Sudden Change in Sensitivity to Noise

Discussion in 'Support' started by walkthroughwalls, Jul 14, 2017.

    1. walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I used to be fine with going to two concerts/gigs a year wearing foam earplugs. But after the last concert my ears felt full. Last week I played a rehearsal, much quieter than a concert (I'm guessing <100dB) and now my ears feel full again, my hearing's muffled and there seems to be a new tinnitus tone. By all standards I should've been fine, but now it seems that I cannot even handle rehearsals at low volumes - with heavy earplugs!

      The only difference is that I was wearing a different brand of foam earplugs (for the Dutchies: Kruidvat's own brand instead of Herriestoppers). The ones I was using are much stiffer and less comfortable, but I would not think they'd protect less.

      I did have jaw surgery last summer, but this had absolutely no effect on my hearing, as far as I could tell. The other thing is that I've been under a TON of university-related (Computing Science) stress since October up until now. I do experience up/downs in tinnitus from stress and sleep deprivation, but never to the extend that I'm experiencing now. I think my hearing also became slightly worse about 5 months ago, without any apparent reason.

      What could have caused this? Has anyone had similar experiences? Will any 90dB+ level music be off-limits for me now? :(


      This is all hit me, just as I'm rediscovering my love for music and art.
      I'm a professionally trained musician, worked in bands and as a freelancer, but became disillusioned with the whole thing. I like art, authenticity, quiet sunsets, deep conversations and honest, sensitive people. I found myself in a world of mostly loud bars, attitude, superficiality and back-stabbing.
      I went back to school to at least get another source of income, or possibly to pursue a career in academia. Now I've begun to discover that I do belong in art. I can live with the idea of never writing that one mathematical proof, but I have to finish that one composition and find out where my oddball-tastes lead me.
      I'm getting into home-recording again and haven't been this inspired in years :)

      It would be a sad thing if I could never play my music live. There's also a festival with an amazing line-up coming up in The Netherlands, called `Le Guess Who'. I want to go sooo badly...

      Sorry for the ramblings and thanks for reading :)
       
    2. TuneOut

      TuneOut Member

      Location:
      El Dorado Hills, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Worsened 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert

      I can think of sadder things. One in particular.

      Thrills come and go.
       
    3. Zenyatta
      Depressed

      Zenyatta Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/2017(spike)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/Ear-tooth infection
      I mean... that's a clear sign from your body that something isn't right. Maybe you should rest your ears for now.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for the replies :)

      Yeah, I know what you mean... :(

      It's just that it's the only thing that gives my life any meaning. And I can't understand how I could be doing damage with foam earplugs in <103dB environments (which most Dutch concerts are due to regulations).

      Yes, you're right. I will rest my ears for a couple of months. Maybe next week or so, I have my ears looked at to rule out anything physical, and have a new hearing test made to get some objective measurement.

      Maybe I should try wearing the foam earplugs at home where there is no noise, just to see if I'm somehow sensitive to the plugs themselves. My hearing has gone up and down lately, it seems. Could it be caused by stress or allergies? Or would that just be wishful thinking...?
       
    5. TuneOut

      TuneOut Member

      Location:
      El Dorado Hills, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Worsened 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert

      How long was your rehearsal? It's not just decibels but duration of exposure. Don't listen to the 85db for 8-hours rule; it's wrong for even normal people. It's also vital that the earplugs are put in deeply and form an air seal. But there's only so much earplugs can do.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Is that rule wrong? Is it also wrong at 100dB?

      Yes, I did put my earplugs in correctly, but I do know that many people will just try to cram the foam in their ears and that that makes the plugs a lot less effective. I was exposed to no loud noise at all, but the earplugs did physically hurt a little bit.
      I'm guessing the rehearsal was around 2.5 hours, excluding a thirty minute break in the middle.
       
    7. TuneOut

      TuneOut Member

      Location:
      El Dorado Hills, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Worsened 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      I'll refer you to the following CDC blog:

      Understanding Noise Exposure Limits: Occupational vs. General Environmental Noise

      https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/02/08/noise/

      Excerpts:

      "In 1998, NIOSH established the REL for occupational noise exposures to be 85 decibels, A-weighted (dB[A]) as an 8-hour time-weighted average. Exposures at or above this level are considered hazardous. The REL is based on exposures at work 5 days per week and assumes that the individual spends the other 16 hours in the day, as well as weekends, in quieter conditions. Importantly, the NIOSH REL is not a recommendation for noise exposures outside of the workplace in the general environment."

      "Occupational noise exposure limits are established to simplify the complex question of risk and protect as many workers as possible from the effects of noise. The NIOSH REL is not designed to protect all workers from all hearing damage. When setting this limit, NIOSH acknowledged that approximately 8% of workers could still develop hearing loss. In order to protect the most sensitive 8% of the population, NIOSH recommends that hearing protection be worn whenever noise levels exceed 85 dB(A) regardless of duration."


      (The NIOSH guidelines are referring to measurable permanent hearing loss (PTS.) Yet there is also the possibility of "hidden" damage (synaptopathy), which is permanent yet results in no testable hearing loss.)
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    8. jjflyman

      jjflyman Member

      Location:
      Michigan, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise (Concert)
      It is your choice. Keep going to conceits and have a possible lifetime of Tinnitus OR give up music for 6-12 months and a lifetime of silence.
      To me (and anyone who suffers from T) it's a no brainier. I'd give anything for my silence back.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks, I understand where that scale comes from now.

      I got very mild, barely noticeable tinnitus since 2004. I played many rehearsals and concerts afterwards. Then in 2014 I played a rehearsal (with earplugs) that made the tinnitus significantly worse, but my ears still tested near perfect. Then I really cut back on my noise exposure, going only to two or three not-all-that-loud concerts/gigs a year without any problems.
      One year ago I went to a concert and came back with a muffled feeling in my ears. Six months later it was like I lost some more high frequencies, but without any cause. Ten days ago I played a relatively quiet rehearsal and now it feels like I lost more high frequencies and my tinnitus increased. Somehow today everything sounds as muffled and my tinnitus is as loud as it's ever been.

      I've already accepted that the tinnitus is permanent, unless a treatment/cure is found, but the tinnitus doesn't bother me that much. What kills me is not being able the create/experience music properly, not being able to share live music with others and not being able to be part of a music scene.

      The festival I'd like to go to is in November, so there's still time to decide. I'm mainly interested in ambient solo performers, like Grouper, William Basinski and Wolfgang Voigt. These aren't all that loud, but I'm still in doubt as I can't explain what I'm experiencing now. I should've been safe by any measure...
       

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