Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

If you don't find a specific forum, post your message here (please read all the forum list first).

Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:20 pm

Hello drum lovers!

It's been a while since I last logged in. I hope everybody's doing well.

I want to share an unpleasant experience that I'm afraid has to do with drumming. I've had a tinnitus in my left ear for 2-3 years now (I'm 39 and have been drumming for about 10 years). I started noticing it occasionally but it has gotten worse in the past year or so. It is now quite persistent (I hear it most of the time) and can get pretty intense sometimes, especially in stressful situations.

I suspect it has to do with the bongo macho (which I like to tune quite high and sometimes play pretty loud), and the campana de bongo. I am right-handed and, for whatever reason, I naturally play bongo with my head slightly tilted to the right, same thing with the campana, which I hold with my left hand. As a result, my left ear is more exposed to the sound pressure with those instruments.

I don't think it is related to the other instruments that I've been playing (mostly cajón, congas and "minor percussion"), because 1) I believe I don't play them as loud, and 2) I don't perceive the timbre of those other instruments as so potentially damaging to the ears (except maybe claves). No facts here, though, just a hunch.

I went to the doctor and found out that I have a significant hearing loss in my left ear (right one is ok). The doctor was skeptical about drumming being the cause, but he also didn't have a clue what a bongo or a cowbell look like, or how they sound, so I don't know what to make of his opinion.

In any case, the hearing loss is probably irreversible and I will have to live with the tinnitus for the rest of my life. However, I would like to keep on playing bongo and campana, as they are among my favourite instruments, but I also definitely want to prevent it from getting worse.

I was wondering if some of you guys have had similar experiences and/or advice on how to protect your ears and still be able to enjoy playing. I won't have the chance to play much in the next few months, but, if I do, I will use some kind of earplugs or similar (which, so far, I am not a fan of).

Happy turn of the year!

SL
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Thomas Altmann » Fri Dec 24, 2021 10:47 am

Hi Siete Leguas,

I guess Jorge is the one to answer your questions most competently.

Until then, let me tell you that for long I have had tinnitus, too, and it became considerably more obtrusive since my mother's death last year, which meant a lot of work and responsibility in addition to the emotional stress.

My experience, which is anything but clinical, has given me the impression that the tinnitus that you get from exposure to loud noise or music may come from a stress for your ears, but is, depending on the volume, temporary. A persistent tinnitus seems to be a neurological misinformation that tells your brain that there is something when there is actually nothing. Whether this originates in the hearing organ or the respective brain area, I don't know. But I'm pretty sure it comes rather from general stress or overload in your life than from stress on your ears (noise).

Telling from my experience, the more I retract myself from an active life or work, and the more I feel isolated and being left on my own, which is a typical phenomenon in our current Corona situation of social distancing, lockdowns etc, the more I sense the body that I inhabit (or caught inside), and every sensory signal may tower up to a frightening pain. But that's not normal, and it's unhealthy. What helps me, is to become active and to perceive myself as the center of my action, and turning or adverting my senses to the outside. Listen to the sounds of the world around you and connect with the outside as the agent of your own projects and endeavours. To me, this rather meant playing my drums (and then returning to the state of rest and calmness afterwards), as opposed to avoiding the noise associated with drumming altogether.

I also try to accept my tinnitus as my own, personal sound that belongs to me. But I actually have to remind myself to hear it. Normally, I just don't pay attention. I listen to the other sounds around me.

Most importantly, don't panic!

Greetings,
Thomas
Last edited by Thomas Altmann on Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Greensail » Sun Dec 26, 2021 4:13 am

Greetings. I would add that I have had gradually increasing tinnitus for several years as well as a degree of hearing loss as well. Not sure there is a cure or even a treatment for tinnitus. But as Thomas mentioned, I too am able to ignore it most of the time. The hearing loss...well I suspect a hearing aid is in my future at some point. That technology has and continues to improve rapidly and costs decreasing. But that is more of a concern for communication and does not really affect my playing. When we gig, I rely on others to adjust the mics and eq but I always felt in addition to hearing what I was playing, you can largely feel it.

Happy holidays. May 2022 be a great year for all.
Greensail
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:18 pm

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Mon Dec 27, 2021 12:26 am

Hi guys, thanks for your feedback.

I think you're right. As far as I know, the ringing typically does not originate in the hearing organ but in the brain itself, and there isn't any effective treatment.

My tinnitus is most of the time just slightly unpleasant. Depending on the circumstances, I can draw my attention away from it more or less successfully. But sometimes, when I am very tired or under stress (especially both), it can be really disturbing and impossible to ignore. The prospect of it getting worse freaks me out a little bit.

Following the doctor's advice, I am going to get an MRI, in order to rule out other causes such as acoustic neuroma (apparently a rare tumorous condition of the cochlear nerve).

In any case, protecting my ears and trying to avoid further acoustic trauma is probably the wise thing to do, even though, paradoxically, drumming and listening to (loud) music has always been an effective way for me to relieve stress.
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Juaort » Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:33 am

Hi Guys. Glad to see everyone’s doing well. I too have a tinnitus issue. The last few months it’s been consistent, but I remember getting it on and off after leaving a gig or leaving a club on a weekend. It would stay on for a bit but it would go away after a day or so. It’s not the ears but the brain that causes it. Which is weird. There’s some exercises to help it, but you have to be on top of it and consistent. It doesn’t get in the way of anything for me. When I do hear it the most is while going to bed. I have an appointment to see a specialist in January, so we’ll see how that goes.

