my tinnitus

hi all, 66 year old drummer here in edinburgh, had tinnitus for 3 years 10 months, still struggling with it also has devastated my playing,even though i use ear preotection my T is so loud i hear it above the jets that fly over my house to land at nearby edinburgh airport, lost lots of work playing turned down offers from different bands , and my life has been turned upside down after that ONE FATAL GIG!!!! still trying to find the key to drop the noise to an acceptable level,if anyone can help or has any ideas please get in touch, my worry also is that im making T worse, even though wearing ear plugs. my hearing hasnt got any worse than it was just after i got T. but i feel T has got louder, its there as soon as i wake every morning so cant snooze and need sleeping pills at night. well thats me thanks for reading yours crawford.

18 Replies

  • Hi Crawford, yes it's a b.awful affliction. I hate it and even on better days it's like a black cloud over me. I found great support on the old forum and let's hope this new one is as good. Angela xx

  • T can sometimes 'sit' on top of any sound however loud. It's good that you are wearing ear protection but of course it may make you more aware of the T as you are reducing the level of background sounds. What ear protection are you using Crawford?

  • thanks asw21 im using custom made ear plugs with various reduction filters, sadly the biggest reduction means i cant hear the rest of the band! which is no use as i ned to hear whats happening with other instruments! i have 17,20,26 and complete blanks that give 40% reduction and use the strongest ones at 40% but totally destroys the music so im just going through the motions really ,im mostly never really aware when im playing as concentrating on arrangements of songs but i still have this idea that even though wearing plugs im making it worse though not damaging my hearing further, but T seems louder my playing was everthing to me having played for 50 years pro and semi pro now my life is completely devastated and audioligists dont seem to know and also hard to get appsointments. my T i s so loud i think its another form of ear probs thanks for your concern , cheers

  • That is a bummer. I've played bass most of my life in bands. When I first got the T I also had bad hyperacusis which made it difficult to hear if I was in tune! I'm lucky that my 20dB plugs seem to do the trick. I think sometimes it's the fear of not being able to play which makes it even worse. It just adds to the vicious cycle of stress causing worse T causing worse stress...

    Is it possible to get some really good isolating monitor headphones and take a feed of the band mix from the PA? That way you could keep most of the loud ambient sound out and hear a quieter mix suitable for your ears.

  • hi asw21, luckily i dont have hyperacusis think id def give up if i got that, a drummer with that would be useless. i think you have apoint about the fear of not playing i def get scared about playing thinking ill make a mess of it due to not hearing well but also the fear of making the T. one seems to be able to tell me if thats the case, my mate has in ear monitors for singing and another has made up his own thing with a mixer and mics so he hears a quieter mix i think ill ask him or investigate buying a pair, do you still play regularly? i used to do 12 gigs amonth now luckty if i do 12 a year! gig tomorrow 300 tickets sold and im on with 3 bands so hope it goes well getting worried already about it and my T has been loud a day after rehearsals so you start to think has the sound made it worse again same viciuos circle all the time ! keep in touch

  • HI Crawford. I am sorry to know that you are going through a difficult time at the moment with tinnitus. Although you think that it was just one gig that caused the onset of the tinnitus, I suspect that it was coming on for some time and you didn't realise it. If you are still playing the drums I'm sorry to say that your tinnitus is likely to get worse even if you wear ear protection and this is the reason: Behind each ear there is a hard piece of bone called the Mastoid bone. If external sounds and vibrations are loud enough, the pass through the mastoid bone and can reach the inner ear and cause further damage to the cochlea, which is what I believe has been happening to you.

    You need to stop playing the drums and if you listen to music through headphones I strongly advise you to stop. I also advise you to ask your GP to refer you to ENT for test on your audiotry system. If the tests show no abnormalities then you'll probably be referred to a hearing therapist for help with tinnitus management. Alot can be done but you first have to stop being around loud sounds and that means no drumming I'm afraid.

    If you sleep in a quiet room then I advise against this. consider buying a sound machine and place that by your bedside for sound enrichment. Anyone with intrusive tinnitus that sleeps in a quiet room, the tinnitus will appear to be more intrusive. The idea is to set the level of the sound enrichment slightly below the tinnitus. The tinnitus shouldn't be masked or covered up.

    Hope this helps and things improve for you.

    All the best


  • hi micheal. i have been to audiology6 times and they seem to say that its ok to wear plugs while playing, i have plugs which blank off the ear and you hear music through that bone ,ive had my hearing tested a few times since i got T.and theres no change in it but it was bad to start and sadly there doesnt seem to be much help for in edinburgh .glasgow i have been away from music for 3 months at a time but T, has never changed, i also dont think the music i play is that loud and after 50 years playing very hard to give up completely i only play occasionally now anyway used to play 12 gigs amonth now hardly do 12 a year. i have a refferral to ent privately as i get dizzy spells and have had probs with inner ear since i was 17 so will be interesting to see what he says. my T. is so loud 90% of the time but i do manage to get it quiet sometimes. thanks for your help, take care crawford

  • hi micheal, i also stopped using headphones when i got the T.and have abedside sound generator but the T. is so loud the nise from the unit would wake my wife i also have different ear plugs with 26 db reduction which im told are sfae for music , i dont play really loud stuff and hardly ever socialise at gigs now i also have hearing aids but the T is still loud thanks again crawford.

