Tinnitus

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rlwrlw Frets: 1963
edited March 2015 in Off Topic
Following on from the bullshit thread, how many of us here suffer from it - tinnitus that is, not bullshit which seems very widespread - and in what way.

As I have said, I have very recently developed a high pitched, permanent, whistle in both ears.  Its annoying but not devastating but I can see how, if it gets worse, it could be very unpleasant and debilitating. 

You?


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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 6277
    As I wrote in that other thread I have tinnitus. I'm 39 now but it's not recent, I've had it for years (maybe since my mid 20s). I do my best to stop if getting worse with decent plugs.

    I do have trouble hearing conversation in noisy environments (busy pubs and restaurants are where I really notice that) that's where it's most annoying.

    I also notice that phone calls sound totally different depending on which ear I'm using.

    I notice the ringing in my ears when it's quiet, and it's worse if I'm tired.
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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3770
    I recently got ACS Pro's for band practice and gigs as I knew volumes were too loud. 

    When the audiologist looked at my ear drums he said he saw perforations that had healed. Years ago I could have sworn I heard ringing in my ears so clearly I've damaged them previously and they've healed. I'll have to be VERY careful in case they open up again...!
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1963
    I'm not sure if swimming will help either.  Any views?
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3853

    A lot of  guitarist's do develop hearing loss and tinnitus and it's often caused by standing in front of a loud amp for a couple of hours at every gig. These days with decent PA's and IEM's you can protect yourself. I use IEM's pretty much all the time now 

    Swimming can be a problem if you suffer with a lot of wax as water can become trapped and cause problems. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • thisisguitarthisisguitar Frets: 1036
    IEM's are a great idea, I've used them for a few years now. 

    I've recently developed very mild tinnitus due to prolonged noise exposure in the last couple of months. There was a period of a couple of weeks where my ears too a hammering (mainly home playing and a few nights out). Finally decided to get ACS moulded earplugs, am looking forward to having them in the next few days… should have done so ages ago. Hopefully they'll stop me doing any more damage. 

    At least I'll be able to crank my plexi at home again soon :-) 
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  • BogwhoppitBogwhoppit Frets: 2744

    Yep, I'm under the same medical team as Mr Townsend in London, including a well know research scientist at Addenbrookes. My wife is also a suffer and has undertaken lumbar puncture's to identify the cause of her tinnitus.

     

    Yet, when I advertised a tinnitus masking device in the classifieds, it was met with silence. Tinnitus appears to be a fashion accessory for musicians. Many claim to have it, yet very few seek medical support.


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  • dafuzzdafuzz Frets: 1286

    I suffered a permanent buzzing in the ears for many years. From the moment I woke up till the moment I fell asleep there was a constant whine that nothing seemed to quiet. Out of desperation I took to drinking heavily to ease the discomfort. It didn't work tbh, probably made it worse.

    Finally I dumped her and it's all blissful peace now.

    All practice and no theory
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  • mike_lmike_l Frets: 5672

    I have very mild tinnitus, mostly in my right ear, but does affect both.

    Worst is when I'm tired (no idea why), or just in from a jam/gig and I'm in silence.

    Doesn't really bother me, but I do wear ear plugs for anything more than home volumes, or when using power tools.

    Ringleader of the Cambridge cartel, pedal champ and king of the dirt boxes (down to 21) 

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  • vasselmeyervasselmeyer Frets: 2590
    Tinnitus is most commonly caused by noise-induced hearing loss, but there are other causes as well. You can get it through ear infections, neurological damage (like multiple sclerosis) and even stress can cause it. If I think about it, I have a very mild high-pitched whistle which never bothers me. That could actually just be age rather then something being self-inflicted as I'm nearing 50 now.

    I have almost always used some kind of hearing protection after I went to see Status Quo and Queen at maine Road in 1986 and couldn't hear properly for three days afterwards. After that I always tried to use something, even tissue paper, to protect my ears. A few years ago, after getting fed up with everything sounding muffled, I invested in ACS Pro 25s and I would never ever be without them now. For the price of two mid-range pedals you can protect your hearing from the most common cause of loss. It astonishes me how many people complain about tinnitus, are aware of ASC-type products, yet still don't do anything about it whilst dropping hundreds on gear.
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1963
    I have had a badly blocked up nose/head/ears for a few weeks too which is probably exaggerating the whistling - hopefully it will get quieter as my condition improves.  

