Speak up ! It’s not you it’s me….

I have Tinnitus. I’ve had it now for probably a decade to varying degrees but this spring it has been worse. It’s always bad when pollen counts rise, I don’t know why it just is. What is Tinnitus? Here is a site with all the info you could want on it.

The quick version? It is a constant ringing in the ears due to damage done to the auditory nerve which connects the inner ear to the brain. Obviously you get this from loud noise. In my teens and 20’s, back in the hazy days of the late 80’s early 90’s I went to a lot of concerts, parties my ass off, had a blast and did IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO MY EAR.

I’m begging you to stop now. “Stop what dude?” Stop damaging your ears. Ear buds, car stereos, concerts (once covid clears). I am the future for you and let me tell you something it’s horrible when it’s bad. Now it’s not bad everyday but the days it is? I can’t think clearly, I can’t hear everything, it is depressing. Knowing your damaged sucks, knowing you can’t repair the damage is depressing, knowing you caused the damage is heart breaking, knowing you could have prevented it is soul crushing.

At times, it’s like having needles put in your ears

I know this is a “heavier” post then I usually make but I would not wish this fate on you. Is it survivable? Yes of course I am functioning well, but for the rest of my life I will have ringing in my ears and somedays it will be intense. I don’t want that for you, I don’t want you to damage yourself beyond repair and have to live with that nasty reality.

Turn the volume down, when you’re 50 (and you will be someday) you’ll reflect back on your younger life, hell you’re probably already doing that to a degree. When you do, ideally it won’t be with a ringing in your ears wondering what the hell you did and why. To end the post, I want to be clear this isn’t posted for pity, its posted as a cautionary tale, turn the volume down or you may damage your hearing and get Tinnitus.

I’d love to hear your responses but today isn’t a good day, you’ll have to speak up….

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Tinnitus sucks – Vol II. – What you can expect going forward

Do you have Tinnitus? I do and somedays it’s horrible. What is it? It is a constant ringing in your ears that varies day to day in volume but NEVER goes away. As I look around and I see more and more people with ear buds in I realize many of you are going to get very familiar with Tinnitus very soon. There is no treatment for this, you’re just going to have to live with it.

I know, you’re 20 something and you’re thinking to yourself “this is an old person problem” and to a degree you would be correct. The issue doesn’t manifest itself until you are older but the cause of the problem, damage to your ear, is likely happening now. If you use ear buds or ear phones you are at risk of damaging your ears.

Me? I went to over 100 concerts in my life, mostly in the 80’s and 90’s and listened to very loud music. Now as I type this I have a constant ringing in my ear, today it is pretty bad. You? Probably no issues at all right? So here is a preview of what will happen if you are listening to loud music or loud anything in your ear buds…

It’s to loud, no really, it is.
  • Your Late 20’s = you have to turn the volume up to hear everything clearly. It’s not just because the song is great, you can’t hear as well at lower levels.
  • Your mid 30’s = you have to focus more on what people are saying to hear them when they speak softly. Background noise interferes in your ability to hear, you have to lean in more to people to hear what they are saying.
  • Your 40’s = the ringing might have already started. Your ears will “itch” a lot. You will have a lot of wax in your ears. The things that happened in your 20’s & 30’s? Those are more pronounced now. Its real, and other people are noticing.
  • Your late 40’s & 50’s = you go to a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, throat. They tell you tinnitus has no treatment and is due to irreversible damage to your ear. You’re stuck with this condition, for the rest of your life.
  • Your 60’s = you’ll probably need a hearing aid. You won’t be able to listen to the radio in the car and drive because of the distraction of the ringing in your ears. When it’s really bad, you’ll get headaches and won’t be able to concentrate.
  • Your 70’s + = If you don’t have other health conditions that are more serious Tinnitus will begin to erode your cognitive ability in a measurable way. You’ll think less clearly as the ringing won’t go away. You may even be going deaf or there already.

I know its bleak but this is what you have to look forward to. You are choosing right now to not lower the volume. Your ears are not made to accommodate loud sustained noise, it is an unnatural state for them. It’s not too late of course you can turn the volume down and perhaps avoid some of the above. It’s likely though you’ve already done some damage to your ears and it’s not going to be fixed.

You have my empathy truly. I am in the “late 40’s & 50’s” stage of this condition. I’ve seen the doctor, I know what I am facing. Treatment? Therapy? Nope. I’m doing some holistic things, cleaning my ear wax when I can, candling, not listening to the radio when I drive, and getting as much quiet time as I can. In the end I have damage to my ears that can’t be repaired and I have a serious Tinnitus condition.

DON’T BE LIKE ME!

Check out Tinnitus Sucks Vol I here

Tinnitus Sucks – Vol. 1 – “SPEAK UP”

If you have been on my blog for a while you might remember my series called “Anxiety Sucks”. In it I gave some of my personal experiences with anxiety. I explored some of the examples of when intrusive thoughts affected me. How I got severe anxiety when buy a new (used car) etc. It was good for me to get personal so you knew there was a real person on the other side of the screen.

This new series will likely only be 5 volumes, we will see but I want to talk to you about Tinnitus. What is it? Look here

I have had tinnitus since my mid 40’s. It’s a constant ringing in my ears, it never goes away. Sometimes it’s so loud I can’t think straight, yes it can be that bad. TURN DOWN THE VOLUME. Yes, you really need to, because chances are if you are blasting tunes in your life you are damaging your ear and there is no treatment. Please turn down the volume….

