Should I Take a Break from Making Music Because of Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Dntmastrinhdphns, Apr 6, 2020.

    1. Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(
      Hi all. Firstly I'm very appreciative of Tinnitus Talk and the many contributions by all of you. Reading several of these posts has brought me knowledge and some comfort so thank you.

      I just recently started hearing ringing in my ears (at first I thought just my left, but I think my right now too) and it's been about 10 days since I noticed the ringing occurring all day. I think small ringings would come in and out infrequently when standing up or something like that in weeks/months leading up to this point. It's more noticeable at some times than others, like in my room at night, vs. outside in the day.

      I suspect I already know the cause of the ringing. Check my username for details. Essentially I have been producing, mixing and mastering my own music in my Sony MDR7506's. They're unfortunately very good headphones. I suspect that since I mixed and mastered my last few tracks in my headphones, at times quite loud to check intensity/clarity of music, and often listening to loud sections many times in a row, that the ringing I've been hearing for the past 10 days is a result of this.

      3 questions:

      1) Does the ringing indicate the death of hair cells that can no longer transmit sounds so the brain is creating phantom noise?

      2) Does this mean it is likely permanent damage i.e. if you're hearing the ringing all day for 10 days that means it's too late, or is it possible for the the ringing to recede over the next few weeks/months? Or the opposite-- Is it possible this can be the beginning signaling my hearing is about to get worse over the next few weeks/months??

      3) Should I take a break from producing (and listening to) music altogether until I hit a 3 month point or something like that, if playing the keyboard seems to increase the tinnitus volume?

      Thank you all for reading. <3
      Mike
       
    2. Agrajag364

      Agrajag364 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Absolutely without question the ringing can recede in many people.

      If I were you I would protect your ears and avoid music as long as you can manage it to give them the best chance of recovery.
       
      • Like Like x 3
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Yes, many people experience fading. Not too many of those people get to hear silence again, but most are able to get to the "can hear it only in quiet rooms" stage. Ears take forever to heal, so the healing process can take months or even years.

      You will want to be easy on your ears during that process of healing. It isn't a good idea to go to concerts. Some of us feel like staying away even from the moderate noises (e.g. the vacuum cleaner, blender) has helped to promote healing and has accelerated fading. Note that some people claim to go to concerts/movie theaters while wearing earplugs and ended up being ok. But it's a risk:
      Check out
      You will want to make sure that you don't hurt your ears during this period of vulnerability as your body is healing. You will want to ensure that you avoid taking ototoxic drugs, that you don't have microsuction done (if you need to clean wax out of your ears; a manual tool should be used), and that you don't have your dental hygienist doesn't use an ultrasonic scaling tool on you (a manual tool should be used). For more details, see

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...eone-else-who-has-tinnitus.26850/#post-307822

      If you are still not sure about what to do, check out
      If I were you, I would take a break for at least a year or two.

      You might want to never wear headphones again. Here is a recent post that you might find to be useful:
       
      • Like Like x 2
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(
      Thank you for your answer :) So are you suggesting not to listen to music or play piano/guitar.produce music on my computer until the noise fades away? Or just not to listen/record with headphones, just a speaker and at low levels?
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(
      Thank you so much for your in depth response. I truly appreciate all the insights, reference anecdotes and suggestions. Would you recommend not even listening to music? Or just not in headphones, and only at a low volume? How would this be different from creating music if at a similar volume? I definitely intend not to listen to music for at least 4-8 weeks but it is hard to keep away from playing. Especially since music making is my passion and was intending to be part of my career. I am 26 y.o btw. But also I do not want to damage my ears further and live with the consequences.

      So how would you navigate this and how would you periodically check in to see what's "kosher" to do/listen to?
      Thanks again :)
       
    6. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I think speakers should be fine. But be very careful with the volume. Start at the lowest volume you can handle, listen to music at this volume for a minute and then wait for 24 hours to see whether you get a spike of your tinnitus. If nothing happens, repeat the process while increasing the time of your exposure, and keep doing this - increasing the time of the exposure very gradually.

      If the music feels too loud, listen to the signal from your body and stop right away. Eventually that volume will stop feeling wrong and at that time you might want to go through the process above.
      I don't have a medical or sound engineering background. I have been reading this forum for 37 months and I recognize some patterns. Of course all of it is anecdotal evidence. However, it doesn't look like actual scientific studies into this will be taking place any time soon.
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    7. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I would be easy on my ears for two years, and then I would do the "gradual" method I described above.
      Don't "do the crime" if you aren't prepared to "do the time" (a lifetime of debilitating tinnitus that makes one's body uninhabitable).
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Useful Useful x 1
    8. HeavyMantra
      Bugridden

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018, 01/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My story is similar to yours. Here's my thoughts for what it's worth, I haven't found a sustainable way back to music yet. And along with almost everyone on this site, I'm making guessed based on anecdotal evidence and personal experiences. This is largely uncharted territory, read what anyone here says with skepticism. And more importantly, know that medical professionals are clueless about these things and give out dangerous advice.

      If you have hyperacusis, focus on curing it first. It will save you time later. It can allegedly be done and I think music can be detrimental to this process. Also, "listening to music" has a very different meaning for people who create it: when people say "just listen to music on low volume through speakers" they might be talking about some solo piano stuff, simple vocal driven stuff and so on that can be enjoyed at 50-60 db. Actually working on a song is another story. I personally have a hard time working on songs that have many, many layers that I want to hear at the same time. Naturally, I've become more interested in sparse and mellow arrangements.

