The Tinnitus Support Thread
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TaffyGuy

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hello everyone, my name is Allen and i have tinnitus induced paranoia.


it all started when i got my ety's and the enormous isolation allowed me to discern the slight sensation of crappy stupid dumb dumb ringing in my ears. i was never really worried about this in the past, being pretty much satisfied that i have a better ear than most everyone i know. of course there is some discernable difference between "ear" and "hearing", and after becoming a head-fi junkie, and going along the usual thought process of "thats ********->he must be kidding himself->i doubt that's true->can they really hear that?->do these folk have incredible ears by trade?->do these folk have better ears than i?" concerning so many tweaks and whatnot, i began to become oh too aware of my own... mortality, as it were.

some irritating things i've come accross since exploring the issue though, are such numbers that are given concerning tinnitus. as i understand, tinnitus is any ringing of the ears, therefore it seems that anyone who's been to a big concert has probably experienced it (or do your ears not ring afterwards?) but a common number given for tinnitus sufferers is 50 million in america. now i havn't checked the most recent census, but that's only like 20% of the population, and i don't like thinking i'm in the bottom 20% when it comes to my ears.

not only this, but i havn't been to nearly as many big concerts as i would have liked, and where i've done a lot more handling of power tools than most kids (spent 3 summers rebuilding a '54 austin healey) i distinctly remember always having those huge ear-protectors on, and not having ringing afterwards.

unfortunately after more research, i find that ear aches and the jaw disorder TMJ can also attribute to tinnitus. now ear aches probably aren't it, but i used to get them all the time as a kid. As for TMJ, i didn't even really realize i had it until today, as my jaw has been giving me trouble for about a hear and a half now, and i recently got one of those over the counter night guard things so i wouldnt clench at night, but i'll be damned if my defunct jaw bone screws up my hearing.

and the worst part is, i might be crazy, but i swear its getting worse since i started getting paranoid about it. so now i've got a pair of ER20's, and i constantly turn down the stereo in the car when my buddies are constanlty turning it up, and every time there is a loud sound from a fallen tool or (the worst) when i get a screamer behind me at a concert (i just want to punch those fcuks in the face, you know the ones) i get all paranoid and find myself thinking about it all the time. damn near ruined the second half of the david grisman quintet set the other day, and i've been waiting to hear them for like 2 and a half years.

or maybe most people don't even notice a hum at ~17kHz or 18kHz (if i had to guess) thats up at maybe 10 or 15 dB, and i'm worried over nothing. (i generally don't notice because my quiet computer fan easily covers it up, and i always sleep with my headphones on anyway)

so, what about you folk?
 
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jlo mein

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i say forget about. Theres not much you can do to regain the hearing you lost. And yes yes, you can prevent some hearing loss in the future.

But i mean, be real. Dont go wearing ear plugs all the time when you arent listening to headphones. And you have to face the fact that sometimes we will be in loud environments.

I know i have hearing damage. I know i can hear loud ringing at night, even though i am not in loud environments all the time. But you live with what you got, i mean, im just thankful that im not deaf (no offense to deaf people).

I probably won't be able to tell the difference between an Orpheus and a Blockhead, but you live with it.


Plus its cheaper to buy a less expensive audio setup
....
 
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williamgoody

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Dude, everything is cool. My mother has tinnitus as well. I notice these issues with me as well. The best thing you could do is take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. You'll notice the sensation more now because you're concentrating on it. Funny thing is that I bought the ety's in order to help prevent further damage.
 
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bubbaj

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Oh Hell! I have all those things wrong with me too. You'll live.

Wait till your hair starts to fall out. Then you'll really freak.

Anyway, it's easy to turn the volume up too high with those etys so be careful.
 
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mkmelt

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If you ask an ear/nose/throat specialist MD or an audiologist about tinnitus, you are likely to get a serious look and the stereotypical response, "there is just so much we still don't know about...<insert you affliction here>".

Sometimes tinnitus is a high pitched tone that is heard coming from one side, and soon decays and stops. Other types include a fairly constant background ringing or even a low level hissing in one or both ears. It has been proven that tinnitus actually originates deep inside the brain, and not in the outer or inner ear. So while it can be brought on by exposure to loud levels of music or noise, the lingering effect is not directly coupled to your hearing or your ears.

One audiologist I consulted with about my hearing told me that tinnitus is a sign of change in your hearing. Has anyone ever heard of someone's hearing changing for the better? Of course not.

Some foods and over the counter medications can cause an increase in tinnitus. I believe that caffeine and also the active ingredient in Tylenol (much to long a word for me to try and spell here) have been linked to tinnitus.

