Shower Can Give Me Prolonged Suppression

Discussion in 'Support' started by Golly, Aug 1, 2013.

    1. Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Hi All:

      I have been deliberating as to whether and when to post the details of an interesting trick that I stumbled upon awhile back. As far as I know this only works for me; but I see no reason why others with a similar "type" of tinnitus should not be able to reproduce this trick.

      As I have explained before, I have days when my tinnitus is simply not there---essentially silence. However, most of the time, I wake up with a mild hissing that, if left "untreated," will increase in volume and remain with me throughout the day. (I wake up noise free only about once a week.)

      Empirically (I'll explain my "theory" shortly), a loud, hot shower results in my tinnitus actually disappearing for the entire day. (It typically returns after I wake up from a night's sleep.)

      I am not sure if it's the noise alone (at a certain volume/frequency) or the heat; but the point at which I am sure it's going to work (I am successful about half the time), is when the the tinnitus is masked (suppressed?) during the shower. Sometimes, the trick only works for an hour or two, but often it is for the entire day.

      I have tried to reproduce the effect using white/pink/brown noise and even recorded shower sounds, but to no avail. I don't know if the heat has anything to do with it. My suspicion is that this is some kind of residual inhibition.

      The reason I have been reticent about discussing is that I don't want to raise people's hopes in vain.

      I bring this up now because I notice a lot of discussion involving matched tones and notching. I wonder whether this finding of mine might generalize to the greater population of tinnitus sufferers, perhaps with some modifications. That is, if indeed I am fortuitously suppressing my tinnitus via a frequency match in combination with massage/heat, maybe someone could figure out a way to reproduce the effect without the shower part!

      I would be thrilled if one of you tried this and were as excited as I was to find that you wound up noise free for the day! As I said, I wake up noise free once a week; however, thanks to the shower trick, I am noise free about four days out of seven, on average.

      I have left out some details (like the fact that 1mg Klonopin in the evening pretty much guarantees that the trick will work upon waking), but I am happy to discuss further. Note that I keep a detailed daily diary and have statistics on my symptoms (along with many covariates) going back to when my tinnitus started almost three years ago.

      -Golly
       
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    2. Miss lavender

      Miss lavender Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/01/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      Hi Golly,
      I am having the same luck as you. It doesn't happen all the time but at least 60percent of the time my tinnitus seems to be a lot lower after a long hot shower. I have always wondered about this also but never shared my story.

      ML.
       
    3. David Barr

      David Barr Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      I, too, have noticed that a shower can help reduce the volume significantly.

      I've attempted inhaling steam to replicate the humidity of the shower but this doesn't appear to do anything. Perhaps it's due to the sound of the shower?
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Hi Miss Lavender and David:

      That's great news! I suspect that most (if not all) of the effect comes from the shower tone(s). As I mentioned, however, I have been unable to achieve the effect outside the shower. So maybe heat/massage has something to do with it as well.

      It's possible that in addition to the frequency of the shower sound, volume/sound intensity might be relevant. While I am scared to turn the MP3 volume too high when I listen to white/pink noise, my shower blasts at its natural volume (which might be relatively loud, I have never tested it).

      I am hoping that some of the tone-matching and notching boffins on this site chime in here with some insight!

      -Golly
       
    5. Sherri786
      Dreaming

      Sherri786 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Thank you Golly for posting that. Yes shower does help me too but not for too long, maybe for about 15/20 minutes.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      So it looks like there are a few of us here that are able to reduce our tinnitus temporarily with a shower. I am quite convinced that the shower sound is the main driver of the noise reduction.

      As I mentioned in my first post, I have been unable to reproduce the effect outside the shower. However, the (multiple) posts regarding DIY Neuromodulation have inspired me to try again. Not that there is any connection, but certainly any sound that a shower can generate should be reproducible via an MP3 player!

      If anyone has any experience with this type of "sound engineering", I would be grateful to hear about it. One thing I am scared of us is exposing my ears to excessive volume. Perhaps I should use special headphones that only go up to 85db? Suggestions welcome!

      -Golly
       
    7. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Here is one of my many shower masking sounds. The others are alot bigger in data so I guess it's too large to upload here. Anyways, you can always play it on repeat. I've also attached a pan fry sound that I think is quite similar to the shower sound, with a little more sparkle character to it.

      When I get my life back I think I'm going to play my masking sounds on loudspeakers so they become a larger part of my natural environment, my neighbours are going to think I'm a compulsive body washer I guess - or that I enjoy frying food :woot:
       

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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Thanks Per! I'll give these a whirl and report back. Incidentally, do these sounds give you prolonged relief (perhaps residual inhibition)?
       
