Will Growing Older Worsen Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Lisa123, May 5, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Lisa123
      Overworked

      Lisa123 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I've been wondering this because my TRT specialist told me that it's normal for hearing hair cells to die of old age. She ensured me that T wouldn't worsen, but I'd like to hear your opinions.
       
    2. Carlos1

      Carlos1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Boston
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Root Canal
      @Lisa123 Hi Lisa I too think about that and there's really no way of knowing I imagine for some it will get worse and for others it will stay the same. I'm learning on focusing on living one day at a time and trying not to worry about the future. I don't want to look back and wish I hadn't worried so much you know what I mean? Again for now live one day at a time and lets hope that the only thing the future will bring us is a cure or at least a coping type med.
      Stay Strong
      Carlos
       
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    3. Blair14
      Tired

      Blair14 Member

      Location:
      New Brunswick, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      @Lisa123 Lisa, I was told similar by an audiologist, its your hearing that gets worse, not your T, shortly after I got back from the trip to see him my T got worse, so go figure, I like Carlos take it one day at a time, I do mindfulness and that helps keep the anxiety low and not live in the past or the future which I can not control.
       
    4. Relic Hunter
      Cynical

      Relic Hunter Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1990
      Hard to say for sure. I am 62 and my T is much worse than it was 10 years ago when I considered it mild. However my hearing loss has remained the same for the past 25 years or so.
       
    5. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      People I know in real life who've had tinnitus for a looong time all have told me it's been pretty stable.

      Many people reported the same thing in a recent reddit thread:
      http://www.reddit.com/r/tinnitus/comments/33xx3q/whos_had_tinnitus_long_term_and_not_had_it_get/

      Strikes me as not worth worrying about. Maybe it will stay the same, maybe it will get worse, maybe in 10-20 years we'll have treatments we don't have now, maybe I'll get hit by a bus tomorrow, maybe I'll get terminal cancer in 5 years.

      edit: to be clear, "don't worry" is not the same as "do stupid things". There are a couple people in that thread who reported decades of stability, and then worsening following additional auditory trauma. I wear earplugs for anything that's >80 db for more than a few moments.
       
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    6. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Good answers here, @Lisa123. I would agree with all (except your audiologist, who can't guarantee you that your tinnitus will never get worse -- or never get better. No one can promise that.)

      1.) No way to tell if it will worsen but its not an automatic as you age; 2.) try not to worry about it and live joyfully in the present and; 3.) continue to protect your hearing, which increases your chances that all will be well.
       
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    7. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      @linearb you've had T for a long time... I was wondering it has changed since 1998 or has been pretty stable? thanks
       
    8. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      It got significantly worse following benzo use and a severe noise trauma in 2009. It's been stable since then.
       
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    9. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      It seems to be a case of most people's being stable unless there's an actual reason for it.

      For example; ototoxic medications, noise trauma, ear infections etc.

      Is this the case? I read most people's will actually improve with time as your brain fades it out! Although getting examples from a support forum will mostly bring out negative examples you'd expect.
       
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    10. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      yeah, my gut read is that long-term stories on here tend to be much more negative than long term stories from:
      * people I know in real life
      * people I've talked to at a local tinnitus support group
      * people on Reddit and other non-tinnitus-related forums.
       
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    11. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      I did not get T until I was 65 & am 68 now. Just this past few weeks it has gotten worse, by that I mean the bad days are worse, the good days are not as good.

      During this two week period, I have serious health issues I am dealing with causing me some distress. I will know more about my condition in a week or so, then I am sure the T will go back down.
       
    12. Brianna
      No Mood

      Brianna Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US, NC (the progressive part :) )!
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No clue - too many causes.
      Tinnitus, in varying degrees, may occur when you're a senior. That has been a known fact for many moons. It is for the reasons posted - cilia start dying off. Keep in mind what I said, though, it may occur. I'm a senior (geesh) and have heard others talk about it now and then. But I also know older people who are unaffected by T with aging. It's person-dependent just as tinnitus is.
       
