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cactus

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Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi all,

I'm currently in the process of desensitizing my hyperacusis with pink noise and sound exposure. It's been a slow process but I've been making some improvements and getting closer and closer again to normal. I am working with an audiologist who periodically tests my LDL's and who gives general advise regarding hyperacusis, but who does not have the in-depth knowledge that some of you on this message board have. I have a few specific questions  that hopefully the veterans can answer:

I still have trouble primarily with high frequencies, sound distortion and impact sounds. My questions are as follows:

1. Is it correct that high frequencies are usually the last to improve when desensitizing? I believe I read this somewhere, but not sure.
2. If I want to desensitize high frequencies, is it essential that my pink noise also contains those specific frequencies? Should I make a gradual switch to white noise?
3. Would pink noise be sufficient to also desensitize to impact sounds, or do I need to train with impact sounds specifically? 
4. How essential is sound enrichment at night in making a recovery?
5. How far should I 'push' myself wrt sound exposure / pink noise in order to make optimal improvement?
6. How can I best reduce by 'hypervigilance' to sound, which I still have, and how important is this for improvement? it is difficult for me to find a balance between not focusing on my ears too much, while at the same time remaining focused on a structured improvement.
7. To which extent can I expect the 'distorted', 'metallic', 'glassy' character of sound to improve? Note that my hyperacusis was caused by noise exposure and I have a very mild noise induced hearing loss as a result.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

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saab1216

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Posts: 400
Reply with quote  #2 
Cactus..Being that I can relate entirely to your question....I will answer only things that pertain(ed) to me. I too, used a course of action with sound, by means of sound gens....headphones with my own selections of sounds.I experienced a great deal of limitation in high frequencies as well.
1) With me..high frequency sounds were very last to deal with.
2) An excellent question. I too asked my audiologist if the sound frequencies in my sound gens were high enough to make progress. She warranted that the equipment she had was not engineered for higher frequencies. So, I used my own therapies of sound with recordings of bird sounds ,on YouTube.
3) Impact sounds went away when hyperacusis improved. I couldn't implement any kind of therapy for that but..I often banged a hammer on my wooden work bench just to acclimate more. It usually caused tempor tympani muscle pain and contraction. In time..the pain seceded.
4)To me,nightly sound enrichment was essential in recovery to tinnitus and general mental well being. Keeping yourself relaxed with a familiar sound will produce benefits.
5) I pushed myself as far as possible without doing the unimaginable like seeing a loud concert .
6)remaining calm around situations and becoming familiar with surroundings will help with hypervigilence. Long walks..hot baths..relaxation...rest.
7)Yes...glassy effect...ears feeling like metal plates..in tune with lip smacking ..."s" sounds...bells...squeaks..floor boards...etc. I Had it all. I just kept using frequencies of sound to acclimate with. I even bought a bicycle bell to ring .
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EDogg

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Posts: 174
Reply with quote  #3 
I just want to say, Cactus, thank you for the excellent questions that you raised!

And Saab thank you, once again, for sticking around to share your invaluable experience and advice with us!
Interesting idea re using YouTube with headphones for sound therapy. Did you also use regular sound generators as well? I may just try that approach as my SGs, even at low frequencies, are irritating my auditory system. I tend to do best around nature sounds.

Best,
EDogg
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anniekin

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Posts: 105
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi, Cactus, EDogg and saab1216,
Interesting discussion. I have a pretty bad, but getting better, case of noise injury induced H. I used sound generators during the day for over 2 years, fans at night, and try to keep regular sound exposure around the house with radio, TV, music etc. I am getting very gradually better despite having quit using the sound generators. They didn't bother my ears, I just lost motivation and doubted they were what was helping after 2.5 years of diligent use. I do not sense that my progress has slowed since I stopped using them.

I guess I am unusual for a noise injury person in that H does not make high pitches  bother me any more than other loud sounds. For me the worst sounds are lower, like airplane or droning machinery type noises, tire noise, and large rooms with people talking. All medium to lower pitches. My mild hearing loss is in the middle frequencies. The only thing I have noticed about high pitches is that from the day of my noise injury on, I have heard weird distortions of sound when listening to certain high pitched intense instruments like fiddles and flutes. Notes that split apart with an overtone so that it sounds like someone is whistling along with the music. This does not happen at all with the lower frequencies. I remember the day early after my injury when my husband was whistling in the kitchen, and it sounded like a strange tropical bird, I almost couldn't even identify that I was hearing a person whistling. It is weird, for sure, but it does not sound louder to me than other noises. It just makes me re-realize that my ears are broken.

Anyway, my current approach is not based on anybody's "method" or any prescription from an audiologist, but my common sense view has become that I should find what I am most willing to hear at the loudest volume that is safe and tolerable, and practice stretching my tolerance for volume using those sounds. For me that sound is music that I love. I am willing to stretch my tolerances with volume when listening to music-- especially if the volume is within my control--in a way that I am not willing to do with everyday unpleasant sounds like traffic, or crashing carts in the grocery store, etc. (I do some stretching out of my comfort zone for those everyday sounds too, but not for long.) 

Maybe for someone else the sound they love enough to hear loudly is something like a waterfall or the ocean, both of those can be quite loud in real life, but if you love those things enough, your focus shifts from the volume of it to your love of it, I guess. This is hardly a revolutionary idea, but I thought I'd pass along what I have figured out in my 3 years of H management. 

Love heals, they say, I guess this is an instance of that principle! 

What I wonder is, with the idea of desensitizing, if I get really good at hearing louder music will that really make any difference in my ability to tolerate the loudness  of obnoxious sounds that nobody likes? (And don't tell me I have misophonia. NOBODY likes listening to the garbage truck.) Again, common sense. I don't have the answer. 

Annie
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cactus

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Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #5 

Hi saab1216,

Thanks for your detailed reply, this is very useful and I believe you have given me more information than my audiologist could ever give me. I feel like I'm on the right track by using pink noise that has the entire frequency spectrum, and by purposefully engaging in impact sounds (I clank dishes as they were very bothersome in the beginning but I want to get used to them again). 

The sound enrichment at night is difficult for me, I've tried various sounds but they all seemed to aggravate my ears and make me subconsciously clench my jaw (perhaps due in part to TTTS, and in part to a subconscious reflex I've developed were I clench my jaw when I hear noise), giving me more facial pain, hypeacusis and tinnitus when I wake up. I now sleep in relative silence, save for some minor sounds around the house. (e.g. pets moving around, breathing of my partner). Would it be sufficient as long as I am not in complete silence, or is there any other sound I could try?

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saab1216

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Posts: 400
Reply with quote  #6 


Years back,there was a sound engineer with hyperacusis on this site, who put this together.He removed the offensive shrills and percussive annoyances.I took the time to upload it on my channel.I used it for sleeping for years. I hope it benefits you as well.
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