Tinnitus for Almost 30 Years... Recently It Got Worse, and More Sensitive

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by BillB1234, Jan 31, 2020.

    1. BillB1234

      BillB1234 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer monitors squealing, high-pitched electronics
      Hi!

      I've had tinnitus for almost 30 years, ever since the night I was working late at home on my computer with the monitor that squealed way too much, and when I finally lay down to go to sleep in my now-dead-quiet apartment, my right ear suddenly went "Beep... beep... beeeeeeeeeeeeeee" ... and it never stopped. A few days later, same thing happened with my left ear. And it's been that way ever since (until recently). Relatively "mild" tinnitus, with a steady volume and a solid "ring" tone somewhere around 14 kHz (although any sound from 8 kHz - 20 kHz made it worse for a while).

      Growing up I could always hear high-pitched noises -- I could walk into your house and tell you that you left your TV on upstairs, even if the volume was off. (Seems to be a family trait...)

      After my tinnitus started, it never went away, and never went below a certain "volume". Nothing other than high-pitched noises seemed to affect it. Any high-pitched, squealing electronics always made it worse: switched power supplies, older TV's, certain computer hard drives or even solid state drives (SSDs) in newer laptops, newer laptops when the CPUs whine between power modes, pretty much anything with a capacitor that squeals at very high frequencies.

      This has been a growing problem at work, since I work with computers and most computers in the past 10 years, and especially in the past 3-4 years, have electronics that squeal in ways that make my ears ring worse than normal. Sometimes I can avoid them, sometimes I have to just deal with it and wait for my ears to ring less in the morning, or sometimes in a few days. When my company wanted to enforce a required "laptop upgrade" from my 2014 MacBook but all the new ones they gave me squealed too much, I managed to get a "medical exception" and was allowed to keep my old Mac ... at least until it dies.

      But then a few months ago something happened to make my Tinnitus worse, and my sensitivity much higher. Now I'm hearing sounds I didn't hear before, or maybe that didn't bother me before. They make my ears ring much worse than before. For example, I was using a client's laptop for 9 months on a project and it was absolutely silent, as far as I could tell. Since I needed to upgrade my personal laptop, and even though this model was already discontinued (a 2017 MacBook), I bought the exact same model MacBook off eBay. Turned it on -- now I can hear it, and it makes my ears ring. But all the components are the same, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, the "volume level" on the ringing in my ears has gotten much louder, and stayed louder.

      Same story with other devices: I've been using a CPAP machine since May 2018. Just realized a few weeks ago that every morning when I wake up, my ears are ringing much worse than when I went to sleep. Turns out the CPAP's power supply squeals at 17.5 kHz, 18.4 kHz, and 19.5 kHz. For more than a year I didn't hear it or it didn't bother me, but now I do and it does?

      So ...

      Any recommendations for a good ENT and/or audiologist in the NJ or NYC area who actually understands that tinnitus is a thing, and that changes in tinnitus might actually be caused by something that should be looked into rather than ignored, and that perhaps there may be some possible treatments starting to appear on the horizon? (Or maybe not - how about one who even just knows the pros and cons of what's available and what's coming?) I've been to 2 recently who both completely shut down as soon as they heard "tinnitus for 30 years", ignoring the part about "but why did it suddenly get so much worse recently?"

      Anyway - that's my 30 years of tinnitus in a nutshell. Very happy to have found this place!

      - Bill
       
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    2. Mister Muso
      Scurvy

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Hi Bill - welcome!

      Hope you get some advice. I guess this is one of the things people are most afraid of - symptoms getting worse after "habituation" over a period of time. You seem like a practical kind of person though, ready to look for solutions to problems, which is good. It had never occurred to me that people working with computers could be at risk, though certainly I do have an old laptop with a very noisy fan which can set my tinnitus reacting to it. Even the sound of some keyboards being typed on can be irritating to my ears. I considered requesting a quieter keyboard from my Facilities department but decided against it. Don't want to be branded as too much of a trouble-maker, after negotiating to work at home part-time and trying to get a monitor at home.

      Hoping someone in the New York area can recommend a good tinnitus specialist for you!
       
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    3. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. From your description there seems to be some form of hyperacusis which can come from loud noise exposure or acoustic trauma. Did you recall such an event close to the start of the louder ringing?
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      BillB1234

      BillB1234 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer monitors squealing, high-pitched electronics
      Possibly? I didn't pay too much attention because high-pitched squeals from electronics always made my ears ring more loudly, but it would always quiet back down in a a day or two. I'd try to avoid them when I could, but if I was stuck around them, I'd just have to wait it out.

      However, this "louder volume" problem might have been caused by a piece of equipment at a doctor's office that had a very loud, very high-pitched electronic squeal -- I think one of their computers or monitors, but it was VERY loud, and I was at least 10 feet away from it. About a month ago I was stuck sitting in the exam room for more than an hour with the dang thing while waiting for a Lexi-scan test, and although I knew it was making my ears ring badly, I assumed it would go away like it always did. I can't be sure because I wasn't tracking a timeline then (I am now), but I don't think the ringing has ever really quieted back down at all since then.

      I don't know what caused the increased sensitivity, however -- that happened earlier than that, sometime between September 2019 and December 2019. In theory I bought the exact same model MacBook in December that I was using in early September; Apple doesn't usually change components and this model can't be upgraded so all the internals should have been the same. In September I couldn't hear it but in December I could. However, in October I did have to take antibiotics (Sulfameth/Trimethoprim) for a leg infection, but "hearing loss" is listed as an "incidence not known" side effect so ??.
       