There is not much you can do except use good judgement when it comes to exposure to loud sound. Keep the volume down, especially if you are using headphones. Carry a set of earplugs for when you must be in noisy environments. Always wear earplugs and earmuffs together if part of your recreational passtimes involve discharging firearms or artillery.

Try switching to decaffinated coffee if you drink the stuff, and see if there is a change in your tinnitus, but give it at least two weeks. The same with the pain killer medications or chocolate(contains caffeine), lay off the stuff for a week or two and see if your tinnitus improves. I believe smoking has been linked to hearing loss, but I am not sure about any link between smoking and tinnitus.
 
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TaffyGuy

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ugh. i'm sorry akar. my "problems" shy in comparison... i'm glad it seems i have nothing strikingly abnormal though. perhaps i can rest easier myself.
 
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jlo mein

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Quote:

Originally posted by bubbaj

Wait till your hair starts to fall out.


now THAT is a scary thought
....
 
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elnero

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Also be aware that exposure to anything loud for extended periods increases the chance of hearing damage. The longer the exposure the more we become accustomed to it so in situations like listening to loud music we have a tendency to keep turning it up. The ear is actually compensating at this point which is the first step towards hearing damage. If exposure continues either continuously or over a period of time before the ear has a chance to recover that is when serious damage can occur. Time of recovery is dependant on time of exposure and decibal level. A loud two hour concert may take as much as a week to two weeks for the ear to recover. (That may not be accurate if I remember correctly it's close) So if you go to a concert and you come out with your ears ringing try to protect from anything loud for at least a week.

When I learned this at the school I went to for audio engineering it made me very aware of the problem. It's what held me back from listening to headphones for so long but I've realized that with sane listening levels and exposure time it shouldn't cause any damage. I've heard a slight ringing in my ears lately but I can't really say as to when it started or whether because I was thinking about it that I noticed it.

Phil
 
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Mr.PD

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Quote:

Originally posted by bubbaj
Oh Hell! I have all those things wrong with me too. You'll live.

Wait till your hair starts to fall out. Then you'll really freak.

Anyway, it's easy to turn the volume up too high with those etys so be careful.


I gotta agree with this. You will live just fine. Unless you worry yourself to death.

I have tinnitus that I can hear right now over the television. I hadn't noticed until I read this thread. I've had this for about 20 years, maybe longer, but it got really noticable in the early 80's. Thats when my job required me to work in the vicinity of 120db high frequency noise. They forbid me to wear hearing protection. You could hear these things 2 miles away. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I didn't spend as much time there as a lot of people did.

mkmelt is right in that foods/meds can make the ringing louder. Coffee really perks up the noise in my ears, so does a lack of sleep. I also notice the ringing is louder if a night at work is louder than normal. I've had the ringing loud enough to hear it over the music from my Ety's. I'm glad that doesn't happen very often.

I always sleep with the air conditioner fan running. I can't sleep without this masking.
 
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setmenu

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The visual equivalent of tinnitus are 'floaters' in the eye.
These can occur at any time but more likely than not as one ages
and the vitrious humor liquifies[though other things cause them , some serious conditions]

Look into the sky or a light and squint.

generaly a sign of ageing eyeballs..........bummer



Setmenu
 
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BenG

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Quote:

Anyway, it's easy to turn the volume up too high with those etys so be careful. [/B]


THe thing is, hypothetically, you are probably going to be listening to your other cans at a louder & less healthy level to compensate for louder background noise.

The lack of impact & lack of distortion are the only reasons I can think of, to the contrary, imo, but are out weighed by the superior isolation of the ERs.

I just found it strange that only the ERs were mentioned in thread about tinnitus. <subliminally, Ety = greater risk of tinnitus>
 
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TaffyGuy

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probably because i mentioned ety's as the starting point to my paranoia, but yes i know how my ears can fool me, and how that makes ety's potentially safer (i was trying to explain to my friend we can't have the radio on so it sounds loud while going 80 on the freeway with the air conditioner on full blast, because we probably had a 70 dB noise floor... i'm not sure if he got it)

heh, i have floaters as well. i never knew what the hell they were until my roommate started bitching about them, saying how he was cursed with protien cells in his eyes blocking his vision, and looking up ways to cure it (its silly because neither of us have it bad at all) i guess this was a relief to me becase i always assumed they were like dead rods or something like a pixel out on an lcd screen, which confused me cuz i could only see them some of the time (mostly on car rides when i'm falling asleep and looking out the window... if you can picture that) but who gives a **** about eyes anyway. i'd much rather have faltering vision than hearing... of course thats probably all of us and no one else


and of course i already do have faltering vision.. heh.. but thats a hell of a lot easier to fix (in that it is at all possible)

thanks for contributing guys... perhaps there are more folk curious and/or worried/paranoid that are getting some useful information here.

i'm still extremely curious/deathly afraid to go to an audiologist... wonder how i stack up in numbers. heh. its kind of like the hi-fi equiv of going to take an IQ test. it doesn't change anything, but do you really want ot know?
 