    I've only being playing guitar for a few months, and not loud either, so my problems certainly predate my taking up an instrument.  It probably was all those 50s and 60s jets - Lightnings, Hunters, Buccaneers, Vulcans with and without Olympus engines strapped on, TSR2, Phantoms etc etc - that did the damage way back when I was but a kid.

    And Ford V8s and Porsche flat sixes, eights and twelves..............

    Definitely going to look into hearing protection though.
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • thisisguitarthisisguitar Frets: 1036
    http://acscustom.com/uk/product-category/hearing-protection/

    Got mine done at the Guitar Show this weekend gone and got a show price of £120 plus delivery. Did the moulds on site too. I'd say it might be worth finding out if they have any other shows coming up to see if you can get a deal. 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 11304
    edited March 2015
    I'm 30 and I've have ringing in both ears since I was 25 or so, clear as day if it's quiet around me. They're irritatingly about half a semitone apart, so extremely annoying, as such I find it hard to sleep anywhere remote and really really quiet. In my case caused more by standing close to noisy drummers than my own amps I think, but certainly caused by a combination of gigging and noisy, tiny rehearsal spaces.

    About 6 gigs into my last band we had a 2-gigs-in-1-weekend thing for the first time and I really struggled to sleep the night after the second, which definitely made my tinnitus worse. I got ACS custom moulds the next and I'll never go back. Playing with them in took me maybe 1 rehearsal to get used to, and singing with them in probably 1 more rehearsal to really get the hang of it but I actually find it easier now.

    A wise person once said you scoff at the price before you get them, but consider how much you'd pay to fix your ears once they fucked. Except you *can't* fix your ears once they're fucked. It's a no-brainer.
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  • lasermonkeylasermonkey Frets: 1616
    I have permanent, low-level tinnitus which I have had for quite some time. It's mostly noticeable when it's completely silent.
    I went to see an audiologist about this, back when I was 40. The hearing test indicated that my hearing was actually very good for my age (ouch!) and that most of my complaints were just age issues.
    When we are younger, our brains are better at filtering out what we don't want to hear. That gets steadily worse as we age. It's not a hearing issue, rather a processing issue. It happens to all of us, unfortunately. The same thing happens with tinnitus. We become more aware of it, as we can't filter it out. Yes, exposure to loud noises will inevitably make it worse and for those of us who did most of our loud playing before the likes of ER20s were available, we will probably suffer most of all. Lesson: ALWAYS wear some form of hearing protection when practicing, gigging or going to gigs. Without fail.
    Anyway, the audiologist told me that with practice, you can learn to ignore the tinnitus. It seems counterintuitive to focus on ignoring something, but if when it starts to bother you, you try to distract yourself with something else, it is possible to bring the perception of it down to a more acceptable level. If your tinnitus is due to damage rather than ageing, it probably won't work.
    If it is really bothering you though, go and get a referral to your local audiologist.
    My wife asked me to stop singing Wonderwall.
    I said maybe.....
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9764
    I have permanent LOUD tinnitus, and even in a relatively quite bar I have trouble hearing what people are saying.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • Paul_CPaul_C Frets: 4839
    I've had it in the past, once at a time when I was gigging regularly with a reasonably loud band and also during a period when I was on anti-depressants - fortunately I'm free of it at the moment, though I only really noticed it intruding when in bed, so I'm guessing it's only ever been quite a mild problem for me.
    CEO ACME Moats Inc.
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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 5885
    I've had it in my left ear for a long time, caused I think by a combination of too many loud gigs and working with diesel generators with inadequate hearing protection. It's a permanent high pitched whistle. I don't really notice it unless I think about it, or I'm in a completely silent environment.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2581
    edited March 2015
    I've had tinnitus in both ears for as long as I can remember, certainly before the age of five. I assumed that everyone did. When was 16 I measured it at about 16440 Hz using a wave generator in the school physics lab. It was only at this point, when I asked someone else what frequency their ears whistled at, that I realised other people didn't have it.

