Ear Trauma!!!

Deadpan

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I hate it! Tinnitus and acute trauma sucks! Save your ears. Public Service Announcement!

This is the second time I have had acute trauma, first it was my right ear now the left. The first time it took a month to mostly recover then a year to really get back to normal. Luckily it did. Hoping it doesn't last that long this time. I have work to do and this makes it very uncomfortable.
 
I abused my ears for many years, I remember playing in a band as a youngster in a super small club for about a year where I had to stand next to the drummer, his cymbals literally hurt my ears. But I didn't get tinnitus until much later in life when I took a flight across country, when I got to the east coast I started hearing it. Been dealing with it ever since. The funny thing is that my mind can ignore it for the most part, it normally happens in the evenings or when I think about it. Fortunately for the most part of the day my mind somehow blocks it out. But thanks for bringing it up, now I can't stop hearing it :grin
 
I abused my ears for many years, I remember playing in a band as a youngster in a super small club for about a year where I had to stand next to the drummer, his cymbals literally hurt my ears. But I didn't get tinnitus until much later in life when I took a flight across country, when I got to the east coast I started hearing it. Been dealing with it ever since. The funny thing is that my mind can ignore it for the most part, it normally happens in the evenings or when I think about it. Fortunately for the most part of the day my mind somehow blocks it out. But thanks for bringing it up, now I can't stop hearing it :grin
As a kid I really abused them as well. Never any trouble past a day or so.

Now I get use to the tinnitus also. Only after long sessions does it get so bothersome. Usually settles to a ignorable level over night or a couple days.

The accute trauma is a bit different though. Feels like there is a cotton ball way in my ear. Can't hear mids and low mids well. Lows are very exaggerated and creat a horrible sensation.

I want to blame it on @JiveTurkey haha but really it's my own fault. He posted the thread of the youngsters band yesterday and I happen to be running a capture very loud but was curious to hear so put on the headphones and turned it up too loud to hear over the amp. Took me about 20 seconds to realize what I was doing even though it didn't feel uncomfortable. Wasn't until sitting down to spend the evening with the wife that the effects set in.

Shaking my head at myself.
 
Never heard of acute trauma, that must suck. But thanks for bringing this subject up, I wish someone would have told me when I was 16, but then again I probably wouldn't have listened because at that age I was indestructible.
 
I hate it! Tinnitus and acute trauma sucks! Save your ears. Public Service Announcement!

This is the second time I have had acute trauma, first it was my right ear now the left. The first time it took a month to mostly recover then a year to really get back to normal. Luckily it did. Hoping it doesn't last that long this time. I have work to do and this makes it very uncomfortable.

Man, hang in there!

I've had tinnitus for over 20 years as I was a drummer growing up. It was rarely an issue (would only hear it at night if it was quiet) until I had a spike two years ago, and then another spike this summer. Both spikes led to me having some really bad anxiety and really disrupting my quality of life. Not sleeping, not eating, not able to focus, etc. And in both cases, the tinnitus drastically improved after a few months.

The biggest thing I learned is that tinnitus is very treatable, that it can and will get better, and that you need to take care of yourself to see those improvements.

When you first encounter a tinnitus spike, you need to realize it's very highly (possibly entirely) related to your fight or flight system. Human hearing evolved primarily as a safety mechanism (to hear threats), so when you hear something and you can't attribute it to something specific, your brain thinks "hey here's a threat!". That kicks in the body's fight or flight system, which in turn heightens your senses, making you hear the tinnitus even louder. And that is a nasty cycle that you can get stuck in.

The way out of it is to calm the body as much as possible through whatever means necessary. I am prone to generalized anxiety (not acute panic attacks), so that's something I need to treat. I saw a doctor and was prescribed anti-anxiety/anti-depressants and those helped A TON to get me out of the cycle. Also, some OTC stuff to help with sleep was useful; I would take a Benadryl when it was really bad. When I had the spike two years ago, guided meditation really helped. This time around, the medication was more useful, along with waiting for things to improve.

As for the acoustic trauma (which is what caused my spike this summer), I saw multiple ENT's and audiologists, and they all agreed that it can take weeks, months, even up to a year for that trauma to improve. It may not get 100% resolved, and you can definitely have tinnitus without hearing loss. I tested with excellent hearing both times, and no real change. But don't worry if you go on Google and read that anything lasting longer than a few days (or weeks) is permanent.

