Why Are Things Sounding Harsh/Coarse/Rough — Almost Like a Broken Speaker?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Jon R., Sep 14, 2021.

    1. Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      I got 2 new tinnitus tones on May 12th (my original tone was dormant but came back to life with 2 new ones the day after the vaccine).

      Still really annoying 4 months later.

      The last month things have started to get odd where what I hear is quite harsh, almost like a broken speaker. I am starting to freak out a bit as everything has got worse every month, it started on May 12th in 1 ear with just a hiss. Then it became reactive the next month and moved to my right ear too. Now when I listen to the TV or radio it is almost like it is poorly produced audio, lisping on S's, no clarity, but some audio is worse than other. I am sick of the shrill hissing and the weird broken speaker sounds.

      Why did it take 3 months to go from hissing to artificial audio sounding odd? I don't notice it with people speaking in the room with me, definitely seems to be from TV, radio and my tablet/phone. I am so worried about the future of my hearing.

      Who do I go to see to help with all this? GPs and ENTs seem pointless. I saw an audiologist but was told to just mask it, but that doesn't help of course, I want to hear clearly.
       
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    2. SD7
      Angry

      SD7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mid /June 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vaccine + Noise
      Honestly, why are we getting so much worse @Tau?
       
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    3. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Sorry to hear this @Jon R..

      I don't think you will get any certain answers to this. And certainly no medical answers. The chances of that are close to non.

      What I can tell you is that I had the same experience as you:
      I've had all the same issues as you, and somewhat similar timeline - with no particular reason.

      This "condition" is totally unpredictable at times, especially at the stage you are now. You are "only" 4 months down the road if I understand you correct. That's not a long time.

      For me, I slowly started feeling noticeably better around maybe 1 year mark. Non-linear progression, and many setbacks. Personally I see setbacks as temporary and unavoidable in this process, and also necessary in the rewiring of the brain.

      You should think of a setback not as you getting worse permanently, but a step on the road. It will feel like a step back, but that's not necessarily the case...

      ...and try not freaking out. You should get help if you have issues with not getting out of the flight and fight mode, because that only makes it worse. Catastrophic thinking is fuel to this condition.

      Forget about ENTs. You should rather have counselling, for instance with someone that is skilled in CBT. It might be of help over time. But this just takes a lot of TIME to see more better days than bad days.
       
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    4. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't have answers for you, but I experienced something a bit similar to your current issue. Around 2 months in, I got distortions to certain sounds, mainly instrumental parts in music. Vocals were unaffected, but instruments felt tinny and always out of tune. Freaked me out. I never found answers (ENTs and audiologists were useless), but for me, and as I see for many people, this issue completely resolved itself. I hope it will get better for you as well.
       
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    5. ibeca

      ibeca Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ciproflox or walking past an extremely loud jackhammer.
      Hi.

      Could it be hyperacusis?

      I get the broken speaker sensation in my ears a few times. I have been fine a long time, but it came back a few hours ago (1 hour after I got the first jab of Pfizer today).

      If it is hyperacusis that distorts the sound, it likely will get better in time.

      Hugs to you.
       
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    6. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @ibeca, I would definetly say this is related to hyperacusis, yes.

      ...and I fully agree, it can get better with time. But it's pretty much impossible to start getting better with this condition before one gets sorted the anxiety issues etc. in my opinion.
       
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    7. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      I am experiencing the same thing. I have diagnosed auditory neuropathy (suspected only cochlear synaptopathy but one cannot rule out other parts of the nerves dying). For me it's sound exposure. My ears start to feel full after being exposed to moderate noise, and, I suspect, damaged IHCs may be secreting too many neurotransmitters, contributing to continuing loss of hearing.

      I literally have the same thing - people sound like they're lisping (hyperacusis of higher frequencies in speech), music sounds tinny, I also get beeps and hums over external sounds. At first it was only artificial audio, now it's people in real life, too.
       
    8. SD7
      Angry

      SD7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mid /June 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vaccine + Noise
      Honestly what is happening in our ears, how can it be that this would bring that sensation back.

      If it's any concession my broken speaker has diluted somewhat. It used to be triggered all the time when someone spoke near me, especially if it was a female voice. It's so much more distressing when it's a non-artificial object.
       
    9. ibeca

      ibeca Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ciproflox or walking past an extremely loud jackhammer.
      I used to have it like that when I spoke myself. It was a time I had to whisper or talk with a low voice because my ears went nuts if i spoke at a normal sound level. Some sounds and some pitches still trigger it.

      I got a masking hearing aid that I started to use. Not to mask the tinnitus, but to strengthen the tolerance in my ears. Slowly it got a little better. I still have it, but not as crazy as it used to be when I couldn't hear my own voice without getting crackling in ears. It got worse again now after the COVID-19 vaccine. And I am scared that my tinnitus will follow and get worse too.
       
