Should I Treat Hyperacusis with Sound Enrichment Therapy If It’s Causing Me Ear Pain?

Discussion in 'Support' started by weab00, Aug 25, 2020.

    1. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      music, concerts, whiplash; 08/20 H worsening
      Some people on the forums say not to sleep in silence as it makes your tinnitus louder over time and sound enrichment is good for treating hyperacusis. So I’m anxious about sleeping in silence now.

      However, even low volume ambient rain gives me stabbing pains behind my ears and produces noise distortions (a high pitched beeping undertone). It also fatigues my ears very easily, so sleeping with even rain seems like a bad idea.

      What is the best course of action? I’m conflicted.
       
    2. ShaunR

      ShaunR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert + Motorbike
      Following this also. I've had jaw pain, ear ache, burning, tightness in my ear and neck for 2 months.

      What's worked for me so far is protecting my ears from sounds that trigger the symptoms. I've tried pink noise and music therapy but both seem to trigger symptoms. I've decided to protect my ears from triggers for 6 months... then I'm going to move onto sound therapy if it isn't better.

      Over the past week I've had minor improvements... No constant ear ache or burning. All I have now is fullness and tightness.

      Shaun.
       
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    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @weab00

      Use a sound machine or other device (not a mobile phone) to supply sound enrichment while you sleep. Keep the volume low so it doesn't irritate your ears. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to get used to sound enrichment. This is new and something you are not used to so it takes time to adjust. Follow my advice in the links that I have given you. There is no quick fix for tinnitus and hyperacusis it takes time. If you don't try to help yourself by using sound enrichment during the day and also at night your oversensitivity to sound might not improve.

      Michael
       
    4. Backpacker

      Backpacker Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL
      No, it doesn't. Maybe they wanted to say you would be more aware of it or it would irritate you more without some ambient noise in the background. I don't know how a silent bedroom could possibly hurt your ears and increase the actual volume of your tinnitus, so if you feel something is bothering you, don't do it.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      music, concerts, whiplash; 08/20 H worsening
      Well idk now. I’m still getting conflicting advice
       
    6. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Honestly, speaking from personal experience with pain hyperacusis, I would give your ears a complete break - if it's giving you pain, don't continue! The ear isn't like a muscle and you could end up just aggravating your condition and making your pain worse. You can't just push through it - I tried this and it made me much worse. Thankfully I am better now, 8 months on but I credit my recovery to resting my ears. I think sound therapy can be gradually re-introduced but during this acute phase you need to rest your ears as much as possible.
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @weab00

      There is always conflicting advice in forums. You have to decide what you want to follow because you cannot have two teachers. Nor two captains on a ship or more than one head chef in a kitchen, get my drift? The way to know the right advice to follow, I suggest you look to members that have experience preferably long term. Read their posts and see if they have habituated and mostly give advice.

      Once you decide on the advice to follow, stick to it and keep away from tinnitus forums for a while and give yourself time to heal and recover. If you frequently attend forums asking the same questions you will get more conflicting advice. This can stress a person and cause confusion. Concentrate on positive things and getting on with your life and not focus on tinnitus or hyperacusis. Gradually you will begin to feel better.

      Michael
       
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    8. ShaunR

      ShaunR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert + Motorbike
      Hi,
      I'd listen to @Michael Leigh on this.

      I'm only 2 months in and very much struggling everyday.

      Shaun.
       
    9. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @serendipity1996 I’m new to the forum, too, and like @weab00, I’m still struggling to decide what approach to take to improve my H symptoms (Sounds Therapy or protection & quiet). I’ve had pretty bad pain H for almost two months, and being a mom of two young children it’s been really really really hard. I’ve read many of you’re posts, and I’m so happy to see that you keep improving! Can you tell me, did you protect your ears from everything that felt bad? So many things hurt my ears (including voices after a few minutes), and I feel like if I protect from everything that hurts I’d be wearing ear muffs all day. Any extra info that you could share on your recovery process would be much appreciated! I’m sure there are other lurkers out there like me who would find the information helpful. Thank you!
       