    Loud noises do make it worse. I wear ear plugs when using power tools, or in noisy environments like 'planes and trains.

    Despite the tinnitus my hearing test results are "good for your age group". 
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  • davewwdaveww Frets: 146
    edited March 2015
    I have it just in my left ear. It's not terribly loud, more of a white noise type hiss, but never goes away. Like others have said I struggle to hear group conversations in bars or busy areas where there is background noise. Again mine is also worse when I'm tired but I also think too much coffee makes it worse. Red wine does too which is a shame as it's my normal drink. I've heard that aspirin makes it worse too but I still take a 75mg table every day for the health benefit.
    You can pick your nose and pick your friends but you can't pick your friends nose
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    edited March 2015
    I am surprised that I don't have it worse than I do, considering the level of abuse my hearing took back in my "past life".
    Although back then I always tried to take some measures to control the worst excesses of exposure.
    Tinnitus is a constant companion once you have it.

    Strangely, I had it worse in my right ear, which from gigging, largely with drummers on my left, is the opposite of what I would expect.  Larger stages give more space, but I guess side fills don't help much though.

    It's interesting how tiredness and stress seem to exacerbate the condition.

    Paul Gilbert suffers very badly, hence the headphones on stage.

    Andy Timmons has had it badly too.

    edit: Watch 7mins 54sec in where he talks about it...   (ironically in an interview for Loud Guitars .com !)

    Duration 16:02


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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    And be wary of the shit compression drivers used in cheap PAs and monitors too...
    Same as it ever was...

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  • capo4thcapo4th Frets: 3197
    edited March 2015
    Both ears mostly noticeable first thing in a morning. Eases off with background noise I am 39 and figure I am stuck with it. I do have my ears syringed every 6 months which does help. I would love medical assistance and would pay to have an ear transplant. I struggle to hear conversations in bars if I am not stood close to the person talking I use ACS Pro17s I can't stress enough how everyone should go and get a pair. All the detail is there in the music but at 25% lower volume. If I forget to wear them at home I notice within an hour of putting the guitar down. Went to see a friends band on Saturday great gig they sounded superb everyone had a great time no extra ringing on Sunday. I have tinnitus I accept it but using quality plugs contains the problem but still allows me to enjoy music. You are a mug if you don't protect your ears.
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  • littlegreenmanlittlegreenman Frets: 3403
    edited March 2015
    Mine's very intermittent thankfully. High pitched whine in the right ear mainly, and only seems to happen for about 30 seconds tops a few times a week.

    ACS ER 20's for me 'cos I'm a bit of a cheapskate but they work. The Guitar Show at the weekend would have been hell without them for sure.

    I definitely have a certain amount of hearing loss though as I often don't hear people talking at me when I'm concentrating on a task at home or work, and bars can be tricky. Either that or I have my bullshit detector turned up waaay to high! :P
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  • vasselmeyervasselmeyer Frets: 2590
    Bloody hell. It's a wonder anyone managed to talk to each other at all at the jam night!
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  • thisisguitarthisisguitar Frets: 1036
    I must admit I missed the Fretboard meeting after the guitar show as I wanted to give my ears a break what with working both days.


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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 15434
    edited March 2015
    How strange is this...  only last night I bought two e-books on tinnitus as mine is a bit louder than usual - and that's my worst nightmare.  I developed tinnitus after a flight back from my honeymoon in 2005 - whether it was the flight or not I can't say, but it seemed to start then.  I get a high pitched whistle in both ears - exactly like the noise you get from an old CRT TV or computer monitor with the volume off - the ultra-high whistle of the electronics.  I'm not ashamed to say it almost drove me over the edge.  I remember one night being so distressed I ended up in tears and punching my ears in frustration.  That probably wasn't the most sensible thing to do, but it was turning me insane.

    I ended up being referred for 'tinnitus counselling' at the hospital, which was basically a waste of time, talking to a woman who.... I can't even remember what she used to say now....  but basically it was 'learn to live with it - how are you feeling this week ?'.  They gave me in-ear white noise generators to help drown out the tinnitus, but I had to have them so loud I couldn't sleep.

