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 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 6:57 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

William Shatner is a famous example of a tinnitus sufferer. He did habituation therapy. I'm not sure exactly what it involves, and Thor may have more information on the topic, but I do know it's basically training yourself not to hear the tinnitus. I have much empathy for anyone suffering from tinnitus, an inescapable affliction.

The therapy, called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), involves wearing sound generators--devices that look like hearing aids. They emanate white or pink noise which masks the tinnitus sounds. One wears them for at least six hours per day, and takes care to avoid places that are completely silent. With time, one's brain learns to ignore the tinnitus sound. Following on my previous post, I began TRT after my doctors were initially unable to identify a cause. When I have a flare up, I wear the generators at night to mask the noise and help me sleep.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 6:59 AM   
 By:   Uhtred   (Member)

Mine started last year. I went to a ent doctor who quickly got sidetracked by a lump on my neck that needed to be removed. That took up a chunk of last year and the tinnitus got forgotten. I can ignore it most of the time luckily but it is more pronounced if I listen to a lot of music on headphones. Because of that, I bought a stereo to listen to my music on and that has helped. I find that I can't enjoy loud modern action music as much as I did but that has led me to start collecting and appreciating golden and silver age music instead.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 9:03 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

William Shatner is a famous example of a tinnitus sufferer. He did habituation therapy. I'm not sure exactly what it involves, and Thor may have more information on the topic, but I do know it's basically training yourself not to hear the tinnitus. I have much empathy for anyone suffering from tinnitus, an inescapable affliction.

The therapy, called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), involves wearing sound generators--devices that look like hearing aids. They emanate white or pink noise which masks the tinnitus sounds. One wears them for at least six hours per day, and takes care to avoid places that are completely silent. With time, one's brain learns to ignore the tinnitus sound. Following on my previous post, I began TRT after my doctors were initially unable to identify a cause. When I have a flare up, I wear the generators at night to mask the noise and help me sleep.


Yes, there are increasing number of aids these days. As I mentioned earlier, I have a "sound pillow" -- a pillow with two small speakers tucked inside that are connected to a (quite big) sound generator. Includes everything from distant wind to breaking waves to rustle in the trees etc. The trick is not to OVERPOWER the tinnitus, but to set the volume just BELOW the tinnitus -- in order to mask it over time.

It's important to remember that the sound doesn't emanate from anything in your ear, it's a sound that your BRAIN creates to counteract against some sort of imbalance. So for me, I've found that it's a matter of psychological therapy; i.e. learning HOW TO LIVE WITH IT. I also cling on to a faint hope that they will be able to fix it in the future, but it may not happen in my lifetime.

It's good to know that there are others who struggle with this here. Not good as in 'good that you have it', but 'comfort in knowing that I'm not alone'. It's quite common for men around 60 and upwards, but I was a bit depressed when I got it at age 32; I have to admit.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   jackfu   (Member)

Dan, I appreciate your plight as obviously many others on this board do as well. I started a thread on this a little less than 2 years ago (http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=81915&forumID=7&archive=0). Many here provided helpful input then as well, so you may want to check it out. And like Thor, my understanding as was imparted to me by the ENT who diagnosed my tinnitus is that it usually results from damage and hearing loss in a specific region of the frequency spectrum, so it is a combined affect. Your brain knows there should be sound in that region (e.g., 4000 hz) and when it is not found there the brain creates it. I believe that’s why none of the herbal or other treatments helped me. Mine is a hissing sound and I’ve found it is irritated by similar sounds. I spend much of my day in a lab and fume hood and hvac thermostat noises are particularly irritating and can actually cause fatigue after a long day. Air travel is the absolute worst for me, especially long international flights with the air vents and noises of the air moving around the wings becoming a major irritant. Noise-canceling headpphones seem to help a little. I regularly listen to music at night at low levels to help get to sleep. I wish you well and hope you can get relief.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 11:47 AM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

I have a very mild form of it, too. And it definitely was my fault, turning the volume up too high, listening with ear speakers.

?


Sorry to hear this (no pun intended)
One reason I am always trying to get folks here to abandon headphones and listen thru speakers.
bruce

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

I am shocked at how many people here suffer from this affliction.
My sympathies to all of you.

Many musicians, esp. rock musicians suffer from this problem including Pete Townshend.
There was a female rocker from San Francisco who started an organization to help prevent this by giving out ear plugs to musicians (I believe she was in The Contractions).

Please protect your ears from loud noise whenver possible.

bruce

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 12:16 PM   
 By:   Jon C   (Member)

My sympathies to those that suffer tinnitus. It runs in my family although, knock on wood, not for me. I use hearing protection for just about everything including power tools. Hearing protection at concerts and shows is a must. My neighbors tell me I look like Mickey Mouse(I use large black muffs rather than plugs), but I hope to have my hearing later in life.

