Possible Causes of My Tinnitus: Noise (Hammer Drill, Loud Speaker), Insect Killer, Stress

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Simon85, Jan 27, 2021.

    1. Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      Hi everyone.

      I'm a 35-year-old male and 3 months into tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      Possible causes of my tinnitus in the week before it started:

      - Use of a hammer drill without ear protection about a week before my tinnitus started (most likely cause, I think).

      - I was unfortunately near a load speaker whilst taking a tractor ride on farm tour a few days before developing tinnitus. I have a 3-year-old son who likes to visit the farm. My whole family agreed it was super loud and I was trying to cover my son's ears at the time (while he wriggled).

      - There was a spider on the fence that I sprayed with insect killer. A gust of wind sent a good dose of it into my face. I coughed and cursed under my breath. Really I shouldn't have lingered.

      - Stress. I work long hours in the financial markets. At around this time there were several big projects due and I was also having marriage issues. We were talking about divorce and what that would mean for splitting time with our child. I was not in a good head space and all.

      As some background I've unfortunately not taken good care of my ears: raced in 2 stroke motorsport as a kid, played in rock bands without ear plugs for years, generally didn't wear ear protection for DIY jobs (not that I did much of it anyway).

      I first noticed my tinnitus while sitting at my computer with ear phones on and music playing softly (25/100). There was a stabbing pain in my right ear. I took my headphones off and noticed that there was some light ringing if I blocked my ear: eee... eeeee... eee... When answering phone calls I had to shift my cell phone to my non-dominant hand as I couldn't hear so well out of my right ear. I visited the GP and explained these symptoms. She looked a bit puzzled and said 'could be ETD', told me to monitor it and then sent my on my way.

      Fast forward a couple of weeks and it wasn't getting any better. I was shaken awake in the night by a loud 'DOOOOOOO' right in the middle of my head. I got out of bed and stood in front of the mirror utterly terrified. The sound travelled down my head slowly from the centre towards my right ear. Once it reached my right ear it sounded like a siren went off. I eventually ended up at the ED for tests. They said I have hearing loss and gave me a 10 day course of high dose Prednisone. By this stage my head felt like it was under siege. There were at least a dozen violent sounds roaring in my head along with ear pain. I'd lost count. I was lucky to sleep a couple of hours a night and that got worse with the side effects of Prednisone. Music sounded like one jumbled mess and even soft noises would hurt my ears.

      Fast forward a month and I've seen an ENT who specialises in tinnitus. He tested my hearing again and it appears to be within a normal range. He also sent me for the works in testing: blood tests, MRI of head and ears, MRI with contrast, CT scan. He checked my ears, nose, throat, listened with a stethoscope to see if he could hear any sound. In the end he mentioned that all looks good and to wait until the 3 month mark to see if it gets better. This 3 month mark is coming up and I've got my next appointment with him on February 5th.

      Today the tinnitus and hyperacusis are both much more tolerable. It's reduced in volume from approx. 8/10 to 3/10 and the sounds are not nearly as violent. It still occupies a lot of my thoughts and I'm not used to it by any means. However, I have managed to sleep through the night which is great progress. Before that I was only getting rest with sleeping pills.

      I should also add that I love music and have been playing guitar since I was in my early teens. I currently play guitar, banjo, weissenborn, ukulele... Even though my tests appear to be good, my favourite songs sound off and different. Also, there is a large amount of distortion at times that sounds like someone is blowing on the top of a bottle... wooooooo. Sometimes it overpowers the music altogether. I've invested so much time in my music. I met my first proper girlfriend playing a student bar pub rock gig. I met my wife while practicing guitar in the park. It's my outlet for relaxation. I'd reached the level of mastery where my last guitar teacher, a veteran himself, mentioned that there is nothing more he can teach me. I feel like I've thrown it all away... just for not taking a cautionary moment to protect my ears. I've cried. I've wanted to scream, but it would only hurt my ears. I'm clinging onto some hope that with time my ears may get better. Perhaps I can hear the music again without this awful distortion.

      In the meantime my current strategy is time and silence. I used to play masking sounds, but my tinnitus is reactive: electric and rattling tinnitus sounds climb above constant noises like running water, fans and white noise. I feel like I cope better just sitting in relative silence with my baseline tinnitus. Also, even small masking noises make my ears rattle. After falling asleep with a fan on, for example, I'd spike and wake up with my ears screaming at me. Sleep has been much easier after keeping my bedroom silent. There are some challenges: my toddler loves to make loud noises. I've been wearing industrial scale ear muffs while playing with him or at times where I know he might protest (like at bath time).