    9. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      @Golly

      I managed to upload the long shower sound here, this is perhaps even better because it doesn't start looping so quickly because its almost 30 min. long. The loop point creates a small interruption so it's optimal when it doesn't happen after just a short time. I use sounds like this at night to get a relief from my high pitched tinnitus.

      Habituating trough TRT is something different, this has nothing to do with that type of noise therapy. There you use pink/white noise to treat hyperacusis and tinnitus. I have those type of sounds as well but I find listening to natural sound types like showers etc works good when trying to fall asleep. I also use the sounds of crickets, waterfall and nature sounds in general.
       

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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Thanks again, Per.

      Here is a question for you (or anyone else who thinks they know the answer): how loud is a shower either in terms of dB or relative to an iPod?

      As I mention here, I have yet to achieve residual inhibition (if that is what it is) via any noise except an actual shower. I figure it's either because I have been using the wrong set of frequencies, or because I don't turn the volume up enough. (I am now very doubtful that heat/massage plays a role, but who knows?)

      -Golly
       
    11. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      I don't know how loud a shower is Golly, I would think that varies a lot based on shower pressure and materials used in the bathroom (acoustic effect).

      I just came to think of something in context of shower and tinnitus reduction, perhaps it has something to do with the massage of the head and the sound it creates at the same time? Because water falling on your head creates an inner perspiration of the shower sound. Have you noticed any difference if you avoid having your head under the shower? Imagine if you had a device that tapped the head with hundreds of very thin "arms" simultaneously as the sound of shower water was playing in the ear trough a headset? A type of sound massage if you will. Would that give a better effect on the tinnitus level than just conventional sound? Or would it only create a headache.

      Well anyhow, by reading the forum post many people seem to experience a reduction in tinnitus levels both during and shortly after showers. For me being outside in an brown noise environment for hours gives me a reduction on perceived tinnitus level. But it's important for me to avoid pink noise and other high pitched environmental sound, it hurts so much more than brown noise types. Weirdly enough pink noise is ok if I play a pure pink noise file in my headset. But if you don't have hyperacusis in addition to tinnitus none of that would bother you I guess.

      To conclude I think the type and character of the noise/sound is just as important as anything else. For instance, the sound of a voice doesn't give me any hope for anything - but if you said the sound of the voice of a screaming child I would run away. If you said the voice of a calm speaking deep male voice I would accept it.
       
    12. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Very interesting. Does sauna help you, i.e. could it be the heat and the moisture, that somehow affect your ear drum, inner ear, eustachian tubes or all the small muscles in the ear. I am Finn and we all have saunas in our homes over here... :)
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Hi @Sound Wave:

      Saunas do not bring about a similar effect. Just showers. This is why I am convinced it's the sound. I do this several times a week. It definitely works for me: especialy when I am very relaxed. Perhaps this is where the shower part comes in (over, say, just listening to headphones playing white noise).

      -Golly
       
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    14. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Founder Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Just came from the shower.

      It feels incredibly soothing. It's almost as if the brain gets into an instant "relax" mode. The tension is gone.

      Before tinnitus, I never appreciated having a hot shower this much.

      Too bad though that the effect wears off quickly afterwards.
       
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    15. Venryx

      Venryx Member

      Location:
      Seattle, WA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      lucid dream technique
      Yeah, I've noticed this same effect. Sometimes I get out of a shower, and while I can still hear a sound, it's much quieter and is actually sort of soothing. (it's probably in part from that I know it's finally mostly quiet, as I'm resting) It's pretty similar to the sound of 'listening to' an empty sea shell--it's mild and easier to ignore.

      Sometimes the effect lasts till I'm asleep, sometimes it lasts half an hour or so, but in any case it's very pleasant as it's one of the few times I can "rest knowing I don't have tinnitus".

      (My tinnitus is mild enough I can go for many hours sometimes without thinking of it, but I can't 'relish' those times because the lack of noticed tinnitus is just from not thinking about it. With this, on the other hand, I both lack the annoyance of tinnitus, while also getting to recognize its absence and enjoying/resting-in that knowledge.)

      Also, like you I've noticed that the diminishing effect does not come (at least not as much) when using a recording of a shower. My theory is that it's due to two things: 1) the sound is not exactly captured as your ears would hear it being in a shower, 2) because you're playing the sound specifically, your brain is more focused on that fact and so doesn't let you 'lose yourself in the experience' like you can when taking a shower (not sure, but I suspect that immersion and lack of awareness of sounds in general is part of how showers have their effect).
       
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    16. Thongjy
      Balanced

      Thongjy Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unsure
      I just tested taking a hot shower. My tinnitus improved as well. I vaguely remember it was reduced all along as well but I did not really take note of that.

      My next test is taking a cold shower with the same water intensity. I will update you guys.
       