Please! Even when mowing a lawn or using a saw, use hearing protection. You just don't get a second chance.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   slint   (Member)

My ears have rung ever since I can remember. I even recall asking my mom "Why do my ears make noise?" when I was around four years old. I have two distinct pitches - one is a steadily ringing B, I know that for certain, the other is more of a bell tone pitched a bit lower. In addition, I also have an underlying roar. If I'm alone in a silent room, the persistent noise will literally drive me to the brink of madness. I have to sleep with a box fan running.

My case is a bit similar, in the sense that I do not really remember hearing silence. However, it is really about fifteen years ago that I started to notice it because of loud concerts, which would enhance the ringing for a few days. At that point, I thought that it was getting worse and started to notice it all the time. However, after one or two years, I started to forget about it, and now I do not even care. After 15 years, it has not really changed. I always wear earplugs at concerts so I have removed very loud noises, but I still regularly listen to music at medium-level for long periods. I still sleep with a fan running most of the time since I got used to that. Silent rooms, especially when sleeping is still a bit of a problem since the hiss sound is amplified, but even then, I just do not think about it anymore.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

So what's the reason why tinnitus is not possible to fix or repair by doctors or scientists?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 3:06 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I've had it for a few years now, but not as a result of the more common way like too much loud music. I woke up one morning in April 2010 and soon noticed what sounded like a very quiet tone in my left ear. I had my dad check my ear with a flashlight and he said it had a lot of wax build up. I had both ears irrigated at the doctor's office, and the doctor discovered ear infections. Normally I could tell when I had an ear infection, because I had them many times as a kid, but these ones I was unaware of. I think what happened was that my ears were infected behind the wax blockage, and they were there long enough to cause some damage before I became aware of the build up. The doctor gave me some drops (I'd always had pills to take for ear infections as a kid), but they actually seemed to make the noise worse. It sounded almost like crickets in my ear. I'd have trouble sleeping and would have to leave the TV on at night in order to fall asleep.

I went back to the doctor's a couple more times, including seeing some different ones, but lacking any insurance there was only so much I could have done without facing the high medical bills of various tests and such. Eventually, the noise seemed to "level out," and it's been the same ever since. It's not like a ringing or tone or anything like that. Instead, it's almost more like a static. It's not really that loud, and in fact at times I can even forget about it, like when I get caught up in a conversation, watching a movie or if I'm out messing around in town. And it's only my left ear that is affected, despite there having been blockage and infections in both.

It's been just over three years now since it's started, and I have to say that it's been surprisingly tolerable. Aside from that time I was taking ear drops for my infections, it actually hasn't impeded my sleep much at all. During the colder months I don't run the ceiling fan in my bedroom, but even then in a quiet room I'm still able to fall asleep without much problem even though I can certainly still hear it. I don't think I've suffered much in the way of hearing loss. Occasionally, it seems like something (TV, the sound of a fan) sounds a little lower to me than usual, but I think it's just my mind playing tricks on me because other things sound perfectly normal.

The biggest change for me has been going to concerts. Before it started, I was going to concerts on occasion but haven't been to one since. I'm sure those who have been to concerts before know how when you leave, your ears feel a little "stuffed up" afterward from the noise, almost like you're wearing ear plugs. I'm worried about that possibly causing further damage, so I've been reluctant to attend any in the last three years. Also, when I take trips and drive through the mountains, my ears will plug up from the elevation change as usual, but seem to take a little bit longer than before to go back to normal.

As for listening to music, I haven't really changed much of my habits. I never blared music on headphones to begin with. I have been kind of worried about using them since this started, but I still do on occasion; I just make sure to keep the volume comfortable and I take breaks, and so far I've noticed no changes. Like I said, I'm surprised how tolerable this has been. I've since come to accept that this is something I'm going to have for the rest of my life now, and I've done my best to just deal with it and not let it get in the way of me enjoying stuff I like to do.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 3:59 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

One reason I am always trying to get folks here to abandon headphones and listen thru speakers.
bruce


Not so simple, Bruce. Most headphone listening is through necessity rather than choice.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

One reason I am always trying to get folks here to abandon headphones and listen thru speakers.
bruce


Not so simple, Bruce. Most headphone listening is through necessity rather than choice.


Plus, there's nothing wrong with headphones if you just use them properly.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 9:45 PM   
 By:   jamesdrax   (Member)

I don't think I'm a tinnitus sufferer in the traditional sense because what I get isn't the high pitch ringing that most other people complain about, rather it's a low frequency rumbling in my left ear that only happens when I'm lying down at night trying to get to sleep. As a solution, I just put the fan on to drown it out, which always works.