      Thanks for reading. I've also found the posts on this forum very helpful. @Bill Bauer I've read your posts in particular and they have been very helpful: many thanks.

      I hope we all find some peace,
      Simon.
       
      • Hug Hug x 4
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      Welcome, Simon!

      Wow, I've got to say reading your post has was fairly difficult at times. It sounds like you've got yourself a particularly bad case, but to hear it's dropped a bit (from a whopping 8/10 to 3/10) is nothing short of a welcome improvement that should, hopefully, lead to further improvements. Still, having reactive tinnitus on top of what sounds like both hyperacusis and dysacusis, I'm amazed you're still up and functioning. Having any one of these symptoms can be truly devastating, and a lot of the worst sufferers here have a combination of two or more.

      It does appear to be the case, based off what you've said and what your specialist ENT has determined, that you are in the noise-induced hearing loss camp. It's just so weird that you can have hidden loss or very small, insignificant (to you) loss that your brain decides is something that needs to be adjusted. Not enough research is going into this field to determine why this is the case, how it can be prevented, and how it can be remedied.

      Regardless of how you may have been a bit too careless with your ears, you still do not deserve to suffer the consequences of this symptom; simply put, nobody does. You made mistakes, and sure you probably could have done better in the past, but that doesn't mean anything now. Don't beat yourself up over it, because that will just add fuel to the fire with regards to the stress and anxiety you have. I know all of this is easier said than done, believe me I can empathize with that perspective, but it's something to keep in mind as you work towards recovery.

      I can understand how, as a musician, a condition like this is all the more painful. Having to give up your passion, or at the very least have it distorted by this symptom, is cruel beyond words. As a father, I'm sure it doesn't help either having your little tyke going about doing what kids do. There are several others parents on this forum that have also been afflicted (@twa comes to mind) that may be able to provide you further advice on how to go about juggling your situation. That being said, you seem to be on the right track using hearing protection when you view it is appropriate.

      I want you to know that this is likely not the endgame for you. If you're interested, the Research News sub-forum is generally a great, uplifting, and optimistic resource for you to learn of new treatments coming through in medicine, either for hearing loss specifically or perhaps even tinnitus and hyperacusis itself. Perhaps the most promising drug so far is that of FX-322 by Frequency Therapeutics, which aims to restore the damage done in your ears by using your own body's support cells to regenerate your cochlear hair cells. Though it's still undergoing trials, and there's nothing for sure yet, the science seems legitimate and the results thus far are promising.

      Your current strategy is likely the best bet for your specific situation. It is truly unfortunate masking does not work in your case, but at the very least your sleep is on the mind. This is often cited as a big step you need to take on the way to bettering your situation. The only certainty that you can expect out of all of this is that time will bring change. As you've mentioned @Bill Bauer, someone that is very researched in how this has afflicted people in this community, he tells you the same thing. It's very hard to process this, and again, this is something I have not yet processed either. I know how impatient you may feel. How uncertain you may feel. It is all valid, and we all understand.

      With all that being said, I certainly wish the best for you and your family going forward. I hope and pray only for recovery your way, and given time, you will hopefully reclaim your life as you once knew it.
       
    3. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      It was both the hammer drill, and the tractor ride. Delayed tinnitus spikes after noise exposure are quite common by up to several days.

      Avoid further noise exposure, and feel better soon!
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @Simon85.

      Noise induced tinnitus usually improves with time and early signs indicate this is the case for you. However, for this to continue there are a few things that I will suggest. Stop using headphones, earbuds and headset even at low volumes.

      The advice your ENT doctor has given you is right and advise you follow it. Noise induced tinnitus with or without hyperacusis can take up to two years to recover. If you follow my suggestions and don't use the devices I mentioned then I'm confident that you will habituate to the tinnitus quite successfully.

      In addition to the above, I recommend that you stop playing the musical instruments for a while at least 2 to 3 months to give your ears a rest. Monitor how you feel after this period and if the hyperacusis has improved, then you could resume playing the instruments using Noise reducing earplugs. Please read my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It, in the link below. This explains how to use noise reducing earplugs correctly as overuse can cause problems.

