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 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   Dan Roman   (Member)

I just wondered if anyone else suffered from this problem. I have a very mild form, especially at night when it is quiet I can hear slight ringing. Any pointers on music listening and tinnitus ? Mine probably originated from a previous work environment.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 9:38 AM   
 By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (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.

Did you try methods that help you to ignore it?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

I've been a rock musician most of my life and have been constantly exposed to extreme decibel levels. Considering, my hearing is still reasonably good. A doctor once told me, 'The ear is like any other muscle. When you've exercised it strenuously, give it a period of rest'. I've always tried to do this. If I've been in a particularly excessive period then I try to have a few days of absolute (or relative quiet). It's a discipline for sure. You know - NOT LISTENING for awhile! Ha!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 12:53 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, I have chronic tinnitus, and I've had it for about 3 years now. I hear it every waking second (the sound is akin to the sound you hear when you turn on old televisions). This means that a) I can't enjoy silence the way I used to (I use a sound pillow to sleep, for example) and b) that I can't listen intently to music anymore. Rather the music must be in the background while I'm online etc. If I focus too much on the music, I'll focus on the tinnitus too.

It HAS affected the enjoyment of PURE listening to some extent, but music is still vital in masking complete silence, which is even worse.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 1:00 PM   
 By:   Accidental Genius   (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.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

Giving the ears a rest is not a solution. The main cause of hearing loss and tinnitus and sound sensitivity is damage to the hair cells in the ears. Once you damage those cells, they aren't replaceable, and taking time off from listening won't do anything in that regard. The only thing you can do is to not listen to music too loudly. That is one of the main causes of these hearing problems, although not the only one. Stay away from headphones, and if you're in a really noisy environment, cover your ears and get out as soon as you can. But thinking that you can take a few days off from listening after the fact is incorrect. Once the damage is done, it's done. Period. There are other ways of trying to help you deal with pronounced hearing problems, but that's for some other discussion. If you have really mild tinnitus, you'll get used to it over time, and when you do hear it, use that as a reminder that you need to really protect your ears in the future.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I'm quite sure I have a case of it. A constant level-pitched whine. It operates on a fairly low level, but every once in a while something will cause it to become heightened for a few moments. Sometimes, a turn of the head can swing the tones up or down and, just as it comes, it goes. Thor, you once mentioned clicking noises in your ear. Sometimes I'll get a brief dose of that too, so I think I know what you mean.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I've gone to some therapy and learned a few things about it. It's basically a matter of embracing the sound as part of yourself. It's always there, like a 'companion', for the rest of your life. It may get worse, it may not. It has taken me a while to get to this point -- and I'm still not where I want to be -- but I deal with it better now than in the beginning.

For the longest time, I had a bit of social anxiety tied to it -- i.e. I became paranoid when I entered a noisy bar, for example. However, the therapist told me I shouldn't be so worried in regard to short-term periods of high noise. That's not really what affects the tinnitus (unless it's constant over a long period of time). So now I'm relaxing more. If I'm entering a noisy bar or even a disco, so be it. I'll be out of there in a few hours. Maybe I'll go into a another room for a brief break now and then. Basically live life like I used to -- but obviously take normal care of your hearing.

I've also been afflicted with a few other chronic illnesses in the last couple of years -- one of them far more serious than tinnitus -- so it hasn't really had the opportunity to be the main focus of my 'stress'. Not that I recommend getting more illnesses to make your tinnitus less important, LOL! big grin

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 1:58 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Sometimes headphones can help you to listen to music more quietly. When I would otherwise need to turn up my music really loud to drown out other distractions, my canalphones (like having ear plugs that put music into your ears) block out enough ambient noise that I can turn down the volume of the music quite a lot and still get to hear everything.

What annoys me the most is when I go to a musical and some songs are so loud I have to cover my ears. It surprises me that nobody around me has ear plugs in and very few seem to even notice. I also used to attend a church for a time while I was in LA where the general music was so loud I had to have ear plugs. Nobody else seemed to notice. So even with my times of listening to music a bit loud I still am much more sensitive than others.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 2:19 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Exactly what can cause damage to hearing seems to be down to quite a variety of situations. I always thought the frequency of noise from headphone use is what causes the damage. As to hearing very loud music at close quarters then yes, that can't be good.

I think we all experience the precursor effects of tinnitus before we know it's become a real problem. Occasional ringing had been the norm for me for years. Like I said it comes and goes. It settled on me permanently about a couple of years ago. I wasn't listening to music at the precise moment it happened. I was sitting at the desk in silence when it very suddenly started for no apparent reason. I thought, "oh it'll go away in a bit," as it always had. But, it didn't. frown

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 2:46 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yes, headphones may be a cause if you constantly play music loudly on them over a long period of time. I think that may have been ONE of the reasons why I got chronic tinnitus in the first place. I still use headphones now and then, but at a far more moderate level.

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 2:58 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Yeah, you have to draw a line. If you play on speakers for prolonged periods someone somewhere is going to get peeved. So, inevitably, headphones are still going to be used - in moderation.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 6:20 PM   
 By:   Jon Lewis   (Member)

My wife and I both have it. My wife has had it for many years, me for less than a year. Hers is much more severe than mine: she describes it as sounding like someone using a vacuum cleaner in the next room, while mine is exactly like Thor's description: "I hear it every waking second (the sound is akin to the sound you hear when you turn on old televisions)".

From reading I've done online, I am inclined to attribute mine to the Koss closed cans I was using from late last year to around March of this year. Apparently closed cans are more aggravating than open-air cans, and before these Koss (whose sound I loved loved loved) I had used Sennheiser HDs and Grados (I was not aware of it, but both of these are open-air). My ringing really ramped up after I had been using the Koss for about 6 months. I've switched back to open air Grados now and while, of course, the ringing has not gone away, it's also not been aggravated and mostly occupies the background of my aural consciousness again.

