Newbie Questions, Don't Know Whether to Trust Audiologist

Discussion in 'Support' started by Layla, May 20, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I posted several days ago about my occasional T -- it seems to be non-stop now. I went to a doctor and got referred for a hearing test and was told my hearing was fine except for a noticeable dip that was still in the normal range. Though they didn't test me at the higher frequencies so I'm wondering if I should be worried about that.

      They didn't conclude with any certainty what caused it for me, but noise-induced seems to be the best guess. I'd bought tickets to see a favorite band before any of this started; the audiologist said it would be fine if I protect my ears but I'm having a hard time trusting that.

      I'm struggling to understand whether my T would be considered "reactive," as I'm trying to ignore it throughout the day so may not notice if it's worse around noise. It definitely sings around electricity, or when the washer or dryer is running it affects me a little almost from the other side of the house; and sometimes it seems to go from a steady whirr to kind of irregular in volume, seemingly synchronized to what I'm listening to, but then again I'm not sure if that's just what it sounds like when the noise is only partly masked.

      I've had a roller coaster of mixed results with white noise or nature sounds. It seemed to help me sleep at first and then a couple nights ago I had the first state of real panic about whether I would ever be able to sleep; it felt like the noise only emphasized or set off the T, which gets much worse at night even if it's quiet when I first get into bed. Finally I got good results by going through a bunch of sounds till I found one that didn't seem to just sound like the T going louder and put my ipad under my pillow. That worked well enough for me to feel less stressed about it yesterday, only to go to bed that night and struggle all over again with every sound I have, trying to define if it was really causing higher T or just emphasizing it by hitting the same frequency/pitch or something. I stayed up reading until I could barely keep my eyes open and only then did it help to set the sound under my pillow again, at a volume about equal to or less than the T.

      When I've been listening quietly to music in my car I don't notice anything, but spoken word recordings have had that same effect a couple times, though it doesn't cause me the same anxiety during the day so I don't pay close attention to it.

      I'm trying not to spend too much time on here being anxious but I was wondering if anyone could help me to figure out how vulnerable my hearing is and whether I should be cautious about loud noise or avoid it as much as possible. The experts say to not stop living your life and wear ear protection, but I wonder if it's more crucial to be easy on my ears for the preliminary period at least and haven't found anything specifically on that. The audiologist didn't advise against reasonable headphone use, just said that they shouldn't cover surrounding noise or be used for too long, but I've been too reluctant. I've been agonizing over whether to go to this concert with earplugs, and I know nobody's going to tell me it's not a risk at all, it's up to me whether to take it, but I just have no certainty about whether it's a higher risk now than it might be a while from now.

      As for the white noise, I always used it before because my partner snores heavily enough to bother me from the next room, so if it really is agitating my T I feel like I can't do with or without it right now :/

      And should I get my higher frequencies checked some time? I can upload what the test looked like, if anyone can tell me anything about it.
       

      Attached Files:

    2. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I guess this thread isn't as interesting as the others? Any input would be nice. I've searched for answers to my specific questions on this site and elsewhere without much luck.

      The shorter version:

      1) Is it more crucial to avoid noise in the early days of T than later on, if I probably have noise- or stress-induced T?

      2) What does it mean if I have trouble masking the sound? How can you tell if your T is reactive vs. easier to hear with other sounds?

      3) Can anyone tell me anything about my audiogram and whether I should try to get a hearing check on higher frequencies?
       
    3. Hopeful1
      Depressed

      Hopeful1 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      I got tinnitus even after waering earplugs.....so i would say no....why risk permanent just for one day....mine is reactive as well it spikes when i hear high frequencies....i think mone is a combination of noise induced when iam stressed.
       
    4. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I may have come up with a compromise...I've been to the venue before and I remember them having a bar in a different room attached to the main concert area...maybe listening from there would be better, if the crowd isn't too bad. Either way, my sister and I are supposed to go and if I have to leave and come back to pick her up, she won't complain.

      I really wonder if the cause could be a combination of factors in my case, since this T began after one of the most stressful months of my life, but it isn't going away when I'm a lot calmer. Though "calm" has been a relative term for me for a while now...
       
    5. Consensus around here is that avoiding noise is beneficial though this needs to be balanced against living your life. At a minimum, I would use the best foam earplugs you can get. If it is going to be loud you can use "ear muffs" over the ear plugs.
      Sounds like there is some reactivity. If your ipad under your pillow helped, you can get get pillow speakers.
      Your hearing is exactly as you describe it is "fine" with a dip at 2k that is still within the "normal" range. The dip is kind of interesting. Do you have a history of noise exposure?

      It's up to you whether you get your hearing tested at higher frequencies. It may not be easy to find someone to do it, and there really isn't anything to do with the information. If you can find someone to do it and are curious, then go for it. Unfortunately, it isn't like other conditions where they can do one treatment if you have hearing loss or a different treatment if there isn't.
       
    6. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've regularly listened to music on headphones and in the car a lot, at lower levels in recent years but maybe averaging at the 70% volume range, not super loud but not too safe either. And I've always gone to loud shows if not very often, and didn't really go for the loudest areas in the venue.

      The hearing test I mainly wonder about because of the basis of comparison, like if I was to have damage in that range and got tested again years from now, they wouldn't know what to compare it to. There was a definite noticeable point in the test when my T seemed to be blocking what I was supposed to hear and I can only guess that accounts for that dip.
       
    7. Having a baseline would be a good reason. (in my opinion)
      Regarding the hearing test, they can slightly adjust the tone a bit to make it easier to hear with tinnitus. I forget the technical term for this.
       
    8. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      That's interesting about the adjustment... I wonder how unreliable the test is then.

      I forgot to mention another possible cause is the amount of OTC painkillers I was taking recently; it had never been a side effect before but I was taking them a little more often than usual. They say the effect would go away when the drugs are out of your system but I don't know if that's true.
       
    9. GregCA
      Crappy

      GregCA Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Did you get checked for otosclerosis? The audiogram seems to show a faint Carhart Notch.
       
    10. Layla

      Layla Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for making me aware of this. I wasn't really walked through the diagnostics...The tympanogram showed nothing unusual, and my MD checked my ears and throat. Not sure if that would have ruled it out?

      One site said that otosclerosis would typically show worsening hearing loss between the ages of 10 and 30. I'm 29 and this is the first time my hearing's been thoroughly tested, or seemed to need it.
       
    11. GregCA
      Crappy

      GregCA Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Checking ears and throat would not allow him/her to rule out otosclerosis.

      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otosclerosis
       

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