And even if you have "permanent" tinnitus, even if it's really loud at first, your brain can adjust to it! This is called habituation and it can take days, weeks, months, sometimes years. The experts have run studies and showed that over 98% of tinnitus suffers eventually habituate to it. And the ones that do not habituate usually need to treat the underlying anxiety or other health issues.

Two years ago after my spike, which was stress induced, after a few months I could wear noise canceling headphones in a quiet room and not even hear the tinnitus. This time around, I am much more aware of the tinnitus even with standard closed back headphones. It's possible the ringing volume is louder, or that my brain is more aware of it right now. But it continues to improve, and I'm hopeful that I'll get back to the near-silence levels again.

Some of the changes I made this time around...I no longer use noise canceling over ear headphones for several hours per day. I used to do work calls using headsets but now I use a speakerphone so I can hear the ambient noise of my house. That helps my brain to continue to habituate and not call attention to the tinnitus. I used to use closed back headphones for playing guitar 99% of the time, and now I'm using studio monitors at least 75% of the time, and open back headphones when I need to be quieter.

There's a handful of very good resources if you're struggling with tinnitus. Look up "Julian Cowan Hill" on YouTube...he's a tinnitus expert who's really chill and zen and reassuring. He actually has an iOS app called "Quieten" that was really helpful for me those first couple months of my latest spike. The videos are very reassuring and have helpful advice, plus there's a ton of positive success stories. Another good one is "Joey Remenyi" who has some positive interviews/testimonials on YouTube as well. She sells a really expensive course for vertigo and tinnitus that she pushes a lot, but the positive interviews are still helpful. Another good video is Dr. Bruce Hubbard, if you search for cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus, he has a free nearly two hour video on the subject.

Beyond that, there's some good apps for guided meditation which can help. Insight Timer has a lot of free meditations without a subscription. Others are Waking Up, Headspace, some on YouTube as well.

Like I said, if you suffer from tinnitus, hang in there. You can work through the spikes and get back to a high quality of life. It may take time but find some ways to soothe yourself until your brain starts to adjust, and then you'll start to get some relief.
 
I think I've got a very mild case of it myself. In terms of guitar/music related stuff, I've always taken care of my ears pretty well. I get lazier when it comes to using power tools, and have had a few sessions of using power tools in a way too closed/small space the last few years that may have led to it?

My brain mostly ignores it, and when it doesn't (like right now!) its not so bad as to further raise my anxiety levels for the most part. But then again, my professional life doesn't depend on my hearing.

The notes above about the relationship between it and generalized anxiety are super helpful and something I'd wondered about. The onset of the noise came with a modest ramp up in general life-related anxiety that I'm starting to deal with better, so maybe I'll see some improvement? At this point its low level enough that "improvement" would basically mean "gone", so maybe not, but we'll see.
 
I abused my ears most of my life and am paying for it currently. I work with small children and when they get loud enough it seems to "resonate" my "tinittus frequency"... I have no idea about correct terminology obviously. I'm also prone to headaches and it can get bad enough to trigger a migraine.

I have been using ear filters/protection now for the past few years but the ringing never stops, I just distract myself from hearing it.
 
Thought I would give an update.

It's been two months now and I would say it's about 90% healed.

Went to the audiologist at the beginning and all hearing tests came back good. To my surprise.

I finally figured out what the cause is. Loud sounds can cause fluid build up in the inner ear.

The symptoms were terrible and include hyperacusis, muffled sound, hearing garbled words, feeling like there was a tin can in the ear, popping in the ear for days at a time and terrible echos.

Currently I seem to only be sensitive to very low frequencies.

So, age is a bitch, take care all!
 
Thought I would give an update.

It's been two months now and I would say it's about 90% healed.

Went to the audiologist at the beginning and all hearing tests came back good. To my surprise.

I finally figured out what the cause is. Loud sounds can cause fluid build up in the inner ear.

The symptoms were terrible and include hyperacusis, muffled sound, hearing garbled words, feeling like there was a tin can in the ear, popping in the ear for days at a time and terrible echos.

Currently I seem to only be sensitive to very low frequencies.

So, age is a b*tch, take care all!

That's great news!

I would say mine is about 80% better at this point. I can't really use headphones like I did earlier this year because the ringing seems to be at a louder baseline. Which sucks because I could use noise canceling headphones before and be in the quiet, but now I can't even use sealed headphones in a quiet room.

But the anxiety is gone which is the biggest issue.

