Tinnitus and Mild Hyperacusis After 3-4 Seconds Loud Noise Exposure (Accidental Audio Feedback)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Brandon Wong, Oct 5, 2021.

    1. Brandon Wong

      Brandon Wong Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise Exposure
      Hi all,

      Like everyone who has come to this forum for answers, I have gone through all threads that are relevant to my condition. This is gonna be a long read.

      I'm a musician and a sound engineer, age 43. I recently shifted my studio setup (two months ago) and had an accidental audio feedback in my extended range and high powered audio system that took me a while to kill the speakers, about 3-4 seconds. My tinnitus happened two days later when I was sitting in my room and realised I could hear a faint eeee (1/10) on my right year, and then a higher pitch, an octave up, on my left. After searching through the web, I thought I will just give it a day or two for it to come down. I still joking tell my wife I could hear higher than before after doing some online hearing test and told her the crickets irritates me as I can hear higher (I didn't realise this was the start of hyperacusis or recruitment to certain frequencies.) Tinnitus obviously didn't come down but I couldn't cancel my gigs and recording session... so as usual I continued with it for about two weeks. After two weeks and a more intense session with wearing headphones for about 3 hours a day, 2-3 consecutive days, I did realise the sound was a little different (probably 1.5/10). I started panicking after this and very quickly fall into depression and lots of negative thoughts. I can't continue music anymore which is my life's work.

      Week 2-3: I went to an audiologist who of cos did the usual hearing test and suggest a tinnitus questionnaire that cost me about $130USD (same questionnaire that I can find online). What she did do for me was fit a trial hearing aid that diminished both left and right ear. I left the place and tried reading and searching for success stories to clam myself down. I was at a point where logically I knew what to do but emotionally I can't step out of that depression. I almost went to a psychiatrist but I didn't want to take any meds. I also went to an ENT friend, a very young doctor who ordered another hearing test all the way to 20 kHz, and she mentioned there is not much perceivable hearing lost, it is quite normal for my age. She also referred me to another audiologist who was in one of US's biggest tinnitus clinics probably a decade ago. He sent me some questionnaires to fill up and called me the next day. Did a full hour of counselling for free and made me feel better. He did rule out any injuries I have and made sure I have the resources to mask my tinnitus (mainly rain and waves sounds from Spotify), mentioned that it can take up to a year for it to recover (definitely did keep my hopes high and my anxiety down.)

      Week 3-6: It lasted for nearly a week before I fell into depression every morning again, evenings gets better along with my appetite. at this point I was sleeping a lot, 9-10 hours every day. I would walk around my apartment with my noise machine so that I don't hear my tinnitus as that causes anxiety. I was also checking it a lot to make sure it hasn't gone up. Around week 4, the rain sounds didn't work as much and I went to crickets. However, some days when I wake in the morning, I will have a just little more buzzing than I went to bed with. This is when I realised some cricket sound triggers my tinnitus. I subsequent changed to white and pink noise but it also ended up being similar to the effect of crickets. I continued my music work but make sure to use protection whenever I am near musicians or need to listen to headphones. A book (Jack Rubinnaci - A Musician with Tinnitus) helped me at this point, kept my spirits up and not to dwell on it even though it is very difficult. However, every time I come back from a recording session, I would feel like my tinnitus would change in intensity (sometimes less intrusive) but still same volume or would go a little higher in volume. I also started MBTSR in hopes of habituating. I did a lot of meditation, and sometimes sleeping thru it, and often it will bring me to memories of really good times with my wife, which I can't foresee any more of that in future in my state.

      Week 7-8: I am still thinking how stupid I was to accidentally created that feedback loop, otherwise my life would be perfect considering I was still getting a lot of work. (Because of this condition, I had to pull out of a school I was teaching part-time, it was almost 50% of my monthly income.) I started to think if there were other things that would have contributed to the tinnitus other than the loud exposure. 1) I did have a fall a month before the acoustic trauma. It was raining. I slipped and hit my the side of my head on a step. My glasses flew. However, I could get up, drive, sit down, and still go for a good dinner. No side effects for the rest of them month other than a little bruised feeling on the side of my head, behind my eyes. I did read that TBI or Post Concussion Syndrome can happen way later but I really do not know if mine can be attributed to that. 2) After the acoustic trauma, I also was also a little too enthusiastic about cleaning my ears with Q-tip, to the point that I might have went a little too deep to disturb the eardrums... I really do not know if irritation can cause tinnitus. However both audiologist and ENT looked at my ear canals and both said it was clean and normal. I started reading more books for comfort. Peter Studenik - I Cured My Tinnitus and also Kimberly Rae - What Doesn't God Fix It?. By now, I feel like I have more stiffness in my neck, perhaps from sleeping too much. The high pitch on my left has now gone to the right side, also in the head and slightly louder than the initial lower right ear pitch. I am very worried and not sure if I should continue my work in music at this point. I have several more recordings coming up. I would kinda rate the tinnitus now at about 2/10, sometimes 3/10 if I'm anxious or tired.

