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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hey Everyone!

New here. Thanks in advance for advice.


Quick history: I'm 20 and I've been a drummer all my life. I've played a lot of live music and have been in a few bands.

However, I've never had any problems with my ears, and I've always tried very hard to protect them by wearing hearing protection for live events, etc. I've had very unnoticeable ringing in my ears but it never bothered me.

About six months ago I was at a show and it was mixed poorly. The bass was just way too loud. I was wearing hearing protection though and didn't experience any pain.

The next morning though I had pretty unbearable symptoms of H in my ears, particularly the left. They cleared up in a day or two though and I didn't think too much of it. In fact I continued practicing and playing shows with my band for 6 months without any real issues. maybe something would sound off every now and then but I wasn't worried.

I went to another show a few weeks ago... Wearing good hearing protection again. No pain at the show. Then 5 days later I started having mild symptoms of H again. it's been on and off for the last few weeks. But my symptoms don't exactly line up perfectly with normal H symptoms. Here's what I experience:

- Loud noises don't really bother me and they don't seem to trigger it. 
- some days I have no symptoms at all.
- sometimes VERY quiet sounds sound a little off and are annoying.

My situation is very copeable but I'm questioning the wisdom and the coorelation to being at shows/live music events, as much as that breaks my heart to say.

I really don't know what my ears are telling me or what my symptoms indicate, so any help would be very appreciated.

Thank you!

Zach

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Sadears

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Reply with quote  #2 
Zach,

You're lucky it's not constant. I'm a drummer/guitar player of 20 years and it hit me full force at once. Still trying to recover. I would recommend you don't put yourself in situations that exarbates it or makes you uncomfortable, and always wear hearing protection, not even a choice not to..I would also recommend trying out the Pink Noise CD you can buy from the network, even in the event your condition doesn't worsen, it might help you to get back on track. Put it on an ipod (make sure it's a lossless audio file like wav), put it on repeat and keep it on as much as possible at a volume that's comfortable for you. It's called pink noise therapy, or the cheap version of Tinnitus retraining therapy. It works..slowly but surely. I've been doing it for over a year and I truly believe it's one of the only things that's helped me improve. Feel free to email me for questions..good luck to you.

-Adam
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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Adam,

Thanks so much for the reply and your insight. Very helpful. I'm thinking of getting an electric kit so practices will be quieter. Are there specific flat response earbuds that you usually use for TRT? or does that not matter too much?

Thanks again!
Zach
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Aplomado

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Reply with quote  #4 
Stop drumming.

Stop drumming.

STOP NOW.

Yours ears are telling you something very important.

How bad do you want it to get?

I don't shoot guns anymore.  You need to quit drumming now.
1
Rob

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Reply with quote  #5 
Zachotomy -

You aren't describing hyperacusis. 

Rob
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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Rob,

Any clue what it is that I might be experiencing? I'm super confused about my symptoms, and though I do agree that it doesn't seem 100% congruent with typical hyperacusis symptoms, I've done some research and it doesn't seem that there is really anything else that can cause sound sensitivity. Thanks for your response, I do appreciate it!

-Zach
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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #7 

Aplomado,

For the time being I have given it a break. I also need to stress that I don't recall in my life ever sitting down and practicing without good hearing protection. My plan at this point is to get an electric kit so I can play at safe levels.

Thanks!

Zach

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Rob

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Reply with quote  #8 
Zach -

I'm glad you wear hearing protection for live events.  That's smart.  You might consider being fitted for musician's earplugs by an audiologist.  They are considerably more expensive than store-bought earplugs - and well worth the money.  Etymotic Research makes fantastic musician's earplugs.  I own a pair and I'm very happy with them.  This type of earplug is much more practical for musicians because, unlike foam earplugs, which give sound a muffled quality (because they provide more protection at some frequencies than at others) good musician's earplugs evenly attenuate sound and so things are quieter, but clear.   

If you were describing hyperacusis, loud sound would be physically painful for you to hear and the symptoms would not go away in a day or so.   

Can you say a bit more about your symptoms?  I'm not clear whether you temporarily feel pain in your left ear or not, or what you mean when you say very quiet sounds can be a little off. 

Rob
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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #9 
Rob,

I do wear triple flange musicians earplugs but not custom ones. That sounds like it's worth looking into.

More detailed description of my symptoms:

The morning after the show I was at 6 months ago, loud and quiet sounds were all painful and sounded almost like they were peaking out in my ears. That went away after about 2 days.