    5. Lane

      Lane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic Drug
      @BillB1234 -- Those antibiotics could very well be a factor in your recent tinnitus spike(s). I also think there's a possibility the EMFs emanating from the computer(s) you're using could also be a factor (and perhaps not the sound). Have you looked into some kind of grounding pad for your computer to protect yourself from those EMFs? Some people on this forum have reported getting tinnitus from Smart Meters, late model vehicles with load of radio frequencies, etc.

      All the Best...

      https://www.druginformer.com/search/side_effect_details/bactrim/tinnitus.html
       
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    6. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Sounds like a mild acoustic trauma on top of chronic tinnitus. Need to avoid loud sounds, and further noise exposure. If the computers are too loud, try something fanless.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      BillB1234

      BillB1234 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer monitors squealing, high-pitched electronics
      It's not the fan noise that bothers me - it's the MUCH higher pitched noises of the electronic components themselves: the SSDs, the CPUs, the video cards, etc. Loud noises themselves don't usually do too much, unless they are _very_ loud, in which case I just get more of that "normal" ringing noise that most people get. High pitched noises, even relatively quiet ones, on the other hand -- THOSE drive me nuts.

      Both laptops I'm using right now are squealing (in the 8 kHz - 20 kHz range), and the fans are almost completely off according to the app I use to monitor their speed. (Fans in older computer desktops did used to bother me, so I used to use modified fans from QuietPC.com , but now the fans aren't as loud so the fan noise sometimes actually helps cover up other background squealing, more like white noise would.)

      Devices without fans do it too. Discovered last night that my new basement LED ceiling lights squeal. (Traded drafts for "noise".) Fun.
       
    8. Flyingsheep
      Sheepish

      Flyingsheep Member

      Location:
      Cleveland, OH
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'm much like you, I can hear up to 19-20khz no problem, and I'm 31. Fan noises usually triggers my tinnitus and ramps it up to a high pitch squeal for a majority of the day. Then recently it went from mild/moderate to moderate/severe for absolutely no reason (I've been spending most of my time in a silent room for the past two months). Been to an audiologist and they threw their hands up and ensured my hearing was perfect. It's only just recently I started consuming turmeric twice a day that instantly my tinnitus has dropped from an 8/10 at times to 1/10, sometimes 3/10, and white noise hardly ramps it up now. So I'm wondering if people like us who have "perfect hearing" but highly reactive tinnitus that can reach severe levels might be dealing with some sort of inflammation, not noise-induced tinnitus. Have you tried turmeric/curcumin or had your blood pressure checked?
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      BillB1234

      BillB1234 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer monitors squealing, high-pitched electronics
      I've had my blood pressure checked - no problem there. Haven't heard much about turmeric/curcumin - sounds like something I'll definitely have to look into ASAP! Yours definitely sounds like mine -- "highly reactive" to the slightest high-pitched noise, but perfect (too perfect) hearing otherwise. Now with my newer, even-more-sensitive levels, I'm discovering all sorts of chargers and things around my house that never bothered me that set it off even more. (Fun fact: The power adapter for the "Echo Plus gen 1" squeals WAY more when the Echo isn't attached to it, but even then it still squeals. Ironically, I wanted to use the Echo to play music to cover up my laptops squealing. So I'm looking into building small soundproofing boxes to cover all the squealing power adapters in my house like that one...)

      How much tumeric do you consume? Any references you'd recommend I should start looking at?
       
    10. Lane

      Lane Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic Drug
      @BillB1234 -- This thread you started here is very interesting to me. -- Since you're open to trying some curcumin, I might just mention that just this past week (after two years of tinnitus), I'm getting some of the best benefits I've gotten from anything I've tried so far from an essential oil mixture. It was specially formulated for tinnitus by a woman who lives locally here.

      I tried it a few months ago, and thought I "maybe" felt a softening of the tinnitus, but nothing dramatic. So I didn't do it too often (usually just before going to bed), and then would forget about it for days at a time. Recently, I realized that exposing my ears to outside air would cause my tinnitus to spike. So I decided to put some cotton balls in my ears to protect them. Then my wife suggested I put some of that essential oil blend in (and on) my ears before putting the cotton in. (Did this by putting some on my fingertips and applying to the inside and outside of my ear).

      Since I walk 2-3 times a time, I was applying the oil 2-3x a day as well (which I'd not done before). After about three days I'd say, I was definitely noticing a more consistent softening of my tinnitus. This has only been in the past week or so, so don't have a long track record with it so far. But just wanted to let you know that at this point, it seems to be one of the most effective and dependable ways to soften my tinnitus.

      For perspective, my tinnitus before starting this was usually 7-8, plus or minus 1-2 notches. I'd say it's now averaging more like about 5-6, with my spikes being limited to about 7-8. Obviously I'd like it to be better, but it's really a big improvement over what it was. -- The blend (which is called "Ringing Ears") lists Cypress, Lemon, Lavender, and Helichrysum oils, and then says it has "other pure essential oils" as well. If this is at all of interest to you, you might want to check out a really informative (and positive) post on this forum on HELICHRYSUM OIL. -- @Star64
       

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