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Hi all,

 

I always used to have ringing ears after gigs; it would go after a day or so.  Unfortunately the ringing now appears to be permanent, so I suppose that means I have tinnitus.

 

I feel like a tart plying her trade without protection and coming down with the pox.  I was bound to happen.  My ears have always been less than perfect, I had boils in them as a very small child.  I went to too many gigs as a teenager, my teeth would sometimes ache afterwards I was told that this was because my filling were rattling due to the high sound levels.  I use power tools at work, often without ear protection.  And the straw that broke the camel's back was rehearsals two weeks ago; our guitarist loves to hear his guitar through the Marshall all tube head and 4x12 cab backline in our small rehearsal studio.

 

Anyway, I would like to hear of others' experience of this and what I can expect in the future.  Checking online (yes, I know, not a good idea for answers to health questions) it appears tinnitus can't be cured, the NHS just help you cope/deal with it emotionally.

 

I have bought some cheap vented earplugs from Amazon and the apologetic guitarist has agreed to turn things down but any advice or tips form the bass chat community would be welcome.  I would be happy if it got no worse but I suspect that may not be possible unless I avoid gigs and rehearsals.

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I've had tinnitus for years (blame the V+H pipes on my old Buell, rather than loud music) and it's true that (1) there is no cure, and (2) it gets steadily worse over time.

 

If you want to keep playing whilst retaining what's left of your hearing, check out https://www.acscustom.com/uk/ for proper moulded plugs (i.e. custom fitted to your ears) and their range of reduction filters. I have a pair of 15dB and a pair of 25dB. Once they're in, the effect is that you hear exactly what everyone else hears, but with the volume turned down.

 

They're not cheap. You're looking at North of £150 for a pair and they can only be supplied by specialist outlets (including some large branches of Boots).

 

Remind me ... what value do you place on your hearing?

 

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I've had odd tinitus for years, just one ear and it buzzes for about 10 seconds then disappears for differing lengths of time, sometimes hours sometimes 30 seconds, according to the audiologist I got it at work, I used to be a car mechanic, the good news is I just use normal earplugs, the Christmas tree type (and take my hearing aids out) and it's not got any worse for about 15 years and I went for a hearing check up recently and my hearing hasn't deteriorated in the last 5 years either

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I've had Tinnitus for most of my adult life due to to clubbing and DJing, I invested in some quite good earplugs a few years too late and the Tinnitus at least doesn't seem to have got worse. Luckily I've got quite used to it so it doesn't annoy me too much - it's been so constant for so long that I only really notice it when I think about it (in the same sort of way that you only notice you're breathing when you think about it). 

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Another (very bad) tinnitus sufferer here!

I'm 66, played loud gigs all my life with no protection. I got away with it until about 10 years ago. The straw that broke the camels back was having a singer who monitors very loudly and refuses IEMs. There were a couple of shows where the volume from sidefills was so loud that it felt like a knitting needle had been pushed into my ears.

I'm not blaming him, it's obviously the accumulation of many years volume abuse.

Needless to say, I've shut the door after the horse has bolted, and now use custom ear plugs.

I'm aware of it pretty much 24/7, but can live with it most of the time. Although, the constant ringing does p*** me off when watching movies or listening to music at home.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your replies.

I have just booked an appointment with an audiologist in the Boots in Whetstone, following the link in @Happy Jack's post.  

25 minutes ago, SumOne said:

I've had Tinnitus for most of my adult life due to to clubbing and DJing, I invested in some quite good earplugs a few years too late and the Tinnitus at least doesn't seem to have got worse. Luckily I've got quite used to it so it doesn't annoy me too much - it's been so constant for so long that I only really notice it when I think about it (in the same sort of way that you only notice you're breathing when you think about it). 

This is what I seem to be experiencing.  It's not that bad and hopefully mine won't get worse but I suppose that depends on how careful I am in future.

Edited by BillyBass
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Intermittent ringing is already tinnitus...

 

As everyone said, you now need to protect carefully your hearing in all situations including your noisy work.

 

Go to a specialist and get some professional earplugs made to measure : it's maybe expensive, but you can seriously slow down the tinnitus.

 

Another thing you need to know is that tinnitus is also linked to cervical vertebrae crispation, so go to a qualified osteopath to release these tensions. It will help a lot, but you'll have to live with.

