What Auditory Stimulation Is Safe When You Have Tinnitus? Music, Headphones, Playing the Guitar...

Discussion in 'Support' started by GenZen, May 11, 2021.

    1. GenZen

      GenZen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hey Everyone, I'm pretty new to the experience of tinnitus, having just started suffering from it in 2020. My tinnitus is mild to moderate, is in just one ear, and I believe was brought on by a combination of stress and listening to music at excessive volume, both through earbuds and also in the car and elsewhere. Despite the years of loud music and the tinnitus I have near-perfect hearing.

      My questions is, what kind of auditory stimulation is still safe now that I have developed tinnitus? I asked my ENT this question but he didn't give me a straight answer. I'm a huge music fan and really don't want to stop listening to music but I'm also worried about permanently exacerbating my tinnitus. I realize I can't listen to really loud music all the time like I was doing before but I still want to be able to listen to and enjoy rock music. So I have a couple of questions that you all might be able to help me with.
      • Can I still listen to rock music on headphones or earbuds? Right now I have my iPhone setup to limit sound to a max of 75 decibels.

      • Can I go to rock concerts / shows once in a while? If so would it be beneficial to wear an ear plug in the ear with tinnitus?

      • Can I still listen to loud music in my living room once in a while, i.e. concert DVDs?

      • Can I still listen to semi-loud music in my car once in a while?

      • I was hoping to learn electric guitar which would require me to use headphones so I don't disturb anyone else. Is this still a possibility?

      • Is rock music generally more dangerous to your auditory system than other genres like hip-hop or classical music because of the relatively high frequencies? Or is it just the loudness of the sound that is a factor?
      Thanks so much to anyone who can help me out with these questions!
       
    2. cjbhab
      Curious

      cjbhab Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concerts, Sinuses, Ear infection
      I will add the input that it varies from person to person but you should be careful.

      I still listen to music on headphones and it has not caused a spike, however, I use max 30% volume on my iPhone. I try to avoid headphones, but in certain situations like a quiet office, they are actually helpful.

      I still go to concerts very occasionally (1-2 times per year). I used to go a lot before tinnitus, it is something I miss. I do not believe I have had any permanent adverse effects from going, but I wouldn't be going there every week - and when I do go, I wear 30 dB foam ear plugs. I tried various musicians plugs, but found they did not provide enough protection. Others will vow never to go to concerts, and they may be right. It depends what you are comfortable with and how it affects you.

      I would not listen to loud music in your living room or car at all, it is a risk that is not warranted. I used to blast all the time, but I have learned, it doesn't need to be loud for me to enjoy the music. Mind you, I listen to country music and not rock.

      Electric guitar is not something I can speak to, but I would always be mindful of the volume.

      I don't think genre matters all that much, just the dB and the frequencies.

      Overall, I think each person needs to learn what they can handle and what they are comfortable with. It is a constant learning experience. I am 5 years in and it never ends.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GenZen

      GenZen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks so much for your response, really appreciate it.

      Do you go to indoor or outdoor concerts or both? I'm thinking it might be safer to go to an outdoor concert / festival. I feel like sound "dissipates" more in an outdoor setting than indoors where it bounces off the walls back at you. Do you have tinnitus in both your ears? I only have it in my left ear so not sure if I should wear plugs in both ears or just the one with tinnitus.

      One of the problems I'm having, both in the car and in my living room, is that I'm not sure how loud is too loud. I might buy one of those decibel meters and figure out what volume level is ~70 dB. I think that is where I want to max out on my music.

      When you say only the dB and frequencies matter, do you mean high frequencies? That's what a lot of rock is which is mainly what I listen to. Do you know if higher frequency sounds are more likely to exacerbate tinnitus?

      Thanks again for your response, I'm a noob at this tinnitus thing so trying to figure it all out!
       
    4. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      I go to concerts and I wear musicians ear plugs. I’m going to see Phish for 3 shows in a row this August.