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meithkiller

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As a tinnitus sufferer for going on about 6 years now, I can assure you that your paranoia about tinnitus is (quite possibly) with merit. On one hand you can't do anything about the things you have done in the past that might have caused you tinnitus. That is history. What you can do is take steps to prevent any further damage to your ears in the future.

There are many different possible causes of tinnitus, from adverse drug side effects to physical trauma to the head or ear to exposure to loud noise over time (or instantaneously). I would hazard a guess that exposure to noise or music is by far the most prevalent cause. I remember hearing that William Shatner was too close to a special fx explosion on the set of the original Star Trek, and has suffered pretty severe tinnitus ever since. Mothers with infants are also at great risk if they frequently hold a screaming baby by their ear with no protection. I got mine from shooting a large handgun and shotgun frequently without protection as a teenager coupled with quite a few loud concerts, at least 15-20 per year for 5-10 years.

Stimulants like caffeine or nicotine typically don't cause tinnitus, but they do make it worse. Working nights however, I can't hardly do without caffeine, oh well. One of the hardest parts of a tinnitus prevention program is the fact that different noise levels, medications, illnesses affect everybody differently. Two people could be exposed to the same loud noise, and one may experience tinnitus, the other have no problems whatsoever. There is, however an approximate threshold above which everyone will experience hearing loss.

My tinnitus is worse in my left ear (for some reason right handed shooters tend to have problems in their left ears), but is somewhat present in my right ear as well. It seems to present itself as a high pitched ringing at somewhere between 4kHz and 8kHz, it is also coupled with mild hearing loss in my left ear from about 4kHz to 10 kHz. I've seen an audiologist and my family doctor, not a lot of help from either. Short of going out of state to a specialist and paying a lot of money for questionable treatment, I'm pretty much SOL when it comes to any hope of my tinnitus getting better.

My only consolation is that maybe other people will learn from my mistakes and live to enjoy their music with good hearing than I have.

Quote:

Originally posted by jlo mein
But i mean, be real. Dont go wearing ear plugs all the time when you arent listening to headphones. And you have to face the fact that sometimes we will be in loud environments.


I would tend to disagree a bit. I would agree that one shouldn't have to go around wearing earplugs all the time, but always carrying a pair is awfully cheap insurance. I bought 8 or 10 pair of the Etymotic earplugs (about $8 each) last year, and keep a set in each of our cars, in every jacket I usually wear, and have a couple other pair setting around. I wear them to concerts and movies, and like to have a pair handy just in case I'm in a situation where I might need them.
 
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Tim D

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I'm lucky to not be affected much at all by tinnitus. I have to contort my jaw in unnatural positions in peace and quiet to ever hear it to any noticable degree. Don't want to come across as holier than thou, but I wouldn't want this thread to devolve into a, "hey everyone has it, it is normal, don't worry about it" type of thing. I think I am lucky cause I know my parents kept nagging me to not listen so loud even with crappy earbuds when I was much younger. But maybe that is a good thing now that I think about it...that they even forewarned me of that sort of thing not out of their own annoyance of sound, but for my personal wellbeing. Doesn't seem like a common do's and don't to me.

I was pissed recently when I was driving and some bike zooms by with practically no muffler. I tend to like driving with windows down, but I guess I should probably roll it up and use AC cause of crap like that. I think driving is a possibility for tinnitus to attack the left ear first.

In any case, earplugs at places you know are going to be loud is a good idea...such as clubs and such. It is amazing how most clubbers will never acknowledge or seem immune to the obscenely loud club scene. Most people are ignorant of hearing damage period.

ER4S tend not to give me any more satisfaction at high levels over moderate to low volume levels cause of its sonique characteristics. It isn't like it'll all of the sudden they give you visceral bass...and if it is, that would probably be a very bad sign. ER4P's however are some of the most sensitive and efficient phones, and I would hate to make a thumb twitching mistake or deal with badly designed audio equipment in terms of volume control. I'd say stick with the wimpy jacks with 4P's, be careful, or get 4S if you are going amped.
 
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