Take care of your ears!
 
Growing up, I thought EVERYONE had ringing in their ears, turns out it’s not smart to let your 5-6 year old kit sit under your drums while your band is practicing for several hours (but that was cool as f*ck, thanks dad!). I’ve had it as long as I can remember.

A couple years ago, when life was taking a turn for the worse, I developed pulsatile tinnitus; I could feel/hear my heartbeat in my ear and it drove me f*cking crazy. I saw a doctor about it and he first went right for my heart, as it’s often associated with high blood pressure/too much cholesterol. This was in the midst of me being 100% plant-base/whole foods only, so when my blood test came back with excellent results, we knew it wasn’t clogged arteries and poor health. My BP was still skyrocketing, though, which was no surprise due to the stress going on at the time.

And just like that, once the stressful period was over, it went away.

I still have the ringing all the time, but I’m used to that. I definitely got REALLY cautious about my ears during that period, though. I never gave a sh*t, always preferred standing right next to the drums, played drums for years, would assault my ears with volume when listening/recording with headphones, everything that was bad to do to them, I did. The biggest offender was most likely listening to music in my truck; it sounds so good in there that it almost demands being cranked up.

Alas, I want to hear until I take my last breath, so I’m conscious of what volumes I listen to music at now and generally bring a pair of earplugs to concerts if I feel it’s getting too loud.
 
That's great news!

I would say mine is about 80% better at this point. I can't really use headphones like I did earlier this year because the ringing seems to be at a louder baseline. Which sucks because I could use noise canceling headphones before and be in the quiet, but now I can't even use sealed headphones in a quiet room.

But the anxiety is gone which is the biggest issue.

Take care of your ears!
Glad there is progress. Hope you get the tolerance for headphones back. That was a big issue for me also.

Yeah, the fear and anxiety is definitely an issue. With relying on my hearing to pay the bills I would be in trouble if it were permanent. I tell myself that maybe it is meant to be and I just have to learn to listen a different way, which actually has been a benifit, though I really know that damage would be downfall.
 
Glad there is progress. Hope ye get the tolerance for headphones back. That was a big issue for me also.

Yeah, the fear and anxiety is definitely an issue. With relying on my hearing to pay the bills I would be in trouble if it were permanent. I tell myself that maybe it is meant to be and I just have to learn to listen a different way, which actually has been a benifit, though I really know that damage would be downfall.

Yeah I liken it to an injury that leads to a disability. You're never going to get your old hearing back, just like if someone lost an arm, that's gone forever. But you can learn to live with it, adapt, and find joy in life again.

For me that's been using monitors more and not headphones all the time, getting rid of my noise canceling headphones, and using open back headphones more. It's fine, a little frustrating at times.

I also bring earplugs with me to every show and keep a little decibel meter on my Apple watch that I can check to see if things are too loud. Surprisingly, I often perceive 75 dB as being quite loud, so my preference is definitely NOT loud noises.
 
I also bring earplugs with me to every show and keep a little decibel meter on my Apple watch that I can check to see if things are too loud. Surprisingly, I often perceive 75 dB as being quite loud, so my preference is definitely NOT loud noises.
Me too haha! Have a set of Eargasms on my key chain 😀
 
Me too haha! Have a set of Eargasms on my key chain 😀

I think I got some of those but ended up with "Vibes" earplugs, which are ball shaped and a little more comfortable. The other kind seem to work their way out of my ears. I actually bring two sets with me, one as a backup or for my wife.
 
Very cool info in this thread and great to hear you guys are managing your tinnitus well!

I don't have tinnitus but I do have significant hearing loss dating back to when I was a kid with weekly ear infections, then exacerbated by rockin and rollin the last 25 years. Anyway, I recently got my hearing aids, and have been amazed at everything I was missing, lol. The tech has come a long way in the last few years. The reason I finally got them was because it had gotten to the point where I could not hear my wife's soft, sweet voice unless I was loking directly at her. Unfortunately for her, the hearing aids are like sick bluetooth earpieces so now I am constantly listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks, so I still dont hear her. :LOL:

One thing I wanted to pass along from my audiologist that was a mindblown kinda moment - as you lose your hearing, the brain loses the ability to distinguish between similar-sounding words. So waiting too long to get hearing aids will result in amplified garbled speech, not because your ears aren't working, but because your brain can no longer distinguish the difference in the words.
:rollsafe
 
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