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    10. Tanni
      Twisted

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      You will always get conflicting advice on forums -- especially with something like Hyperacusis, where so little is known about it. I think a reason for the conflicting advice is that different things work for different people. So you have to give things a try and see what works for you.

      I had severe Hyperacusis for a few weeks; I originally tried WNGs (a device that plays white noise into your ears) but it was just too painful so I stopped.

      However, I did not protect my ears from everyday sounds, including voices (which really hurt my ears) and other sounds that are not dangerous for those without Hyperacusis. Gradually the Hyperacusis got a lot better, and now I barely have it.
       
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    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
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    12. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @Tanni, It’s quite a relief to read your post saying that you’ve improved so much from such severe symptoms! Having the sound of my children’s voices hurt my ears (Along with so many other normal sounds) has been disheartening, and I’m constantly questioning if I should be using ear plugs or not while around them. It doesn’t help that this whole thing has made me extremely anxious and moderately depressed. How were you able to tell that you were on the right track by not protecting against everything that hurts? That’s the approach I originally took, but my lack of progress has me questioning myself hourly.
       
    13. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @Tanni It sounds like you also had pain hyperacusis, correct?
       
    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I am pleased that your hyperacusis has improved @Tanni Some people are unable to wear white noise generators for the reasons you have mentioned. However, they should be used in a particular way especially when first using them. Unfortunately, some people are not told this by their Audiologist/Hearing Therapist. For people reading this post you might find the following helpful:

      White noise generators should be introduced to the ears and auditory system slowly and not used continuously as some therapists advise patients, as this can cause irritation and possibly spike the tinnitus and hyperacusis. Therefore, set the volume of the WNG below the level of the tinnitus and wear them for just 1 or 2hrs then remove them for the same duration. After the elapsed time put them on again setting the volume below the tinnitus and wear them for another 1 or 2hrs. If you notice any irritation reduce the wearing time again.

      Continue doing this on day one, two and throughout the week. Continue this process for week two and so on, then gradually increase the wearing time. The goal is to achieve a total wearing time of 6 to 10hrs and many people achieve this. At night white noise generators shouldn't be worn while asleep. Instead use a sound machine by the bedside setting the volume slightly below the tinnitus.

      Over time the white noise generators will help to desensitize the auditory system so it becomes less sensitive to sound and thus hyperacusis will reduce. At the same time the tinnitus is treated as the brain will habituate to the white noise generators and slowly push the tinnitus into the background so it becomes less noticeable. This treatment can take up to 18 months and ideally, the patient should have regular counselling with their Hearing Therapist or Audiologist. Counselling helps to remove demystifies the negative thinking that is often associated with tinnitus and hyperacusis. Contrary to some beliefs, hyperacusis can be completely cured using white noise generators or reduced considerably. The same can be achieved naturally without WNG or using self help as described in my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it.

      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
       
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    15. Tanni
      Twisted

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      Hi Marin,

      I'm so sorry to hear that you're suffering.

      Yes, I think it was pain Hyperacusis -- ordinary sounds like cutlery, voices, someone eating crisps two rows of desks away(!), would really hurt my ears and make me literally wince in pain.

      Some of the things I decided to try were:

      - No protecting against everyday noises that are not harmful for those without Hyperacusis (I tried not to wince in pain, and to tell myself that this was not a dangerous sound and could not possibly hurt)
      - Protecting around loud noises such as loud restaurants etc
      - Not reading the forum! I already knew from having Tinnitus that there are a lot of success stories for Hyperacusis, and in most cases it seems to resolve itself, so I told myself it would go away and to keep living as normal.

      It went away quite quickly -- within a few weeks it was pretty much completely gone and I did start seeing improvements very soon so it was easy to stay on track.

