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Ringing in ears and sensitivity to sound?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lird12, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. lird12


    Mar 14, 2012
    Sacramento, CA
    After practicing pretty loud last Sunday, my ears have been ringing and I have a sensitivity to loud sounds. When someone is talking it sometimes get distorted and painful. I am pretty scared that I will always have this. Anyone have any similar experiences and recovered? Thanks!
  2. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    Always, and let me stress this ALWAYS wear earplugs when rehearsing...

    Advice would be: go to a 'audio' doctor (I don't know the word in English) and have your ears checked. Also, let your ears rest (stay in silent rooms, don't listen to music at all, try avoiding television, etc etc).
  3. lird12


    Mar 14, 2012
    Sacramento, CA
    That is what I am doing+ eating extremely healthy+ alot of water! Thank you for your advice, I am taking this very seriously and will protect my ears from now on.
  4. Wrong forum man.
  5. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    You need to go to an audiologist. They'll do an audiometry to see how much hearing loss you have up 'till now. Constant ringing in the ears is called tinnitus. There is no cure for it. I'm trying acupuncture, which in some cases has helped, but I have only heard of one person that tried it and it worked. Sensitivity usually comes along with tinnitus, I've got both.
    Since you are going to an audiologist get some molded earplugs. They will make a mold of your ears and send it to a company which makes these earplugs. They come with a pair of filters, they can -9db, -15db, -25db.

    IMPORTANT: don't go into a totally quiet or silent room, by doing so your brain will focus on the ringing. Try not to focus on the ringing, have some ambient background sounds, like a cascade, or focus on other sounds around you. Even soft music.

    Once you know by fact that you have tinnitus, don't stress about it, that won't help. Just take care of yourself and never leave your house without the molded earplugs. You might want to use them in some loud movie theaters as well. Just think that it can get much much worse if you are not careful.

    I'm not a doctor, I'm speaking on my own experience. I've also met many fellow musicians with this problem. The molded earplugs have saved my career.
  6. Mister_argentum


    Aug 30, 2011
    Go to the audiologist, chances are you had an acoustic trauma. Go see a professional and stay away from noise (from cinema to rehearsals) for a couple of months.

    Take an audio test to measure your loss and discuss with the doctor about your situation.
  7. I never had the sensitivity bit but the ringing is there 24/7. I got with the earplug programme just in time for the ringing to not be distracting.

    It wasn't as if we were all that loud either, only a 50W Marshall stack and 250W bass amp. Earplugs are not optional.
  8. Bass Unique

    Bass Unique

    Nov 3, 2011
    A numb er of things could be going on here (I run training courses for this subject).

    You could have tinnitus being brought on by high levels of noise. As you have indicated this has occurred following a particularly loud rehearsal, this is possibly the cause of the ringing.

    Over sensitivity is called Hyperacusis which effectively lowers your pain and anxiety threshold. when combined with some hearing loss and tinnitus, thisoften limits your effective dynamic range for sounds, making soft ones hard to hear and loud ones painful. This is also common in old age and I dont think we have had your age to take that in to account.

    However, I am concerned with the distortion. In order to cause distortion of the sounds you hear, you have either physically damaged your ear drum or connecting bones as killing off the hair cells in the Cochlea is unlikely to cause this under typical noise induced hearing loss.

    You need to see a specialist to check out if you have any typanic damage which can be visually inspected and also there is a machine which monitors the acoustic reflection within the ear to detect abnormalities.

    I had the distortion but I associated it with having the flu about 2 years ago. the ringing was not loud but slight and as the distortion was on top of the pure bass sounds I am producing, so not strictly speaking, "Tinnitus". this only refers to the noises created inside the sufferers head.

    I ended up having a thorough checkout at the ENT department of the hospital and eventually they gave me an MRI scan in case this was caused by an "Acoustic Neuroma" which is a tumour which sometimes forms on the auditory nerve and causes distorted signals to the brain. I was thankfully clear and generally over the last year things have improved but not gone away.

    So, it is likely that this is an effect of not protecting yourself when playing too loudly and some of the effect may diminish with time. you also may be suffering from and ear infection which would explain your sensitivity to sounds and the distortion. this may pass so don't despair until you have been checked out completely and all possible causes investigated.

    And yes, use ear plugs - use musicians ones if you need a lower level of protection as many industrial types only offer a small amount of protection at low frequencies (less than 10 dB). the musicians ones offer a flatter response allowing you to hear the music more easily - they start at about £10 a pair and are usually washable 50 times. Moulded plugs are usually £100+.

    Hope this helps.
  9. Take care, man. See a doctor asap.

    - Jimmy Rage
  10. And stay out of the practice room for some time. Can't stress this enough. If you have a music related injury, give it time to heal and when you go back, you will be problem free.