“SPEAK UP” is what I screamed to Scott, I couldn’t hear him. It was 1986 we were at a deep purple show. They rocked and we had a great time. I remember being stoned off my ass, 16 years old at a concert. The 80’s were great things were just different then. I’m not going to go down memory lane to long here but even prior to this concert I had bought a Walkman. “What the hell is that” This was the precursor to the hand held device you have now. We played cassette tapes on it, and we blasted it.

I remember listening to Infidels by Bob Dylan, somewhere in the 80’s on my Walkman and I had it so loud my ears began to itch. From there until about 1995 I went to over 100 live shows, seeing classic rock bands, to metallic to Primus it was a decade (give or take) of concerts and loud music that 35 years later have resulted in me having Tinnitus.

Now when I say “SPEAK UP” it’s because I can’t hear people in normal conversation. I have had my ears checked and my inner ear is damaged due to long term volume exposure. Is it to the point I can’t function? No most of the time I can hear just fine but there is always a ringing sound. The prognosis is I will need hearing aids likely 10-15 years sooner than one would normally expect. So by the end of this decade of my life I will need them.

Even with them, the ringing doesn’t stop. It can be maddening sometimes…. Particularly with a cold and I am stuffed up… YIKES. You have to turn down the volume, please…

Now not everyone is guaranteed to get Tinnitus if they are exposed to loud music. The chances you are damaging your ears though are high, so many people use ear buds now. Sure go to concerts (when they happen again) and have a good time. Listening to your music loudly in your car? Don’t do it. You see when you are 16-25 you care very little for your future self. I am, in a sense your future. I have a good life, but I have problems too and one of them specifically is Tinnitus and my hearing situation.

SPEAK UP ! Don’t be like me, turn the volume down !

Interested in other posts about Tinnitus? Check my post out here.

Tinnitus News

Tinnitus is a condition I have had for many years now. You can see my initial blog post about the issue here. Tinnitus is manageable for me and while I live with it it’s another thing I have to contend with in my day to day war with anxiety. Millions of people have Tinnitus and there is no cure for it, only treatments.

We do have some good news though via this article

From this article: “The fear of this pandemic has ignited an emotional firestorm for millions of us who may never have had to draw on tools for coping with difficult emotions,” said Jill Meltzer, AuD, who is chair of the ATA board of directors. “As an organization, we help people daily who are struggling with tinnitus, from finding appropriate healthcare practitioners to providing easy-to-use management tools to improve concentration and sleep. In our latest publication, we’re tackling the negative emotional impact of tinnitus, which can trigger anxiety, fear, and depression. Those emotions are what many of us are now feeling so we want to make this issue available to people outside of the tinnitus community.”

A direct link to the ATA is here https://www.ata.org/

Tinnitus isn’t a horrible, it’s manageable. Like many other things at this point in time things are challenging right now. You are likely sitting at home and spending more time on your PC then you normally do. It’s also likely you are using headsets and ear buds more. Please be mindful of the volume of the sound, Tinnitus comes with time. The damage you are doing in your teens and 20’s manifest in your 40’s and 50’s.

There are some people who have tinnitus and the symptoms are so severe they cannot hear other people, only the ringing. Right now between 15-20% of people are affected by Tinnitus, it’s a staggering number. Tinnitus is a symptom of another condition, it’s usually because you have damaged a portion of your ear and that damage is not repairable. Have you ever been stuck in traffic and there is someone with a loud radio? To the point that the base is shaking their car and your car?

This person, if they continue will be deaf someday. Hearing aids help, but in the end if you damage your ear too severely and get tinnitus you will be hearing ringing in your ear for the rest of your days. TURN IT DOWN !  

A cautionary tale turn down the volume.

I have Tinnitus. If you don’t know what that is, it is a constant “ringing in the ears”. Tens of millions of people have this issue and there is no cure for it. Here is a great link that gives you some basic information on Tinnitus  

This has contributed to my anxiety a lot and has become more and more of an issue over the last 6 months for me. Tinnitus can vary day to day, some days it can be extreme, others its not present. The worse part is its not treatable. Tinnitus is usually a result of damage to the cochlea in your inner ear.

This is the part of the ear that picks up vibrations and sends signals to your brain. So, when you hear a sharp noise and you wince, your cochlea sent the message to your brain that a loud noise is happening. Tinnitus is a milder version of that loud noise, meaning it is damaged, so it is sending a signal to your brain constantly, thus the ringing.

I live with this condition but some days it is very hard for me. I have no one to blame but myself. When I was younger I went to many concerts (over 100), ya I can tell people I saw Ozzy & Metallica in 1987, or Van Halen in 1991, or numerous Grateful dead concerts… but at what price? I listened to loud music my whole life.

Now as I approach 50 I am dealing with Tinnitus. The world will not end, I will survive this but there are days when it really REALLY sucks. I am already dealing with anxiety issues, but this just makes it worse. There is no treatment, there is no cure this is something I must live with because I was zealous when I was younger. I enjoyed the concerts, I have a lot of awesome memories from that time in my life but there was a price to be paid for the fun, and now I am paying it.

Please, take care of your ears. I see so many younger people walking around with ear buds in. You are just asking for trouble, Tinnitus sucks. Don’t be stupid like I was, your ears are not meant to hear constant loud noises, give them a break and turn down the volume!