    10. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I had all the same issues as you have now Tau. But after 2 years its only occassionally if I've had a lot of stress or a lot of exposure to (normal) sounds. It can certainly get better.
       
    11. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      Did you do anything special to get better? I'm avoiding loud sounds and taking supplements (NAC, Nicotinamide Riboside, B vitamins), but my reactivity, hyperacusis and tinnitus are all getting worse.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      Thanks everyone for your replies. Yes, this is a horrible crazy situation. I had gone from being fine in April (given my original single tone tinnitus only appeared when I had a cold) to near suicide some days because of this endless relentless noise that goes from bad to worse. Not getting official conclusive answers is also frustrating. Docs saying "well, it could be the vaccine made your immune system go crazy and created an autoimmune effect that damaged your auditory canals or inner ear but we don't know...". But if this is the case, which they don't know, does it go away ? Is this my life now to some degree even in 20 years when I am 60 ? I was so pleased 15 years ago when my rumbling hum went away and would only come back briefly during colds, but now it is here all the time. I also sick of this "letting down a tyre" hiss I get when I hear things, if it a long noise like a cooker or microwave it just saying hissing very loudly.

      It's a relief to see those with similar have found some improvements over the months or year. @Kriszti, that is exactly the same as me, I can't listen to music as the instrumental parts sounds like a mess, horrible.
       
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    13. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @Tau, I used a bunch of supplements - including those you've mentioned.

      What I was sticking to for a long time was a potent B-Complex, Zinc and Omega-3.
      Honestly though, I'm not sure if any of them did much...
      Recently I've only used Quercetin + Bromelain in the morning and high dose of Omega-3 each night.

      What made a change for me, or the start of the journey I'm still on, was a change in everyday life. That, and starting counselling with an audiologist. Type of CBT and using sound enrichment when at home. Took me a long time to get comfortable with any sound really. I preferred, and still prefer, soft pink noise. These days I listen to music (anything that I find soothing) on a normal/low level, and is usually fine with this.

      Even at days in despair I managed to pull myself through my daily tasks. Job, family and so on.
      I still tried to engage in what I could to keep a normal life. And I never overprotected, even when it was it worst.
      I always tried to challenge myself on sounds, but without doing something stupid. I use molded musician earplugs if I need. Only ordinary plugs with powertools etc.

      I would say the first year there was probably at least as many setbacks as progression. But as I've written earlier in this thread, setbacks are unavoidable. And unless you do something really stupid, there setbacks are normally just temporary, and may be seen as the brain sort of readjusting/rewiring after this trauma. If you manage to think of them in this way, it makes it a lot easier to cope with because you don't go automatically into "catastrophic thinking". Which in the end makes all of this just way worse...

      Hyperacusis feels almost like a post traumatic stress syndrome... and therefore, to me, the key to start getting better was get more in control of the anxiety and fear. If you have this constant fight-or-flight response to the whole situation, and think of any sound may worsen you permanently, and that there is no way forward, it's difficult.

      If this is the case for you, which it is for many, I would advice you to get some professional help in this regard. It may help you, if you are motivated to it. But do not expect any miracles - it takes a lot of time and effort...

      Also, as other have mentioned here, try finding something that you feel ok with and that can occupy your mind to have the brain start shift its focus. Find some sounds or music on a really low level, that is somewhat bearable, and listen to it on a low volume. Over time this will help to desensitize.

      Stress down, work less if needed/possible, but I'd say only if you instead engage yourself in something that somewhat give you energy.

      To me, I find that long walks in nature is calming on both mind and body. You get natural sound therapy as well. It may be hard in the start, at least it was for me as I couldn't take any wind noise, wave noise, most noises really. This has also opened my eyes to be more grateful of everyday life - especially on the days I feel good.

      I can have bad days, or less god days as I usually prefer to say, where the ears are sensitive, and I get annoyed by a lot of sounds, but slowly the good days with outgo the less good days. Even though it may take 1 year, 2 years or even 3...

      A change of mentality towards this whole thing has been of great help to me.
      It's still challenging, but it's not easier to cope with when you have "tools and techniques" to use in order to calm down.

      If I can tell myself that there is always something good in a day, that's a "victory" to me. Because in perspective there is, it's just so hard to see it when days are at its darkest...

      ...also, I find comfort in telling myself; There is always a tomorrow.
       
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    14. Manex

      Manex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced 1995, Azithromycin 2018
      I experienced something like this when I took Azithromycin. i had already had tinnitus for 23 years and was familiar with the various spikes and fullness and such. But when I took Azithromycin not only did some incredibly harsh sounding tinnitus get introduced, for a while I was feeling like some sounds were running through an effects unit. Wavering / stuttering / very electronic sounding, like a SCI-FI sound effect filter on top of the regular sound. This did go away after a bit - 2 weeks maybe. The damage remained and I lost some hearing and I concluded that it was just the sound of the damage.

      However, I did see a video once about a woman who was regaining her hearing from a surgery and initially the sounds had a garbled sound to her and it was the process of her brain relearning how to interpret the sounds.

