Ears ringing

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Is there anybody out there whose ears don't ring?
Mine rang as long as I can remember.
I remember being a little kid, and I would have my friends get right up on my ear and say a low note in my ear kinda loud because it was pleasureable to me! I think I wrecked my hearing before age 9. And as an adult I've spent many many hours with a drill right near my ear without protection. Then I play music, no protection. So my ears ring. I mostly don't notice it, just tune it out but today it was very noticeable. I wasn't exposed to anything real loud in the past few days, just maybe that I'm noticing it more.

I'll ask again, does anyone's ears NOT ring?
 

jjmason777

Senior Member
What? I couldn't hear you over the ringing.
I have had tinnitus for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I was told that it was just "head noises" and it's normal. So I got used to it. Now of course we know different.
Anyway, yea, there's a constant ringing.
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Is there anybody out there whose ears don't ring?
Mine rang as long as I can remember.
I remember being a little kid, and I would have my friends get right up on my ear and say a low note in my ear kinda loud because it was pleasureable to me! I think I wrecked my hearing before age 9. And as an adult I've spent many many hours with a drill right near my ear without protection. Then I play music, no protection. So my ears ring. I mostly don't notice it, just tune it out but today it was very noticeable. I wasn't exposed to anything real loud in the past few days, just maybe that I'm noticing it more.

I'll ask again, does anyone's ears NOT ring?
What you are referring to is a symptom called tinnitus. Tinnitus is when you hear a sound (usually ringing) that is not actually real. I will temporarily get tinnitus after hearing a very loud noise, and I have a very mild form of permanent tinnitus that I can only notice if it is VERY quiet. Both of our cases of tinnitus are caused by gradual noise induced hearing loss.
 

madgolfer

Senior Member
If you don't take steps to protect your hearing, it will deteriorate to the point that you WON'T be able to tune it out. You don't want that, as it will significantly disrupt your life, health and sanity. I have played for twenty hears, and the only ringing I get is from allergies and, thankfully, fades as environmental conditions improve.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
In 2000 my new job required a lot of phone work so new starters were sent for a hearing test before starting. My R ear was ok, my L ear was "only just within normal range".

In the test I was played tones of varying pitch and volume through a headset. I was to indicate when I heard a tone. Aparently I indicated hearing tones when none were played and that was due to tinnitus. The snare and crash cymbals are the main culprits, plus also loud amplification. The ride, toms & kick - and hats when not being played opwn and loud - are pretty benign IMO

Back in the day I went looking for hearing protection but the plugs killed the tone of the music, making it sound lifeless and uninspiring. I've read here that now you can buy great plus that can even enhance the quality of sound. Larry, have you looked into those?

These days I don't worry about plugs because I play at just a little more than typical jazz volume (and plenty quieter than Tony and Elvin ... with many fewer notes played :)
 

Florian

Gold Member
35 years playing drums and working in a metal shop....no ringing. Ear protection is your friend.

F
 

brady

Platinum Member
What you are referring to is a symptom called tinnitus. Tinnitus is when you hear a sound (usually ringing) that is not actually real. I will temporarily get tinnitus after hearing a very loud noise, and I have a very mild form of permanent tinnitus that I can only notice if it is VERY quiet. Both of our cases of tinnitus are caused by gradual noise induced hearing loss.
Same here. If it's extremely quiet, I can hear a very subtle ring, but I have to concentrate on it.

I've been exposed to loud music and noises most of my life. When I was young, I would always crank music with headphones on. I'm thankful I didn't do any damage.

I've also worked in the Communications field for about 15 years, so I'm exposed to all kinds of power tools, heavy equipment, etc. I'm very anal about wearing ear protection.

Plus, I pretty much won't even touch a drum without some sort of ear protection or IEMs. So hopefully I will keep my hearing for many years to come.
 

zfzgg

Senior Member
The only high-volume activity I do regularly is drumming. And I always, ALWAYS wear hearing protection. Ear plugs for rehearsals and gigs. Industrial style ear muffs for private practice.

No ringing :).
 

drum_enthusiast

Junior Member
I have tinnitus.

I've been playing drums for 28 years now and I didn't start noticing it until around 1995.