      If you continue playing the instruments without giving your ears time to settle, you risk making the hyperacusis and tinnitus worse. It is a delicate balancing act and therefore, prudence and patience is required. This cannot be rushed. If I were in your position, I would leave at least 6 to 12 months before using any musical instruments but the choice is yours. I suggest that you never use headphones, earbuds or headset again even after the tinnitus and hyperacusis has improved. Don't use them even at low volumes. Again, this is my advice ultimately the choice is yours whether to follow it.

      Try to avoid quiet rooms and surroundings especially at night by using low level sound enrichment. This doesn't mean masking the tinnitus or covering it up so it can't be heard as this is the wrong thing to do. Keep the sound enrichment slightly below the tinnitus. This will help treat the tinnitus, hyperacusis and assist in habituation. Please click on the links below and read my posts for further information. Take your time and read them without skimming.

      Please go to my started threads and read the following posts and if possible, print them and refer to them often. They will help to reinforce positive thinking. This is one of the most important things to acquire that will enable a person to move forwards with tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a quick fix but a lot can be achieved with time: The Habituation Process, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset. Acquiring a Positive Mindset. Tinnitus, A Personal View.

      All the best
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      @Drachen, @Digital Doc, @Michael Leigh, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I appreciate it.
      I'm really hoping for more improvements. That early period was harrowing.
      I'm working on this. I struggle with it at times.
      Glad that something is in the pipeline there. Fingers crossed that my ears heal and I won't need it.
      Thanks for your kind words. I'm really hoping that, with time, things get better. I think for both of us it's early days. From what I understand it's likely the sounds we're hearing now will be different from what we hear in 12 months. I would love to hear sweet silence again.
      Thanks. I'm currently treating my ears like royalty. It may be too little too late, but time will tell.
      Geez. I wish these ears would get a move on.
      As difficult as that is I think you are likely right there. I've got myself a pair of custom moulded earplugs. In 6 months I'll look to slowly start again by playing some acoustic guitar. I think that banjo and electric guitar are likely to be off the cards for longer. I'm going to be proceeding very cautiously.
      Yeah, I've shelved them. I'll look at getting good external speakers for playing music in the future, but that is still some time off. I'm honestly terrified of my tinnitus going back to its peak.
      Thanks for taking the time to share these. I've read through them. At the moment I feel like I'm heavily protecting my ears... perhaps too much. It's difficult to find a balance. If a sound feels uncomfortable, even if most people would consider it very mild, I'm tending to avoid it.

      Thanks again,
      Simon.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Hug Hug x 1
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Recovery and habituation to noise induced tinnitus cannot be rushed. Patience and adhering to my recommendations are the best way for you to move forwards.
      I would have preferred that you didn't buy custom moulded ear plugs as ordinary noise reducing earplugs would suffice. Whilst there's nothing wrong with custom plugs, there's the danger of overusing them and this will make your auditory system more sensitive to sound, which can result in hindering or completely stopping the habituation process. The same applies to noise reducing plugs, they must not be overused. Please read my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it.
      Try not to over protect your ears because you'll make your symptoms worse long term. Follow my suggestions in my posts.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      Hi guys.

      Sorry for the long post.

      I had my 3-month appointment with the ENT this week.

      Currently I have tinnitus and hyperacusis, but he mentioned only to protect my ears from industrial noise. That I shouldn't protect my ears around the house, going outside, playing instruments, ... no earplugs or earmuffs. Only to protect my ears for things like home DIY.

      This is quite different from the advice I've received online from people with the condition - at least in the early period. He also suggested that I schedule an appointment for a couple of weeks to get TRT in-ear maskers fitted. They cost approx. $3K.

      My instinct is to give my ears a rest given I'm only 3 months in. Also, I've had good progress so far over these 3 months. At the moment I listen to my body and only protect my ears if the situation feels uncomfortable. Shouldn't I just wait another 3 months at least and see where I'm at before forking out $3K for TRT maskers? To be fair, I get not overprotecting - developing a fear of sound would be very unhelpful. I'm just trying to find a balance.

      Unfortunately this has been a point of conflict for my marriage. My wife was at the appointment and heard all of this advice coming straight from the professional. Now we get into arguments whenever I put my earplugs in. My son wanted to play an instrument, I popped my earplugs in and we immediately got into an argument. Protecting my ears will cause me to fear sound and is not good for me. I should listen to the specialist.

