Tinnitus in Your 20s

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by CL94, May 2, 2016.

    1. CL94

      CL94 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fluid in ear&Noise exposure
      Hello there,

      I am a 21 year old college student living in NYC. I am an actress and a singer and have been performing in musicals since I was 5 years old.

      I had noticed when I flew home for thanksgiving that my ears were really hurting me for some reason and it was preventing me from sleeping. After I got back to school, I went to my college health center(which is terrible)and they told me I had fluid in my ear and I needed to take Sudafed(BIG MISTAKE). It made everything worse and made the whole world sound like I was living in a bubble. This is a rather large problem when you are a singer and music is a huge part of your life.

      The week I got back also happened to be my boyfriend's 21 birthday(I had bought us tickets to a concert as a gift) and the week of my sorority formal.
      The combination of these two events is what led to my tinnitus. Since December 5, 2015 I have not had silence.

      I woke up the morning after my sorority formal with a sound in my ears that will never leave. I distinctly remember thinking that I wasn't going to let whatever weird thing was going on with my ears prevent me from having a good time and celebrating with my friends. I had bought some earplugs and had accidentally left them in my room on the way to the concert.

      I had absolutely no idea what the implications for that mistake would be.

      Ironically, I had always prided myself on having really good hearing. I was always conscious not to turn my music up too loud and I didn't go out to loud bars or concerts much. For my whole life I have always had extremely good hearing. I have always been a very cautious responsible person and the fact that this happened to me of all people is shocking.

      After a journey of going to 3 different ENTs in NY and TX(my home state). I was told that there was absolutely nothing I could do and that was simply that.

      It is absolutely amazing to me the lack of sympathy most doctors and especially ENTs have about tinnitus.
      It has had an enormous impact on my life and I'm sure all of yours as well. I have developed a lot of health anxiety as a result of my tinnitus and it has greatly disrupted my life and changed my whole perspective. I have some depressive tendencies and this has brought them back to the forefront once again after going for a very happy and strong three years.

      I'm not as carefree and happy as I used to be. And it's hard to be in college and try to explain to people why you don't want to go to concerts or to loud bars and if you do go, people are always looking at me strangely because of the earplugs. I get so nervous to go places where I know there will be large (loud) crowds now. Even going into restaurants where they play loud music sometimes terrifies me because I want to protect my ears from getting worse.

      These past few months have been incredibly difficult as I learn to live with this. And while supportive for the most part, most of my friends and family don't understand how hard adjusting to tinnitus is. It's made it incredibly difficult for me to focus on living my life and carrying on as I used to.

      I'm trying to find a silver lining here but sometimes it's just really challenging to even get up and go out into the very loud world around me.

      Any advice about living with tinnitus in your twenties will be greatly appreciated.

      I really want to find a way to "make my own sunshine" with all of this but I'm sure how yet.

      So yeah...hi. I'm glad this exists.
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. Kane Moffat

      Kane Moffat Member

      Glasgow, Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey CL,

      Welcome to the forum, its a great resource to have when the tinnitus has just started. I'm 20 in a few months, also a University student so I feel I'm qualified to help you out on this one! I'm sorry you've developed this condition, it must be pretty frustrating getting tinnitus when you took so much care before hand.

      I've had Tinnitus for over a year now and it has caused me a alot of anxiety as well. Especially in the beginning, the fear you have over loud noise is a totally natural thing and to an extent it is useful as you will protect your ears from damage that way when you feel it is too much. It's a great sign your using earplug and being smart with your noise exposure. I personally wear earplugs to almost every social event i'm at whether that's a house party, bar or club.

      The best plugs to buy for environments such as party's bars and loud restaurants are etymonic earplugs, they are discreet, can come in a transparent silocone and block just enough noise that you are comfortable but are still able to hear the people around you. As for clubbing and concert going (although I am yet to go to a concert since T started) you will want full foam 33db plugs. I wear these all the time when I'm out socialising, and if the place isn't that dark I will more often than not get at least one person ask me 'have you got earplugs in', to which i'll reply 'yeah, got tinnitus' then they'll say 'ah okay' and we'll continue on with the conversation. To me now it really isn't a big deal, ALL of my freinds know i have tinnitus and once i explain it once to them they never bother asking again, also when I take breaks from the clubs they know what I'm doing and i jus go back and meet them again. I'm very relaxed and open about it with everyone. It's a good idea to try an explain it to your freinds as they will have more sympathy.

      As for your mental health, I absolutely understand why you feel anxious and depressed. Tinnitus is like a chronic pain and the idea of something never ending is where we lose hope and this is why you might feel depressed. I am by no means the old person I once was, but I am striving hard to get back there. I think for both of us the solution (until an effective treatment is found (some argue that could be in less than 10 years)), lies in looking at the situation completely differently. The solution is to habituate to the noise find it non threatening and eventually come to peace with it. I understand that its hard, it really is difficult but we're all in one of two states at a time, either an upward spiral or a downward spiral. So you need to decide which one you want to be in and then fully commit to it.