Some girl "friends" of mine at the time helped me remove a marble size earwax ball from both ears. A lot of times earwax forms as a defense mechanism when the ears are exposed to loud noises. From that moment on I used ear plugs. I buy the cheap "squish and insert" barrel-shaped kind. At first, it muffled everything terribly. But, I got used to hearing my snare and cymbals that way and now, it's pleasurable. In fact, I wince whenever I hear a cymbal crash without plugs! The kind I use provide the greatest amount of protection.

At one point, I tried ear molds with an attenuated insert so the music wouldn't sound so muffled. However, I'm one of those people that can wiggle my ears by flexing certain muscles in my forehead and face. When I did, the seal would break and I would get very loud tones in my ear. So, I went back to the barrel-shaped type and never looked back.

For me, the ringing is always there. If I get a sinus infection it gets louder. Sometimes it's really quiet. I've heard some say that this is an actual audible ring. If you get close to a person's ear who has tinnitus, they say you can hear it. I don't think that's true though! I think tinnitus is a "perception" thing. Sometimes it will seem louder, sometimes not.

I wear earplugs faithfully to this day. I want to continue to play drums and I know without protection, my tinnitus could potentially get worse. About two months ago, I had a complete hearing test done. I passed with flying colors. So, the hearing is not affected to the point where I have trouble hearing. In fact, my hearing is quite good.

There are many musicians that have tinnitus. Some slight, some severe. I heard that Jeff Beck canceled a performance with Guns and Roses because the rehearsal aggravated his tinnitus.

A lot of other stars have tinnitus. William Shatner claims to have cured it. Neil Young has it. Joey Kramer, Rod Morgenstein, Lars Ulrich and Sting have it. The list goes on.

As mentioned before, take care of your ears and NEVER put them in jeopardy. I always wear plugs. I hope to play drums for many years to come and will continue the practice!

Hope that helps!
 

Chonson

Senior Member
Moderate ringing but I still have a good coverage of hearing. I notice it most when I'm in a dead room - certain studio control rooms are very dead and those freak me out because it becomes so loud.

Best investment I ever made was my set of custom earplugs. I'm looking into custom IEMs. I carry the plugs everywhere I go. Seriously worth the $160.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I forgot to mention, once when I was about 19, I was riding shotgun with the window open and a guy in the back seat pulled out a freakin pistol (unbeknownst to me) and fired it out my window. The gun was probably 6" from my ear when it went off, a major blast to my ear drum. Ever since then my right ear produces like 10x more wax than my left. Sorry I know that's gross but I find it interesting. My hearing was damaged early on, yet I still hear everything, except with a high pitched frequency included, that reminds me of radio waves they are so high. Pol no I haven't checked into them, at this point what's the use? Damage is done, I can live with it no problem. I still hear every little thing.
I'm doing OK Joe, you must use hearing protection I assume?
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hey Larry, these days I use in ear monitors sometimes, but even when i was young I would always prefer to play the drums with head phones on. I didn't do it for hearing protection either. The phones were not even plugged into anything I just liked the way the drums sounded better. Having headphones on my ears seem to give them more bottom end. I still do the same thing to this day. So I guess I was protecting my ears but I wasen't doing it for that reason.

Trust me though I have been blown up about 10 times in my career via wedges that some idiot monitor guy took my head off. But my rep has preceded me because nothing much in life makes me that mad. Being hit with a wedge at full blast out of the blue just sets me off. No seriously i will kill you!! I will hit someone for sure when that happens. So it has not happened in quite sometime. lol
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I forgot to mention, once ..... a guy in the back seat pulled out a freakin pistol (unbeknownst to me) and fired it out my window. The gun was probably 6" from my ear when it went off, a major blast to my ear drum.
This, more than a lifetime of drumming, might have done "most" of your hearing damage. Yeah, my ears ring too.
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
I forgot to mention, once when I was about 19, I was riding shotgun with the window open and a guy in the back seat pulled out a freakin pistol (unbeknownst to me) and fired it out my window. The gun was probably 6" from my ear when it went off, a major blast to my ear drum. Ever since then my right ear produces like 10x more wax than my left. Sorry I know that's gross but I find it interesting. My hearing was damaged early on, yet I still hear everything, except with a high pitched frequency included, that reminds me of radio waves they are so high. Pol no I haven't checked into them, at this point what's the use? Damage is done, I can live with it no problem. I still hear every little thing.
I'm doing OK Joe, you must use hearing protection I assume?
Thats your major problem right there. I single instance like that can leave you with tinnitus for the rest of your life. That, added to the gradual hearing loss from playing drums with unprotected ears, is an undeniable recipe for tinnitus. Your hearing is probably fairly drastically affected, its just you don't have anything to compare it to. Hearing loss like in your case usually results in attenuation around 4000 Hz range (which is high up on the spectrum, the "radio waves" you're talking about)
 