      Everyone is different, so it's very hard to give advice. Some people will say to protect your ears and give them a rest. It's really about what works for you, but whatever you try make sure to give it some time as it can take a while for ears to respond/recover.
       
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    16. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      Thank you for the detailed response, @Tanni ! You make a lot of good points. I have been trying to calm myself when I here a loud noise or noise that irritates my ears, and it sometimes helps if the noise isn’t too bad. I also agree that being on internet is not helping my mental state and constant worry.

      The first month that I had H, things hurt like you mentioned but did seem to be getting better. Then I had to move a month ago and all of the loud noises that came with it have made things worse and I get more burning pain and ear fullness now. I’m really wishing that I had used more ear protection for that.

      I really appreciate you sharing your story and what you did to get better! Like you said, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s a very hard thing to try to decide when the stakes are so high.
       
    17. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      I think it's important to distinguish between mere discomfort and actual substantial pain. Initially I was bothered by the sounds of dishes, cutlery etc but they only caused me discomfort so I didn't bother protecting against them. My biggest issue was artificial audio and that's something I'm still not totally comfortable with - this was different as it resulted in pain - I mean proper sustained burning pain that would persist long after the source of the pain was gone. It's improved enormously with time though and I think yours will too. :)
       
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    18. Tanni
      Twisted

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      Moving is extremely stressful -- might this have caused the setback in your Hyperacusis? Stress is a well known trigger for both Tinnitus and Hyperacusis spikes, so may well explain it.

      Try not to be too disheartened; there is often a lot of fluctuation at the start of Tinnitus/Hyperacusis recovery.
       
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    19. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @serendipity1996 I’m so happy to hear you’ve improved so much, and thank you for the encouraging words! I have trouble with artificial audio, too. Oh, how I miss music and having the volume on for TV. I get ear pain/burning/fullness from other things and sometimes I just don’t even know the cause. The pain and fullness can linger for a long time, too. Good point about trying to distinguish between real pain and discomfort, though.

      @weab00 I feel like I highjacked your post, and I’m sorry about that! I hope that you found the responses from others as helpful as I have. Take care!
       
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    20. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @Tanni I’ve definitely been under a lot of stress, and moving was the final straw. Two months ago I suddenly lost a good amount of high frequency hearing in one ear while using ear buds for a conference call for work, and I immediately developed tinnitus in that ear. I have had insomnia and anxiety ever since.

      I was treated with steroids for the sudden loss, but I didn’t get much hearing back. Soon after the loss I started developing H in my bad ear, but I didn’t really realize what it was at first. Then, a little before the move I could tell my “good” ear was getting sensitive, too. Now, after the move they both have bad H ☹️

      I really hope that if/when I get my anxiety under control and get some decent sleep that things will start to improve. The sudden hearing loss has been quite traumatic. I’m also suspicious that the headphones caused acoustic trauma to both ears even though I just lost the hearing in one.
       
    21. Tanni
      Twisted

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      Yes, the effect of stress is huge. But usually a spike will resolve once all stress has left the body. I believe people can also often recover from SSHL -- there are a few users on here that can attest to that. Sometimes it takes a few months.

      It's very normal to suffer from some anxiety when you first develop Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, as you've probably seen on this forum. But the anxiety and insomnia will ease up in time, even if nothing else improves -- it certainly did for me. Give yourself time. At least the move is all done with now :)

      Good luck with your recovery!
       
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    22. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      How much hearing did you lose in high frequencies? Did you go for an audiometric test?
       
    23. Marin

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      @Juan My hearing loss is 60 dB at 6 kHz and about 70 dB at 8 kHz. My audiogram only went up to 8 kHz, but I assume everything above 8 kHz is toast. The rest of my hearing is normal, so thankfully I still have very good word recognition. Things just sound a little flat in that ear.
       
    24. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Wow, that's a lot to happen suddenly or over a few months. Fortunately for speech recognition the most important frequencies are in a much lower range.
       

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