Does anyone here on TA suffer from tinnitus?

I've had tinnitus since I was in my early 20s (too many rock concerts) and it seems to be getting worse. In particular, it seems louder when there is very soft background noise (like the soft hushing of a CPU fan) or total silence (like when I'm trying to sleep). I've always been good at ignoring it as a kind of "white noise" but these days the volume is sometimes reaching a point where it's impossible to ignore.

My tinnitus is a constant, approximately 4000 Hz tone that sounds like: Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There is a demonstration of this sound (and others) under the Sounds of Tinnitus section on the American Tinnitus Association.

The reedy feedback squeal in the first 0:01 second of 'Son of a Gun' by Nirvana is the closest example I've ever found in terms of the tone, warmth, and slightly ragged texture of the sound, except what I hear never stops.

I've done some looking into this online, but there's not a lot of specific information available beyond some generic advice to see a doctor, not lose hope, and try sound therapy. I'm not wild about seeing doctors (except for the one I married), especially over something I can handle myself or that has no tangible treatment, but I'm having doubts that I'll be able to live this way if it gets much worse. 

Does anyone here have tinnitus and if so, what have you come up with for dealing with it? What sort of sound do you hear? Have you seen a doctor? What sort of treatment did you get? Did it work? Have you tried sound therapy?

Tags: tinnitus

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What sort of sound do you hear? How loud is it?
Does it ever seem to be getting worse?
Did you ever get any treatment for it?

These days I don't listen to much loud music, although the tinnitus is loud enough to make me need to turn the volume up a bit louder than I normally would. For instance, it kind of drowns out soft background music.

I think I have a mild case. Constant hissing like a steam pipe with a leak in it. Always there.

I jokingly tell people (because I'm a little hard of hearing) that I lost some hearing at a Jimi Hendrix concert (yes, I'm that old and I did sit in the third row at a JH concert...it was LOUD!!!). However, I also attended concerts by Cream, the Stones, The Who, and other very loud bands of the time.

I can probably blame myself, but I wouldn't have traded those experiences away to stop the hissing.

Does it ever seem to be getting worse in terms of how loud it is?

I think I got mine at a George Thorogood concert back in the 80s. I was in the front row, way off to one side, right in front of a black wall at the end of the stage. The black wall turned out to be a bank of giant amplifiers behind a felt covering sort of like a curtain. I realized this when Johnny Winter came out and whammed his guitar once and there was this blasting shriek that was so loud it peaked as utter silence. It was the last thing I expected because all the (obvious) amps were stacked on stage around where the musicians were going to stand.

I managed to move away from the amps as the show got underway, but when I walked out of there I was almost deaf in the ear that was facing the amps during that first loud strum on Winter's guitar. My hearing came back after a couple of days but that faint Heeeeeeeee sound in both ears never went away. It may have already been there before that concert, but that's the one that made it worse, or made me notice it (and then start feeling protective of my hearing).

It might have been worth the tinnitus for a rock god like Hendrix. But it sure wasn't worth it for a scumbag like Winter.

I was in a rock band for much of the late sixties and I got rather the opposite malady - I'm deaf to high-pitched sounds. This might sound innocuous but, after several people convinced me that there was a sound coming from behind my washing machine, I called a plumber who knocked a hole in the wall and found a leaking pipe above a rather large puddle.

My son (also a musician) has tinnitus even though he's always protected his hearing. I'll ask him what he knows.

Yep... too many concerts...

I've had a mild case since teenhood. I only went to a half dozen or so loud concerts, and don't know if that's the cause. Sometimes it sounds like crickets are tossed into the noise. I think I hear a few different frequencies, dissimilar to Son of a Gun.

It never bothers me, but does seem to make faint sounds harder to hear. It gets worse sometimes, but usually only after taking aspirin, which apparently happens a lot of people.

It never bothers me, but does seem to make faint sounds harder to hear. It gets worse sometimes, but usually only after taking aspirin, which apparently happens a lot of people.

I've run across this news as well about aspirin, which is an anticoagulant if I remember correctly. It seems there are all kinds of things that can effect tinnitus.

Some people apparently have it so badly that a strong microphone pressed into the outer ear actually picks up the sounds of the tinnitus.

I recently discovered that William Shatner (Captain Kirk himself) has a severe case and actually wears a hearing-aid-like device that generates "white noise" to make the sound easier to ignore.

Speaking of loud music an earplugs, I love putting in earplugs, putting on over-ear headphones, and turning it up loud! The earplugs protect the sensitive ear parts, and you get a warm, low frequency cranial sensation. Like a loud concert, but without the ear pain/damage, or the long pants vibrating.

My ex has suffered from tinnitus for over 20 years. She reckons it started when she worked in a bar that had live bands every night. She seems to get some relief from it if she takes antihistamine tablets - any generic form of “hay fever” allergy pill. Maybe keeping the nasal passages clear keeps a certain amount of pressure of the ears, like popping your ears by holding your nose does during a flight. This is just an observation and has no scientific basis I know of, but it does seem to help especially when she has it bad and it brought on a vertigo type attack which made her very ill for a few hours, though this has not happened for a few years.

I have been to a few Motorhead gigs over the years…so far so good.

She seems to get some relief from it if she takes antihistamine tablets - any generic form of “hay fever” allergy pill. Maybe keeping the nasal passages clear keeps a certain amount of pressure of the ears, like popping your ears by holding your nose does during a flight.

That's interesting. I'm going to give that a try.

I've also read that things like blood pressure and stress can effect tinnitus as well, although the reasons are poorly understood.

I have it but it only bothers me when things get quiet. It seems louder when I'm stressed or haven't gotten good sleep. My solution has been to sleep with a fan creating white noise. It's still noise, but at least it overpowers the tinnitus 'sound' and it's a mundane sound that the brain can easily tune out.

Mine sounds like soft static and a very high pitched squeal. The squeal is new...a couple of years ago, it was just static.

I read somewhere that you 'hear' tinnitus in the frequencies you have developed hearing loss at. IDK if that's true. You could end up with a whole plethora of tones if that were the case... 

Mine sounds like soft static and a very high pitched squeal. The squeal is new...a couple of years ago, it was just static.

I see I'm far from alone in this problem. Mine went from a soft Heeeee to a louder Heeeee and it's still getting louder.

I read somewhere that you 'hear' tinnitus in the frequencies you have developed hearing loss at. IDK if that's true. You could end up with a whole plethora of tones if that were the case...

I've heard that too, but I don't remember where. Julianne Moore mentions something like this in "Children of Men" after a terrorist bombing leaves Clive Owen with ringing in his ears.

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