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EDogg

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #1 
This is a question for those who have recovered from hyperacusis and tinnitus.

Does music sound the same to you as it did before? Does it lose the unpleasantness that invariably accompanies music, amongst other sounds, while in the thick of this challenge?

I am about to start Rob’s music protocol and am very curious to see how music will sound to me, and whether it will sound “normal” and less threatening, which is ultimately one of the goals of the treatment. I have not purposefully listened to music since my hyperacusis and tinnitus began, nearly one year ago, and I feel my brain is starved of pleasant auditory stimulation (notably music). Music was a big part of my social life and spent much of my recreational time playing and/or listening to it. As of now, the sounds of songs I used to love, or sounds of instruments I used to play, are perceived as neurologically jarring and unpleasant. They seem to invoke my fight or flight response, causing my anxiety to increase and heart race (autonomic reaction for sure). I get quickly annoyed by my brain latching on to reactive tinnitus overlaying each note. Does your brain eventually habituate to the reactive tinnitus or do you always hear it, even after recovery? It seems much more difficult to habituate to than a static tinnitus tone, but perhaps it is not. I’d love to be able to enjoy music again.

Thanks for your thoughts.

EDogg
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cactus

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Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #2 

Hi EDogg,

For me music has improved quite a lot as my hyperacusis and reactive tinnitus have improved, although it is not entirely the same as it once was. This might also have to do with the fact that I sustained a little bit of hearing loss as well in my acoustic injury. I am however getting to a point where music is enjoyable again, and I believe many of the remaining issues lie more in the realm of misophonia and phonofobia. I have to learn and accept that even though music might still sound (slightly) different at times, I can still enjoy it and that I do not need everything about my hearing to be perfect to enjoy it. After all, we all lose some of our hearing as we age and music will sound a little different to everyone anyway. 

What helped for me is to simply start buying records again, listening to them, and to explore artists which were also suffering from T&H. Many famous musicians actually have issues with their hearing. I thought to myself that if they can still continue to be successful musicians with these conditions at a professional level, I could at least enjoy music and have it as part of my life on an amateur level. It's not always easy, and sometimes I still feel that I am 'broken' or that music is forever 'tainted' because of what I have gone though, but it is important to not fall into that way of thinking and not see everything as 'black and white'.  Like an old record, your hearing can get some clicks, buzzing and static, but that doesn't make the tune any less catchy.

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gutsygirl

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Posts: 31
Reply with quote  #3 
I've had some pretty wild variations in my hearing and Hyperacusis in the last year. At times I've enjoyed music again and many times I just can't stand it, or it has to be music without any high pitches.

I used to play flute and piccolo every day. Band, Orchestra, Choir, Jazz Band, All State. I did it all every year, every day. So I know what a piccolo SHOULD sound like. And when I hear it in recordings, it never sounds the same to me anymore, and I feel sad about that because it was my second favorite hobby in life (my first being camping). I haven't picked it up in years for fear of those high pitches. Sometimes I cry because I miss playing music so much and performing, and I miss the feeling of being on stage with 100 musicians working together like a well-oiled machine, passing off a melody from one section to another, the pulsation of the music moving through my body, moving my soul. 

I've actually found some "minimalist music" by searching through Google Play Music (you could use Spotify or Pandora too) works for me. Simpler tunes, ambient music, new age. Too tired to post any of the albums tonight, but maybe I'll get around to it if people keep commenting on this thread.
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gvkk

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #4 
I'm new here as of right now, my first post. I have Hyperacusis by all definitions but the doctors won't listen to me, one ENT actually said I might be schizophrenic!

I am a music teacher and I dread doing any piano. I'm 72 this fall and am down to one student from 43. Some quit, I'm sure because of my age but I want to quit because of my hearing.

Where do I start with all of this?

Does anyone believe that stress can trigger worse symptoms?

Anyone here with PTSD? I have it over something huge. 

Anyone have allergies? I am going to an allergist on Wednesday of this week. I am either plugged up or sneezing, coughing or with post nasal drainage.

I'll now look at other posts. Just found you and it's morning hours, I also have insomnia.

gvkk

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gvkk
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bananacupcakes

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Posts: 60
Reply with quote  #5 
Music sounds different to me. It sounds tinny, higher-pitched, flat, and it has little to no bass. For higher notes, I can hear like a whistling sound above them, which further ruins the experience. Music doesn't sound rich anymore. My favorite songs sound so different, especially because I remember how good they sounded to me before this hyperacusis horror started two years ago.

I rarely listen to music because of this.
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rodmccain

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Posts: 221
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi EDogg,

I know music is very difficult still for me to hear at a moderately loud volume.  I have been using music therapy for five years now.  I have improved somewhat, but the answer to your question is... I do not enjoy music as I used too. At least I can hear it though. Problem is with this supersonic hearing I hear too much and too loud.  I really can not listen to a lot of the music I really enjoyed any more....too varied, and it sounds HARSH. Classical is no go as well. 

Give it a good try though, it does help a lot of people. 

God bless,
Kathy Mccain
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cactus

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Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #7 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananacupcakes
Music sounds different to me. It sounds tinny, higher-pitched, flat, and it has little to no bass. For higher notes, I can hear like a whistling sound above them, which further ruins the experience.

I also had this, including the whistling, but in my case also some bass frequencies seemed extremely intense, and all of the mid frequencies were missing (perhaps simply as a result of being pushed out of the mix by the intense high's and bass.)  

I get the idea that mid frequencies often desensitize first as they are present in daily life a lot. Highs and bass can be more difficult, and you need to find sound sources that produce these frequencies so that you can desensitize these frequencies as well.