I have since had very minor symptoms, such as certain frequencies having that slightly painful, "peaking out" sound quality to them, but very minor compared to the initial experience. They are often out of the blue and only last for an hour or so. often it seems worse or isolated in the left ear, though that isn't always the case.

Over that time I continued to practice once a week and play shows with the band, play with a worship team and never have had any pain or symptoms flare because of those events.

A few weeks ago I was at another show from a touring act, and for the past 1-2 weeks it's been kinda on and off. I didn't notice it until almost a full week after the show but I assume it may be correlated.

for the past 3-4 days I've been for the most part symptom free, I've had a couple loud sounds that were unexpected that seemed a hair painful but didn't cause symptoms to re-appear. I haven't practiced with the band for a few weeks either.

Did that clear up my situation at all?

Again, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time, feedback and insight.

Zach



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Sadears

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Posts: 62
Reply with quote  #10 
Zach,

To get back to you, if you decide to try the pink noise therapy, these are the headphones that I use that were recommended from John;

The Sennheiser PX 100-II

http://www.spectrumaudio.com/sennheiser-px100-ii-headphone-compact-foldable/?gclid=COay7ee-_sgCFYRFaQod01cEOA

They are a little pricey, and you might not think they look worth buying from the image, but I can assure you they are, in fact I wish I would have bought these at the start of my therapy. They are very comfortable, fold up easily and come with a carrying bag, and sound great for the pink noise therapy and for music.

Also, regarding the other comment about quitting drums, I don't think you need to quit drums entirely, but perhaps take a break until your symptoms start to subside. I've been on a haitus from live music for a couple months now and I'm doing much much better than I would have been continuing to push it. He may have intended that but I thought his comment came off kind of negative..there are many people with this condition who have not improved or have been too apathetic to seek improvement. Don't let them fool you and don't let them bring you down. You can get better, I promise. You just have to stay strong. It's very hard sometimes but you have to remember the moments that you do feel better as a source of light at the end of the tunnel. 

As far as playing drums though, I would recommend wearing ear plugs AND wear muffs, the kind you can get at home depot for industrial drilling or whatever, they're like $30.00 at most. That's what I do now if I'm in a live jam and I feel much better with that. It's really about YOUR personal comfort level and preference, if you feel comfortable playing drums just with earplugs and it doesn't make your symptoms worse, then by all means continue, just be careful. But if not, that's where you should evaluate taking a break until you start to improve.

Good luck to you, I'll be checking the board if you have anymore questions..

-Adam

P.S.- I said in my last post I was a drummer/guitarist of 20 years. I mean to say 21 years, and that I'm 21 years old, ha. So we are similar in age. I've actually been playing both for almost 10 years.


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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hey Adam,

Thanks for sharing.

Fortunately my band is working on a full length album, so we spend our practice time writing, mixing, and recording these days.

And to touch on the other comment, I believe there is wisdom in taking a break, re-evaluating my hearing protection, and getting an electric kit. But thank you for your encouragement and positivity, I really appreciate it. And music is in my blood, my friend [biggrin]. I wouldn't hang it up for the world.

Currently my symptoms are for all intents and purposes gone, but I'm worried that they'll come back if I go back to live events. The thing that worries me is that I've never had discomfort or warning signs from my ears at events. It always seems to hit days after. As far as ear muffs, I do have a pair of Peltors that I started wearing over my Shure SE-215s. It does help for sure.

Thanks again,

Zach

(PS, That's pretty cool, I'm also a guitar and bass player, started playing them at about 5 years old. Do you have music out?)
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Sadears

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Reply with quote  #12 
Zach,

I definitely relate to feeling it the next day. I call it an "ear hangover", as for me even times I've had some of the worst setbacks (that were not ear damage, as I always wore earplugs after developing H), as long and as painful as they lasted, I always came back to a better state with time and therapy. I always felt like it was like a state of shock in the sense that your body and/or ears kind of go numb in the moment and it doesn't hurt so it hurts later.

But yes, I do have music up online..I actually released/am in the process of releasing my first unofficial solo album that was recorded DIY with my friend producing/recording with garageband and a usb interface. The rough mixes are posted but we're still trying to get it finalized as there's some clipping issues, but otherwise I'm very proud of it, you can listen to it here, I wrote all the songs and play all the instruments;

http://agrimmsounds.bandcamp.com/album/true

Here's the link to the punk band I was in, this specific demo I play everything as well except bass as me and the bass player were trying to find a drummer so we recorded the songs we had in hope of making it easier to recruit somebody.

http://rothschildren.bandcamp.com/

If you have any music I'd like to hear it as well!