I don't know what the cause could have been as I've never abused my ears like many others have by blaring their speakers or headphones out too loud or going to noisy night clubs. It feels more like a twitchy muscle spasm as opposed to anything that could be attributed to hearing damage. Actually my hearing is just fine! Thankfully, this affliction has never interfered with my music listening.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 1:54 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I don't think I'm a tinnitus sufferer in the traditional sense because what I get isn't the high pitch ringing that most other people complain about, rather it's a low frequency rumbling in my left ear that only happens when I'm lying down at night trying to get to sleep. As a solution, I just put the fan on to drown it out, which always works.

Tinnitus can come in many shapes and forms. It isn't necessarily ringing. Mine certainly isn't. As I mentioned, it's almost like an electronic hiss or hum that sounds a bit like old televisions screens when you turn them on.

The cause can also differ -- it may be one loud noise, it may be extended exposure to certain sounds, it may be an infection etc., etc.

As for why scientists can't find a cure for it, as FB asked.....good question! I don't know.

 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 4:56 AM   
 By:   jamesdrax   (Member)

I don't think I'm a tinnitus sufferer in the traditional sense because what I get isn't the high pitch ringing that most other people complain about, rather it's a low frequency rumbling in my left ear that only happens when I'm lying down at night trying to get to sleep. As a solution, I just put the fan on to drown it out, which always works.

Tinnitus can come in many shapes and forms. It isn't necessarily ringing. Mine certainly isn't. As I mentioned, it's almost like an electronic hiss or hum that sounds a bit like old televisions screens when you turn them on.

The cause can also differ -- it may be one loud noise, it may be extended exposure to certain sounds, it may be an infection etc., etc.

As for why scientists can't find a cure for it, as FB asked.....good question! I don't know.


Well, if I'm to blame anything for any potential hearing damage, it would be NSW CityRail for the excessively loud station announcements on trains, which are preceded by an obnoxious "DONG DONG DONG", which is so ear piercingly loud, I'm the only one on board who covers my ears when it appears. No one else seems to notice it, it's like everyone else is deaf. I've written complaints to CityRail about this as well as making my grievance public on the railway newspaper MX (a News Limited paper) in the "Vent your spleen" section. A few days latter, I got an angry reply from another commuter that they need to be loud because too many people complained that they were missing their stops. It seems I can't win.

Also Thor, what you describe is what people usually refer to as "ringing". Mine feels more like a muscle spasm in a frenzy. I used to be able to hear that high frequency hiss emanating from an old CRT television, but since we haven't had one since about 2009, I'm not sure if I can still hear them.

 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 7:11 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

Yes, several varieties of tinnitus exist, with several causes: high frequency single pitch, high frequency white noise, low frequency buzz. It's not always caused by hearing damage from loud noises. Intracranial fluid pressure can also affect it. The telltale sign here is that it's worse after sleep.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, several varieties of tinnitus exist, with several causes: high frequency single pitch, high frequency white noise, low frequency buzz. It's not always caused by hearing damage from loud noises. Intracranial fluid pressure can also affect it. The telltale sign here is that it's worse after sleep.

It is. It's at its worst when I wake up in the morning.

 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 12:10 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

One reason I am always trying to get folks here to abandon headphones and listen thru speakers.
bruce


Not so simple, Bruce. Most headphone listening is through necessity rather than choice.


At least I hope you use conical headphones that do not plug a speaker directly into the ear.
And, of course, not too loud (a problem because people often listen whilst commuting and hafta to turn up the volume)
bruce

 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2013 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

know.

Well, if I'm to blame anything for any potential hearing damage, it would be NSW CityRail for the excessively loud station announcements on trains, which are preceded by an obnoxious "DONG DONG DONG", which is so ear piercingly loud, I'm the only one on board who covers my ears when it appears. No one else seems to notice it, it's like everyone else is deaf. I've written complaints to CityRail about this as well as making my grievance public on the railway newspaper MX (a News Limited paper) in the "Vent your spleen" section. A few days latter, I got an angry reply from another commuter that they need to be loud because too many people complained that they were missing their stops. It seems I can't win.
.



Same problem here in SF (one reason i avoid public transport if i can)
I feel your pain - literally
brm

 
 Posted:   Jun 6, 2013 - 2:49 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

Yes, several varieties of tinnitus exist, with several causes: high frequency single pitch, high frequency white noise, low frequency buzz. It's not always caused by hearing damage from loud noises. Intracranial fluid pressure can also affect it. The telltale sign here is that it's worse after sleep.

It is. It's at its worst when I wake up in the morning.


Sounds like what I think I have. I'm seeing a specialist in July, not specifically for tinnitus but for what I believe is too much pressure in the cerebro-spinal fluid. Tinnitus is just one effect of many I've experienced over the years (e.g. eye floaters, fluid leaking from nose, dizzy spells, neck and back pain). Now I strongly suspect they may all be linked.

 
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