 

And run away from sub basses heavy sounds.

Edited by Hellzero
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Had it for 18 years, caused by a gig I was recording and unusually I'd left my ear  plugs at home - I'd always been especially careful about protecting my hearing since being a teenager in the late 90's.

 

The gig was painfully loud and the next day I woke up with bad ringing in my ears.

It has never stopped.

 

I have done everything I can to prevent it getting worse.

 

Moulded ear plugs.

Changing the type music I was involved with.

Avoiding loud environments.

minimising headphone usage.

Double protection (plugs and overear defenders) for the few times I'm using power tools in my dayjob.

 

I've also found diet can have a big effect on the level of my tinnitus.

For example it's been pretty bad recently, but I have been eating badly to fit around jobs. I know from when this has happened before drinking a lot of water, less booze and upping vegetables has a big effect on bringing the level down over a few weeks. A diet rich in anti inflammatory vegetables can work well in helping with tinnitus - reducing the intake of deadly nightshade family of plants and increasing ginger and turmeric for example.

 

One the trickiest side effects of tinnitus for me has been the cognitive/aural processing.

 

In normal hearing our brains do a lot of filtering to diminish the importance of background sounds when we're concentrating on something or someone.

The tinnitus has thrown this out for me to the point where backgroud sounds feel deafening, yet I can't "hear" (process) the person talking next to me. 

 

Good luck.

 

Being able to talk/write about it is a great help in dealing with it and avenues like this site can be vital.

Edited by Woodwind
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Had it continuously for last 6 years. Had it intermittently for a few years before that - the transition occurred due to a rather nasty head cold. Blew my nose too hard, heard a loud crack, shooting pain under my left eye. Lo and behold the ringing has been there ever since. Chronic rhinitis and sinusitis was the NHS (and private) diagnosis, but both consultants were less than useless when asked about the tinnitus - "oh, don't listen to that"... easier said than done!

 

I've found low background noise helps greatly if it's getting on your nerves, ASMR type stuff, or just listen to music. Worst thing you can do is have a constant drone of any kind - that highlights it. The road noise in my mk5 GTI Golf sends it BANANAS!

 

My mum has hearing aids specifically because of here tinnitus and she has said it pretty much disappeared - as long as she's wearing the aids. I'm 44 and don't really fancy hearing aids, but it's heading that way...

 

@Woodwind interesting you say that diet helps. I'll have to look into that more. My diet has been pretty terrible during lockdown which might explain why the tinnitus has been so bad! Anti inflammatory veg doesn't sound like a bad idea since her-indoors has been having more trouble with her arthritis this year too...

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Bigwan said:

... but both consultants were less than useless when asked about the tinnitus - "oh, don't listen to that"... easier said than done!

WTF I think I would check with the GMC that they are registered and qualified to practise.

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Had permanent tinnitus since a bad sinus infection in early 2002. I thought it would pass but it never did. In fact it got worse a couple of times and stayed at the new horrible level each time. I hate it.

 

Coupled with hearing loss I’ve had since childhood, it dramatically affected the kind of gigs I wanted to play and the kind of music I want to listen to at home.

 

I’ve got tinnitus masking devices and hearing aids etc, but mostly I just try and crack on without them. I wear earplugs onstage and carry a pair with me everywhere, as road noise, or train noise, or any high pitched loud sounds totally do my head in now. I rarely go to gigs anymore either. 
 

Have just bought a house in a tiny quiet village, miles from anywhere. Looking forward to it as well! To the OP: look after whatever hearing you have left is all I could say. I said, “look after wh... “ oh never mind, I’ll write it down...

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1 hour ago, Hellzero said:

..... get some professional earplugs made to measure : it's maybe not expensive.....

Amended 😉

 

Wholeheartedly agree in getting moulded plugs (ACS for me 🙂) I have a pair of 10dB and a pair of 17dB. As @Happy Jack says once they're in, the effect is that you hear exactly what everyone else hears, but with the volume turned down (but you can still hold a conversation). Like all new things they take a little getting used to, especially if you sing but I would NOT be without them either for playing or watching gigs etc.