      I got mild hyperacusis/misophonia 6 months after my trauma, and I think I got it because I read too much stuff on this site and started fearing music and sounds in general. The less I listened to music, the harder it was to tolerate it. The fear of tinnitus getting worse is important but it can also swing the other way and become detrimental to the condition.

      Music contains different frequency material than most natural sounds. In my experience, music can be much harder to tolerate than natural sounds because of how speakers function. Especially speakers with metal drivers, they often have ultrasonic frequencies that aren't heard but can cause problems. Once you get going, try some different plugins to alter your casual or focused listening to your liking. For instance, my speakers go up to 30 kHz and I often cut everything above 12 kHz out and slap on some mastering plugins that reduce high-frequency material in a musical way. Small speakers with a soft dome is your best bet for fatigue-free listening in my opinion.

      Experiment and see what works for you. I think the goal is to listen to music without causing any spikes. If you get a spike from music on low levels, it's probably because of hyperacusis. This may or may not make your condition worse with continued noise exposure. But as a musician, you arguably have more to lose to this condition than people who aren't. Play the long game. Do you want to be able to listen to music in 2 years? Base your decisions on the answer to that question.

      My tinnitus was initially mild and later went away. It came back 10x worse and seemingly permanent from ONE mistake, which was singing with IEMs for too long. Not loud, just too long + occlusion effect from the IEMs.

      Don't pay too much attention to "standard safe dB levels". They are MAYBE valid for people without tinnitus/hyperacusis, but I'm of the opinion that once you have tinnitus your ears tolerate much less sound that healthy ears. Working at 70 dB is not a guarantee that your ears are safe. You have to make a decisions based on how your own ears react to sound.

      Ask any professional audio engineer and they will tell you that headphones are only used for quick checking since they are much more damaging than speakers. Many people on this site deny that for some reason I can't fathom, but I personally listen more to professionals that use their ears for work 18+ hours every day and depend on their ears for their sustenance.

      Good luck and I feel you.. This is one of the worst things that can happen to musicians, but there's hope. Many, many many musicians have tinnitus. But some make too many mistakes/have too many accidents and are out. I think the most important thing is to not make any more mistakes, since the effects of mistakes on tinnitus are often permanent or persisent. Be vigilant if your tinnitus improves: this does not mean it's a good idea to start using headphones or going to shows again, because the tinnitus can come back with a vengeance.

      Ask yourself: what can I do to become a better musician without exposure to loud sounds? What skills would come in handy 2 years from now that you can work on while your ears heal? 2 years is just and example, it can take more or less time before you see improvement
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(

      Can you explain this a bit more? What trauma caused your initial onset? And how long before it faded away (completely?) the first time before coming back because of the IEMs?
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(
      Yeah, this makes me feel like live performances and touring may be out the window for me... :( But at the end of the day all I really want, now that things are put into perspective, is to have 'healthy' hearing, with little impairment on my mental state, and the ability to continue making music. Even if it's 2 years from now, and even if I never perform live. I am praying that this is still possible for me since it is still early in the process and the tinnitus is thankfully not severe at the moment. I am grateful of that.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(

      I may have hyperacusis too, since playing ping pong was nearly unbearable from the high frequency "pongs" the ball made... or the sound of clanking dishes... are these signs of possible hyperacusis and/or hearing loss?
      I appreciate your lengthy response btw. It's at least nice to know I'm not alone.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Dntmastrinhdphns
      Wishful

      Dntmastrinhdphns Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/27/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud mixing and mastering in headphones :(
      You don't think they will be developing an effective treatment/cure soon? I was reading about a study published in December 2019 about researchers inducing cell division in the mature inner ear I believe using stem cells. "The researchers found that activating the ERBB2 pathway triggered a cascading series of cellular events by which cochlear support cells began to proliferate and start the process of activating other neighboring stem cells to become new sensory hair cells. Furthermore, it appears that this process not only could impact the regeneration of sensory hair cells, but also support their integration with nerve cells"
      Granted, I have no idea how long it will take for them to run proper tests and get FDA approval... and they are also working on the issue of containing stem cell division so as not to divide infinitely and become cancerous... but this new experiment and their results gave me some hope.
      Not sure if these are the same study but they may be:

      https://hms.harvard.edu/news/reversing-hearing-loss

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181015132953.htm

      :)
       
    13. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Yes, you should give your ears a rest.
       
    14. OnceUponaTime
      Busy

      OnceUponaTime Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/11
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      This still remains true today. Sadly.

      "Oh go you'll be fine they said. Wear earplugs they said."
      So I went to the event with ear plugs. Was there for only a few minutes. Big mistake. Gave me low drone/hum that's worst than the high pitch hiss/eeeee, tea kettle sounds. Never went away. sigh
      3 1/2 years ago.

      Everyone is different. Every situation is different.
      You have to make a decision and live with it.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    15. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      There are many treatments in the pipeline:
      One user of this forum @kelpiemsp made many posts and is clear that he is for real person. He claims that one of those treatments in the pipeline (bimodal stimulation) has cured his tinnitus. His experiences seem to imply that there is hope that a cure might be available. Having said this, people thought that Lenire will be a cure (and I think it is based on the same idea as bimodal stimulation/I could be wrong on this), but it isn't looking too promising:
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/lenire-—-user-experiences-and-reviews.35776/
       

Share This Page

Loading...