. I soon got bored with it so I did something else instead: started listening to my favorite music. After almost half a year of little to no sound exposure I re-connected my speakers and started watching movies and listening to music at a low-moderate volume.

      It's now 8 months since the party and the past month was the best one so far. There's all this natural sounds around in the spring time and my window is open all the time and I spend more time outdoors. Sometimes this strange thing happens and I forget about my tinnitus.. for some seconds, for 5, 10 maybe 15 minutes. When I start focusing on it again, it feels like it just started then, but it didn't - it was with me the whole time, I just didn't care for it. I think that's the whole beautiful trick about habituating and I hope it will happen more and more. On other times I hear it constantly but it simply doesn't bother me as it used to. It still gets me down occasionally, but hey - there are worse things that can happen to a person. I just think about it differently, I know ok, the hiss is there.. so what? Sleeping difficulty isn't an issue very often as the noise is constant and not pulsatile. I even have the courage now to visit a bar or some bit louder events, like sport events (still nothing even close to a night club), but I protect my ears with earplugs when I get there.

      All in all, I think my T gets better when I'm well rested and happy and worse when I stress out about it. I know everyone's saying that but it's kinda true. On the other hand it has absolutely no schedule and is sometimes almost gone when I get back home tired after a sleepless night with my friends. I feel like it get's better in the summer and worse in the winter too? Who knows. I'm just happy it didn't stay the way it was at the beginning and grateful for the opportunity to start again.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    2. oatsey

      oatsey Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2011
      I'm in a similar situation, I'm only a little bit younger, and I'm happy(if I can say that) to have learned my lesson before it's too late. On the bright side, we might be young enough to live to see the day when they've come up with something along the lines of a cure.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      That's true.

      What I'm really afraid is that they don't find the cure before I get older and my tinnitus will progressively worsen with ageing.
       
    4. t-man
      Suicidal

      t-man Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Tinnitus can get better or worse with age; it all depends on how your brain plasticizes with the lower output from the ear.

      The best advice I can give you is to not worry about it. Emotion has a big part in how your brain re-wires it's self.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      Thanks man for the advice.

      What do you think about going to clubs again (with earplugs, Elacin ER-25)? I haven't been around sounds louder than city traffic in 8 months since it happened and I don't know if it's a smart idea to get close to 110dB+ noise ever again.
       
    6. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing

      ER-25s are great. Clubs can be, unsurprisingly, loud, but the reduction offered by the plugs is a good amount and I myself would go. It's best to avoid standing next to a huge speaker, and use common sense, but with the plugs you should be OK.

      Some info re: decibels: http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-About-dB/

      Night club with band playing: 110 dB. Remove 25 dB and that's 85 dB left.


      Markku
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. t-man
      Suicidal

      t-man Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      If you're going to a club that's pushing 110 dB, I'd suggest wearing foam rubber plugs that block up to 32dB. You can buy them at any hardware store.
       
    8. Lord of the Ring
      Cheeky

      Lord of the Ring Member

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      The best piece of advise I ever got: stay away from clubs like that.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      Thank you everyone!

      Lord of the Ring, I agree with you, it would be best to stay away.
      But how do, for example, professional musicians WITH tinnitus, still keep on performing in loud places?
      Is it their ears are less sensitive because they got it gradually through years and years of noise and not in a one single loud event like me?
       
    10. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Nine Inch Nails - Still - The Becoming


      I would assume that it bothers them very much. Trent Reznor has mentioned his tinnitus in several songs. So has Led Zeppelin. Neil Young recorded Harvest Moon using only acoustic guitar because he was so concerned about the loud sounds. Phil Collins has stopped touring and playing live shows because of it. I'm assuming the same can be said about Pete Townsend from The Who.

      Lars Ullric from Metallica has tinnitus, but he keeps playing concerts regularly. Metallica shows are incredibly loud, with explosions on stage and everything. How his musician's ear plugs are enough to not make his terrible, I'm not too sure. Everyone is different though.

      I knew an old guy once who was deaf from shooting guns. In fact, he was the hunter's education teacher. At the end of hunter's ed, there is a day where you're supposed to go to the range and do some target practice. He thought that people shouldn't wear ear plugs because they need to toughen up! I couldn't believe it.
       