      You can find yourself again, you just need to take care of your mental and physical health start the path to habituation and you will get there. I hope things work out for you, all the best.
      • Like Like x 4
      • Hug Hug x 1
    3. Lazypugfilms

      Lazypugfilms Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I'm 23 and I just got tinnitus. My advice is relax and be smart. Avoid concerts and try to find a good ent. I cried a lot when I first got tinnitus. I haven't cried recently. I have hearing loss in my left ear. My doctor tells me it won't get worse. I believe him but I'm still scared all the time. That's where tinnitus hurts the most (at least for me). I used to be not so afraid of things but now I'm always wondering (how loud will this place be, should I go to that bar, should I film this event, etc) I never truly appreciated my ears. I don't know what caused my hearing loss but I just want to be able to relax again one day. If I was 43 maybe I'll be more adjusted for this but at 23 I can't help but be afraid. And scared that I lived the best years of my life and the rest of it will be in fear

      I get in really dark places sometimes. But I remember many musicians and others have had this. They're fine. I'm just scared. I'm afraid that there is nothing I can do to protect myself
      • Like Like x 4
    4. Cillian

      Cillian Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sinus infection
      I'm 20 and have it 3 months :(
    5. matt89

      matt89 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      27 here. Graduated from university in spring last year fortunately before I got T.

      Had a great hearing too. I could have worked in an u-boat as an eavesdropper :D My ENT has tested my ears randomly two years before I got T and he said he has never seen such a good audiogram.

      Yes couldn't agree more. Most ENTs without T don't care in a way about tinnitus as they should.
      Most of them just say "You have to live with that. It can only become better.". That's it. Ok there's no cure for tinnitus so in fact they cannot do much to successfully treat your tinnitus. Irrespective of that many ENTs (especially the ones without T) really don't care and make the impression you are a poor sod. That's psychical poison for everyone who has to deal with tinnitus.

      I mean you already know what kind of advice we will disclose to you. Everything is more or less running out to the sentence "Just don't care about it and live your life like you want to.". But "just don't care" is extremely hard because the noise is there whatever you do.
      So what can you do to "just don't care".
      My advice is keep being busy and when you want to sit down in silence or want to concentrate turn on some low volume background music or use headphones with rain sounds to turn your focus away from the tinnitus.

      Additionally I would say you can go to bars with music. You don't need earplugs there except when the volume is the same like in a club. Purchase invisible earplugs and take them with you as a back-up all the time.
      You can be hypersensitive the first three months after the on-set of tinnitus, but you don't have to be hypersensitive for the rest of your life because of tinnitus. Your ears can handle a lot if the volume is acceptable and the volume is except in clubs and on concerts mostly acceptable.
    6. Sebastians

      Sebastians Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Guitars, loud girls and guns
      i'd personally advise you not to be around loudish places for the first 6 months though. Ears/nerves can heal somewhat after excessive exposure. Then again, there is no general consensus on what damaged ears can take. Since you're still young, maybe just give your ears a proper brake for a while, so you don't stand in the way of natural healing of any kind, you'll have plenty of time to catch up later. Summer is coming up, so plenty of outdoors activities are possible instead of going to loud bars.
    7. AUTHOR

      CL94 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fluid in ear&Noise exposure
      I posted this last May and I thought I would do a little update. I am so proud to say I am in a better place than I ever thought I would be. It'll be a full year since I got tinnitus next month and I have been able to move on with my life. my anxiety levels are lower than ever and I honestly don't think about my T much anymore. 99% of the time I don't even hear it, and now when I do it doesn't induce panic or any sort of negative reaction. I've just accepted it for what it is and I always carry earplugs around with me in case I end up in a really loud environment. I also don't get big spikes after I've been in a loud environment anymore. I pretty much hear it only when I am falling asleep or getting out of the shower. It has gotten to the point where I will be in a quiet room and I don't hear my T at all. I know it is still there, but it is no longer a dark cloud over my life. It doesn't have control over me anymore and that is a fantastic feeling. :)
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Great to hear that your tinnitus has improved and you are taking precautions to see it remains that way. Just remember, one of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to forget that they have tinnitus. By this I mean, returning to the use of listening to audio through headphones. I don't recommend that you do this even listening to music at low volume through headphones, as there is a risk of the tinnitus becoming more intrusive! However, the choice is yours but remember what it was once like, and believe me it can get a lot worse if you are not careful.

      Best of luck
      PS: I also advise that you don't sleep in a quiet room. It is much better to use a sound machine and play it at low level throughout the night until morning.
      • Informative Informative x 1

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