Living with tinnitus in this wonderful hobby
Nov 7, 2007 at 4:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Matteman

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After too many loud concerts and late nights listening to my super.fi 5 pro's my ears decided to let me know they've had enough. I developed a mild to moderate tinnitus two weeks ago, and it doesn't seem to get better. I've been to the doctor a couple of times and there's nothing wrong with my ears.

Sometimes the buzzing is pretty quiet, sometimes I can hear it clearly through everyday noise like sitting on the bus, driving my car etc. The buzzing itself doesn't bother me that much, I've always fallen asleep like five minutes after I go to bed and my job makes me completely forget about it in the days.

The thing that bothers me is not being able to enjoy my music hobby the same way I used to. Right now I listen to ridiculosly low volumes out of fear of worsening the tinnitus. Now I listen to 55-60 db's, and I just don't get the same level of detail or music impact that I used to get listening to 75-80 db's. The way I measure it is comparing my IEM's with speakers measuring the speakers with an SPL-meter. I was just about to get the amazing UE-11's when my last paycheck arrived, however this has made me think twice about my purchase.

There's many tables showing what is considered to be safe noise exposure, the most common is the OSHA, found here: http://www.meiea.org/Journal/html_ve...003_img_14.jpg

I thought I was on the safe side, always checking the SPL so that I don't go too loud. My average listening level used to be about 75-80 db's. Pretty loud actually I admit that, but it should be safe according to OSHA since I listen for about an hour and a half a day.

What do you believe to be a safe listening level in order to prevent making tinnitus worse? How much more sensitive are you to noise afterwards?

Also, let me hear about your tinnitus and how it has affected your head-fi hobby!
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 4:09 PM Post #2 of 12

iancraig10

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I also suffer from ear noises which is not surprising because of my job. However, I only became really aware of it when I started to listen more on headphones.

I think that I probably had noises in my ears for years but only became aware of it through intense listening, so I don't blame headphones for my problem.

The noises change from day to day in volume. Sometimes, I think that they have gone and then suddenly. 3 or 4 days later, I'm aware of them again.

The only thing you can do is turn a deaf 'un to to it. Pretend it's not there!

Ian
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 5:40 PM Post #3 of 12

NiceCans

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iancraig10 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I also suffer from ear noises which is not surprising because of my job. However, I only became really aware of it when I started to listen more on headphones.

I think that I probably had noises in my ears for years but only became aware of it through intense listening, so I don't blame headphones for my problem.

The noises change from day to day in volume. Sometimes, I think that they have gone and then suddenly. 3 or 4 days later, I'm aware of them again.

The only thing you can do is turn a deaf 'un to to it. Pretend it's not there!

Ian



Pretty much sums it up. Occupational hazard as well as rock & roll lover's hazard.

I do not seem to find relief from lower volumes, but do find it to be worse with any significant loud listening.

I do find I tend to pass up headphone listening when the tinnitus is bad, primarily due to the reduced enjoyment combined with a fear of making it worse.

tinnitus sux
frown.gif
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 5:45 PM Post #4 of 12

earwicker7

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A lot of it is psychological... the more you listen for it, the louder it will be. Be careful but don't be paranoid; I've found that the ringing has far more to do with stress levels and allergies than the level my headphones are at.
 
Nov 7, 2007 at 6:08 PM Post #5 of 12

HFat

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Matteman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
There's many tables showing what is considered to be safe noise exposure, the most common is the OSHA


Safe is relative. OSHA is not in the business of preserving your listening pleasure so much as avoiding as much as is practical cases of grossly abnormal hearing loss.

There's something which I experience and which hasn't been mentioned yet: certain sounds (and therefore certain recordings) seem to trigger my tinnitus and feel generally fatiguing. Some headphones are obviously going to make this worse. Traditional EQ is not always sufficient to deal with that... lowpass is king.
 
Nov 8, 2007 at 12:28 AM Post #6 of 12

vaper

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I recently saw a commercial for Lipo-Flavonoid and picked up some today. It's supposed to help eliminate or reduce ringing by increasing circulation in the inner ear. It is a 'dietary supplement' so such claims need not be proven medically. Has anyone here tried this?
 
Nov 8, 2007 at 12:51 AM Post #7 of 12

silencewithin

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It's probably not worth thinking about the cause of your tinnitus - obviously concerts are bad, noisy work environments are bad, but they mightn't have caused the tinnitus (even if they've caused hearing loss), could be any other cause. Just take care, wear earplugs (reusable ones are a good investment) and don't stress since this makes it worse as has been said.
Reduce your sound exposure in all these other situations so that you can listen on headphones longer and safer.

