Tinnitus question - advice appreciated.

Benjobobs

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Hi all,

I have had tinnitus on & off for probably 5-6 years in my right ear after a number of ear infections (swimmers ear) - I had damage to my ear drum if memory serves. Most of the time I do not notice it at all.

I have recently started playing electric guitar again & I am finding that my tinnitus is being exasperated & more noticeable after I have been playing guitar.

I am playing quietly (60-75 DB) so it is not a case of being ear damagingly loud!

I am playing a Fender Player Strat through a 5W Fender Princeton clone (w/ a reverb pedal in between). I play clean mainly on neck position. (I have also played the guitar through a Boss Katana w/ the same issues).

After doing some research I think I have an intolerance to certain frequencies - I am guessing some of the highs or mids? I have done a hearing loss exam & I have no clinical hearing loss (I am 36 & my hearing is well within what you would expect for someone my age). I should also mention when I listen to music for long periods of time I get a similar thing happen but not as pronounced.

My question(s) to you are:

a) What is most likely to be the cause (I realise that it is my ear/brain!) in my set up? is it the single coils of the Strat? The amp? or the speaker?
b) Are there any quick fixes?
c) Would a different guitar/pickup e.g. P90's / humbucker instead of 'Strat' single coils help? Would changing the amp/speaker help?

I am not wedded to my guitar or set & would just like to enjoy playing the guitar without this discomfort.

Any help/advice welcome.

Thx again.
 

JL_LI

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Tinnitus is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. High intensity sound aggravates the problem. Statin, cholesterol lowering medications, can cause or worsen it. Tinnitus may be made worse by certain frequencies but isolating them in a guitar may be impossible.

I’d try playing an acoustic only for a month to see if anything changes. If your tinnitus improves, you have decisions to make.

If your tinnitus remains unchanged, you might try mitigation strategies. CoQ-10 may help. I use Ubiquinol, a CoQ-10 variant because of its superior absorption. Gingko Biloba also seems to help. These flavonoids are more likely to help where statins reduce your natural CoQ-10.

Good luck.

Disclaimer: Guitar forums are not your best source of medical advice but three MD’s are in agreement that I’m managing my tinnitus correctly and effectively.
 

uriah1

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As the song says "it's the frequency Kenneth".

Actually I have had it in both ears for over 40 years, and you learn to live with it.
Cicadas in the fall will amplify my issue..but, it never goes away.

Wish I could help. If you think it is from pu, you could always use the
tone knobs or get a dark or hemp kind of speaker.

Wish you luck.
 

radtz

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You may want to try messing around with an eq and see if different bands make the problem worse. You could probably do that withe a phone or laptop app.

I'm not a doctor, audiologist, or or tinnitus sufferer, so I am probably your best source of advice on this. 👍
 

ruger9

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Short of going to an ENT and/or audiologist, you just learn to live with it. You basically train your brain to ignore it. I only notice it when I am someplace dead quiet (like in bed at night, or sitting alone at home with no tv or radio on). Even then, I just tell myself to ignore it. It's the "new normal". I'm sure mine was caused by too-loud bands in my youth, and even recently (until my current band lowered the volumes in our rehearsal space and switched to in-ears).

I can't stress enough how "getting used to it", IS do-able, but it's a mental thing: just like you train yourself to ignore minor aches and pains as you get older (because they are the new normal), so it goes with tinnitus.

Just my $0.02
 

StevesBoogie

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Tinnitus is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. High intensity sound aggravates the problem. Statin, cholesterol lowering medications, can cause or worsen it. Tinnitus may be made worse by certain frequencies but isolating them in a guitar may be impossible.

I’d try playing an acoustic only for a month to see if anything changes. If your tinnitus improves, you have decisions to make.

If your tinnitus remains unchanged, you might try mitigation strategies. CoQ-10 may help. I use Ubiquinol, a CoQ-10 variant because of its superior absorption. Gingko Biloba also seems to help. These flavonoids are more likely to help where statins reduce your natural CoQ-10.

Good luck.

Disclaimer: Guitar forums are not your best source of medical advice but three MD’s are in agreement that I’m managing my tinnitus correctly and effectively.
JL_LI: I apologize if I missed this but are you taking Ubiquinol specifically for tinnitus? And if you are, on a scale of 1-10, how much improvement has it had?

Just this week my tinnitus has skyrocketed, including as I type this. I can't seem to find any rhyme nor reason as to what exacerbates this, unless dry cold weather (or the related home heating increase) is doing it.
 

sudogeek

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I can be caused by medications. I am convinced my was caused by an aminoglycoside antibiotic. Aspirin, NSAIDs, and others meds can make it worse temporarily but can cause long term worsening if taken chronically. Little to be done for it except hearing aids if there is associated hearing loss. A bit of background white noise like a cracked window in a car can make it less apparent.
 

memorex

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I've had tinnitus and chronic left ear infections for 40 years. If you have tinnitus at age 36, recurrent ear infections, but no clinical hearing loss, you might want to consider whether or not you carry a chronic bacterial infection of some kind. I would be thinking something along the lines of Lyme disease, a tick bite infection. But good luck finding a doctor that will diagnose or treat this. I've been trying for 40 years. My late uncle, who was one of the best diagnostic physicians I ever met, told me 12 years ago that he thought I was carrying chronic Lyme, and I have yet to find a doctor that will investigate it. The only ones out there will only take cash, they say they can't get the insurance companies to pay for it, and they could get in trouble with the medical boards for treating it, as the CDC officially says that chronic Lyme does not exist.
 

drlucky

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My ears have been ringing like the bells of St. Mary's for at least 20 years. Even playing acoustic guitar makes it worse for me. And, I'm on statins, which don't help. Like ruger9 said, you just have to learn to tune it out. And wear ear protection when in situations that warrant it.

