Tinnitus Worse After Going to a Concert without Earplugs, COVID-19, Earwax, ETD

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by weehiru, Mar 31, 2024.

    1. weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      G'day all.

      My tinnitus journey started when I was a teenager; I was diagnosed with TMJ as I noticed ringing in my ears at night. I eventually got used to it to the point I hadn't noticed it in years unless I really tried. I should have counted my blessings then (HA!)

      I've always been vigilant about protecting my ears as a semi-regular concertgoer and metalhead, but this time I didn't. I went to a concert 3 weeks ago without my earplugs, caught COVID-19, impacted earwax and Eustachian tube dysfunction, and have been dealing with a hissing in both my ears, particularly loud on the right with a higher tone. Really, really, really fucking devastated that one mistake can change the trajectory of your life forever.

      I won't lie; I've been extremely suicidal this week with the realization that this is permanent. And I've been through the utter pits with my mental health and suicidal ideation. Nothing comes close to this, but I'm in a position now where I am much more positive. The strength of the people who love me is helping. (Love is enough; let it be enough for you) I'm kind of just over being depressed at this point... It's exhausting. I want to get back to how I usually am: a carefree stoner who smokes away his problems. Even weed makes the ringing more noticeable these days. :bored:

      About a week into the ringing (and recovering from COVID-19) I went to a doctor as I noticed my right ear feeling quite full after using ear wax drops to attempt to get the wax out. The doctor told me COVID-19 can induce tinnitus and that my ears were extremely full of wax. They assured me that syringing it out will eliminate the ringing and prescribed me a sinus wash out and spray. Of course I was skeptical, and doing my research into ear syringing I needed to listen to my gut and turn to an audiologist.

      Even then, I heard horror stories about microsuction, so I tried hard to opt for manual ear cleaning. The ear wax I had was too soft for him to do so, resulting in him microsuctioning my ear. I don't think this has caused any more damage, but I'm sure this didn't help. 70% of the earwax is out of my ears except for some wet wax still lining my right ear drum, which he says will take a month to drop off.

      Of course, the ringing has persisted, much to my horror with having removed all of that earwax. I was getting hopeless, so I called him up again, expressing my fears of hearing damage. I did a hearing test. I have perfect hearing—better than average for my age range, apparently. I'm really not convinced, though. I've been informed that most audiologists test only up to the 8 kHz range.

      There's no doubting, though, that this ringing could potentially be acoustic damage, in his opinion. He instead urged me to look into ototoxic drugs, and it turns out Doxycycline is one that I had been taking for the past few months due to Hidradenitis Suppurativa alongside Metformin. I take Testosterone Replacement Therapy alongside this, and I do acknowledge that there are some studies that link tinnitus cases to this. But then again, this same audiologist wasn't even aware that TMJ was a disorder, let alone something that can induce tinnitus... Which I found was odd.

      I suppose I'm in a really weird position with my tinnitus. It's like I have the whole unholy hexagon of triggers that cause this. I'm in a weird limbo of uncertainty about having hope as all of these factors can affect me.

      I've started by ditching Doxycycline and taking Magnesium, B1, and B12 vitamins. I know these aren't magic pills, given my situation, but with all the other factors going on with my health, it surely can't harm... Even if it's just to make me feel better.

      I don't know what I'm hoping for with posting this; a sense of community, maybe someone else in a similar position? It feels like tinnitus is like Fight Club in my life now, given how the professionals in my life are telling me to "just ignore it" and "not think about it or mention it," but it's hard when you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder... But even without this shit is hard. Is this really all the medical attention and advice that this condition gets?

      Regardless if you're reading this I hope you're hanging on. We've got this. We're not going to let this ruin us completely.
       
      • Hug Hug x 5
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    2. LukeYoung
      Frantic

      LukeYoung Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud Concert - Noise Exposure
      There isn’t much we can really do. Your brain can learn to block it out. Coming up to 8 years for me. I went for many years with barely noticing mine. Although I’m going through a spike or something right now, as the last few days have been louder than normal, unless it has gotten louder for some reason, or maybe I’m paying more attention to it due to other factors.

      Either way, not much I can do? The anxiety and the fear of it is your worst enemy. Just protect your ears. Make changes for the better, and over time, you may be back to where you were without really noticing it.

      Limiting loud noise exposure can help a lot. Some of us seem to have “reactive tinnitus,” which can make it louder due to sounds—or at least we think so. I would consider anything 80 dB and over loud.
       