Isolating iems would seem like a good investment to me since you can listen at a lower volume without outside noise interfering? I would buy some of these myself but I've stopped listening to headphones altogether in noisy environments and that suits me fine as I just listen more at home with less guilt when I don't have to boost the volume.

Listening at safe volumes for safe amounts of time should be safe right? If it helps you forget your tinnitus then do it. If it makes you think about it more don't do it.

Also if you are on a train or bus or in a noisy cafe note what volume your music player is set to. When you get home to a silent environment set your player to the same volume and see how loud it sounds then and you'll see what you are doing to your ears. Headphones that isolate would be a good investment if you find yourself turning the volume up too loud.

A large percentage of people have tinnitus. I'm sure that percentage goes up as we age. The psychological effect dominates I think so try and pay little attention to it and don't let it change your enjoyment of music and your headphones
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Nov 8, 2007 at 1:05 AM Post #8 of 12

catscratch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by earwicker7 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A lot of it is psychological... the more you listen for it, the louder it will be. Be careful but don't be paranoid; I've found that the ringing has far more to do with stress levels and allergies than the level my headphones are at.


This is massively true.

I gave myself tinnitus because I'm stupid. After obsessing about it for about a year I learned to live with it. Most of the time, it's so mild that it's practically inaudible. It flares up more from stress and illness than excessively loud listening.

I do like to listen quite loudly, not excessively or painfully loudly but definitely loudly enough for the music to come alive and really shine. I'd say 80-85dB sounds about right. To compensate, I tend to listen in shorter sessions rather than lowering the volume and listening for longer.

Over the last year my tinnitus has noticeably decreased. Or perhaps I've just noticed it less. In any case, it's not an issue any longer - though I've learned to protect my ears, especially when they start telling me that they've had enough.

What staggers me is that though I consider myself as a loud volume listener, many people listen at volumes that I find immediately painful, and even more people listen as loudly as their system will go, regardless of how loud that actually is, and what kind of quality it produces at that volume.

I was playing laser tag at an arena in Long Island (yes I'm a tag dork, go to tournaments and everything) where a DJ was spinning some trance. He had the system up as loud as it could possibly go, and the resulting sound quality was... well, you can imagine. I told him "you DO know this is loud enough to cause hearing damage, right?"

His response was: "Really? Cool!"

screwing idiot. Thank god for earplugs.

Though it has to be said, 100dB on a system that can easily handle it is a lot of fun... if you know when to stop. I've been at an outdoor festival where a seriously top-notch system was playing at 110dB. It wasn't painful in any way, just smooth, loud, powerful music.

With hi-fi gear, you DO have to be careful. Especially with electrostatics - it's so easy to crank them up ridiculously loud and never even notice it.
 
Nov 8, 2007 at 5:59 AM Post #10 of 12

uraflit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by physh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I find that if I listen to pink noise for about 30 sec to a min, the ringing goes away instantly. It's like an instant cure for me.


wow... gotta try it!
 
Nov 8, 2007 at 6:04 AM Post #11 of 12

Assorted

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Quote:

Originally Posted by physh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I find that if I listen to pink noise for about 30 sec to a min, the ringing goes away instantly. It's like an instant cure for me.


That hasn't worked for me
frown.gif


I get two kinds of tinnitus. One is the very faint and very high pitched tinnitus that I get from a day in the kitchen. This doesn't bother me at all, and about 10 dB of white noise can cover it up more than enough.

The second kind is the more annoying one. After I play the viola or violin for even 3 minutes, I get a very constant mid-high range tinnitus that is more noticeable, and a real pain when wearing IEMs. This completely goes away after 15 minutes of headphone listening.

I heard that there are white noise generators that mask noise in a really neat way, that would be great for tinnitus sufferers, without having to resort to headphones/IEMs.
 
Nov 8, 2007 at 7:16 AM Post #12 of 12

webbie64

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Quote:

Originally Posted by earwicker7 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A lot of it is psychological... the more you listen for it, the louder it will be. Be careful but don't be paranoid; I've found that the ringing has far more to do with stress levels and allergies than the level my headphones are at.


Agreed. I am insulin dependent diabetic and low or high blood sugar (which causes stress on the body, particularly with blood flow in fine blood vessels, such as in your ears) makes tinnitus more apparent. This translates to non-diabetics as an example of what can be happening in their bodies when they push their stress levels too high, etc.

As earwicker says, the more you think about it (i.e. concentrate on it) the more apparent it is.

Still doesn't make it any less apparent though when you are in a dead silent (or close to dead silent) environment.
wink.gif


You can also pick up some tips in these threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=221872
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=232090
 

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