 

The cost? Lets be realistic, it's the equivalent of 1 coffee per week, for a year, from Starchucks. Most people don't seem to even consider that trickle of money when they're budgeting, only if it's spent in one lump. Dodgy coffee for a year or hearing for life? I know which I prefer 🙂

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4 minutes ago, Acebassmusic said:

Like all new things they take a little getting used to, especially if you sing ...

 

 

I forgot to mention that! I no longer need any foldback for singing ... with the on-stage sound reduced by 15dB and my own voice sounding (relatively) louder from the inside, it's WAY easier to hear myself and to pitch correctly.

 

Win - Win all the way.

 

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3 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

 

I forgot to mention that! I no longer need any foldback for singing ... with the on-stage sound reduced by 15dB and my own voice sounding (relatively) louder from the inside, it's WAY easier to hear myself and to pitch correctly.

 

Win - Win all the way.

 

 

Took the words right out my mouth! When I'm not using IEMs this is how I pitch for singing. I own different values of filters for my plugs so I can set the attenuation depending on the gig - and, since getting moulded plugs, if there was ever a singing gig, I needn't have any vocals in my monitors at all as I would pitch my harmonies against my bass not anyone else. (This is very useful as my bass won't wander from pitch, so I find it much easier to lock in on intervals).

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On 09/08/2021 at 12:45, Dood said:

 

Might I also add:

 

Do it RIGHT NOW now: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/health-welfare/musicians-hearing-health-scheme

 

Do it RIGHT NOW now: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/health-welfare/musicians-hearing-health-scheme

 

Do it RIGHT NOW now: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/health-welfare/musicians-hearing-health-scheme

 

Do it RIGHT NOW now: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/health-welfare/musicians-hearing-health-scheme

 

It says "If you’re over the age of 18 and earn the majority of your income through music"; I don't, however I was able to demonstrate that both my bands are busy and have a large following, and this seemed to be enough for me to qualify. 40 quid for excellent custom fitted plugs, what a total bargain.

Edited by Rich
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I've had intrusive tinnitus for about a decade (it started properly after an evening with a dep guitarist putting his 112 combo on a bar stool pointing directly at my head), and when we're not using IEMs, I have the ACS attenuators in...I also wear them for gigs I'm in the audience for; it doesn't half show up any bad sound production...

 

It's never to early to start with the attenuation; once tinnitus starts, you're stuck with it...I wince these days when I'm watching a film and the producer decides to put that whine in after an explosion...I hate that...

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I've had it for something like a decade. Mind you, I was always very protective about my hearing, using plugs during gigs, or over ear muffs when doing DIY and things like that.

For me it started once during the exams, I had really bad ringing in my ears. Went to a specialist, hearing range etc was perfect, apparently it was due to stress and lack of sleep.

And indeed, when the stress levels were reduced, so was the ringing. This went on for a year or 4, the ringing would come back during times of stress (exams, mostly), and would vanish again.

During that 4th year, one night I was struggling to sleep, the ringing started again...

And never went away after that.


It was really weird since I hadn't gone to any particular loud event, or wasn't exposed to any loud noises...

 

From time to time I really hate it, but most of the time, I'm used to it... It's like a part of you that you learn to live with, or that you HAVE to learn to live with. 

 

So good luck and take care of your ears and yourself :) 

 

 

 

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Just one thing; tinnitus isn’t always what it seems (although admittedly it usually is). Many years ago I had really bad tinnitus which lasted about 3 or so (?) years. It stopped, more or less (I still have it to a slight degree) when a chiropractor adjusted my neck. I can only assume it was somehow caused by/related to a trapped nerve.  
 

EDIT: missed Hellzero’s comments, which imply a similar thing. 

Edited by 4000
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Another ACS user here, I got the 17db ones as they are advertised as having the most neutral reduction, and they’re great, it’s like playing in a band but with CD quality sound.

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Mine is like background noise so I'm unaware of it most of the time. Like breathing, as one person has said.

 

2 hours ago, Woodwind said:

I've also found diet can have a big on the level of my tinnitus.

 

It may or may not be directly as a result of diet, but diet affects stress levels and mood, of which definitely has an effect on the intensity of the ringing. High stress, loud ringing. So best to stay from sugary things and to reduce caffeine intake.

 

Jaw issues can also make it worse.

Edited by TheLowDown
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