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    13. ampumpkin
      Amused

      ampumpkin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Montreal
      Tinnitus Since:
      Onset: 12/2007 Increase: 04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2007: Meds(Antidepressant) 2014: Meds(Antibiotics)
      @linearb thank you for your answer. My T was totally stable from 2007 until 2014. But then I took ototoxic meds and it got worse. It has been stable since last year.
       
    14. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      In general ... NO!

      Of course in any given case it is impossible to predict, but typically our tinnitus tends to become less severe with age. And we can thank our brains for that!

      Obviously as we age, we will over time have fewer and fewer hair cells (we lose 0.5% of our hair cells for every year of our adult lives), so consequently over time our ability to detect externally-generated sounds will tend to get worse. That phenomenon is known as presbycusis. Well as our ability to detect external sounds decreases, one would think that our internal sounds (i.e., our tinnitus) would become more apparent - because (1) tinnitus loudness does not involve our hair cells and (2) with fewer and fewer hair cells over time we gradually lose the natural masking ability of external sounds. But here - drum roll, please! - our brains come to the rescue. For reasons not fully understood at this point in time (reasons that surely include neuroplasticity), in such a setting our brains tend to over-compensate. Thus, counter-intuitively our tinnitus tends to become less and less severe as we get into our 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.
       
    15. Lisa123
      Overworked

      Lisa123 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Another upside of T, it makes growing old not seem like such a bad thing! Thank you Dr Nagler! Can't wait to be 80 :LOL:
       
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    16. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Dr. Nagler, do you think that this is an unavoidable consequence of ageing in all cases, or that the noise level of modern society is a significant and contributing factor?

      This is an area of interest to me.
      http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearinginternational/2013/deafness-and-easter-island/
      I am actually on the verge of setting up a long-term move from the (loud, irritating) city that I live in now, to a (quiet, peaceful, calming) beautiful and forested area. I am fortunate to work in an industry where I can work from anywhere, and fortunate to have a spouse who thinks this is an interesting idea...
       
    17. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I recently read a post on this board where the person posting was absolute in his insistence that it was not an unavoidable consequence of aging - that it was rather a function of the noise level in modern society. Well the way I have always understood it, presbycusis is strictly an age-related phenomenon. Indeed, no less an authority than Wikipedia (the ultimate arbiter of all things cyber) states: "Hearing loss that accumulates with age but is caused by factors other than normal aging is not presbycusis."

      But here's the thing, my friend. It just doesn't matter. Why? Because noise in modern society is not an option. It is a given. Not only that, the adverse consequences of over-protection cannot be overstated. So my suggestion is to take reasonable precautions regarding the avoidance of unnecessary exposure to INCREDIBLY LOUD sound - and spend the rest of your efforts focusing on the truly important things in life. At least that is how I have come to see it.
       
    18. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I suppose I simply don't agree with this, given that I'm on the verge of moving to a much more natural environment which will include, among other things, much more natural noise levels than the irritating bullshit I have to deal with in the area I'm in now.

      I get that this is simply not possible for everyone; on the other hand, I am far from the first person I've known to decide that the biological cost of living in urban areas is simply too high, and re-oriented their life as a direct result of that revelation.

      The things which society on the whole tells us are reasonable, may not be reasonable by some very personal set of metrics. If you'd lived near Bhopal in the 80s, you would have been told that being horribly maimed and crippled as a result of the negligence of nearby chemical plants, was not an option, it was a given.
       
    19. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I was speaking in generalities. Most of the people who live in industrialized countries are not as fortunate as you in that regard. Indeed, if everybody in industrialized countries did what you are planning to do, there would no longer be any industrialization! Don't get me wrong - I think what you are planning to do is great. But for most, noise in modern society is not an option. You just do the best you can with the hand you are dealt.

      Life is not black and white. It is full of grays. At least that's how I have come to see things.
       
