Severity of Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Cor, Jul 16, 2014.

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    1. Cor

      Cor Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hey all, ive seen some posts where people talk how severe their tinnitus it. I find it very hard to define. Every time I think it cant get any worse, it does. Sometimes I wonder if there is a ceiling to the perceived severity.

      When I first started, it was barely audible. I didnt even go to an ENT because I wasnt too bothered by it. Only when it was totally silent would i hear some white noise. In the last 8 weeks it's gone up and up. Right now it's there pretty much always, above most noises. At night it's roaring. But then again, I thought it was roaring 4 weeks ago, and it's significantly louder now.

      The unpredictability and increase are so debilitating.
       
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    2. RicoS
      Confused

      RicoS Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress or Acoustic trauma
      I wonder that myself to ...my T sounds like eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and if I do not focus on it I do not have to hear it during the day so my perception is, that it's not very loud. But at night I always have a ventilator on to mask it. If I do not do that it's just to loud. Or perhaps not even to loud, but it fills my head completly. If I stick both my fingers in my ears my T screams. I also wonder if people mask it when they go to sleep or just accept the sound and go to sleep.
      You also hear people say that there T is not that loud and hear it over anything else but in a silent room it's just as loud. So I guess it is different for everbody. I learned myself a method so I do not focus on it during the day and will not hear it. But at night in the bedroom in complete silence I have to mask it ...even a little because it's just to loud.
       
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    3. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      As I sit here this is how mine is today,low but a low,low hiss in my worst ear,it's the one I hate the most,when it's like this no way will it come up to where I can ignore it.I can only describe it as going inwards over the head.I can always normally get it to drop if high by putting a hair dryer on,if luck is with me,but low not yet found a way to raise it.Plus makes my balance even worse to.Why? Try a hair dryer when yours is high,especially at night when you have sleeping trouble,best thing I've found to dropping it,hoovering can have same effect.
       
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    4. Valentin

      Valentin Member

      Location:
      Thailand
      Tinnitus Since:
      17/08/2013
      the mechanism causing the neurons to be hyperactive can certainly spread to other neurons nearby and create other noises...
       
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    5. retiredrockstar

      retiredrockstar Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      drinking alcohol seems to make it worse. can T suck more than it already does?
       
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    6. Tenna
      Anime

      Tenna Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
    7. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      As for me, alcohol makes T disappear completely.
       
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    8. Nothing that i have found increases my T volume as much as alcohol. 30-40 cls of whisky makes it go totally crazy. Back to baseline the next day thou.
       
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    9. RCB

      RCB Member

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Regarding the severity and "how to describe tinnitus":
      I describe my tinnitus as a swarm of really angry rabid cicadas within my skull. It is totally unrelated to my ears or hearing anatomy. When I cover my ears with the palms of my hands the tinnitus sound is not affected.
      To help put it into perspective severity wise -- I had a head and neck MRI last week (unrelated to any tinnitus matters). Everyone told me how loud it was going to be and I should consider taking a sedative to be able to withstand the exam. It was no sweat -- because my tinnitus was much louder than the MRI sounds! I could not hear the MRI technicians instructions during the exam because of the tinnitus!
      Best of luck to you on your tinnitus journey.
      Thanks.
       
    10. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      Well...to make matters worse, I am not even sure if there is some standardized objective way to determine tinnitus loudness. My T is 15 dB @ 18kHz, but they did not tell me if this is absolute or relative to my hearing threshold.

      My hearing threshold is on the positive dB scale for high frequencies (only measured up to 8 kHz). My absolute T loudness could be anything from from 5 to 25 dB.

      Regarding severity....I don't know. I have read stories of people having smoke alarm T.(http://www.icanlivewithmytinnitus.com/?page_id=2)

      although, I my T is soft, I could hear it almost all the time. For me the suffering has reduced allot but the loudness is probably the same. I believe I am a "classic" case of hypermonitoring/enhancing.
       
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    11. Mpt

      Mpt Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      RCB... did you tinnitus start off as cicadas or as other sounds, was it ever more peripheral in the ears?, and has it worsened over time?
       
    12. RCB

      RCB Member

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      My tinnitus is as instense now as I ever remember it being. I am 60 years old now.

      When my tinnitus started I used to describe it as sorta like the sound an old bad TV would make. Like a backgound hiss.

      In the beginning my tinnitus was less focused and certainly a more higher frequency than it is now. I have never had a certain discernable pitch to my tinnitus. It is not a solitary pitch. Not a soloist but a chorus. It has always been a general swarm of some sort for lack of a better description. So in the beginning a swarm of angry soprano cicadas. More like a chorus of angry soprano and alto cicadas now.

      To specifically answer your question. I have never connected my tinnitus to my ears. As I have said before, if I cup my palms over my ears there is no effect on my tinnitus. It is a mass of noise within my skull somewhere.

      As to worsening over time. This tinnitus thing sneaks up on you. I would say it has definately gotten worse over time. I suppose about every month or so it is overwhelming and interferes with my ability to concentrate and hear. So to cope you just need to do something else.

      As far as the loudness of my tinnitus. As I said above it is louder than an MRI. It is also louder than my vacuum cleaner! But thank goodness I don't always realize that until I have an opportunity to compare the two.