      For noise induced challenged members, can anyone relate to the slowly growing tinnitus in 8 weeks and what do you think I should do at this point? I am wearing earplugs at appropriate moments, but don't want to constantly wear them less I aggravate hyperacusis. Some sounds do still startle me depending on my mood. Dishes, utensils, etc. I do not know if my brains are fried from the audio system, if I should go for X-ray or MRI scans to see if there's anything else wrong. My left Eustachian tube does feel a little funny but I can still clear it but blowing my nose gently. I dunno if I'm thinking too much about it. I have been taking some supplements on and off and also acupuncture. Magnesium, Turmeric, Cod Liver Oil, Ginkgo biloba and alternate with some natural Chinese herbs to lessen my anxiety and balance the body's "Qi".

      My mood swings throughout the day, and usually I get better in the evenings and spend my nights playing worship songs on my guitar.

      Hoping for advice on what to do now. Or just wait it out.
       
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    2. aul884
      Frustrated

      aul884 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      18/7/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise exposure
      Hi @Brandon Wong,
      looks like we are enjoying the same journey at the moment - I am currently 11 weeks. My trauma was a half hour concert, I like you, have tried quite a number of things - at the start I think you almost have to.

      I have had some 'better days' in the 11 weeks - though it is really hard to say if it was the tinnitus itself that let up or my perception - unfortunately at the moment i'm still bouncing around 5/10 most days.

      I have noticed some changes over this course - week 2-9 perhaps my tinnitus was mostly a loud white or high pitched electrical noise, this seems to have given way to a more solid tone these past 2 weeks - more like the jet engine noise people here describe.

      The people in my life that have or have had tinnitus have managed to get used to it if not forget totally about it - this is what I am aiming towards now. Did the supplements or stopping things like alcohol and coffee have a positive effect on my tinnitus? Perhaps, but taking things or altering my life for tinnitus also reminds me that I have it.

      This is really hard at the moment, because the tinnitus is intrusive and I'm reminded regardless - I am hoping this isn't the case long term however.

      I think we wait this out - wait for the positive decreases - which will come and go from there.
       
    3. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Stop listening to loud things. Mask at the lowest possible volume you can. Start living with it.

      It is very early and from the sounds of it not too bad... right now....

      More loud sound and medications will mess with your recovery. You have synapse damage or hair cell trauma. Expect the sounds to change as things die off and nerves literally recalibrate.

      You will probably have quiet mornings soon if not already. A good sleep helps a lot and some report even silence doing so.

      You will more than likely be better in 6 months and not here. Like it will be quiet enough that it will just annoy in quiet rooms at worst.

      Trust me it can get way way way worse.

      Unless you lose your hearing and are suddenly deaf there is nothing wrong.

      Do not do steroids and HBO unless it's gotten 3x worse overnight or you are deaf. It is risky as shit for making your noise into noises.
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brandon Wong

      Brandon Wong Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise Exposure
      Thank you for the comforting post and I do hope we all get better.

      During the initial 3 weeks, I continued listening to headphones as it is part of my work and didn't know better. I now wear earplugs and EQ the high frequencies down as recommended by Jack Rubinacci but even so, I think I better not risk it for now. I might have to cancel my recordings or have someone with me to listen through headphones (or bring a smaller portable monitor speaker like the iLoud Mini Monitors).

      It is really tough as I still have to step into my studio to mix which is a rather dead room... and then I end up check my tinnitus volume and intensity. The idea of not being able to continue in my line of work which I work so hard for really spiral me into a negative loop.

      I just started reading the TRT book by Jastebroff and will have a session with Dr. Ben Thompson tonight. I hope I can psycho myself to stop monitoring my tinnitus and get better in habituation whether or not it recovers. Only time will tell if it recovers... and even then, I might change my line of work just so I don't provoke it.

      I hope there are some musicians out there who can offer some advice on this.
       
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    5. Kevin Hallowell

      Kevin Hallowell Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      @Brandon Wong, how was your meeting with Dr. Ben? I'm meeting him Thursday night to go over my plans for recovery.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brandon Wong

      Brandon Wong Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise Exposure
      Hi @Kevin Hallowell. It was a very basic introductory meeting.

      Letting him know what were my causes, emotional state and toolbox at this point.

      And me asking questions about what might work for me, etc. Quite different from when I saw another two audiologist who made me answer formal questionnaires and the Tinnitus Handicap Index etc.

      My main purpose was to ask if TRT will work for me since using white noise machine seem to spike my ginnigux in the mornings, giving me a buzzy feeling for a while. It might have caused my ginnigux to go from only my left ear to middle of head as well.

      There wasn't any definite answer from Dr. Ben, other than to continue with what I have and to meet him again in two weeks time (which I agreed) and also him offering the monthly or bi-monthly counselling session or 30 minugdx each.

