My Story: Tinnitus Probably Caused by Either Loud Music, Ibuprofen, COVID-19 or a Bad Fall

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by koffee_monster, Mar 16, 2022.

    1. koffee_monster
      Sleepy

      koffee_monster Member

      Location:
      West Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure or Ototoxicity
      Hi!

      I have been reading this forum for a couple of weeks now but was hesitant about writing an introduction. I have now decided to do so, just for the sake of other people who may be looking for someone to relate to.

      A few weeks ago, I had a pretty rough few days. I was on a trip and went to two loud "bar events" (without hearing protection - facepalm - hindsight is 20/20). On the same trip, I caught COVID-19 and got pretty sick because of it. Blocked nose, headache, pain in my throat and difficulty inhaling deeply. I never noticed any tinnitus or weird sounds on the trip itself - but I am unsure whether it was not present, or I just didn't notice it because my focus was set on my other symptoms at the time.

      On that same trip, I took a really bad fall. It hurt quite a bit and I had to take Ibuprofen (Advil for American folks) for a couple of days - probably about 7 pills of 400 mg over the course of 4 days - never more than 3 pills on a single day.

      I am unable to pinpoint the cause of my tinnitus, but my best bet is that it was one of those four things (or a combination): Loud Music, Ibuprofen, Covid-19 or the fall (I don't think that's probable but who knows).

      On the second day after the trip, I visited the hospital in my hometown to get things checked out - My body was still pretty sore and I had difficulty with some actions like putting on my jacket or climbing the stairs. (Happy to report that, as I'm writing this, I don't have any pain from the fall anymore).

      When I came home I noticed that my head was pretty "busy". I had barely slept in days.

      When I started focussing on that feeling I realized that I had a very low-frequency hum in my ears. The best way to describe it would be a truck parked down the street, and barely being able to hear it through the walls of your house. It is not an exact description, but it's close enough. It is tricky to explain, the way the sound "felt" was unrealistic. It did not sound like all other sounds sounded, almost as if I imagined it.

      I went mad for two days. Full panic. I couldn't focus on my school work, was very exhausted and fatigued from my (post) COVID-19 infection and was unable to sit at the table with my family (due to the COVID-19 quarantine period). This dreadful feeling of permanent fatigue would go on for about a week and a half. During the day, I started to put on earmuffs to check if the sound came from an external source, or if it came from my imagination. I kept "hearing" it. Even when studying, watching videos, calling with my girlfriend, wearing the earmuffs - it overruled everything as if someone parked a truck down the street and kept it running 24/7.

      During that period I also noticed a very high-pitched sound. The high-pitched sound was less intrusive, I almost couldn't notice it because the loud truck engine like sound overruled it.

      It took about two weeks for the deep truck engine sound to disappear. It is gone now, I can look for it in a silent place and it is not there, at all. Only when I'm lying in my bed, and it is very quiet, I sometimes think I hear it - but whenever I try to concentrate on it, it seems to slip away. It's almost as if I am imagining that sound.

      The high-pitched sound was (and still is) there, now a little bit more intrusive, and I started to worry about it more and more. It sounded like an old CRT-TV that was powered on. It felt this high-pitch electrical component frequency sound that cut through almost everything. Using a mobile phone app I estimate it is between 12,500 Hz and 13,000 Hz at 20 dB. Mobile phones are not medical equipment however so that's a rough estimate.

      It is difficult to describe, the sound is everywhere but it is not "loud", it just seems to be "more noticeable" than all other sounds if that makes any sense. On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is complete silence and 10 is absolute sound torture hell, I would put my pitch on a 2/10 or a 3.5/10 if I'm tired or focused on it.

      The sound also has a weird property: it seems to "float" on top of other sounds between a certain intensity range. If I'm in a completely silent room, the tinnitus is not that intrusive. It's there but that's it, it doesn't bother me or fluctuate. If I'm in a moderately noisy environment, like a busy library or a nature park, it seems to compete with the ambient sound. It is not extremely intrusive but it is intrusive enough to be noticeable over all other sounds and often quite annoying. It does not always do this; probably about 2/5ths of my day.

      It feels like it originates from within my head. If you'd ask me to indicate where the sound source is located, I'd say right out of the centre of my brain, emitting outwards. I'd almost say it isn't a physical sound. Very hard to explain but I'm sure most of you understand what I experience.

      I feel extremely lucky to have found this forum. This is a magnificent resource of knowledge, support and encouragement. Thank you @Hazel and @Markku, all other members of the staff and everyone who donated or actively takes part in this community. I am currently not able to donate. I will try my best to have a positive impact on this community.

      If it wasn't for this forum I would've kept using headphones and would probably have made things worse by playing music to distract me from my tinnitus. I have now been "headphone free" for 5 weeks and I intend to keep that streak up.

      I have also avoided using white noise to fall asleep, and the one time I did, I set a timer for the noise app to stop after an hour - also thanks to the advice on this forum. Otherwise, I would probably have had it playing for the entire night.

      I am trying to live my life as I did before I had this sound in my head, and I'm confident I can adapt to this hurdle. I do wear earplugs at the train station and on public transport now. I don't want it to get any worse, I want to give my ears the time and space to adapt and recover whatever there is to recover.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Pistolpete

      Pistolpete Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      stress/anxiety/depression
      I know exactly what you mean. I think it is the fact that the sound isn't that loud which makes it more easy to cope with in quiet surroundings. But since it is so high-pitched, it's very easy to notice it in environments with other various ambient (and even loud) sounds. This has been causing me a lot of distress and anxiety. I can notice it easily outside, driving my car, listening to TV, going to the supermarket etc. Not because it's extremely loud but simply because it's so high-pitch I can notice it over almost any ambient sound. Luckily it yet hasn't invaded my privacy when taking a shower.

      By the way, I refuse to protect my ears against 'normal' sound levels, as I have understood this could lead to problems with hyperacusis which luckily hasn't hit me yet. But that's my personal take.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      koffee_monster
      Sleepy

      koffee_monster Member

      Location:
      West Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure or Ototoxicity
      It's always nice to know people relate to what you experience. Thank you. I also refuse to protect my ears against 'normal' sound levels. But on the platform, I have had it happen more than once that a train passing the station honks, and I have always found it almost uncomfortably loud on the platform when trains pass the station.

      I never thought about protecting my ears against these sounds in the past as the trains passing often only lasts a few seconds, but with this new thing in my head, I'd rather not take the risk of someone honking me into tinnitus hell.

      On the bike, in the supermarket, while walking on the sidewalk or eating in my schools (busy) canteen I do not plug my ears. I recognize the importance of exposing my ears to reasonable levels of noise to not build up a sensitivity for sound.

      It's just that the honk of a train or the shrieking of the metal brakes can be so intense, sudden and sometimes long-lasting. These sounds have always bothered me somewhat but now I have decided I don't need to expose myself to them if I don't want to. It's only two times a week I plug my ears: waiting on the platform to travel to my dorm, and waiting on the platform to travel home.

      Thank you for bringing it up, I realise ignorance is dangerous and informing one another about dangers or experiences we've had in the past is a key to helping each other through this.

      It feels like a natural thing to protect your ears extensively once they ring but it may make you more sensitive to sound which doesn't improve the situation at hand.
       
    4. Pistolpete

      Pistolpete Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      stress/anxiety/depression
      Very glad to hear you are still living a normal life!
       
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