tinnitus and drumming

Hi

In the last two-three weeks I have had a ringing in my ear, the left one, but now it's so bad and constant it just feels like my entire head is ringing. It all happened when i was in teh kitchen listening to my headphones (in-ears) and the left lead got caught in a kitchen cabinet and it began ringing and burning and hasn't stopped. I doubt it will.

I was so into the drums and always worn earmuffs or earplugs and honestly took good care of my ears. I also had only been playing a year and not even half of that time on the drums and all that time with ears protected. I don't know what to do now drumming is my only passion and the doctors are useless, it's like they don't think it's a real condition (have seen 3 diff ones already)and there advice is awful. Really my worst time ever at the doctors, not one but three.

Any SUFFERERS out there who play on, and have informed advice. I know a good deal about tinnitus etc and am going to see and ENT specialist soon.

Can I play away? I don't want to make it worse...
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
yeah, I've had this crap for years. There's simply not much you can do about it but forget it's there, which is what I've done. It takes a while, but eventually you won't notice it unless you really think about it. I've kept on playing irregardless, because once the ringing doesn't stop, what else have you got to lose? As long as you play with some serious hearing protection it won't get any worse, so don't let this get in the way of you continuing playing. And, I would avoid listening to music through headphones, since the close proximity and isolation can really cause serious hearing damage.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
About four years ago, I was playing a jazz chart, prepping for an audition. I had the music up loud and was playing over it. I started to get a ringing in my ears and it became chronic. I had this problem before, most notably about 15 years ago after a Deep Purple show, where I was wearing protection. The audiologist said my hearing would come back, and it did. But it took several weeks.

I actually developed super-sensitivity from wearing plugs on the subway and the audiologist said that my over-protection is probably why I was having trouble adjusting after the Purple concert. But after the Deep Purple incident, I started really watching my hearing, which I had always done anyway. I went to no loud shows.

About a year ago, I started using Lipo-Flavinoid, which is an over the counter remedy. It's advertised on TV. Walgreen's makes a generic for about $20.00. It has really worked for me. I high dosed it, two a day with a b complex. Sometimes I still get ringing in my ears; but it's just normal, slight tinnitus, in the morning, after watching tv. I remember the first day when the Lipo-Falvinoid worked and I was in silence; it felt really great.

So watch your hearing, headphone volume down low. Use Isolation headphones like those made by Vic Firth when practicing, get a nice pair of earplugs for loud gigs, rehearsals and concerts. You can have them made for about $125.00; but the cone earplugs also work well to not mute sound, and you can get a good pair for under $30.00. Eat well, avoid excess stimulants.

PS. Doctors can sometimes be fools. My doctor told me there was nothing I could do about it. It takes patience, as musicians, fighting hearing lose is a full-time battle. Take out all the guns.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
About a year ago, I started using Lipo-Flavinoid, which is an over the counter remedy. It's advertised on TV. Walgreen's makes a generic for about $20.00. It has really worked for me. I high dosed it, two a day with a b complex. Sometimes I still get ringing in my ears; but it's just normal, slight tinnitus, in the morning, after watching tv. I remember the first day when the Lipo-Flavinoid worked and I was in silence; it felt really great.
I thought I would share something my student's mother (an audiologist) told me. She said that the patients that she had that were in the military had better hearing and less damage when they took a multi-vitamin - especially ones with extra antioxidants and magnesium.

Evidently there are "hearing pills" out on the market which have the main antioxidants (A, C, E) and magnesium. They also have NAC, an amino acid (I believe) which has been tested by the US military to protect the ears.

My student's mother does not necessarily suggest buying these hearing pills (for $$$) since you can buy the main ingredients in a pharmacy or nutrition center for less money. She suggests upping the dose (within reason) a few days before and after noise exposure. Of course all of this in in addition to hearing protection.

Ken - I have heard good things about the Lipo-Flavinoids. Just wondering what the actual brand and dosage were?

Jeff
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Ken - I have heard good things about the Lipo-Flavinoids. Just wondering what the actual brand and dosage were?

Jeff
Lipoflavonoid is the registered trademark name for a product developed to help with ear ringing due to Ménière's disease. It is really nutritional supplement, high in b vitamins. One of its ingredients, eriodictyol glycoside, is a flavinoid and an inner ear cleanser. All I can say is that it has worked for me. I know it was the product because after a few months there came a day where I just had silence like I hadn't experienced in years. It has B vitamins, which help to reduce stress, and there is magnesium, which strengthens bones. I think the inner ear is a bone. A little zinc would probably help out as well.