      I wish I had some answers. If you did recently take some medications, maybe look into that.
       
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    15. Kenilworth

      Kenilworth Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I'm experiencing the same problem. Watching TV and YouTube videos on phone sounds like everything I'm hearing comes from a low quality or broken speaker. It started happening after I stopped using Cyproheptadine for migraines.

      At first all sounds were muffled and sounded like ambient/background noise and while that later resolved, the "broken speaker" sensation still remains. I'm not sure if it's Eustachian tube dysfunction or hair cell death. It bothers me alote.
       
    16. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      It's probably neither - one inner hair cell has 10-15 synapses connected to it, some of them are low-threshold, some are high-threshold. The high-threshold ones are responsible for sound clarity - how well we distinguish close sounds, both in the frequency domain and the time domain. Sadly, these are the most fragile synapses, too, so their are the first ones to die after an insult. The result is that a person hears a pure tone just fine, but clarity suffers.
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      Ah bummer. I bet that is what has happened to me then.

      Can synapses regenerate?

      So frustrating. I was lying in bed last night and my hissing got louder to the point of extreme and the low rumbling hum was so penetrating. I couldn't mask it with noise as my ear hears things wrong, a fan sounds like a whistle/dentist drill. It is driving me insane.

      Why did this begin shortly after the vaccine? Has it destroyed synapses? I think finding out what happened might help me in some way. Was it the hairs, the nerves, or the synapses.

      I think @MindOverMatter is right in that controlling anxiety might help a bit, and I need to try and get that under control, but this is so damn difficult to live with.
       
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    18. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      @Jon R., unfortunately, if they do regenerate, it's only a minor improvement. More chances if you're young.

      I am suffering from a similar thing and I cannot mask my tinnitus sounds because of the distortions other broadband noises create - I fall asleep listening to my tinnitus instead...

      Some people here say their ears were very sensitive due to the COVID-19 vaccine; I got vaccinated a month before my tinnitus appeared, but at that time I was also listening to music through my new headphones and quite loud. And then I suffered an acoustic trauma, so I am inclined to believe it was cumulative noise damage in my case. I don't see how the vaccine could cause this, to be honest. Spike proteins attaching to cochlear cells? Inflammation?

      I still don't have my anxiety under control, although I do sleep 6+ hours now with Valerian root tea.
       
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    19. Andrew01
      Sunshine

      Andrew01 Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown / Began 5 days after second Moderna shot
      @Tau, I hope yours is just vaccine related sensitivity and it improves, I’ve heard the timeline can be up to a year. When did it start?

      At any rate the vaccine seems to have shifted the threshold for acoustic trauma way down, the noise you describe and the ones that cause me problems have never been an issue before and aren’t for most people.

      Your story sounds kinda similar to mine, for me it came on suddenly 5 days after my second Moderna. It started with a sudden stuffed head and racing heart, and unilateral tinnitus. Next day it got very mild, but then got bad 3 weeks later. Not sure how much was vaccine or me continuing my usual noisy city life unknowing my ears were possibly compromised.

      I finally got the message a couple weeks after that when I came back from the gym and my ears were on fire. Now I’m wearing plugs anytime I’m not at home or the office.

      I have an MRI referred but I’m not considering it unless it’s 1.5T which is at least quieter. Even still, I’m dubious as to its use, but I do have visual symptoms as well.
       
    20. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Heads up. I got a 1.5T sitting open MRI with earplugs and it worsened my right ear. Just FYI.
       
    21. Andrew01
      Sunshine

      Andrew01 Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown / Began 5 days after second Moderna shot
      Good to know. Did you get your tinnitus from a COVID-19 vaccine as well? In Canada it takes forever to get one sometimes, so at least I don't have to decide what to do yet, but I may honestly just pass on it. I know an MRI is not going to make me better, and I know it won't show anything.
       
    22. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yeah... unless you have a lot of symptoms I would skip the vaccine.
       
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    23. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      I think he meant skipping the MRI as I think he got his tinnitus from Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
       
    24. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Sorry, yes, I meant skip the MRI. Open MRI with 106 decibels made me worse plugged in, and my hyperacusis is very mild compared to some here.
       
    25. PortugalTheMan
      Shocked

      PortugalTheMan Member

      Location:
      Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anxiety / Maybe years listening to music on headphones
      Did your hyperacusis or tinnitus worsen?
       
    26. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yeah it did. It has lessened though.
       
    27. PortugalTheMan
      Shocked

      PortugalTheMan Member

      Location:
      Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anxiety / Maybe years listening to music on headphones
      In other words, it was a temporary spike! :)

      The doctor wants me to do a MRI, and I knew you had a 1.5T, but I was disappointed to see you got worse. I'm glad to hear you're back to baseline. Hugs!
       
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    28. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I never said it went back to baseline haha! If you don’t have sensitive ears you likely will be ok.
       
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