    11. Deep
      Balanced

      Deep Member

      Sure go back to clubs, I just stay away from the events I know have ridiculously huge systems, and If I do go I stay inside for 30 or less minute chunks at a time and stay away from speakers or stand kind of behind them depending on the positioning. I use the ER-15s they seem to work great.
       
    12. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      Thanks everyone for your opinions.
      I also discovered that marijuana makes my tinnitus less intense :)
       
      • Like Like x 3
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      Weed seems to make it worse for me . Although its somehow easier for me to forget it for a while.
      I personally think that the negative aspects of smoking weed outweigh the positives...so I leave it alone.;)
       
    14. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      what do you think about mdma for example, would it aggravate tinnitus?
       
    15. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      OK so I attended a party at a pretty loud club.. Only stayed outside in the smoking area for the biggest part of the night and only went through the club when I needed to go to the WC.. I then moved in and stayed on the dancefloor for the last hour.. I used normal foam earplugs as I think they cut out the most of the noise (-32dB), I was sure my T will be terrible when I will get out because I could hear it... It turned out my T is normal (if not better) and I could only hear tinnitus because of the earplugs.. I was never so close to the speakers since my injury last year and am happy to see I can still go out.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    16. Tiko

      Tiko Guest

      hello
      i have had tinnitus for the past 7 months. My ENT specialist said that i have it because of the sinusitis. It wasn't so bad, until last night when i went to the disco. When i came back to my home the sound was unbearable, i thought a good nap will solve the problems, but i was wrong. The sound was following me all day, also my hearing is reduced, i hear like i am in a cave. I am afraid if i am going to be deaf . Please someone help.

      Thank you
       
    17. izis

      izis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2012
      you won't go deaf, you just abused your hearing and probably caused some noise induced trauma. get you ass in the hyperbaric chamber ass soon as possible, that's the only advice I can give you.
       
    18. Medic84

      Medic84 Member

      Location:
      Davenport, Iowa
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      I registered here specifically to leave my comment on this page. I'm an aging Medic from two tours to Iraq. Gun fire with and without ear plugs has damaged my ears. Also, I was subjected to living in tents and thin housing for long durations in which generators were on and above the Army standards! Between the loud pops constant noise pollution and perhaps my ear phones, while watching movies or gaming, it got worse. But after leaving the military I began smoking pot. For the most part this was dank and considered medical grade. Unknowingly over time my ringing in both ears decreased.
      After finishing my Biology degree, I've quit for a duration of 1 months to help find a job. Now it is getting worse, persistently worse. I'm now more sensitive to loud noises, and it appears louder each day I wake up. My point is marijuana makes tinnitus symptoms fade. Be it an anti-inflammatory process, be it stress reduction, or nerve inhibition POT MADE IT BETTER. NSAIDS make it worse. Coffee makes it worse. And I'm still addicted to cigarettes, worse. My guess is after 2-3 times a day for 2 weeks any person with mild to moderate tinnitus WILL see improvement. Pot is less toxic than any NSAID on the market. Has stress relief that will aid in healing, and has even been seen to improve lung function, regardless of being slightly a carcinogen. So, my recommendation is the two week trial suggested, up to a month, or once a day, 1-3 hours before bed. If you have never smoked, know that is less harmful than alcohol, cigarettes, and the NSAIDS (Tylenol, aspirin, and so on...).

      This link current 11/2013, Is Dr. Donald Tashkin's (MD) account of his longitudinal study on pot smoking and it's affects on health. He even relates that as cigarettes constrict the lungs, Marijuana dilates lung passage ways.

      Dr. Donald Tashkin Marijuana Lung Cancer Study...
       
      • Like Like x 3
    19. Lulubug69
      Artistic

      Lulubug69 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2013
      Medic84,
      First I'd like to Thank You for your service.
      I agree and believe in what your presenting here. I think once the stigma of marijuana use is overshadowed by its benefits, many people will/can be helped. There are so many worse things people are using and abusing medicine wise.
       

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