One Month In, and Here I Am

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by NancyL, Aug 19, 2015.

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    1. NancyL
      Fine

      NancyL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oakland CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/19/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Workplace noise
      Hello folks,

      One month ago, a piercing, loud and steady high-pitched sound occurred for about 90 minutes in our offices (like a sonic drill but no on/off pattern). Two days later, a new but not too-loud high-pitched tone appeared. Three days later, I woke up from a dead sleep with that latter frequency in my head. It's sometimes louder or softer, and on a few days my head has been noise-free. The building management doesn't have any idea what the loud sound in the office was and, being older people who used guns as youths, cannot hear the quieter sound at all. There are many other people who hear it, but only a few for whom it's a painful thing. We are all wearing noise-cancelling headsets or working in closed offices as a result.

      I have pressed them to inquire on other floors (I'm on the 6th floor of a 7-story building) what new equipment was installed on that original date, but they are reluctant and keep thinking it is a noise originating in our area. The good news is that they have an acoustic engineer coming in 2 days to analyze the noise, so perhaps I can at least get confirmation of my tinnitus frequency from him or her. My first hope is that they can identify and muffle that noise at the source so I can again work in the office. I've been working from home mostly in the past month because working in an environment with an external noise identical to my T frequency makes me a little nauseous and a lot grumpy.

      Workers comp medical folks have not yet given me a referral for an audiology appointment. My own doc has, and my appointment is next week.

      My fear is that the tinnitus will remain. My work requires focus, concentration and persistence - all of which are a struggle when the sound is steady in my head. I'm encouraged (and dismayed) to read that many people learn to dampen the interruption value of their T. I have subscribed to AudioNotch and am listening for at least an hour daily in the hopes of reducing the volume or eliminating it altogether.

      Any advice for hunting down the workplace noise or suggestions for the audiology appointment would be very welcome.
       
    2. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, @NancyL,

      I think workplace noise should be of serious concern to all employers. I found an interesting article about workplace noise, and steps that can be taken to protect workers' hearing: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/noise-workplace.shtml

      In this article, it mentions reporting the noise to your employer. If no one will do anything, I think it would be worthwhile to report it to OSHA (see article for phone number). It's important not to risk any further damage to anyone's hearing.

      In the meantime, you'd be wise to use masking devices, ear plugs or ear muffs, an under-the-desk fan, and/or anything that would help you mask the noise. Also, you might try taking NAC (N-Acetylcistene). It's a supplement, an enzyme, that is supposed to protect the ears from any further damage.

      I'll be interested to hear other people's suggestions about this issue.
       
    3. Mad maggot
      Breezy

      Mad maggot Member

      Location:
      New zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Wow that's so strange! And I cannot believe that they didn't act sooner as it is affecting people. Since it's only been a month your T could very likely go away. I hope so!
      Let's us know what happens and if they find the source of the noise!
       
    4. NancyL
      Fine

      NancyL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oakland CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/19/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Workplace noise
      Hi Karen,
      I certainly reported it - and my employer has been aggressively following up with the building management to find out the source. The worker's comp claim was at my employer's request, too. They are being incredibly supportive. I'm working from home until we find out the source and can muffle the sound, and they are fine with that. Again - it's only really affecting me and one other person, as it's a much quieter sound than the initial awful one.

      On a happy note, my T is very quiet today. I'm holding out hope for healing too, Mad Maggot.

      Thanks!
       
      • Like Like x 2
    5. NancyL
      Fine

      NancyL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oakland CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/19/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Workplace noise
      OK, now I need to go develop a better understanding of acoustic engineering I guess...

      The acoustic guy was here with his gear and discovered a "screamingly hot" source of sound in our motion detectors, which "watch" everyone and keep the lights on if they move. That sound is close to 20,000 hz.

      I can't hear that frequency at ANY volume.

      It happens that there is a building power-down and power-up planned for Saturday, so I intend to be here before they shut the power off to listen for the sound, then listen for its absence. I'm not sure I can hear its absence if my own T is loud, though. One other person with acute high frequency hearing will be here too for detection (and self-interest, because she can't stand the sound either.)

      Is it possible that a noise starting at nearly 20,000 hz can be audible at a lower frequency after bouncing around for a while? If so it makes sense, I guess. I'll know more - maybe - after Saturday.

      And we still don't know why these motion sensors are only NOW making noise when they have been in our space for many years. Maybe something new went into the electrical circuit that is changing the load, and THAT causes these things to resonate, or whatever.

      Today my t was almost silent till I got to work. I swear I was without noise-cancelling headphones for only a few minutes, but it was enough to trigger Mr T, which is now as loud as it's ever been. I am messing around with a different frequency in AudioNotch though, because I do think it is higher than I thought.

      thanks for your interest, all!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, Nancy,

      This is very interesting to me, as the office where I used to work had motion sensors, too. However, I wasn't aware that they caused any sort of sound.

      I'll be interested to hear more about what could have caused the change in sound, or frequency, to cause this noise.

      Thanks for the update!
       

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