      I also DJ, I’ve noticed DJ headphones do an amazing job at blocking external noises but the frequency curve is exaggerated.

      I DJ on Twitch, I’m actually thinking about taking a break for a little bit.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GenZen

      GenZen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Oh cool, I watch some DJs on Twitch once in a while, mostly DnB - what do you spin?

      I'm guessing the Phish shows will be at outdoor venues - I think those are safer. Not sure you even need the ear plugs if it's outdoors, guess it depends on the venue. Indoors they're probably a must.

      Do you ever notice your tinnitus get worse temporarily right after a show or maybe the next day?
       
    6. arcanesystem
      Transparent

      arcanesystem Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Possibly noise-induced
      Hello. This is just going off of my own personal experiences, as I love music too much and I managed to survive this far without it ever influencing my tinnitus in any way. As tinnitus appears to be a very individual experience for many, and I would have no way of knowing what could impact others, I would be careful treating this as advice.

      1. I still listen to music. EDM, metal, rock, all and everything loud and obnoxious. However, I no longer use headphones or earbuds frequently. I only use headphones maybe once a month. Music just does not sound the same when it's not up close and pristine in your ears, so it's something special I rarely treat myself to. Otherwise, I am just not comfortable with risking it and severing my hearing. Instead, I listen to music either in my car or with a mini-speaker when I workout or am studying. If I can't hear myself talking at a normal effort, it's too loud and I need to turn it down.

      2. Once I got tinnitus, I 100% accepted retiring from live shows. I don't trust shows, even with hearing protection. I used to be an avid raver and also went to a lot of punk shows. Always stood at the rail. Back in high school, I had a small hobby in DJing and tinkered with music production. I was all over the place, but regardless of what did me in with tinnitus, I feel like I mellowed and picked up new interests. Fortunately for me, I'm not that interested in the clubbing scene, so I don't feel like I'm suffering the loss. Whether you want to attend live shows or not is really up to you.

      3. For myself, volume that is a bit louder that moderate is fine, though only briefly. I hang out a lot with friends or my sister and we end up watching something or going somewhere a bit loud. Like, barely can hear myself loud. Luckily, I haven't spiked from such instances. I am very mindful when something is too loud and is making me uncomfortable, at which point I just leave or put on my foam earplugs.

      4. I used to listen to loud music in my car and I didn't realize how loud it was until I got tinnitus and started becoming very conscious of music volume. I generally avoid making it loud.

      5. Unfortunately, I don't have experiences with electric guitar, so I can't speak much for this bullet point.

      6. With this one, I am not really sure. I can see people arguing for both sides, but I can tell you I have never had my tinnitus affected by listening to any specific music genres. I personally would argue for volume being a stronger culprit towards affecting your ears.

      I hope this info is helpful in some way. I guess a possible takeaway is to keep enjoying music, just be more conscious of the volume that you're listening to. If anything, I find that music really helps take my mind off of tinnitus, which is something that makes me feel appreciative and deeply thankful for.
       
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    7. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      I’m an open platform DJ, so I bounce around a lot. It would be easier spinning one genre but the people that watch me like everything.

      I sometimes play House but mostly just popular music. My name on Twitch is povertydj, lol.

      I try to keep my headphones low but it’s hard sometimes to feel the energy and to vibe. I can tell you that I honestly don’t know if headphones should be avoided completely.

      I’ve been DJ’ing for 7 years since having tinnitus. I think maybe recently my tinnitus got higher in pitch. Unless I’m having a spike, my allergies always make my tinnitus worse.

      I can say it’s hard to determine if it’s 85 dB or a little higher. I don’t think my hearing got any worse in 7 years though?

      Who knows really... Outdoor concerts are loud in the pavilion. The lawn it depends how close you are to the speakers. More venues are going to use line array speakers so they’ll cover more ground.

      I would still wear earplugs in the lawn. Mostly because it’s going to be 3 shows over 3 days.
       
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