Juaort.
Juaort
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:48 pm

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Thomas Altmann » Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:28 am

Juaort wrote:I have an appointment to see a specialist in January, so we’ll see how that goes.


A friend of mine told me of a new therapy they use: For people who are listening to music a lot, they first identify the frequency of the tinnitus, then they take the music he/she listen to (tons of it in his case), filter out the specific frequency from this music and then let him listen to the product regularly (through earphones).

I don't understand how that should work, but anyway ... It wouldn't work for me, because I don't listen to music as extensively as I did when I was in my 20's and 30's anymore. Maybe it's more like an experiment.

Thomas
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:15 am

Happy new year!

Well, it looks like it affects many of us, it would be interesting to know if it's much worse than in the general population.

@Juaort:Do you have more infos about those exercises? If you do, let me know please. Good luck with your appointment!

@Thomas: that technology sounds good. I guess if you can identify the properties of your tinnitus, you can generate a similar waveform and substract it (add it with opposite phase) from the mix in your brain.

In my case the ringing sounds quite "pure" at about a couple of kHz, but I have read that there are low-frequency tinnitus too. It would be cool to try it out. But my tinnitus doesn't really bother me when I'm listening to music (so far), for me too it is more disturbing in silence. Like Juaort, often when going to bed.
Last edited by Siete Leguas on Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Juaort » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:38 am

Hi Siete Leguas. I searched YouTube and found these holistic exercises. All by qualified individuals. The key with these are that you have to be consistent with it. Their supposed to alleviate the background noise and potentially make it go away. But it’s the taking the time to do it that’s the challenge. I will try and add a couple on here if I can figure how to do it. Mine has been a pretty steady low frequency background staticky sound. Right now manageable.
Juaort
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:48 pm

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:50 pm

Thanks, Juaort. After a quick search, I've found a lot of stuff on youtube indeed. I might try some of the exercises, as my tinnitus is getting pretty annoying these days.
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Thomas Altmann » Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:06 am

Did anyone search this forum for "tinnitus"? 5 pages of entries. And a complete thread: http://mycongaplace.com/forum/eng/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4357&hilit=tinnitus
I just thought it would be strange if there hadn't been anything like that before ...

Thomas
Last edited by Thomas Altmann on Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Thu Feb 03, 2022 6:34 am

Hi Thomas,

I had actually not searched the forum like I should have. Thanks for the suggestion, it is a good read. It definitely looks like it has affected many of us here and I can very much relate to some the others' experiences (including yours).

A follow-up to my hearing problems: A few weeks ago I experienced sudden deafness on my left ear. I lost most of my left hearing overnight. I am pretty sure that it had to do with stress and lack of sleep the days before. Having tinnitus is bad enough, but that really scared me. After a week it hadn't gotten any better, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed me glucocorticoids. A few days into taking them I gradually started hearing again and, luckily, I am back to "normal" now, also stress-wise. Unfortunately, along with the hearing I've also recovered my tinnitus, but after the experience I now appreciate my hearing more, even with tinnitus, and it's not too bad for now.

After reading the old posts, I can only say: protect your ears!

Salud,
SL
Last edited by Siete Leguas on Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Thomas Altmann » Thu Feb 03, 2022 12:01 pm

A few weeks ago I experienced sudden deafness on my left ear. I lost most of my left hearing overnight. I am pretty sure that it had to do with stress and lack of sleep the days before. Having tinnitus is bad enough, but that really scared me. After a week it hadn't gotten any better, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed me glucocorticoids. A few days into taking them I gradually started hearing again and, luckily, I am back to "normal" now, also stress-wise. Unfortunately, with the hearing I've also recovered my tinnitus, but after the experience I now appreciate my hearing more, even with tinnitus, and it's not too bad for now.


Could have been caused by your vaccination ... a cerebral embolism. Just an idea. Might be hard to prove, but also hard to prove the opposite. You know that I've had my complications, too.

No further comment. I'm an ardent opponent to mandatory vaccination, and I have lost at least three friends over the debate.

Thomas
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Siete Leguas » Thu Feb 03, 2022 3:39 pm

Thomas Altmann wrote:Could have been caused by your vaccination ... a cerebral embolism. Just an idea.


I don't think so. I got my booster shot about 6 weeks before that happened. By contrast, mounting stress and lack of sleep coincided very precisely in time.

You yourself cited those exact two factors in the thread from 2008 that you linked regarding your experiences with tinnitus at the time.

Greetings,
SL
User avatar
Siete Leguas
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 4:34 pm
Location: Alemania

Re: Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Postby Thomas Altmann » Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:30 pm

O.K. - that's unlikely then. I'm not a medical expert, but I guess that, if blood clots start to format all, and are not absorbed within a week, they would take less than 6 weeks travelling to any smaller vessel.

A clarinet player in Hamburg suffered a sudden hearing loss in temporal proximity to his second shot.

Thomas
Thomas Altmann
 
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:25 pm
Location: Hamburg


Return to Open Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests