Will this be permanent?

Hey guys, here's my story.

I'm a saxophone player, and have been for the last 9 years. Last On Sunday evening (19/3) I attended a band rehearsal that was in a much smaller room than I was used to with a band that played much louder music than I'm used to. The rehearsal went on for 4 hours, and due to the confinements of the room the sound produced by the band was extremely loud and concentrated. I had no earplugs with me, as I've never needed them before and never experienced any problem without them, and went home. It was only when I got into my house that I found both my ears ringing very loudly, with my right ear particularly muffled and ringing louder than the other.

I plugged my right ear that night with cotton wool and olive oil at the advice of my dad, because it was louder. When I woke up, I found it to be clear of the noise but lacking in volume, but my left ear was still buzzing. Based on how successful the wool/oil treatment seemed to be on my right ear, I tried it for the next day in the left, but it didn't do anything. It's now 8 days removed from the rehearsal and the buzzing hasn't stopped.

I went to the doctor on Thursday last week who examined my ears and said they were blocked up, and she gave me a steroid called fluticasone furoate to be taken nasally. When I asked her if it might be tinnitus she said to come back in a month if the spray hasn't done anything.

As much as I'd like to trust my gp, I've been taking the spray for a few days without any effect. After doing a bit of google I went out and bought NAC (N-Acetyl Cisteine) tablets which are supposed to help with cell protection? I don't really know but I figured anything that helps is a plus.

As a student in Uni who studies music and relies quite heavily on music as a means of getting on, I am very worried. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't very down over the last few days plagued with the thoughts that I might have done some permanent damage to my hearing. I'm not looking for anyone to give me a definite answer, but what can I expect? Might this go away?

5 Replies

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  • Hi aaron,

    It has a chance in going and you can try steam inhalation or sudafed also to help unblock your ears.

    As you are just starting out with your carear I would make sure you get a good set of musision earplugs to protect your ear and try keep away from extra loud sound as even with ears plugged the sound can go through your mastoid bone behind your ear.

    See how you go as could be down to a virus or allergy blocking your tubes or wax.. but for protection keep plugs handy...lots of love glynis

  • Thanks Glynis. I hope the cause is something less worrying, but at the same time I feel that because I was exposed to loud music for hours that it's acoustic trauma. I'm only 22, so I guess I have age on my side, but I rely on music a lot.

  • Hi Aarron,

    I agree with Glynis' advice and suggest you follow it. I advise you to be careful of loud sounds in future and suggest wearing noise reducing earplugs when playing in your band. I have written an article on tinnitus that you might find helpful. It covers most aspects of the condition. From early onset, to treatment and coping methods. It is based on my personal experience with tinnitus over many years, and also helping people with it. I feel your tinnitus will calm down so try not to worry.

    If you would like to read my article please send me a private message with your email address.

    All the best

    Michael

  • hi aaron. after playing for 50 years pro and semi pro i got T after 1 gig 4 years ago, like you never used or needed ear plugs but sadly after that 1 gig i woke up next morning witha very loud whistling in my ear i went to doc,but no luck anywhere and was told to ok to play with ear plugs prof plugs with values of 26db reduction and even blanks that only allow sound through the mastiod bone. ive been told by all the audiologists that wearing plugs to play is safe but other people have said not safe.stop. my playing has been devastated and my mental state is not good as social events have been stopped too and anything that involves loudish music, now i have an extreme fear of playing, worrying even a light gig will make the T worse! my life has been turned upside down as music was a very big part of my life , i used to play 3 or 4 gigs a week,mow maybe 1 every 6 weeks maybe longer! you might be lucky and it will get quieter but sadly it will never stop and all the medication you try does nothing, hope yur E.N.T. at your local hospital is better than ours in edinburgh as i waited 6 months to even get seen!!!! hang in there it takes time, alot of it!!!!!!!!!!! cheers crawford

  • Hi Aaron

    It's perfectly possible that your tinnitus is temporary, particularly if there's a physical cause (ears being blocked) and the noise exposure was a one-off.

    I would strongly recommend you protect your hearing in future though - damage builds up over repeated exposure to loud noise, and you want to prevent that. Our sister site Plug'em has some good advice: plugem.co.uk

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