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    3. Jammer

      Jammer Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      To me, the greatest risk to tinnitus sufferers is how to limit their exposure to random or accidental noise trauma. It's the noise you don't hear coming that will fuck up your hearing.

      Wearing earplugs didn't help me when I was accidentally exposed to a pneumatic hammer drill, which caused my tinnitus to go from a bearable level for 20 years to a catastrophic level for the past 8. There is no way to protect yourself against this type of unexpected trauma.
       
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    4. RunningMan
      Stressed

      RunningMan Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      HiFrq ~2000, Increased 2022, LoFrq ~2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise - clubs, stereos, cycles, headphones, engines,etc
      If your tinnitus is mild to moderate, your brain may be able to tune it out, and you can habituate and get on with a somewhat normal life. But you definitely want to protect your ears from any noise trauma so that you don't move into the severe tinnitus level. Early on, there's still a chance the tinnitus could decrease over time if you are careful.
       
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    5. Jupiterman

      Jupiterman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden loud noise
      This is one of the better threads on Tinnitus Talk.

      Lots of experienced sufferers giving good advice.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      Thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate it a lot!

      To protect my ears, I'm not using headphones and listening to therapy at a low level at night on a Bluetooth speaker (just to calm me down). I additionally bought some SNR 31 Decibullz earplugs, as my current Loops only offer about 23 dB protection at most.

      I'm good at tuning it out throughout the day. I work in a busy shopping center and am busy with my studies. I have music on my speaker on a low level, which helps.

      I'm kind of gutted, though, as I know concerts will be a genuine risk for me, given my situation. I was meant to see Infectious Grooves this Friday and Carcass on Saturday, but given some of my responses and what I've looked around, I've decided not to take the risk. I have an Iron Maiden concert in September, and I plan to at least rest my ears until then.

      My audiologist seems to think, though, that concerts won't be a problem for me, given that I use earplugs. But what are your brutal, honest thoughts around it, given your experiences as those with tinnitus?
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    7. LukeYoung
      Frantic

      LukeYoung Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud Concert - Noise Exposure
      It depends on whether it’s indoors or outdoors, how far you are from speakers, and how loud the crowd is.

      I would say the outdoor festival type is OK because you can move away if it is too loud. I haven’t risked any concerts since, unfortunately, it just isn’t worth it.
      This is true, but you have control over some things, and others you won’t.

      A loud smoke alarm at work went off the other day. Right above my cubicle, so I’m dealing with hopefully a temporary spike. It was 117 dB at peak.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    8. HighleyTall
      In pain

      HighleyTall Member

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      monitor noise trauma at gig
      Honest? Don't go to concerts even with earplugs. It's a small sacrifice if you don't want to end up with noxacusis. If you end up with noxacusis, you will have to live like a hermit avoiding EVERY sound.

      I kept playing music with earplugs, I wish I didn't.
       
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    9. Muggumbo

      Muggumbo Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2023
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert/Acoustic Trauma
      I personally recommend avoiding concerts going forward. I wish I never went to the one that caused my tinnitus. I've made improvements but I'll never go again even if I get completely better.
       
      • Agree Agree x 4
    10. Pixelito
      Surfing

      Pixelito Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2023
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Too many Rush concerts
      Smoking weed will absolutely make your tinnitus worse. Instantly. I've heard edibles are OK, I personally wouldn't even venture that. Fortunately, alcohol doesn't affect my tinnitus, but I cut way back on that.

      Under no circumstances should we go to an Iron Maiden concert! It will be the biggest regret of your life. Your audiologist does not have tinnitus; they have no clue what they are talking about. As others have said, I would forget about any concerts. You need to accept that part of your life is over if you ever want to live a normal life again.
       
      • Agree Agree x 6
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      This is incorrect. The audiologist I spoke to does have tinnitus himself, which is noise-induced. I doubt his severity, but I don't think completely discrediting a professional in this instance is helpful for me. But your advice for concerts has, however, been, so thank you for your response.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      First of all, thank you for your responses. I've read them all 3 times over with consideration.

      And I know this may seem like taking your very real and valued experiences without consideration, but I am stumped, really. I feel like I have an array of different opinions and advice from professionals and sufferers telling me opposite things. Some are saying to live your life as usual, just be more vigilant about ear protection. Success stories with details about how they go to concerts still. And then I'm seeing that under no circumstances should you take any risks. It's confusing. And I know this is a decision I have to make at the end of the day to better my life.