Good luck!
 

Benjobobs

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Thx for the replies so far. I should have said I was wondering if some way of EQing might help. Though I was able to do that on the Katana & I didn't notice any improvement - but then I was just using the on board knobs & didn't link it to the online software which is more programmable.

I intend to seek medical advise & see an audiologist if at all possible. I suppose my greatest fear is it will get worse if I continue to play guitar.

I am going to dig out my old acoustic & see if I have a similar problem. Last time I played it I have to say I didn't notice anything but I may well not have been tuned in so to speak!

I am now super aware of it so I might give it a few weeks & then try the acoustic & see how that sounds.
 

Killing Floor

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Mine is from going to shows or playing shows nearly every night for years. Likely because I was the kid with his stupid head pegged to the speakers at clubs. When I had very loud double stacks the reality is it was probably less loud on stage than it was when I was in the audience so many nights. Can't unring that bell.

Weird thing in my experience is guitar playing doesn't bother me that much and when it gets loud I plug up but the thing that really makes me ring for days is live sports. I'm all in for football games and that seems to agitate it worse than guitar playing or live music. And I remember to bring plugs when I play or see a show but I always forget them on the ride to a ball game.
 

JL_LI

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JL_LI: I apologize if I missed this but are you taking Ubiquinol specifically for tinnitus? And if you are, on a scale of 1-10, how much improvement has it had?

Just this week my tinnitus has skyrocketed, including as I type this. I can't seem to find any rhyme nor reason as to what exacerbates this, unless dry cold weather (or the related home heating increase) is doing it.
It's sad that your symptoms are getting worse. I use Ubiquinol specifically for tinnitus. It's managed quite well with the combination of Ubiquinol and Ginko Biloba. The Ginko was suggested by a neurologist more than 10 years ago. I added the Ubiquinol after trying a number of CoQ-10 preparations. It seemed more effective. I originally bought it at Whole Foods as a matter of convenience but it's far less costly from Amazon. I take 100mg with breakfast and dinner. I pasted a link below. Qunol and Jarrow are equivalent products in my experience.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ubiquino...ix=ubiquinol,aps,66&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_5_9
 

memorex

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Exposure to loud music could be a significant part of the problem, but the recurrent ear infections in one ear suggests that your ear canal in that ear is malformed, or you carry a chronic bacterial infection. I would investigate that. Maybe in UK, your medical system is more willing to investigate such things.
 

loopfinding

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Generally I find I’m more sensitive to it after moderate listening/play volume.

Maybe it’s a thing where the average person without tinnitus is inducing some, but not at a noticeable enough threshold, where we have some baseline and it’s additional?

But really more likely it might just be a perception thing. You removed the thing blocking it (the noise) and you become more aware of it. Like adjusting vision after bright light.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I don’t really think you’ll have any success homing in on frequencies. And avoiding them sounds like a recipe for hyperacusis to me.
 

Benjobobs

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Thx Memorex - it was one particular infection (I might have had it twice) that I had which if memory serves damaged the ear drum. I have luckily continued to swim over the past 5-6 yrs w/ no issues since. It is also worth noting that that ear does not 'de wax' itself very well either & I was advised that I could get it syringed (which I haven't done yet). But yes I think there is something not quite right w/ that ear which is worth a more thorough look.
 

schmee

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I thought tinnitus almost always included hearing loss? High freq loss especially. And you say no loss. Are you sure it isn't something else causing ringing in your ear? High Blood Pressure maybe? Just thinking out loud.
 

ruger9

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Generally I find I’m more sensitive to it after moderate listening/play volume.

Maybe it’s a thing where the average person without tinnitus is inducing some, but not at a noticeable enough threshold, where we have some baseline and it’s additional?
I agree with this- after band rehearsal (even tho we play at lower volume now, and use in-ears), my tinnitus is definitely louder when I get home and lay down in bed that night. And harder to ignore (I put on music, some kind of white noise, or a "sleep story" on the Calm app.)
 

DekeDog

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All you can do is all you can do. Some treatments work for some and not for others. I've had tinnitus for years, and I've been taking COQ10/ubiquinol (200 mg/day) for other reasons for years with little or no relief. I tried lipo flavonoids, too, with zero relief. Though my tinnitus is loud most of the time, I live with it and hardly notice it most of the time. I also wear hearing aids, which I hate, but just hearing better seems to lessen the effects of my tinnitus. I also get that certain higher frequencies can be like ice picks in my brain.
 

memorex

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My ears have been ringing like the bells of St. Mary's for at least 20 years. Even playing acoustic guitar makes it worse for me. And, I'm on statins, which don't help. Like ruger9 said, you just have to learn to tune it out. And wear ear protection when in situations that warrant it.

Good luck!

When you say the Bells Of Saint Mary, are you talking about the Bing Crosby song, or was that the Bells of St. Rhymney? Didn't George Harrison say he got the idea for the 12-string part of If I Needed Someone from that Byrds song. Not the worst tune to have ringing in your ear.
 

Benjobobs

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The hearing test I did at Specsavers here in the UK suggested no hearing loss - but it must be said that they are really only in the business of selling hearing aids which I don't need so I am guessing that was perhaps a more simplified test?

Yes I have consistently had slightly raised blood pressure (pre-hyer tension) - seems to be my norm though. Also issues w/ chronic anxiety which I'm sure doesn't help either!
 




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