      So basically that's that.

      Let me know about yours.
       
    7. PolarSun

      PolarSun Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music
      I was once in your shoes. So here's my advice. In my opinion the hyperacusis is much more pressing of an issue than the tinnitus. In most cases tinnitus you can get used to. Hyperacusis can snowball very quickly each setback while your ears are too sensitive will push your condition further and we don't want you to get to the point where your own voice is too loud.

      The good news is there's more that you can do for hyperacusis then you can do for tinnitus and as hyperacusis gets better in my experience so does the tinnitus.

      I'll start this off with I've seen many doctors but I'm not one. I would highly recommend finding a clinic that specializes in hyperacusis there aren't many. But I do know of a few in the United States and some that are abroad that would take you as a patient virtually. I find that they are far superior to the usual ents or even audiologists. Even if the audiologist says that they specialize in tinnitus. Try finding a university system department.

      My personal preference and I have tried trt in other therapies is to pretty much buy a sound machine off of Amazon. And have that going near my head as I slept and every week I would increase the volume a little bit. By the three months mark I could do day-to-day things again and buy 6 months it felt fairly okay and at the one-year mark I almost forgot I ever had this experience.

      That being said you can always suffer a setback (why I'm back on this site) so make sure that you have ear plugs on hand at all time I recommend concert ear plugs along with 3m foam in ear plugs. I would wear these when I was driving until I felt comfortable with driving noises and in grocery stores until I felt comfortable with the crashing carts. And then often times at parties too. If I ever felt that I could go without them I would try it. Never not have them on hand even if you think you're going to be somewhere super quiet.

      Here's my final thing and I know it's not what you want to hear but I could never wear headphones again. Now I can do everything with a speaker but never headphones.
       
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    8. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      Is it because you get immediate pain/fullness when using headphones?

      I have hyperacusis and would like to go back to using headphones for FPS games one day, as sound directionality is extremely important there. I can use speakers, usual daily noise does not bother me, but I get fullness and a bit of pain after driving (road noise) or walking near a busy street.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brandon Wong

      Brandon Wong Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise Exposure
      Thanks @PolarSun for sharing your thoughts.

      I think part of my hyperacusis is also psychologically associated with the post acoustic trauma. I am getting a bit better at not being startled with plates, etc. With regards to treating hyperacusis with sound machines, I have started using a low frequency fan mode on my sound machine and although it doesn't come close to my high pitch tinnitus, I keep that in the background. It seems that this doesn't affect me when I wake up in the mornings, I could even sleep on my left ear while it hisses away silently. Previously, the white noise or violet noise which mask my tinnitus will kinda make my tinnitus a little reactive in the mornings. I think it's all different for everybody, hence I'm not too sure if going for TRT will benefit me at this time.
       
    10. PolarSun

      PolarSun Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music
      I'm not talking about sound masking your tinnitus. I'm talking about using nature sounds to get your ears more used to noise.
       
    11. PolarSun

      PolarSun Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music
      Not only due to pain or fullness but any surprise loud sound, ringing or feedback can immediately create a setback. The noise is just way too close to your ears.
       
    12. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      I don't get these if I set a hard volume limit on my DAC, so it should not be a problem at all. But I will only start using headphones again if I see any hyperacusis improvement after my treatment.
       
    13. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Did you notice any immediate symptoms after the audio feedback? Typically after noise trauma one would feel pressure, tension, a dull headache etc Did you have any symptoms in the 48 hours before your tinnitus was evident?

      Don't do the MRI yet. It could worsen your symptoms. It is a very loud test.

      I think the changes in your tinnitus could mainly be attributed to changing mood and anxiety.

      Do not focus on tinnitus. If you focus on it try to see it as something natural that happened, not as a threat. Our brain and nervous system has filters for threats associated with certain sounds, so do not go down that avenue...

      In order not to focus on tinnitus do some activity that keeps you distracted, that is active and that is NOT related to sound.. exercise, painting, etc

      Try green tea, fruit, Curcumin etc Try physiotherapy (neck, shoulders and back).
       
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    14. PolarSun

      PolarSun Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music
      A good part of preventing hyperacusis once you already have it isn't being concerned about actual noise damage. Your ears are already abnormal the usual limits on decibels aren't really going to apply. You're concerned about if your ears are going to find a sound threatening or not. I find frequencies almost more important than actual loudness. And you never know what sound that's going to be. The perverse thing about this is the more anxious you are about it the more likely you're going to get a setback.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brandon Wong

      Brandon Wong Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise Exposure
      Hi @Juan, no I didn’t experience any other symptoms other than sitting in my room 2 days after the feedback that I realised there is a slight ringing in my right ear, and a barely audible higher frequency hiss in my left.

      @PolarSun, I understand you better now. So yes, I’ve switched to a fan noise in addition to turning on my overhead fan when I sleep now.
       
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