Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eh?! WHAT'D YOU SAY?! Guys, I Have Tinnitus

Posted by on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 4:39 PM

  • Kelly O
  • Eh?! WHAT'D YOU SAY?!
Yes, I have tinnitus. Uh... so, I'm slightly deaf—JUST like my mom told me would happen if I spent years playing in bands, going to see bands, and listening to sweet jams WAAAAAYYYY too loud in my bitchin' Camaro. Right, so now I have a constant high pitched squeal ringing in my head. Also, in addition to the squealing, depending on the room and when a certain pitch is hit, my ears can buzz uncomfortably. It doesn't hurt, but it fucking makes my eyes tear up. Thankfully the buzzing has become less of a problem as I retired from playing in bands. I once had a bad habit of playing in bands which rehearsed beyond the threshold of pain. We'd measured it and found we averaged 140 dB. Stupid, I KNOW, but it was ROCK 'n' ROLL. So, please, y'all, wear yer goddamn earplugs!

Anyways, my "deafness" is annoying and can be distracting, but mostly I try to ignore it. I reckon, now, the only time I consciously hear the squeals is when I'm falling asleep. I actually 'usta play an album at matching "squeal" volume to cover the tinnitus and it worked till my bed partner(s) begged for silence, so I gave up music as my lullaby. I'm currently using a white noise sound machine, set to static, turned all the way up, but now I'm hearing sound patterns in the static. Short of some kinda brain implant or pills, any of y'all Slog Out folks folks have any other tips to squelch my squeals?


Comments (29) RSS

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trollstalker 1
It won't squelch the squeals but a good meditation practice (like vipassana) can make it less bothersome for you.
Posted by trollstalker on April 2, 2014 at 5:11 PM · Report this
trollstalker 2
Here's a link for more info:…
Posted by trollstalker on April 2, 2014 at 5:12 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 3
I'd never heard of tinnitus until This American Life did a segment on it. It's a real old one, probably 10 or 15 years even, but may be worth seeking out.
Posted by mikethehammer on April 2, 2014 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Sorry to hear that, man. Luckily there's a subreddit for that!
Posted by yer pal on April 2, 2014 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Hawke 5
I've lived with it for decades. And if I get my head just right, I can hear my blood rushing through my veins in time to my pulse. They told me there is really little they can do.
Posted by Hawke on April 2, 2014 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Eventually the whine fades away and you're just deaf in those frequencies. Makes it hard to hear what people are saying on the teevee. Happens to everyone when they get old, but it's worse if you abuse your earholes. I probably shouldn't have listened to that guy play the drums in the concrete molasses tank in Boston, or gone to see My Bloody Valentine or Graham Parker or The Clash or The Ramones with my head inside the speaker box.
Posted by Fnarf on April 2, 2014 at 6:01 PM · Report this
You deserve it, dipshit.
Posted by SeattleBrad on April 2, 2014 at 6:28 PM · Report this
Simone 8
@6, sometimes the only place you can get is the spot right next to the speaker. Been there a few times myself. Even ear plugs don't help much.
Posted by Simone on April 2, 2014 at 6:40 PM · Report this
You can check out, the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center at 19th and Madison.

It doesn't matter what you say, SeattleBrad, cuz I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
Posted by jt on April 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM · Report this
I had a bad bout of tinnitus that lasted for a year, but it actually went away eventually after I started listening to it carefully. I'd lay in bed at night and just listen to it as though it were a Ligeti piece or something, and I started to hear all kinds of movement in it and shifting lines, it was the best piece of music ever. Some people describe just a high pitch whine but mine was not, and I wonder if it would blossom for you too if you gave it your undivided, unresistant attention. And then it might go away for you too.
Posted by emmaz on April 2, 2014 at 7:01 PM · Report this
This is pure anecdata, but my dad suffers from bad tinnitus and somehow figured out that an alcoholic beverage a day (which maybe you're already drinking, I don't know your life) really reduced the severity and discomfort. He's not much of a drinker so he basically thinks of it as medicine.
Posted by Infrequent Commenter on April 2, 2014 at 7:04 PM · Report this
mackro 12
Mike, I don't recommend this necessarily, because I think my tinnitus was related to my hypertension. But I gave up caffeine completely, and within a few weeks, the ringing went away. Granted, I did this shortly after the ringing started. And I understand the fear of giving up caffeine, especially in this city. But that's what helped me. If you have hypertension as well, it may help you.
Posted by mackro on April 2, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
There's lots of different kinds of white noise. Once you're hearing patterns in what you're using, try another variation.
Posted by Jo M M on April 2, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
Never abused my earholes,much.

(Okay, that ONE Ramones concert in the late '70s.)

Had a hearing test, and I'm better than average for my age.

But I've got the tintinitus,soyou tell me.

I live in a city, so mostly I don't hear it above city sounds.