    - Reggae Mangle
  11. lird12


    Mar 14, 2012
    Sacramento, CA
    Thank you for the comments. I am 21 years old. Even playing my bass unplugged kind of irritates my ears (i play aggressively). Mostly what is bothering me is the sensitivity to sound. The only time I experienced distortion was when the TV was angled weird and seemed staticy. It's mainly just when people start talking louder then usual, my ears will feel sensitive to it.
  12. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If "it wasn't that loud", you had already damaged your hearing. If your ears ring all the time, you have permanent damage, but you can kind of "listen through" it, with practice. Long-term exposure is the key, especially if it's a narrow frequency range- this would cause a "notch" in the hearing sensitivity. My notch is in the 4KHz area but, because I'm often using RTA/equalizers and doing critical listening, I can EQ a system by ear and come pretty close to flat & smooth.

    It's different for everyone, though.
  13. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    It's possible that you damaged your ears, but it's also possible that you have a buildup of wax. I had noticed a big difference in frequency response and sensitivity of my left ear and not long after, I got a solicitation in the mail for a hearing exam. When I went in, the visual inspection showed the left ear was almost completely closed off by wax. I flushed both over the next few days and it's now about the same as my right. If you have wax that's in contact with your ear drum, it will make noise and cause sensitivity issues.

    You need to give your ears a break. Avoid ALL loud sounds and wear ear plugs for a few days to let them rest before you go in for any testing. Flush them, too. If you use cotton swabs to clean your ears, this can be the result of that, too.
  14. I've had the distortion type of thing, where every sound was accompanied by a kind of harmonic or ring-modulation effect. It was the result of fluid in the works (clearly, I'm not a doctor). The doc put me on a course of treatment and it went away. Maybe you have a combination of things happening... fluid causing things to sound weird and tinnitus developing into constant ringing?
  15. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It can't be said better than this.

    I used to get crap for always wearing them from band members. Jerks.
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Definitely sounds like tinnitus and as kcbass mentioned, there is no cure. This is usually but not always caused by exposure to loud noises and loud music. Its obvious that your band was playing much too loud. One of my best friends who is also one of the best musicians I have ever met had to stop playing because he damaged his hearing and now suffers from tinnitus. He occasionally plays his acoustic guitar but can't play in a band or even go to a concert. The lesson to everybody should be TURN DOWN!
  17. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I'm 39
    I always listened to music very loud
    I don't mean painfully loud, right? but I can't even exactly remember when it was I first listened to Abbey Road vinyl from
    the Beatles, comin' out of my father's compact turntable.
    Then came my mother with Frank Sinatra, Santana, Genesis, Queen.
    They never actually let those records to me, but they were listening to them, right? They were much younger than I am, back in those days...
    I was the very first male heir of an Italian style very large family, so even if I missed really anything, everybody in the two parents families tried and found the thing I wanted more: music!
    So really early I had my own hifi, portable radio cassette recorders of almost every shape and those dangerous...
    I spent my 10-to-20 years with earphones consistently in my ears... and I mean from early in the morning, thru walkings and hangin' outs, to the night, when I would eventually fall asleep to the sound of, say, Ride the Lightning or Screamin' for Vengeance still in my ears.
    Then came the cars (and car stereos and - I love basses - subwoofers) and bass guitars so after years of listening and collecting records (back in those days, 20-or some-years ago, they already were 600+) I entered rehersals to sing and play in bands, and together go see our heroes live... More volume!
    Then I attended my call of duty, an AeroForce rifleman, with training and testing and my then officers askin' me whyever I was wearing moulded earplugs whenever shooting.

    go find an audiological center to inspect your ears and have you a pair of moulded sylicon earplugs.
    My beloving talented younger brother taught me to play the bass, and he wore them for the first... when you're accustomed to deep lowend, guitars artificial harmonics and splashes/crashes cymbals are enemies.

    You're too young to fall under Hyperacusis my friend:eyebrow:

  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
  19. MrPierre


    Oct 22, 2012
    I have develloped tinnitus over the year and it is now fairly agressive. Sometime it keep me from sleeping. Get those earplugs Kscbass mentionned. Those thing rock. It like someone took down the volume button of life, without touching the EQ.

    For the pain and the distortion in uour ears, get that checked by a doctor. Ears don't always heal by themself.
  20. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    You are apparently experiencing tinnitus and hyperacusis.

    Tinnitus is the ringing in your ears caused by exposure to high audio levels. The exposure is what you might call "short time accumulative" By that I mean that you can only endure high sound pressure levels for a short period of time without damage to your hearing. The higher the spl, the shorter time you should be exposed to it.

    Hyperacusis may be brought on by exposure to high spl, a blow to the head or other conditions that the medical community seem to have differing opinions on. I have it and experience it as extreme sensitivity to common sound, especially high frequency sounds such as the clinking of silverware or a plate, small children yelling, sirens, etc. It can be very painful.

    You must protect your hearing. It is one of the most important things you possess, as a musician, and once it is damaged there is no way to really get it back.

    The tinnitus may subside after a period of time if you avoid exposure to damaging spl's. My hyperacusis has never gotten better, I hope yours does.