    Over time, I slowly adjusted to ignoring it.  Once it would be my main focus, but then I noticed several occasions where I'd forgotten about it briefly.  Those brief moments ended up becoming 99% of my time.  I didn't do anything in particular to get here - it just happened over time.  I have a real fear... terror... of it one day getting louder.  I don't think I could adjust to it again.
    I also have hyperacusis - I have real difficulty in picking out an individual voice in even slightly noisy environments.  If I'm in a semi-noisy pub with the band, I have to put my hands behind my ears to create a parabola pointing at the person who is speaking.  I'm like a bloody human satellite dish !  What's galling is that all of the drugs I'm on, aspirin and bisoprolol for my heart, omeprazole for my hiatus hernia and citalopram for my burning desire to gun people down, all of them list tinnitus as a possible side effect !!!   I can't stop taking them as I'll end up running around with terrible indigestion, gunning people down, before having another heart attack - but maybe the ringing in my ears might stop.  Decisions decisions !

    I don't know if this is urban myth or not, but I did hear about a man whose tinnitus was driving him insane, so he opted to have an irreversible operation to basically, sever the auditory nerves - deliberately making him completely deaf in both ears, as he just couldn't cope any more.  Allegedly the tinnitus remained, but was now the only thing he could hear, and he committed suicide.

    I can perfectly understand people taking their own lives over tinnitus - it's mental torture.  Right now, I'm sat here with my new Shure in-ear monitors in, listening to this - to try to help.  


    Trump: A narcissistic luminous orange ball bag and Rome burning in man form.
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  • BucketBucket Frets: 7614
    I haven't got anything noticeable, I use earplugs whenever I'm watching a gig, whenever I'm onstage and during loud rehearsals.

    HOPEFULLY that'll keep the wolf from the door, because I really fucking don't want tinnitus.
    - "I'm going to write a very stiff letter. A VERY stiff letter. On cardboard."
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9764
    Bucket said:
    I haven't got anything noticeable, I use earplugs whenever I'm watching a gig, whenever I'm onstage and during loud rehearsals.

    HOPEFULLY that'll keep the wolf from the door, because I really fucking don't want tinnitus.

    You don't, and you are being wise about how not to get it. You should also, however, regard headphones and similar devices with great suspicion. My tinnitus came not from a loud band practice and a loud gig each week, or even going to other people's loud gigs. It was the umpteen hours a day I spent monitoring my own 4-track recordings on headphones because I lived in a flat and had very intolerant neighbours.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • I've always had problems with my ears in particular my left - in fact when i was a kid, the school thought i was backwards, it turned out that my ears were that blocked i was virtually deaf.
    So an op followed.
    Anyways, i've been to and from the docs, couple of years back had an mri scan to check if there was a tumour in my middle or inner ear, which was clear but still i've had a ringing and dullness in my left ear.
    Now last week, someone suggested using 3% hydrogen peroxide to clean my ear of any blockage.
    Apparently hydrogen peroxide used to be used to clean wounds etc.
    I've done it twice, the first after using earex to soften any wax etc - it fizzes like mad but has made a big big difference - early days yet but do far no noise and a balanced hearing level.
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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 940
    I have it, and my hearing isn't as good as it used to be (I'm only 30 :-| ), and it annoys the shit out of the wife. 

    I should get my hearing checked really. I only really notice it in the evenings when it's quiet at home. 

    It's my own fault for going to a lot of loud gigs when I was younger. 
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  • chillidoggychillidoggy Frets: 12093
    I have NIHL, cost me my career. Probably due to noisy environment, but noisy gigs may well have contributed. I do have a bit of tinnitus, but clearly not as bad as some. My advice to the younger members would be to be aware, and use earplugs if you think you're going to be in a noisy place, rehearsal, or a gig. Once your hearing's gone, it doesn't come back again, and whilst it might seem funny to some, I can assure you it's not. First signs for me were having trouble understanding what people were saying if there was a lot of background noise.


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