Some Tips and Tricks After 58 Years of Tinnitus and Then + Hyperacusis

Discussion in 'Support' started by Zimichael, Jan 29, 2014.

    1. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      :arghh: Caution long post (again)!

      Well…first up, I guess if I am going to give “advice” I had better put a face to it instead of my favorite rock icon in a (California) High Sierra’s lake at 11,000 feet…By the way, this is a “good day” photo. Add on about 10 years if my tinnitus is driving me up the wall from many nights of poor sleep, or I got ‘zapped’ in town by a noise hazard I did not foresee in time!

      So...There have been some good lists of “tips and tricks” for how to deal with tinnitus from other members. Like this one from IWLM a while back: and I tend to agree with them. They also do no harm for repetition, especially if habits of protection have not become ingrained or that “sixth sense” of when to expect a “loud event” have not developed yet.

      Here’s my list. I’m sure there’s more but this is a start:

      - Hardly need to repeat the obvious “No and Avoid” things like: blasting rock concerts, discos, screaming sports events, movie theaters, nuttso loud construction sites, jack-hammers, etc., etc. – or if you do, use HIGH LEVEL hearing protection! Personally, I can’t take even that risk though indoor, confined space events are much more hazardous (noise bounces back at you) than outdoor events where the noise can dissipate up and out.

      - Always have earplugs in your pocket or handbag. Wear them as little as possible (to allow adaption/habituation) but always when in danger of loud sound exposure. I carry two types. Full plugs that block about anything, and ‘hear-through’ type that allow decent enough conversation but protect me if something goofy happens. These take the fear out of the equation if I have to be in a place where it could be loud or on the threshold of it.

      Note! Putting plugs in of course increases the ‘internal level’ of tinnitus I then hear in my head as outside distraction sound is less. This often leads to a period of louder ‘perceived’ tinnitus after I eventually take them out, probably because the darn “internal feedback loop” got all excited and wound up. So it can take a night’s sleep to bring me back to ‘baseline scream’ again. Sigh!

      - Learn to predict dangerous sound exposure in normal environments. This becomes an intuitive skill after a while and mostly learned the hard way by getting “zapped”. I am always aware of: small children, dogs, in-store loudspeakers, potentially loud people (the big redneck bawling at his kid in the parking lot), places where people may suddenly start clapping (an event), potentially loud machinery (Dodge Ram trucks! Harley Davison motorcycles! Juicers at juice bars! Espresso things at coffee places! Etc.), businesses I have to go to which could be noisy like auto mechanic (those air guns!), or natural food’s store (free range hippie kids screaming around the aisles)...And so on. Before going into any of these “potential noise locations” or when my internal radar goes off I immediately put in my “hear-through” plugs to feel safe.

      - I always use the speaker-phone function when talking on a phone. (For a short while I could put a phone back to my ear in 2011 and it was OK, but that stopped after I got more damage in late 2012). If you feel any kind of “bruising” inside your head/ear after a long call use speaker!

      - I can’t use a digital phone service like Vonage. The sound is too “hard” and it makes my tinnitus worse even on speaker. I use an old fashioned landline. It’s “softer” even though not analog any more I guess?...Also, if you insist on a digital service here’s a trick. Vonage for instance can “tune down” the frequency to a softer range as they have a few internal settings to do this. It helped when they did it for me but not enough. Ask your provider to do it or if they have that option.

      - Drive a quiet car, and the bigger the wheels the less the road noise. Use “highway tyres”. Don’t use knobby, off-road tyres as they make a horrible level of sound on normal blacktop/macadam roads. Yeah I know, most European cars are small and have small tyres. I rent the cheapest mini cars available so unless in Germany (where they really know what a smooth “strasse” is!) I have to drive with full earplugs in. Stressful, but otherwise ringing goes up a lot after a long trip – well, since the ‘hyperacusis app.’ joined my ‘tinnitus app.’

      - Yep, windows up. No extra wind noise when driving.

      - Talking of vehicles...When walking along a road and an emergency vehicle is coming fast with sirens blaring and I don’t have time to get my earplugs in, I just stand still and stick my fingers in my ears until the thing has gone by. I get strange looks from pedestrians but don’t give a damn. They are my ears!

      - Speaking of which…Now this used to help before, but not as much since the ‘stage four’ increase in my volume - not sure why…If you get unexpectedly ‘noise zapped’, your ringing spiked and you are cursing like a sailor, you probably have our fingers in your ears already…OK, now wiggle them around like crazy. I mean really do it! Waggle them around in there so there is a “thup-a-thup-a-thup” sound right in your ear canals. Then grab your ears and pull, pinch, push and generally beat them up a bit on the outside (not too hard). So there is all this “ear stimulation” going on and also a lot of swishing sounds from the activity…I do this for about 10 to 20 seconds. I swear it used to help. It used to decrease the ‘spike’ very quickly. Maybe this was a sort of “acupressure” or ??? Ha, ha…I got some strange looks I can assure you!!! But whatever works is my motto for this darn affliction.