      However, I've got a bigger problem than instruments unfortunately. I'm from Australia and we're in the hotter months at the moment. It's rare, but my wife has night terrors and I don't sleep with earplugs in. It's unpleasant for both of us and there have been two incidents of this over the last month. I think she dreams there is an intruder in the house and wakes up screaming and gouging at me (thinking I'm the intruder). In the last incident it drew some blood and I had a long scratch across the top of my head. It's not so much the gouging I'm worried about but more the screaming. My tinnitus spikes, the ear pain is intense and I can't get back to sleep. I thought the first incident was unusual, but since the second instance I've been sleeping on the couch. Thankfully the tinnitus spikes subside in the days following and I go back to where I was before, but I'm truly scared about the impact of this on the ability of my ears to heal. When it comes time to sleep I'd rather sleep on the couch at least in the short term.

      The question was posed to my ENT - Should my husband come back and sleep in the room? The answer was a yes. The screaming is loud, but according to the ENT it shouldn't be for a sufficient duration to cause long term damage. Now this has become a big issue. Basically there's been talk of divorce unless I come back and sleep in the room within 2 weeks. Also, no earplugs as the professional has said I should only wear them for industrial noise. We were going through a rough patch before but this has unfortunately added fuel to that.

      I don't know what to do. At the peak of my tinnitus / hyperacusis I was in a really bad place. I really, truly don't want to go back to that. If you've got any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them.

      Thanks,
      Simon.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    8. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      You've already had good progress. I would wait 3 more months before making such a big financial commitment.
      I would leave such a woman immediately. Total lack of understanding. Lack of empathy. Just my opinion.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I agree with you one hundred percent. If the situation were reversed, you would hear the husband is controlling etc etc you get my drift. I don't like blackmail especially the type that is happening to Simon. I agree in fairness but unfortunately this does not apply to most men during a divorce, particularly when children are involved. The wife holds all the cards because the a law is on her side and Simon's wife and the majority of women know this. I feel sorry for him because tinnitus and hyperacusis can be very debilitating.

      @Simon85 I am deeply sorry to hear of your situation because you are between a rock and a very hard place, and mean that in every sense of the word. Your ENT doctor has some knowledge of tinnitus and hyperacusis, this is not always the case. Most are physicians not tinnitus specialists as this is the area for an Audiology department, and to be under the care of an Audiologist or Hearing Therapist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. Wearing white noise generators alone, is not good enough unless you are going to have regular tinnitus counselling with your Audiologist. Please go to my started threads and read my articles on TRT. You may not need it as you're making progress.

      Your situation is complex and a decision only you can make I'm afraid. Please go to my started threads and read some of the articles, and hope they will be of some help.

      Very sorry to hear what you're going through and hope things improve in the near future.
      Take care.

      Michael
       
    10. Wantlife

      Wantlife Guest

      Hey Simon
      Don’t listen to ents...
      I was recovering well and thought I should follow advice from environment and give my ears some air.. 1 loudish noise and now it’s been 9 months no improvement at all. In fact a lot worse since it spread to my healthy ear...

      take care
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Simon85

      Simon85 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      Thanks very much for the replies. I did find it rather odd that the ENT suggested I just carry on per usual. I’m going to cancel my next appointment and push it out 6 months or so - that way I’ll be in a better spot to judge If I actually need the in ear maskers. I also intend to wear earplugs if I think it’s necessary and aim to avoid loud noises. As for the sleeping arrangements it has been rough. To be fair I have been very easily irritated over the last few months with this condition and I’m sure that doesn’t help. However, for my sanity and my health I’m still sleeping on the couch at least until the weather cools a bit (which is likely to be be a while). I’ve explained where I’m coming from at length and it was unfortunate with the ENT visit.

      I feel like this condition is really misunderstood. So many people I’ve talked to say ‘Oh, I’ve got a little tinnitus if I take the time and listen hard for it, but it doesn’t bother me.’ I used to be in this camp with the lightest of flutter in my right ear. I never imagined just what was in store for me. Having the opportunity to read posts on this forum has been very helpful and I appreciate all of you taking the time to come back to me. Now I’m playing the waiting in relative silence game to see if my symptoms will reduce some more.
       
Loading...

Share This Page