Would love any recommendations, my doctor sez, "Oh my husband's had that for years."
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this
I did the following for all songs in my Dad's music library - he has been doing this therapy for a month or so - it may help you - check it out…
Posted by grizzly bear on April 2, 2014 at 8:38 PM · Report this
or rather,…
Posted by grizzly bear on April 2, 2014 at 8:40 PM · Report this
One more try with feeling: - try this out, it seems promising - you'll have to listen to a bunch of songs in your music library 30-60 minutes a day with this audio processing…
Posted by Ross Marshall on April 2, 2014 at 8:42 PM · Report this
treacle 18
Yeah, it kinda sucks. Apparently tinnitus occurs because the aural nerve is no longer receiving much or any input from the little hairs in your ear that respond to the damaged frequencies, and the aural nerve just 'makes up' a noise because it's getting no input. Very much like phantom limb pain.

I've recently read that if you spend a significant amount of time blindfolded, your hearing will improve as your brain compensates.

Scientists have also tested some drug on mice that helps the little hairs regrow, so I'm hoping that reaches a human-quality product within my lifetime.

On the other hand you are joining a league of greats like Pete Townshend who are deaf from music.

I might suggest doing something to ensure you don't lose more of your hearing. Carrying good earplugs with you everywhere is a smart plan. Foam ones block a lot of db's,but quality one's block db's evenly across the spectrum. Or you can purchase the $300 Etymotic "Musician Pro" electronic earplugs that give you a 6db boost, and an automatic 9 or 15db cut-off when dangerous sounds occur.

Thanks for the 'notched music' suggestion Ross, that is a great idea!
Posted by treacle on April 2, 2014 at 9:15 PM · Report this
treacle 19
Oh, also, a friend of mine has tinnitus that sounds like a rushing freight train in one ear...because of a virus he contracted after a night out with friends. I don't know which virus, sorry.
Posted by treacle on April 2, 2014 at 9:32 PM · Report this
rob! 20
Many drugs can cause or increase tinnitus. These include certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as Motrin, Advil, and Aleve), certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin and vancomycin), loop diuretics (such as Lasix), aspirin and other salicylates, quinine-containing drugs, and chemotherapy medications (such as carboplatin and cisplatin). Depending on the medication dosage, the tinnitus can be temporary or permanent.
—Folmer L, Martin WH, Shi Y. Tinnitus: Questions to reveal the cause, answers to provide relief. Journal of Family Practice 2004;53(7):532–540.
Posted by rob! on April 2, 2014 at 10:55 PM · Report this
Hey Nipper!

Had it for years too and recently started oil pulling. It's helped me immensely. Cold pressed organic coconut oil, everyday in the morning for 20 minutes. Sounds weird, and maybe it won't work for you, but at least you'll have whiter teeth.
Posted by Yukes on April 3, 2014 at 4:00 AM · Report this
CBSeattle 22
There was a carpenter who used to carry around a pin with him. It turned out that he had tinnitus for years and went an acupuncturist who just made it go away. He has kept the pin ever since and it had been many years at that point.

Hope it works for you Mike.
Posted by CBSeattle on April 3, 2014 at 7:56 AM · Report this
My tinnitus morphed from high pitched cricket and cicada drone to chirping birds. I can even pick out individual bird sounds lying in bed at night. They're much easier to listen to than the cicadas.
Posted by laurax on April 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM · Report this

Posted by kmggg on April 3, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Start with a comprehensive hearing evaluation from an audiologist
Posted by Shae on April 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Dougsf 26
Mine's pretty mild, don't notice it if I fall asleep to TV (and I work with a small fan blowing in my office), and my hearing is surprisingly decent considering what I've done to it.

I suppose I'm glad now I could never afford that properly loud guitar amp in my teens and twenties.
Posted by Dougsf on April 3, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
I've playing in very loud bands for the last 20 years, but always protected my ears- so my hearing is still pretty good. I have had tinnitus my whole life, but it has certainly gotten worse w/ age. As mentioned above, I always sleep w/ a tv on (pretty quiet, barely audible, jut enough to give my ears something else to do).
Posted by Chris Jury on April 3, 2014 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Posted by DJ?Whatever on April 4, 2014 at 9:23 AM · Report this
I religiously carry around earplugs and mine at least hasn't gotten worse. However, I went to see St. Vincent a few weeks back and, after seeing her with David Byrne last summer, somehow got her into my head as a non-loud act, and also tricked myself into thinking somehow that the Moore Theater wouldn't be as loud as a little club, and so I didn't think to bring the earplugs. HOLY SHIT WAS SHE LOUD. All those fun guitar tones on her albums were cranked to pain-plus-one and a lot of the music was pretty white-noise-heavy to begin with. Spent the last few weeks trying to decide if I increased my tinnitus from that one show or not...still haven't decided. I hear a lot of high-pitched ringing as I type this, so I may have. Oh with tinnitus.
Posted by g on April 7, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this

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