My doctor had said that my tinnitus could be a result of my creating tension on my inner ear like when I get up in the am and stretch, or if I were playing really loudly. There was some truth in that as well.
 
Great information Jeff, thanks for sharing.

Jack, be sure to visit an audiologist and not just your family physician. The audiologist will give you a lot more information and treatment options. Even though you have tinnitus and it seems terrible right now...it can get worse. It is still important to protect your hearing and wear earplugs whenever you play or go to a concert. The last thing you want to do is get a more severe condition of tinnitus.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
About a year ago, I started using Lipo-Flavinoid, which is an over the counter remedy. It's advertised on TV. Walgreen's makes a generic for about $20.00. It has really worked for me. I high dosed it, two a day with a b complex. Sometimes I still get ringing in my ears; but it's just normal, slight tinnitus, in the morning, after watching tv. I remember the first day when the Lipo-Falvinoid worked and I was in silence; it felt really great.
Interesting, Ken (good to see you again BTW)

When I was young I simply saw drumming and tinnitus as entwined as love and marriage ... in an ideal world, anyway :). Now I am happily in a mellow band where I sometimes have slight ringing after gigs, none at all after band practices.

If I was still playing rock I'd be wearing ear plugs for sure.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Interesting, Ken (good to see you again BTW)

When I was young I simply saw drumming and tinnitus as entwined as love and marriage ... in an ideal world, anyway :). Now I am happily in a mellow band where I sometimes have slight ringing after gigs, none at all after band practices.

If I was still playing rock I'd be wearing ear plugs for sure.
Thanks, Pol.


We were all young once. :D

When I was a kid, I would play in loud rock bars. The guy I studied with at the time was a jazz drummer and he had played with the NBC orchestra in NYC for many years. He told me I was crazy for not protecting my hearing, and in the long run, I started to listen to him. In retrospect, I would never abuse my hearing the way I did back then.

Up until a few years ago I didn't even use hearing protection when I taught. Now I put the ear plugs in as soon as the lesson begins. I use foam plugs. I don't swirl them and insert them, just put them in the ears; but it still works fine. There are always a couple of pair in the little side pocket that every pair of denim jeans has.
 
Thanks, Pol.


We were all young once. :D

When I was a kid, I would play in loud rock bars. The guy I studied with at the time was a jazz drummer and he had played with the NBC orchestra in NYC for many years. He told me I was crazy for not protecting my hearing, and in the long run, I started to listen to him. In retrospect, I would never abuse my hearing the way I did back then.

Up until a few years ago I didn't even use hearing protection when I taught. Now I put the ear plugs in as soon as the lesson begins. I use foam plugs. I don't swirl them and insert them, just put them in the ears; but it still works fine. There are always a couple of pair in the little side pocket that every pair of denim jeans has.
Good to hear you overcame this issue. Perhaps I can come through this and look at this as a dark period in my life. I am going to an ENT doc. tomorrow and I hope he can shed some light on my condition.

I may also have over-sensitised my ears to noise also, as since i was in University I always used earplugs to block out noise. I wore them on buses, in busy cafes, anywhere i was alone and reading and wanting to block out noise. I left them in a lot. They provided me with peace, and also made me dependent on the absolute quiet that now is gone. Is it gone forever? Christ I hope not, I hope it starts to fade away and get better. Unfortunately It happened as far as I know due to some trauma from the ear-bud bing yanked out of my left ear.. They were fine before i never has any issues with them. Tinnitus is a condition that seems to have overwhelming problems attached with it and even when people talk of being cured it never sounds truly convincing, which is something i am finding hard to understand

I must try the vitamin thing. My friend is a Reiki practitioner and thinks It may help alleviate the condition (symptom, whatever). I'll give it a go, expecting it to be no worse than it was before.

I must say the hardest part of all this is the understanding, or lack of, that i percieve from everyone. I was completely ignorant of this condition a few weeks ago and It amazes me how i could have been when it affects so many people, and is quite distressing.

Maybe it will go away? (have to keep hoping I have it a few weeks not two years). I hope that the lack of people online talking about how it went away after a few weeks, months, even years is that they are happy to be rid of it and want no more thought of the matter good or bad.
T
rouble is with this thing the common thing people with it and doctors say is to 'accept it' and noone gives you much hope if any of it going away or easing up. They say you'll get used to it but It seems a thousand miles away from where I am now and It just doesn't comfort me. Plus it doesn't appear to register with people how annoyed and depressed I am.