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    17. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      You all should buy a couple of indoor water fountains or build your own, that mimics the sound of shower! ;)
       
    18. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I am going to throw my theory on this out there and see what you think.

      As you know I have had tinnitus for 25 years now and I have had success in suppressing my tinnitus after a shower for as far back as I recall whilst being a tinnitus sufferer.

      I have always, up until a few years back, lived in houses with town water supply and mains pressure, and have had suppression after a shower every time until I moved into the house I am in now.

      We are on tank water with an electric pump.

      It was a year also ago when I noticed the water pressure was gradually getting less and less, this was due to our filters being clogged. I also noticed that the suppression that I usually got was starting to get shorter and I was not getting the almost silence that I would normally be getting.

      My normal suppression lasted 2 to 3 hours and was virtually silent the whole time but would gradually come back but softer than before until the next day when it would return to normal levels.

      We finally had the filters replaced and our shower returned to it's normal pressure and I noticed that after showering, my suppression, for it's normal 2 to 3 hour period, had returned.

      I don't think that it has anything to do with the sound, or maybe it is the combination of sound and the force at which the water is hitting your head.

      I can only surmise that the force of the water, in some way, massages the skull, which may have a soothing affect on the nerves in you brain.

      Now I'm not by any stretch a book of knowledge on the nerves or the brain, in fact, I know jack but, I have thought about this long and hard and think their must be something at work here especially when some of you have failed to recreate this affect with sound.

      What do you think?

      I should have added, my suppression was 2 to 3 hours before my spike last year, now it is a lot less.
       
    19. RaZaH
      Cheeky

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      If I start the day hitting the pool, or the hot tub (jacuzzi), my tinnitus is super low.
       
    20. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      My ears were bleepin' screaming at me last night -- which I probably hadn't helped by playing cards outdoors underneath 85 dB airplanes and smoking -- but then I sat in my sauna for ~15 minutes at 200 degrees, and noticed that things seemed a good bit quieter right afterwards....
       
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    21. AnnieM
      Stressed

      AnnieM Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Pittsburgh, PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      PROBABLY long term exposure to the sound of motors/blowers
      Oddly, for me, showers don't help. If I'm having a good day, showers are fine and if a bad day, showers make it worse.
       
    22. Rowendy

      Rowendy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Viral meningitis
      I also get relief from a shower, but I do not think it has to do with the sound of the shower. I think it’s the warm, moist heat. The reason I think this is that I can also get the same results with a hot water bottle and a wash cloth. But I do not heat the water too much. When I tried it really hot, it was uncomfortable and made me have pain the next day. My doctor said it may have irritated a nerve. So it’s basically tepid. I do this about 20 minutes. I would not do it any more than that. I find it particularly helpful to do before I got to sleep. I apply it to the back of my head, around my ears, and my shoulders. Sometimes massaging those areas also seems to help. A nice gentle scalp massage too.
       
    23. Syb
      Pensive

      Syb Member

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990, 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss & possibly a neck / C spine issue?
      I know this thread is ancient but if it helps someone new discover this trick, then all the better!

      Last night I noticed that a long, hot shower helps partially suppress my somatic tinnitus AND dysacusis for a short while (I was only in there for 15 minutes).

      As to whether it's caused by the sound, the heat, the massages I did to my jaw and neck, or all of the above, I can't say.

      However I've noticed that as the dysacusis became more severe these past few days, the shower (and I have to be in it, sitting next to it doesn't work) is the only thing that doesn't worsen the tinnitus caused by dysacusis.

      It's a shame the effect doesn't last super long (10 minutes or so), but at least the tinnitus is not as loud as it was prior to the shower. After a particularly loud day that made my tinnitus super loud, this is a very welcome relief!
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      Hi Everyone -- It's been a while since I have posted, but I do monitor this site periodically, and I am committed to supporting it in any way I can. It's been months, if not years, since I have attempted to quell my tinnitus with the sounds and/or muscle-relaxing effects of a hot shower. But I figured I would give it a go this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked! (See my other posts for details on how I go about this.) I don't know if it works for everyone; however, it is certainly worth finding out. That said, you may be wondering why I don't even attempt the trick of late. The truth is, after 10 years of tinnitus (which has been reasonably consistent in its patterns over time), I have become used to it. That isn't to say that it doesn't bother me on occasion. Rather, I have accepted it as part of my life, and have learned that it doesn't impede my ability to sleep, read, play chess, spend time with my kids, or do my job. So my message is really twofold: see if you cannot obtain residual inhibition via a shower; but more importantly, know that over time, you can learn to accept tinnitus as one of the obstacles in life that can be overcome with the right attitude. All the best to everyone, and feel free to reach out with any questions.
       
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