The world's #1 website on hearing and hearing loss
Since 1999

Noise odyssey

I first started noticing tinnitus when I was singing in the local choir about 10 years ago ( was 37). I sometimes had to block my left ear when the volume was too loud. A few years ago I stopped singing, and didn't think any more about it. I had my ears tested when I first noticed the symptoms, thinking that it was some kind of mechanical malfunction in the eardrum, but the tests were inconclusive, only showing that I had lost a little hearing on that side.

5 months ago I was playing the piano and I noticed that the sounds of the notes were resonating a few seconds after I finished playing. Some weeks later, the tinnitus became permanent. For me that was 'Black Monday'. I was desperate and confused, clinging to any vestige of hope.

I have tried a wide range of treatments, from acupuncture to connective healing, but I have only succeeded in spending money and feeling stupid.

I have some quiet days, but they are comparatively rare. I am uncertain about the next step, if there is one. Even a moderate relief would make an enormous difference. I am a teacher, and it sometimes affects my work (in fact, almost always, because my concentration is so bad). I loved music, but now I am afraid of it.

I admit that the main problem is surely psychological, so I will have to 'readjust' in some way. Wish me luck in my odyssey, as I wish you luck in yours.

Henry Burn

Kommentar1274815302
Jed
Henry,

As a former professional musician, I share your constant discomforts. On the mitigating side, much of my current professional life is spent in a computer server room; though the constant whir of the many fans is in a different frequency range from my tinnitus (which seems to increase as my hearing worsens), it helps distract my conscious mind from the very real internal distraction. Other palliatives - "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy;" finding a comfortable white/pink noise range to displace the noise source to a place outside your body (e.g., noise bands between radio stations),;performing vigorous exercise, etc. - can help.

If you have "recruitment," wherein healthy hair cells are recruited to handle incoming sound that dying and dead hair cells no longer catch, the pain of the overload is starkly immediate and physical (e.g., dropping silverware into a sink). I have been told that a "psycho-galvanic response" test may be able to measure or confirm the experience of that pain. Of course, the psychological part is the greatest challenge. My experience has been characterized by a very slow and begrudging acceptance of scary perceptions and dangers, which have generally turned into annoyances and unpleasant reminders.

I still play music on occasion. My instrument, guitar, is also percussive, which is a perceived danger. So - when I play - I play quietly. In this regard, I might suggest that you consider - if you haven't already - exploring quieter styles of vocalizing (I remember a college voice class, where one student performed a song called "Monotone." It was just that - one note, one sound level. The art was in the enunciation and expression he could give within those very quieting constraints). If your experience is like mine, you'll find new rewards, challenges and musical fears to face down - just like the old days.

For noise-damaged ears, my view is that physical hearing recovery (which many other animals enjoy) is the answer. I understand that we are unlikely to see research results within the next decade that promise human hair cell re-growth. For me, that answer may come too late to regenerate a career. But, whenever it comes, it won't be too late. In the meantime, willingness to make new adjustments seems to be the best Rx.1281449248
Jed
Henry,
[This apparently didn't post the first time]

As a former professional musician, I share your constant discomforts. On the mitigating side, much of my current professional life is spent in a computer server room; though the constant whir of the many fans is in a different frequency range from my tinnitus (which seems to increase as my hearing worsens), it helps distract my conscious mind from the very real internal distraction. Other palliatives - "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy;" finding a comfortable white/pink noise range to displace the noise source to a place outside your body (e.g., noise bands between radio stations), performing vigorous exercise, etc. - can help.

If you have "recruitment," wherein healthy hair cells are recruited to handle incoming sound that dying and dead hair cells no longer catch, the pain of the overload is starkly immediate and physical (e.g., dropping silverware into a sink). I have been told that a "psycho-galvanic response" test may be able to measure or confirm the experience of that pain. Of course, the psychological part is the greatest challenge. My experience has been characterized by a very slow and begrudging acceptance of scary perceptions and dangers, which have generally turned into annoyances and unpleasant reminders.

I still play music on occasion. My instrument, guitar, is also percussive, which is a perceived danger. So - when I play - I play quietly. In this regard, I might suggest that you consider - if you haven't already - exploring protective appliances (ear plugs - a host of choices exists) to minimize your risk, or perhaps an electronic piano, whose volume and (most pertinently) attack you can control. Also, you may consider returning to vocalizing, concentrating on quiet solo styles (I remember a college voice class, where one student performed a song called "Monotone." It was just that - one note, one volume level. The art was in the enunciation and expression he could give within those strict constraints). I also attend an annual music camp, which I began doing in an effort to explore changing my career to (quieter) solo work, but which I continue because of the deep friendships developed; while I play very little there, my time in that environment with friends of a common mindset is precious. If your experience is like mine, you'll find new rewards, challenges and musical fears to face down - just like the old days.