Well anyway your post gave me some hope. I need more of that!
 
yeah, I've had this crap for years. There's simply not much you can do about it but forget it's there, which is what I've done. It takes a while, but eventually you won't notice it unless you really think about it. I've kept on playing irregardless, because once the ringing doesn't stop, what else have you got to lose? As long as you play with some serious hearing protection it won't get any worse, so don't let this get in the way of you continuing playing. And, I would avoid listening to music through headphones, since the close proximity and isolation can really cause serious hearing damage.
Hi

Even If it's unrealistic shouldn't i try to be positive that it may be temporary, just for the benefit of my body and mental health? This finality is killing me. Isn't there an acute tinnitus that can dissapear after a few weeks or months and chronic that tends to be characterised as over 6 months, which is permanent in definition? Everyone seems to be suggesting tinnitus is permanent once you get it at all. It really confuses me to be honest. What about those people who get it for a few weeks, or months, and it goes away. They do exist right?!

And sorry i don't know why i have asked you like you are a specialist on the subject?! But any thoughts would be helpful.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Hi

Even If it's unrealistic shouldn't i try to be positive that it may be temporary, just for the benefit of my body and mental health? This finality is killing me. Isn't there an acute tinnitus that can dissapear after a few weeks or months and chronic that tends to be characterised as over 6 months, which is permanent in definition? Everyone seems to be suggesting tinnitus is permanent once you get it at all. It really confuses me to be honest. What about those people who get it for a few weeks, or months, and it goes away. They do exist right?!

And sorry i don't know why i have asked you like you are a specialist on the subject?! But any thoughts would be helpful.
Tinnitus is a hard condition to diagnose as it manifests itself in so many different ways and has so many different causes. Some people get it after prolonged noise exposure, some after a single instant of noise, some from no noise exposure at all. A friend of mine suffered a morse code style disturbance caused by a yeast infection. I've had very brief (seconds long) bouts every so often since childhood; i used to be left with a ring for up to 3 days after going to loud gigs without plugs. So, a prolonged bout of ringing won't always be permanent. Constant exposure to high volumes will make the chance of permanant ringing that much higher - in-ear headphones are a risk for that reason.
I'd reckon that the physical trauma caused to your ear would have something to do with it, so theres a chance that any damage caused will heal with time, and the tinnitus may come to pass.
I empathise with your feeling of frustration at the lack of recognition you're getting; it's true that many people suffer it and do learn to live with, even to the point that they've forgotten they still have it. There are treatments out there designed to improve the symptoms. If you don't feel satisfied by the treatment offered by one doctor, go to another.

Keep us updated.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Well anyway your post gave me some hope. I need more of that!
I am glad for that.

This is an ongoing battle that musicians have and someone also pointed out in another thread that classical musicians go through this as well. I used to do what you did, putting foam plugs in my ears just to get some silence in libraries, on subways etc. I would say you probably have developed over sensitivity. There is hope out there. Someone like you who has maintained health and care for his hearing is in a good position because the damage is not going to be extreme. There is no substitute for a healthy diet. A lot of problems are caused by poor diet as well.
 
I am glad for that.

This is an ongoing battle that musicians have and someone also pointed out in another thread that classical musicians go through this as well. I used to do what you did, putting foam plugs in my ears just to get some silence in libraries, on subways etc. I would say you probably have developed over sensitivity. There is hope out there. Someone like you who has maintained health and care for his hearing is in a good position because the damage is not going to be extreme. There is no substitute for a healthy diet. A lot of problems are caused by poor diet as well.
Sincerely thank you. I greatly appreciae your optomism and the next time I get angry or annoyed i'll try to think of your encouragment.

I will try to help myself from now on by taking vitamins recommended here, and to cut down on toxins and drink lots of water. I may have a chance yet. If nothing I must try to live better to lessen the symptoms. I may be seen on friday by an ENT doc. I have tried to get it sooner but queues are awful. I have def. had an opinion formed about medicine and doctors over the last while. If they can't prescribe drugs to fix it they lack much interest, and give little answers or support. Constructive negativity seems the reflex with this. And It
have seen an almost wry smile on their faces as they attempt to convey to me that nothing really can be done. I swear there is this tiny, barely perceptible grin i've seen on not one but 4 doctors now, as if to say 'well... medicine can't solve this one. NEXT!' and the severe stress of it doesn't register, say,compared to a person with a broken arm. If i went it with a mangled arm I'd be given some support. I asked the doctor today about coping strategies until i got seen by an ENT and he said 'i don't know, it's not my field. google it.' and that was it. Though google is hell for stress. Oh brother. Doc...Do you think i haven't looked up google exhaustively? It's all i've bloody done.