      My hearing tests show that I have lost most of my "highs" by which I mean my hearing test graph falls off the table at 4k Hz. Since my hearing anatomy is no longer getting those sounds into my brain, I theorize that my brain is replacing them with this swarm presence I am now experiencing.

      I have expensive Widex hearing aids which are programmed to boost the high frequencies and which also have a feature that allows me to play distracting sounds to help reaim my focus away from the tinnitus. I give then high marks for boosting the high frequencies but have had mixed results for the distract feature.

      Hope this gives a little more insight.

      Good luck.
       
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    13. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      My tinnitus is between 40 and 50 db. It is masked by most everyday sounds.

      My T is also reactive. The reactive T cannot be masked at all as it resonates inside my head.
       
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    14. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      Despite that, I'm starting to habituate!
       
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    15. James
      No Mood

      James Member Benefactor

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      Pulsing 03/2013
      Hey @Valentin
      I really like the words you chose, something like - my neurons are firing, or hyperactive.
      That's what I got going on, firing with my heartbeat. Neurons, firing away.
       
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    16. carol kane
      Wishful

      carol kane Member

      Location:
      Lincolnshire united kingdom
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Surely there's a way to turn these switched on neurons OFF ...
       
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    17. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Wow! That's loud. I wonder how loud mine is? It's louder (not just higher) than a lot of hydraulic sounds.:(

      Of course, I also have many low days so I'm probably lucky. But not yet habituated!

      I'm so glad you're re-habituating!!:D You're an inspiration!
       
    18. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      @Cor Tinnitus sounds and volumes are known to vary a lot, especially at the beginning. The good news is that at one year most tinnitus is either gone or significantly reduced.

      It's also difficult to remember the volume and acoustic qualities of your tinnitus. When I first got tinnitus, for example, I recall having a masker program with the sound of rowing that worked well. Today, my tinnitus is so high--hydraulic like--that I can't believe I used rowing sounds.

      Finally regarding tinnitus sounds, many people note their noise becomes higher and more distant as time passes.

      Of course, I'm hoping your tinnitus goes away completely! You're still early into it. Perhaps, you should try wearing maskers or getting a hearing aid with white noise built in.:)
       
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    19. Cor

      Cor Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I am in the process of doing that, but in NL that takes a while. This is all the steps I must do before I can get a hearing aid with masker (the shop isnt even allowed to sell it to me without these steps)

      1 go to the GP
      2 GP prescribes nose spray (pretty much always)
      3 go back to GP
      4 go to ENT
      5 ENT must be convinced your tinnitus is influencing your life (my ENT actually said maskers are stupid and dont work, but hey, if I must, i can have a referral).
      6 referral to audiological center
      7 few weeks later (for me it's about 5) go to audiological center
      8 they create some documents that you take to shop
      9 get mask/hearing aid.

      Im at step 7, with an appt at audiological center somewhere early august. I am not even sure yet if this will end in being able to buy a masker hearing aid.

      For me in the early days water sounds worked, now water sounds make my t worse :( I actually like a grandfather clock now. Using that with an ipad app to sleep.

      My t is currently in a sinus wave, every other day it's good/bad. Really weird. Unfortunately with the bad days volume goes up a bit. I dont get why either, as I dont think I fret as much as I used to.
       
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    20. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      @jazz my baseline T is not that bad... but the reactive T is the loudest ever. If I avoid sounds that trigger it, I mostly don't hear it.

      Unfortunately, I work downtown Montreal and city traffic is a trigger.
       
    21. Cor

      Cor Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      @ampumpkin i have the same. I dont really get the reactive t. Why would your brain create a sounds as a response to some normal noises. For me the shower is a huge trigger.
       
    22. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      @Cor I think this is due to a lower frequency hearing loss. I haven't tested frequencies under 0.5hz
       
    23. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      Definitions

      Tinnitus = tinnitus
      Tinnitus which gets worse after brief noise exposure = a "spike"; a spike may become a permanent increase...
      Tinnitus which becomes more noticeable while exposed to certain sounds (loud or not) eg. computer fan = reactive tinnitus; reactive tinnitus is easy to diagnose because it goes away after the sound source is removed (a spike does not).
      Pain from noise = hyperacusis
       
    24. Cor

      Cor Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      @attheedgeofscience These definitions seems very lacking though. People talk about spikes for all kinds of reasons besides being exposed noise. My tinnitus for instance follows a sortof sine like pattern with high/low volume. I wouldnt call the high a spike, because it seems to happen every other day :)

      I also have some form of reactive t, but it doesnt always go away after the source is removed. It's some sort of hybrid spike/reactive :)

      I guess everyone has their own demons. I think I have 2 distinct tinnitus patterns. One is a relatively common white noise/hiss. The second is a high tone, but not a clear tone. It's got some noise through it. This tone is the tone I hear as a result of the reactive tinnitus. For instance, when I take a shower, I feel like someone is playing morse code in my ear with that high tone. On some days though, i wake up with it and it stays with me all day, to disappear again next day and turn into 'reactive' only mode. I cant really pinpoint whats going on there. This second reactive form started only a few weeks ago, months after I first started the 'white noise' tinnitus.
       

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