    20. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I'd be okay with that. Forget about modern industry... I think agriculture was a big mistake ;)
       
    21. Brianna
      No Mood

      Brianna Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US, NC (the progressive part :) )!
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No clue - too many causes.
      We hang out with different people :) . I remember people who were just becoming seniors who talked about ringing in the ears and I didn't understand it. My older sister, who I doubt takes any (or many) ototoxic drugs has been complaining about it for years. I don't know the degree to which she's effected. My mother talked about it (she died in '97 - that's 1997 not 1897) and again, I didn't know enough to ask her how much it bothered her. My mother rarely took drugs. I have friends who have it. One who got it @50-55 yrs old and I didn't understand it. Other friends experience it occasionally. My partner, who is somewhat older than I, doesn't have T but she's as sensitive to sounds as I am with my goofy implant. I know more people in my family...

      Most importantly, since the numbers of mine are useless. I grew up being taught ringing in the ears tend to happen as we age and cells start their natural process of dying. This causes other things in our body to start doing downhill - like h e a r i n g .

      On your drum roll, if more and more celia are dying, thus, cannot carry sounds on the water balls and this causes a short circuit to our brain, that's when I thought the breakdown in sound occurred - hence tinnitus. And I'm learning more about it, so now I'm really confused. (Add the perspective of someone with a cochlear implant and it's changes this completely.)

      Y e l p, pls.
       
    22. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      This is a simplification; simple hearing damage results in hyperactive firing of auditory nerves, but the brain is "supposed to" cancel this out before it becomes a conscious perception. It appears that structural problems in multiple other parts of the brain, allow this hyperactivity to become consciously perceived. So, someone with significant hearing loss but a highly functional thalamus/insula, might not have any tinnitus... whereas someone with insignificant hearing loss, but dysfunction in other brain areas, might have significant tinnitus.

      I am not a doctor. This is just the understanding I've gleaned from reading too many imaging studies.
       
    23. Brianna
      No Mood

      Brianna Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US, NC (the progressive part :) )!
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No clue - too many causes.
      So, go one more step for me. It doesn't always take a physician or doctor to figure this out. Change the above to me - I have a significant (profound) hearing loss, had tinnitus before I turned 60 (multiple ear surgeries). Got an implant (has a known side-effect of tinnitus) and it caused the tinnitus during specific time periods to go through the roof - I actually understand that last sentence but have to get the word out there.
       
    24. RichardRR
      Tired

      RichardRR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Shout out to the doc.
       
    25. ruben ruiz

      ruben ruiz Member

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I believe it was meds and stress
      Oh my goodness finally an T event in our favor. Plus there supposed to be relief or a cure some day!
       
    26. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Likely so. It would be pretty weird if we didn't!

      But I was referring to data from longitudinal studies of patients over 65 with tinnitus severe enough for them to seek evaluation at a university tinnitus center. And followed over time their tinnitus tends to become less and less severe. Are their exceptions? Of course.
       
    27. Lisa123
      Overworked

      Lisa123 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Any comments on this Dr. Nagler?
      Could it be possible for neuroplasticity to overcome this deficieny of the thalamus/insula?
       
    28. tinnitussufferer
      Angry

      tinnitussufferer Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2004
      we dont know if the study shows that their tinnitus became less severe, or that they simply learned to grit their teeth as they grew older causing them to report that it became less severe. At some point, when youve had tinnitus for long enough, you realise there is no cure so you just learn to live with it.
       
    29. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Actually, no.

      Sorry, I really have no idea.
       
    30. Brianna
      No Mood

      Brianna Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US, NC (the progressive part :) )!
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No clue - too many causes.
      Thanks, sir. The only dispute I have with this study is from a 500' view looking done, 65 people in a study and followed over time doth not make a very convincing study. It's missing a bunch of info, so it does leave me in the dark. I'm aware one can extrapolate results on the number of people studied but the number is still so low, I don't see how any kind of semi-accurate conclusions can be made.
       

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