I'm already working on my next release, which I'm calling "Project II" for now..I hope for those to be the songs that I play with the next band I'm in when the time comes for my ears. It's more of a indie/punk feel with hardcore punk influence.

-Adam


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Zachotomy

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #13 
Adam,

That makes sense. It's a little frustrating to not get warning signs in the moment, but I guess you work with what you've got. It's encouraging to hear that you're able to continue pursuing music even having developed hyperacusis though, thanks for sharing.

Dig the punk stuff. Is that you screaming? I'm actually in a metal band, so I like the edgier stuff for sure. If you wanna check it out, you can, but it is heavy [biggrin].



This is a new single that I had a heavy hand in the writing and recording, and I actually scream on it a lot too, about 85% of the vocals are mine.

I have a solo project that's just Chillstep/Dubstep. Very chill electronic, but with aggressive drops. I wanna do more of it but I've been doing a lot with the metal band as we have a full length in the works.

https://zachotomy.bandcamp.com/releases

-Zach



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Paulbe

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Posts: 176
Reply with quote  #14 
Rob, the symptoms he's describing seem similar in many ways to what I described to you some time back.  If these symptoms aren't hyperacusis, then do we have another, as-yet poorly defined pathology on our hands or do we have a variant form of hyperacusis?  I'm still struggling to find consistency in how hyperacusis is defined. 
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Rob

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Reply with quote  #15 
Paul -

Can you link to the thread where you described your symptoms?  I'd like to take another look.

Rob 
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Paulbe

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Posts: 176
Reply with quote  #16 
http://www.chat-hyperacusis.net/post/i-think-i-have-hyperacusis-im-a-musician-and-audiophile-advicehelp-needed-please-7197500?pid=1286868271

It was in this one.  I've since seen a number of similar symptom descriptions by others, and I've quizzed a few professionals in hearing and they call it hyperacusis, but it makes it sound to me like the term is being used a bit generically and their may in fact be degrees of injury...a continuum if you like where what you describe in terms of yourself (and some others here) sounds kind of "peak" hyperacusis and what myself and others describe is somewhere else within the scale. 
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Zachotomy

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Reply with quote  #17 

Paulbe,

Definitely can relate to the metallic, tinny sound that you described in front of sound. For me I hear it in the higher frequencies.

I have experienced a feeling of fullness, as well as random swells of ringing that go away after a few seconds in the past (even before I ever had symptoms of H as well). But nothing that ever really bothered me enough to annoy, much less concern me.



A quick update, I've been symptom free for about 1-2 weeks now. In that time I also have avoided practicing with the band, listening to music at louder volumes and protecting myself from louder noises. This isn't the first time I've had symptoms develop and dissipate. I would like to assume that it won't be an issue again provided that I don't subject myself to loud noises. Which of course can happen unexpectedly... but especially longer exposure.

I plan to continue with the band, playing electronic drums with hearing protection at practice, and double protection at shows, and avoiding being in the crowd in front of speakers for other bands (essentially limiting my exposure to noise). I'll keep you all posted if you're interested.

Thanks again (to the whole community) for insight, knowledge and hope. I think it definitely put me in the right mindset, especially in the the first 6-7 days of experiencing this. I feel confident I could've quickly developed phonophobia. I definitely was scared for my life.

Peace,

Zach

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Paulbe

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Reply with quote  #18 
I'd like you to keep me posted Zac, as I'm starting to consider going back to music myself, but I'm still unsure of the risks.
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Aplomado

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Posts: 711
Reply with quote  #19 
Quit the drums, quit the loud music.

You have no reason to believe it won't come back even worse than before if you don't stop abusing your ears.  You are susceptible to hyperacusis.

I recovered from a terrible bout of hyperacusis after six months of therapy (caused by a gunshot while wearing earplugs).  Then a jerk with a bagpipe parked himself near me, and I had a relapse I am trying to recover from two years later.

Would you like your life to be a living hell?  Then keep banging those drums and hoping a piece of foam will protect you.  It didn't protect me.
1
jirimenzel

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Posts: 183
Reply with quote  #20 
Zach -

If loud sounds don't bother you but ''sometimes quiet sounds do'' you may have middle ear spasms that respond to signal changes but not to the din of noise. You really want to be pretty careful with loud places with music now because subsequent exposures wrecked my tolerance of this type. And it can be quite a miserly mistress it can because it's not the loudness but the sound startle that hit me, so it took me a long time to admit to what I had.
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