BUT there's a new catch which is quite depressing to me: I can no longer listen to solo piano music at any volume on any type of phones. Something about the timbral character and dynamic shape of the struck piano note really aggravates my ringing almost immediately, and the worsening effect doesn't wear off for several hours. At first, I thought only modern, hi fi, stereo piano recordings did it and mono piano recordings were okay. But it became evident that even old Schnabel and Kempff recordings still exacerbated the ringing. So I've had to give up my beloved Beethoven and Schubert sonatas, Schumann fragment-cycles, Debussy pieces and George Crumb experiments completely. This is probably my single favorite area of music full stop, so I'm pretty sad about it.

It's all about the orchestra now. And, curiously, pop and rock recordings, most of which don't aggravate my tinnitus-- unless they feature a lot of spotlit piano.

PS-- "why don't you quit using headphones?" you ask. My only available time for listening to music is while at work at my desk, so it's headphones or nothing at all...

 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 7:13 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

I started showing symptoms of Tinnitus about three or four years back, when one of my ears got hopelessly plugged with wax and I had to go to the doctor to get it out. It was screwing up my equilibrium (I was actually pulling to one side while walking eek ) and made everything I listened to sound like I had cotton balls stuffed into my ears. The doc took out the wax, and I haven't had a major blockage since, but what was left behind was a chronic, high-pitched whine that I'm listening to right now. frown I can still listen to music okay, but not as well as I used to, and I often have to crank the music louder to hear fine details. It's just sad that one of my most cherished hobbies can never be enjoyed the same way I did in my teens and twenties.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2013 - 8:51 PM   
 By:   Brad Wills   (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.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 12:39 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

I try to protect my hearing everywhere I go anymore. Some locations of extremely loud sound include movie theaters and clubs. I wear earplugs to dampen the decibels or avoid altogether if too loud.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 5:57 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


From reading I've done online, I am inclined to attribute mine to the Koss closed cans I was using from late last year to around March of this year. Apparently closed cans are more aggravating than open-air cans, and before these Koss (whose sound I loved loved loved) I had used Sennheiser HDs and Grados (I was not aware of it, but both of these are open-air). My ringing really ramped up after I had been using the Koss for about 6 months. I've switched back to open air Grados now and while, of course, the ringing has not gone away, it's also not been aggravated and mostly occupies the background of my aural consciousness again.

BUT there's a new catch which is quite depressing to me: I can no longer listen to solo piano music at any volume on any type of phones. Something about the timbral character and dynamic shape of the struck piano note really aggravates my ringing almost immediately, and the worsening effect doesn't wear off for several hours. At first, I thought only modern, hi fi, stereo piano recordings did it and mono piano recordings were okay. But it became evident that even old Schnabel and Kempff recordings still exacerbated the ringing. So I've had to give up my beloved Beethoven and Schubert sonatas, Schumann fragment-cycles, Debussy pieces and George Crumb experiments completely. This is probably my single favorite area of music full stop, so I'm pretty sad about it.


There's a couple of interesting points here. It's possible the closed Koss cans built up air pressure within the ear and accelerated the onset of your tinnitus. There's been quite a lot of discussion about tinnitus at Head-Fi, another site I visit, and many theories have been advanced, but interestingly, especially given that Head-Fi is a headphone site, nothing has been said about closed cans v. open ones. It makes sense though to suppose that closed can would cause more pressure on the eardrum and the hairs that act as the conduit for sound. Well, something to think about, anyway.

As for the piano thing, I don't know if you're the same, but I often get an "echoey" effect with piano music, coupled with slight distortion, as if my headphones had a bum driver. They don't, and this only started as my tinnitus got progressively worse, so I take it as just another symptom of a progressive deterioration. It's all rather depressing, but since I've been listening to headphones for over 40 years, at realistic levels, not altogether surprising. As great as the music of Rozsa, Tiomkin, North, Bernstein, Goldsmith etc is, like every other pleasure it comes at a price.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 6:24 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

I also have it, it's constant. Sometimes I hear it louder than others, but I'm pretty used to it. It doesn't hamper my enjoyment of music and I've reconciled myself to it being there forever.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 6:35 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

I started having tinnitus about two years ago out of the blue. It was initially confined to my right ear, but then started in the other ear a few months later. The sound was a high pitched hiss, and I had some equilibrium problems. I consulted an ear-nose-throat doctor who then ordered a battery of tests including an MRI to rule out tumors. Everything was normal. An audiologist tested my hearing and the results were excellent. Not knowing a cause of the noise in my head made me think I was going crazy and I started having anxiety attacks.

To make a long story short, the last resort was to see if allergies could be the cause. I underwent the tests during which a nurse injects various allergens under the skin and measures the sizes of the resulting welts. It turned out I was highly allergic to a wide range of grasses, pollens, molds, etc. Even my cat and something called house dust mite. So I began taking allergy injections, and the tinnitus has subsided to the point that on most days it's barely noticeable if not completely gone. When it flares up I can tell that my sinuses and nasal passages are also irritated.

I would encourage tinnitus sufferers to investigate this avenue if your hearing is good and your physician hasn't been able to identify another cause. Pay attention to your sinuses to see if there's a correlation with tinnitus volume.

 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2013 - 6:47 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Started having it two years ago as well, a faint high pitch sound. I went to have it checked out and they told me it could not be remedied. My hearing was still in perfect order, but I guess I will have to live with this though it is only noticeable when it's quiet. I have trouble falling asleep in a quiet room so often I will just listen to something (radio) before I nod off.

 
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