      - Nature…Hiking in the BIG mountains (but avoid overhead jetways – yeah I have a map for them). The silence is so BIG that it kind of masks the tinnitus. The huge deserts also do the same. But it has to be “big quiet”…small quiet like in a cabin in the woods does not work. There I hear the tinnitus the same as at home (which is very quiet). You may have heard of poets (or John Muir?) describe… “The ringing silence” of these places. And I don’t think they all had tinnitus! It just is like that. It helps me a lot and it’s different than “masking” like waves at the ocean or a waterfall, as that just hides the tinnitus. The BIG silence is different, it kind of absorbs it. Way cool! (Could be hard for you cramped Europeans – sorry).

      - Treats…Yes I drink coffee and drink wine now. Caffeine does zero to my tinnitus and I live in the California wine country, so after the fourth ramp up in volume in December 2012 I decided I was going to drown myself in alcohol and re-stimulate myself with coffee every morning. Ummmm….well that did not last long as I figured a gun would give me less of a hangover. (But getting a gun is a hassle – another story perhaps?! OK, OK…not now!)

      Anyhow, I discovered I liked good organic coffee and it gave me something to look forward to at the beginning of each day. Two cups is yummy. It helps me deal with another day of tinnitus. Then, when that day turns to evening I pour myself one glass of good red wine (cheap here) and pretend I am in one of my favorite haunts in Europe (Ahhhh…I miss them) and sip it and forget the present a bit. Like Michael Douglas said in that great film Traffic… “It takes the edge off”. It eases the tinnitus and I get some relief. Not much, but a bit. It helps. Also I have read in many places that one glass of red wine is actually healthier than no wine or even alcohol – moderate alcohol. Not whole bottles of it at a time!

      - Oh, I also take and have taken for years, about 1 mg of Klonopin (Clonezepam = a Benzo) every night for sleep. If I don’t I plain don’t sleep. (Yes was awake for nearly 7 days straight when tried to drop it a couple of years ago). I have no worries about it and it’s the only drug/med. I take of any kind.

      - Meds/drugs! Very important…Be careful, be informed, be wise. Tinnitus, drugs/meds, loud sound, exposure time, often do not mix well. Read my warning post on this:

      OK…I think that’s about enough for now. I’m sure there’s more, but another long post. Again! Sheeeesh…I’m useless at being “short and sweet”. Hope this helps someone though.

      Take care and best to all… Michael
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    2. object16

      object16 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      overuse of hearing protection, plus noise
      I could have written very similar myself - I always now wear the Bose headset because sudden sounds come from "nowhere" - screaming kids, motorcycle, snowmobile, truck, back-fire, sirens, paging overhead etc etc etc I have discovered there is a way of dental drilling without the drill, so I have a new dentist now (thank god there is one because I live in a very small city, and dental drilling can be done silently using air - like sand blasting, it works for small cavities so I make sure to get regular checks and brush my teeth). For me, the meds are vital. I don't care what anyone says, I need them, and that's just too bad.
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    3. AUTHOR

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      object 16... I hope you realized that my reference to meds was not a put down at all (if you went to the thread you would see that). I was specifically making note of taking ototoxic meds and then exposing oneself to sound and the dangers thereof. I firmly believe such meds increase the likelihood of tinnitus when exposed to sound levels (or duration) that would NOT necessarily have led to tinnitus if not on the meds! This is pretty much never discussed by docs or anyone I have seen reference to.
      Simply put: "If taking a potentially 'hearing affective' drug avoid loud sounds even if normally OK for you!"
      The list of such drugs is huge, and many are used like candy (NSAIDs for example).
      With regard to taking meds to keep you sane due to tinnitus, etc. - yeah for sure!!! I don't care what anyone says either. If I need it I take long as it's not going to kick up my tinnitus of course.

      Best, Michael......Well, I'm changing my icon back as prefer it to my selfie! mirror lies. ["Mirror, mirror on the wall, why doth you deceive us all?"]
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    4. Boxdra

      Boxdra Member

      Thnx for sharing!
    5. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      Awesome list, you have more to ad?
    6. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      Thx for the tips man...i have learned quite a bit of those due to trial and error already but its great to get a formal blueprint from a custom musician plugs go with me everywhere.
    7. linearb

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      you are an inspiration to us all, @Zimichael :) Happy new year!

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