Anyhow thanks for giving belief that you can heal, become better, and recover to health. You have been more help to me hrough this than 4 seperate doctors and all you did was give me encouragment and hope!
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
You have been more help to me hrough this than 4 seperate doctors and all you did was give me encouragment and hope!

Are all the doctors you've seen GPs? Did one really say 'i don't know, it's not my field. google it.' ? If so, it would be worth filing a complaint. The fact is it can be a lottery seeking out a GP who's going to be sympathetic to a certain condition. As a general rule avoid older male doctors, better to see younger female. There is no immediate treatment a GP can dispense for tinnitus, but a decent one will take notice if you've become depressed or are unable to sleep because of it. If your daily life is being genuinely disrupted by the effects of tinnitus they should prescribe something.

Have you contacted the British Tinnitus Association about how to proceed? There must be stuff on a forum somewhere
 

nocTurnal

Senior Member
I thought I would share something my student's mother (an audiologist) told me. She said that the patients that she had that were in the military had better hearing and less damage when they took a multi-vitamin - especially ones with extra antioxidants and magnesium.
Jeff
Interesting, Jeff. Thanks for sharing this. I think I did hear Dr. Oz say that about magnesium on his show once now that you said that. It's hard to remember everything I watch on that show, though! So much to take in.
 

Neil

Senior Member
I have always suffered from Tinnitus even before playing an instrument, I think it started when I had a really bad ear infection around the age of 9. I've always worn earplugs when playing, also at gigs I've gone to or even sometimes on a night out when the bars are stupidly loud. In short I usually always have a set of plugs on me.

I used to live outside of London in quiet rural area and couldn't get to sleep due to my tinnitus keeping me awake. The total silence at night was really annoying! However since moving back into London with the 24hr traffic and people I can finally get to sleep.

I took this test a little while ago and despite my predictions of scoring badly. I actually did quite well.

http://www.rnid.org.uk/howwehelp/hearing_check/take_online_hearing_check/?from=/hearing-check-home-right-bott-panel/
 

Mike Armstrong

Senior Member
Scary topic man.

I have low grade Tinnitus from years of having my ears exposed to 120 decibel sirens. In the early years of ambulance work the sirens were mounted on top of the non-insulated cab where it would blast your eardrums. Even later when sirens were relocated to the grills there was no such thing as using Dave Clark headphones for hearing protection as is mandatory nowadays.

As I sit here typing in a quiet room with just low volume jazz on the radio, I can hear that slight, constant ringing always in the background. My hearing gets checked every year as part of a mandatory health program with the Fire Department and each time I get 'excellent' hearing test results. Just goes to show that you can still have great hearing but Tinnitus is a whole separate ball game unto itself that hearing test may not even detect.

I love drumming but reading over these posts I'm very worried about not just losing my hearing but more so making my Tinnitus worse. I bought good quality custom molded IEM's for this reason. Even so, how do IEM users know what a safe volume is? If your used to loud music how would you know if your continuing to damage your hearing with too loud a volume even though your 'protecting' your eardrums with IEM's?
 

Bertram

Silver Member
It's when some of the hairs in the inner ear, and either bent or broken in some way, that this ringing happens. They will never heal again, so there's no cure. In-ear headphones are generally more damaging to your ear than normal headphones. That is, when you're hearing loud music. As it won't go away, then I suggest to just get past it, and start playing again. Also, the thing is, when you're focusing on hearing other sounds than the tinnitus, you won't even notice it anymore. At start it's annoying, but it gets even more annoying later on. Probably one of the most annoying un-harmful pains...especially to a musician.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I would say that in a way, ears are a lot like eyes in that some peoples ears are stronger and more resilient and some are more sensitive and prone to being problematic. I have had loud ringing in my ears for a day or two after a loud gig or concert. I never liked putting things in my ears whether it's in-ear phones or plugs, but that's just me. After playing 30 years or so, my ears do have a constant, low ring in them. It's annoying when I try to sleep in a completely silent room. I have to turn the radio on really low to offset the ring. I used to sleep with the TV on, but the flickering light bothers me now. A bass player that I knew once would complain about his tinnitus all the time. He had it really bad. He probably got it from going to all those punk rock shows. He was going to the doctor. I never bothered. It's just goes with the territory.
 
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