JT1

Silver Member
Pol no I haven't checked into them, at this point what's the use? Damage is done, I can live with it no problem. I still hear every little thing.
The problem is Larry, I started wearing ear plugs because of a story I read on this forum about a drummer who is constantly on anti depressants because of tinnitus, yes you can still hear everything however it is one of those things that only gets worse, you don't want it to get so bad that you are constantly depressed because of this ringing that you can't control.

I would consider plugs mate just to spare yourself a lot of torment in the future.
 

Neil

Senior Member
I've had tinnitus for as long as I can remember, long before I played any musical instrument, it tends to get really bad when I have cold/flu etc Luckily my flat is on a very busy street with a 24hr bus stop outside so I never actually notice it these days.

Anyway, I always ear plugs at gigs/rehearsals or when I'm watching a gig, even occasionally wear them when I'm out on a weekend night, all that coversation noise can be a little loud. In short, I'm quite anal about these things now.

Does anyone else find the hum of an old CRT monitor or a CRT TV seem to amplify the noise?
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I forgot to mention, once when I was about 19, I was riding shotgun with the window open and a guy in the back seat pulled out a freakin pistol (unbeknownst to me) and fired it out my window. The gun was probably 6" from my ear when it went off, a major blast to my ear drum. Ever since then my right ear produces like 10x more wax than my left. Sorry I know that's gross but I find it interesting. My hearing was damaged early on, yet I still hear everything, except with a high pitched frequency included, that reminds me of radio waves they are so high.
Similar story pretty recently. I had a bottle rocket go off right next to my ear on July 4th. Already went to my doc about it and He wants me to see and Ear Nose and Throat specialist. I'm hearing a quiet ring most of the time, the weird thing is that high noises really hurt my ear. The timbre of my girlfriend's voice when she's speaking loudly and crash cymbals really hurt my ear.
 

BrewBillfold

Silver Member
Moderate ringing but I still have a good coverage of hearing. I notice it most when I'm in a dead room - certain studio control rooms are very dead and those freak me out because it becomes so loud.
I keep an iPod handy for situations like that, lol. I can't recall when I first had constant, really noticeable ringing, but it was a LONG time ago. I started playing in hard rock/metal bands when I was 12, and I used to go to a ton of concerts, all with no hearing protection. Even into my 20s, I was on the road, playing bass (I regularly gig on drums, bass and keyboards), and I was frequently stuck in front of a guitarist's Marshall stack . . . still no hearing protection. I didn't start wearing hearing protection until I was in my 30s. Most of the time I can tune my ringing out. But in normal environments, I can always notice it if I choose to pay attention to it. It does get better sometimes so that it's harder to notice . . . I'm not sure why, but it never seems to stay better more than a few weeks at a time. That it periodically gets better gives one hope though.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Most of the time I can tune my ringing out. But in normal environments, I can always notice it if I choose to pay attention to it.
This is my experience to a tee. That's how I deal with it, just accept it, tune it out, don't focus on it. Like there's no way I'm gonna need antidepressants. I fool myself into thinking that my hearing is so good, I'm picking up microwaves, cellphones, radio, TV, CB, military defense radar, GPS signals and every other form of electromagnetism there is ha ha.

But that gun tore me up. Funny thing is...the ringing seems perfectly balanced....the ringing is exactly the same intensity in both ears. Why wouldn't my right ear ring more?
 
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