Tinnitus

Post Reply
Kbiggs
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Tinnitus

Post by Kbiggs » Fri May 17, 2019 9:28 pm

Anyone have this? I’ve had mild tinnitus for several years now, after a cold that developed into a sinus infection and bronchitis. I don’t notice it unless it’s really quiet. It gets worse when I have a cold, and then it goes away.

However, in March of this year, I had another cold and sinus infection, and I’ve had pretty loud tinnitus ever since. There’s some pressure in the ears, too, which I can feel with loud bass sounds.

Worse yet, when I play, I get a funky “resultant tone” that’s kind of an out-of-tune fifth that wavers around a bit. It’s annoying, distracting... maddening.

I’ve been to an ENT. Nothing. Hearing test revealed mild high-end loss consistent with my age. No other findings, no pathology. I’ve taken decongestants, antihistamines, saline nasal rinses, sleeping on an incline. No change. The audiologist suggested using hearing protection when I play, esp. when playing with others.

Anybody have tinnitus? Anybody done anything that has helped? Thanks in advance.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
User avatar
Burgerbob
Posts: 1315
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Location: LA
Contact:

Re: Tinnitus

Post by Burgerbob » Fri May 17, 2019 9:50 pm

I have light tinnitus in both ears. My left ear will distort sometimes in high pressure situations (playing loudly, usually). Mine isn't loud enough to be distracted by, at least yet. If I focus, I can hear it in most situations, but I tune it out unconsciously. I can only hear up to 14k or so.

I wear earplugs in many situations, which helps any future damage. Small practice rooms, most ensemble situations of a certain size, driving my Miata, watching movies at the theater, etc. I always have a pair in my pocket (just cheap Etymotic plugs). I also sleep with foam earplugs in.
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 681
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Tinnitus

Post by JohnL » Fri May 17, 2019 11:36 pm

Did the audiologist or the otolaryngologist mention anything about clogged Eustachian tubes? Maybe due to scarring as a result of your various infections?
brassmedic
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Tinnitus

Post by brassmedic » Fri May 17, 2019 11:58 pm

Yes, I have it. I try to protect my ears as much as I can. I've had it for a long time, and I don't believe there is any way to reverse it. There are no other symptoms - no pressure or congestion, just a ringing sound. I tend to ignore it 99% of the time and forget it's even there most of the time. I don't think it's the kind that is a symptom of a sinus infection; doesn't that go away when the infection goes away?

Trying to protect your hearing can be frustrating in performance situations. A lot of people still don't understand the risk to your hearing caused by loud sounds. I've heard comments like, "Does it really bother you that much?" They don't get that it's not an issue of being "bothered"; it's an issue of having your hearing permanently damaged. I know lots of older musicians who are very hard of hearing from so many years of sitting next to loud instruments (or in some cases even your own instrument).
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
Pre59
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Tinnitus

Post by Pre59 » Sat May 18, 2019 2:35 am

I've got low level tinnitus in my left ear, thankfully at a single high frequency which makes it hard to identify as a note. I put this down to working as a bassist with loud drummers in tight hard wood corners on cruise ships.
It's manageable, and doesn't have an obvious note, mechanical element, or a rushing sound etc, and I have found reducing coffee intake helps a little.
I'm currently on a course of meds to clear my right side clogged eustachian tube, which after a few days seem to be working, and the doctor hinted that if the tinnitus has an infection component, that the penicillin may help with that.
Kbiggs
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Tinnitus

Post by Kbiggs » Sat May 18, 2019 8:50 am

JohnL wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 11:36 pm
Did the audiologist or the otolaryngologist mention anything about clogged Eustachian tubes? Maybe due to scarring as a result of your various infections?
No, they didn’t. I will ask. My family doctor did when this all started, but I’d forgotten about it. I will follow up with them.