      Regardless, I am doing what I can and taking your advice now; I'm still not attending either concert this week, nor do I plan to for the rest of the year. But I don't know. And I really am sorry for this.

      I'm sure you have all heard about my sentimentality for live music, and some of you relate to it already, so I will refrain from detailing it. But my quality of life has already declined with this realization.

      Maiden is an Arena concert with an open ceiling. Does this minimize at least some risk?

      I know it seems like I am getting down to semantics here.

      Because at the end of the day, like you all have said, which is absolutely true whether I like it or not... It's a risk. I just need to come to terms with it completely. Reassurance is one hell of a thing to clutch onto.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      Hi there mate. Thank you for your response. In fact, your story was one of the first that I read here due to our cause. I appreciate your advice.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    14. DeanD

      DeanD Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild since 1982 - then Severe Oct 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction (Oct 2022)
      I think you've hit the nail on the head.

      Our collective experiences in the real dark world of living with this condition show that 99.9% of the 'professionals' really have no idea. There is no science by which they speak and no proof of what they say. They will deal with mild sufferers 99% of the time, and the advice is well intended and will work—because the reaction is worse than the tinnitus. Deal with that, and tinnitus does not rule your life.

      Having lived with mild tinnitus for 44 years that never spiked, I would say the advice of the 'professionals' would have been reasonable for me and reasonable for 99% of everyone with the condition.

      Having lived with severe tinnitus for 18 months that does spike and is reactive, I would say the advice of the 'professionals' is harmful. They certainly do not know what they are dealing with (as there is no science or evidence to back up anything they say), and I would follow the advice of the posters on here who are actually living with this.

      You, though, have to decide based on your tolerances, experience, and attitude what is right for you.
       
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    15. Pixelito
      Surfing

      Pixelito Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2023
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Too many Rush concerts
      That's fair. I am not discrediting your audiologist. I place a lot of faith in mine. As he put it, two hours of live music vs. a lifetime of agony is a decision you have to make on your own. He has made it clear that he won't advise me on how to live my life, but that concerts absolutely are a risk.

      I would just be cautious about yours telling you outright that it won't be a problem. Loud sound can attack the ear drums outside of the ear canals, so even custom-molded ear plugs are not guaranteed. Everyone is affected differently.

      Good luck. As a musician and live music lover, I understand exactly how you feel. But unless it's a jazz trio playing outdoors a 1/4 mile away, I'm not doing it.
       
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    16. LukeYoung
      Frantic

      LukeYoung Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud Concert - Noise Exposure
      The question you must ask yourself is, if it gets worse, can I deal with it? What are the ramifications of this? Will I no longer be able to hear well, will I enjoy any music at all even if it’s played on a stereo? Could I get further afflictions like hyperacusis and noxacusis? Can I live with ringing in my head the rest of my life for a couple hours of fun?
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      weehiru
      Wtf

      weehiru Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      TMJ 2015, Noise Exposure 03/2024
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced + TMJ
      I'm debating going back to an ENT to ask further about all of this. I don't know if I can even afford a specialist of any kind, especially if the outcome of advice they'll even give is uncertain and attributing it to anxiety alone or whatever, lol.

      But I had a friend say to me that, potentially, my TMJ could be exacerbating the tinnitus I have, and it could be worth going down that avenue in treating that.

      I just thought I'd put it out there and ask if anyone else is in a similar position with having both acoustic trauma and TMJ; is there any truth to what she's suggesting? Have you found that the volume of your tinnitus has improved by taking steps to treat TMJ? I've always been able to modulate my tinnitus. Even before my noise exposure tinnitus, my TMJ tinnitus was always extremely mild and heard in extremely quiet... I probably would say under 20 dB, even. I have no idea of the volume it takes to mask my current tinnitus; going above 50 dB doesn't seem to help. By clenching my jaw and teeth, I know that's a direct tie into TMJ of some kind, or correct me if I'm wrong!

      She even suggested going back for the fact I fell ill with COVID-19 at the time I got my tinnitus, as that definitely impacted it in a way. But there's already so much mystery around people who have contracted tinnitus after getting COVID-19, so I don't know if that will get any more answers.

      It's still puzzling to me that my hearing test showed no substantial hearing damage. My right ear does function differently, but it's still in excellent range. So maybe TMJ is the culprit here first?

      What are your thoughts? Or should I put more faith in reducing noise exposure and no medications for now and save my money?
       
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