For noise-damaged ears, my view is that physical hearing recovery (which many other animals enjoy) is the answer. I understand that we are unlikely to see research results within the next decade that promise human hair cell re-growth. For me, that answer may come too late to regenerate a career. But, whenever it comes, it won't be too late. In the meantime, willingness to make new adjustments seems to be the best Rx.1281449780
JP
Henry,

As a former professional musician, I share your constant discomforts. On the mitigating side, much of my current professional life is spent in a computer server room; though the constant whir of the many fans is in a different frequency range from my tinnitus (which seems to increase as my hearing worsens), it helps distract my conscious mind from the very real internal distraction. Other palliatives - "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy;" finding a comfortable white/pink noise range to displace the noise source to a place outside your body (e.g., noise bands between radio stations), performing vigorous exercise, etc. - can help.

If you have "recruitment," wherein healthy hair cells are recruited to handle incoming sound that dying and dead hair cells no longer catch, the pain of the overload is starkly immediate and physical (e.g., dropping silverware into a sink). I have been told that a "psycho-galvanic response" test may be able to measure or confirm the experience of that pain. Of course, the psychological part is the greatest challenge. My experience has been characterized by a very slow and begrudging acceptance of scary perceptions and dangers, which have generally turned into annoyances and unpleasant reminders.

I still play music on occasion. My instrument, guitar, is also percussive, which is a perceived danger. So - when I play - I play quietly. In this regard, I might suggest that you consider - if you haven't already - exploring protective appliances (ear plugs - a host of choices exists) to minimize your risk, or perhaps an electronic piano, whose volume and (most pertinently) attack you can control. Also, you may consider returning to vocalizing, concentrating on quiet solo styles (I remember a college voice class, where one student performed a song called "Monotone." It was just that - one note, one volume level. The art was in the enunciation and expression he could give within those strict constraints). I also attend an annual music camp, which I began doing in an effort to explore changing my career to (quieter) solo work, but which I continue because of the deep friendships developed; while I play very little there, my time in that environment with friends of a common mindset is precious. If your experience is like mine, you'll find new rewards, challenges and musical fears to face down - just like the old days.

For noise-damaged ears, my view is that physical hearing recovery (which many other animals enjoy) is the answer. I understand that we are unlikely to see research results within the next decade that promise human hair cell re-growth. For me, that answer may come too late to regenerate a career. But, whenever it comes, it won't be too late. In the meantime, willingness to make new adjustments seems to be the best Rx.1281451636
JP
Thanks for posting your story. As a former professional musician, I share your constant discomforts. On the mitigating side, much of my current professional life is spent in a computer server room; though the constant whir of the many fans is in a different frequency range from my tinnitus (which seems to increase as my hearing worsens), it helps distract my conscious mind from the very real internal distraction. Other palliatives - "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy;" finding a comfortable white/pink noise range to displace the noise source to a place outside your body (e.g., noise bands between radio stations), performing vigorous exercise, etc. - can help.

If you have "recruitment," wherein healthy hair cells are recruited to handle incoming sound that dying and dead hair cells no longer catch, the pain of the overload is starkly immediate and physical (e.g., dropping silverware into a sink). I have been told that a "psycho-galvanic response" test may be able to measure or confirm the experience of that pain. Of course, the psychological part is the greatest challenge. My experience has been characterized by a very slow and begrudging acceptance of scary perceptions and dangers, which have generally turned into annoyances and unpleasant reminders.

I still play music on occasion. My instrument, guitar, is also percussive, which is a perceived danger. So - when I play - I play quietly. In this regard, I might suggest that you consider - if you haven't already - exploring protective appliances (ear plugs - a host of choices exists) to minimize your risk, or perhaps an electronic piano, whose volume and (most pertinently) attack you can control. Also, you may consider returning to vocalizing, concentrating on quiet solo styles (I remember a college voice class, where one student performed a song called "Monotone." It was just that - one note, one volume level. The art was in the enunciation and expression he could give within those strict constraints). I also attend an annual music camp, which I began doing in an effort to explore changing my career to (quieter) solo work, but which I continue because of the deep friendships developed; while I play very little there, my time in that environment with friends of a common mindset is precious. If your experience is like mine, you'll find new rewards, challenges and musical fears to face down - just like the old days.

For noise-damaged ears, my view is that physical hearing recovery (which many other animals enjoy) is the answer. I understand that we are unlikely to see research results within the next decade that promise human hair cell re-growth. For me, that answer may come too late to regenerate a career. But, whenever it comes, it won't be too late. In the meantime, willingness to make new adjustments seems to be the best Rx.

Please use our articles

You are very welcome to quote or use our articles. The only condition is that you provide a direct link to the specific article you use on the page where you quote us.

Unfortunately you cannot use our pictures, as we do not have the copyright, but only have the right to use them on our website.