I believe that allergies are playing a part in this, too. In my corner of the world, there’s a lot of tree and grass pollen.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
TheSheriff
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:11 am
Location: Deep in the Ozarks of Missouri

Re: Tinnitus

Post by TheSheriff » Sat May 18, 2019 9:11 am

----

I've been dealing with it for 30+ years. I basically ignore it and I'm okay 99% of the time. When I begin to be bothered by it I know it's time for me to remove ear wax, so out come the ear wax removal drops and water blaster syringe to get it out of there. After that I'm back to ignore mode.

====
Lawler model 1
Lawler model 2
Lawler Model 3
Williams 6
Williams L
Kanstul 1606
Conn 71H
Kbiggs
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:46 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Tinnitus

Post by Kbiggs » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:46 am

Update: I had a second opinion, which was basically the same: tinnitus is usually idiopathic—doctors rarely know what causes it, and there really aren’t any effective treatments for it except in extreme cases.

The best suggestion I received was from a tuba-playing friend and mentor: “I’ve had that for 30 years. I’ll tell you what my audiologist told me: learn to make friends with it. It gets better.”

Yes, I can depend on my tinnitus getting worse when I have a cold or a sinus infection, in colder weather, after a loud rehearsal (even with earplugs), or when I’m stressed. But ya know what? Making friends with it works. Acceptance is the key.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 459
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Tinnitus

Post by AndrewMeronek » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:45 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:46 am
Yes, I can depend on my tinnitus getting worse when I have a cold or a sinus infection, in colder weather, after a loud rehearsal (even with earplugs), or when I’m stressed. But ya know what? Making friends with it works. Acceptance is the key.
Yeah, pretty much.

Some people also like to have ambient noise when sleeping like leaving the TV on, but your ears need rest to recover from stressful days. Lack of auditory rest while sleeping can aggravate hearing damage. This unfortunately can be at odds when someone already has tinnitus, as it's tempting to have some kind of noise to help hide the tinnitus to help go to sleep.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
GMB
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:46 am

Re: Tinnitus

Post by GMB » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:48 pm

Kbiggs wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:28 pm
Worse yet, when I play, I get a funky “resultant tone” that’s kind of an out-of-tune fifth that wavers around a bit. It’s annoying, distracting... maddening.
I got this once after a stream of throat infections a long time ago (don't remember the interval but I know it was something horrifically out of tune, probably a fifth as well), I noticed it while the harpist was tuning her harp before a concert or dress rehearsal... Thankfully it went away within a week IIRC, I noticed it was getting better after a few days but if it wasn't I'd have gone to a doctor. So unfortunately I don't have any advice but it went away for me so I hope it will for you.
BurckhardtS
Posts: 148
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:57 pm

Re: Tinnitus

Post by BurckhardtS » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:45 am

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:45 am
Kbiggs wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:46 am
Yes, I can depend on my tinnitus getting worse when I have a cold or a sinus infection, in colder weather, after a loud rehearsal (even with earplugs), or when I’m stressed. But ya know what? Making friends with it works. Acceptance is the key.
Yeah, pretty much.

Some people also like to have ambient noise when sleeping like leaving the TV on, but your ears need rest to recover from stressful days. Lack of auditory rest while sleeping can aggravate hearing damage. This unfortunately can be at odds when someone already has tinnitus, as it's tempting to have some kind of noise to help hide the tinnitus to help go to sleep.
I think this is important. Doug Elliott posted something on the old TromboneForum many years ago about how it's important to get rest after exposure to potentially damaging sounds, and I have had to do that multiple times now and I still pass hearing tests with flying colors. I always try to bring earplugs with me, but sometimes I forget. I have been right next to the drumset in a big band or pep band, and the bell of the lead trumpet player in the back of my head multiple times without earplugs, and so far I haven't had any problems if I rest my ears aftewards.
Shires - 7YM, TX, Axial, TW47 - Greg Black NY 1
YSL354 - XT LN106, C+, D3
Post Reply

Return to “Performance”