  • Hi Crawford. It is good that you are using a sound machine by your bedside. Try to keep the volume at a low level. Preferably slightly lower than your tinnitus. It shouldn't be masking your tinnitus. I appreciate what you are saying about not playing loud music anymore. However, I believe your auditory system (ears) are very sensitive to sound and you need to STOP playing them.

    Hope this helps


  • HI Crawford,

    Thanks for your message and explaining your circumstances. With all due respect to ENT doctors and other health professionals that work in ENT. They know how to treat the ear medically or surgically and are able to give advice. However, the majority of them have never experienced loud intrusive tinnitus and therefore they no nothing about this condition.

    For example: it can be very misleading when some health professionals that work in ENT, tell tinnitus patients that listening to music through headphones is fine as long as the volume is kept low. I have spoken to many people that have tinnitus on the telephone, corresponded with them by email and at Internet forums that listen to music through headphones at low volume. Many of them have found their tinnitus has become louder and more intrusive. I have also written an article about headphones and tinnitus. It is true not everyone with tinnitus will be adversely affected by headphone use but I wouldn't like to take the risk.

    This brings me back to the advice that you have been given by your Audiology department. In my opinion, when tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise, the cochlea, in the inner ear is much more sensitive to sound. If hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) is present, the risk of making your tinnitus louder and more intrusive are greater playing drums.

    I appreciate what you are saying being a musician and playing music for so many years. However, if you want your health and the tinnitus to improve, then you have to make some choices and I advise you to stop playing the drums as the ear protection, that you are wearing or any other are not going to protect you from further hearing damage.

    I am sorry to sound so sobering.

    Wishing you all the best


  • thanks michael, i only have a few gigs to do now anyway so ill stop after that, i was surprised there was no change in T. after not playing for 3 months. i dont have hyperacusis and only 2 weeks ago had hearing test which was the same result as the first one three and a half years ago, thanks very much, crawford,

  • Hi Crawford.

    When tinnitus is caused by loud noise, there is no guarantee that the tinnitus will reduce in severity. However, it will not usually get worse if a person is no longer exposed to loud noise. Hopefully, in time yours will calm down and be more tolerable. It is good that you will be stopping playing the drums soon; I know this is difficult for you to do but, I believe it is the best thing to do if you don't want the tinnitus to get worse.


  • hi michael, ive not had alot of exposure to loud music over the past 3 years 10 months and i have had days when i can busy myself with things which seem to distract the brain from the noise and my ears act like there is hardly a sound there as if i never had T.( sadly i cant put my finger on these things its always there when i wake ) sometimes this lasts all day but somedays like today it comes back just as loud for no reason , i feel i have 3 levels of T. quiet ,loud and excrutiating, i am trying to figure out the secret of distracting the brain from it but its so loud! i am waiting on an app, for c.b.t. to see if that will help, i never had any probs with my hearing ove rhte years and never had any signs of T. till that one gig thanks very much, crawford

  • HI Crawford. IN 2008 my tinnitus increased to very severe levels. Cut a long story short. My tinnitus now varies considerably. From complete silence, to mild, moderate, severe and very severe.

    I was prescribed Clonazepam. It is sometimes given to people with severe tinnitus. However, it can be addictive with unpleasant side effects if take often, so I only take it when my tinnitus is severe and usually just for a day or two.

    I was issued with white noise generators from ENT and use them whenever my tinnitus is intrusive.

    I have habituated to my tinnitus and just accept that's the way things are.

    It did take 4 years to habituate for the 2nd time in the 20 years that I've had tinnitus but I'm at a good place now and content for the moment and hope this continues.

    Hope you can get the help that you need.


  • hi michael, i havent been offered any drugs to help with T. but i do take sleeping pills your T, sounds very like mine with the varying levels and i too have white noise on my hearing aids it will be interesting to see what the e.n.t specialist says i know ill be devastated at not playing even though ove rhte p[ast years ive played maybe about 12 to 15 gigs its been my life and cant help feel a sense of betrayal by the thing that always got me by thanks very much for all your messages .crawford

  • Hi Crawford. I hear what you're saying and I have real empathy and understanding for your situation regarding playing the drums. It is part of your life etc.

    When you put that question to your ENT Dr don't be surprised if s/he tells you: "It's no problem as long as it's not too loud" "just wear noise reducing earplugs ".

    As I said these people know all about the anatomy of the ear but they know nothing about tinnitus.

    I hope things work out for you.


  • hi michael, thanks, im beginning to wonder if they know anything at all as on my early visits to E.N.T. EDINBURGH i was told that white noise was unacceptable and not to use it, then 2 years later they said" were getting great results with white noise"???????????????? so i hear what your saying its a terrible curse though T. lets hope someone finds a cure soon as there will be many more cases due to headphones and ear phones thanks for all your messages and time please keep in touch ,crawford

  • Hello Michael, and welcome back to the forum.

    I've sent you a message, please can you let me know when you've read it?



You may also like...