I am now working with an app that can produce different colors of noise, and also has a slider to move in between them. I am using broadband pink noise with the slider one notch towards white, which gives the sound a little boost in the high frequencies (but not too much) in the hopes that I can make some more progress with those high frequencies, as I have some remaining sensitivity to those.  In addition I listen to a lot of music again, which is sounding better and better each day as I desensitize further. Once the frequencies that are bothersome recover, it is amazing what this can do to the rest of your listening experience.  

 

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etrs

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #8 
I got bad T/H the first week of March 2018, and couldn't put music on earphones no louder than a few volume points. It was bad, but since May of this year, I've improved where I was able to stand a few more points, and since late June 2018 - I can listen to music (not super loud anymore, I'm protecting my ears onward) on my ear phones without pain. Although, some loud taps in some songs make me lower the music a bit till it's over, but I'm much happier than before. I feel when I don't focus on certain tapping in real life, or in music, I can hear great. I no longer cringe at the clinking/clanking of kitchen plates, I could stand running sinks, and normal door slams. :] Also I heard one firework on July 4th this year for Independence Day in America, and I got scared at first. I backed off not too far from the noise, and my family was still lighting them - but I got used to the noise. It stopped bothering me. So I would say pray to God every day and truly believe in Him, stop hiding from normal sounds, but keep away from super loud noises. Also when it comes to listening to speaker music, I could also enjoy, but not at super loud levels. :^) Fine with me, that'll give you tinnitus.
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gvkk

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #9 
So glad to hear that I'm not alone with sounds. People don't believe that sounds of water or dishes hurt! Some days worse, any idea why???. And yes tennitus has different levels, different days.

If I'm around loud noise, all bets are off! Doing carpets today.. earplugs!!!

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gvkk
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EDogg

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks everyone for your replies! It is helpful to hear about other people’s experiences thus far.

Cactus, I really like how you put it: “Like an old record, your hearing can get some clicks, buzzing and static, but that doesn't make the tune any less catchy”. That’s so true. I’ve been listening to some of my favorite songs, at extremely low volume, and the guitar sounds a bit different, the harmonies not quite the same, hard to pick out some of the nuances with my tinnitus blasting over it.. but it’s still been enjoyable for me. I still get that tingly dopamine rush when I hear a song I love. So, I’m gonna keep at it. Hopefully, gradually and slowly, over time, I will be able to listen at more normal levels.

I think it’s a great idea to seek out and listen to musicians who have had hyperacusis, tinnitus or some auditory challenge. So, who are these artists anyway?

I know Neil Young developed H during his touring days with Sonic Youth and wrote Harvest Moon while retreated at his cabin in California, acoustically, because he couldn’t stand the noise.

Beethoven apparently describes symptoms of hyperacusis, definitely of tinnitus, before he went mostly deaf.

I know Eric Clapton has tinnitus, same with Pete Townsend, Lars Ulrich, Chris Martin, Ozzy... I’m sure there are many many more.

Who else?
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cactus

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Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #11 

Hi EDogg,

Peter Silberman from The Antlers got tinnitus and hyperacusis. His latest solo record 'Impermanence' deals with his experiences and ultimately his recovery (as far as I am aware he still has some mild sound sensitivity, but he is active in music again).

Check out: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/02/how-peter-silberman-lost-his-hearing-and-rediscove.html

I bought the record and it means a lot to me as the themes obviously really resonate with me. It's one of the first records I bought after slowly starting to listen to music again, and in a strange way its a piece of music that I would maybe never even have discovered if I had not had gotten H.

There's also the story of Chris Singleton: https://www.chrissingletonmusic.com/faqs although I have not listened to any of his music.

 

 

 

 

 

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EDogg

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #12 
Hey Cactus,

Thank you so much for sharing this information. There is something to be said for folks who suffer from life altering challenges, such as severe hyperacusis and tinnitus, and distill this experience into something that is beautiful and meaningful, to share with others. Music is so timeless; one of the many things I love about it.

I will look into both of these musicians.

Best,
EDogg
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anniekin

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Posts: 105
Reply with quote  #13 
EDogg,

I thought I'd respond to your question since loss of some music activity has been perhaps my biggest sorrow and frustration as well. Along with that,  loss of normal social activities that are loud, like eating in restaurants or going to parties or dinners with friends. Maybe my story will be a little bit encouraging to some of you anyway. 

This all happened in my early retirement years. The good news is I don't have the pressure about going to work and suffering job noise, the bad news, my whole plan for my retirement years-- music, learning, travel, social stuff-- has basically been trashed by having H.

Immediately after my sudden noise injury, which is now 3.5 years ago, I had instant (mild) tinnitus, mild hearing loss and severe hyperacusis. I perceived the sound of musical instruments differently right from the start. My mandolin and banjo sounded like toy pianos. Really bizarre. Instruments like flutes and fiddles created a whistling overtone, and still do. Fortunately, it took me only maybe 3 months before that extreme change in the tone of instruments mellowed out and things began to sound like the right instrument at again. However, the overall volume of a group of players, and of course concerts, was way beyond what I could tolerate, and I found even after a couple years of H improvement time, I still could not hear my own playing in a group, or easily distinguish other people's playing from the overall sound, something that had always come naturally to me. I still hear pitch and intervals well, just not quite as quickly/instantly as I used to, but I don't hear the finer points of tone, if I were instrument shopping it would be hard for me to hear subtle difference in tone quality, for example.

I have tried a few times to play outdoors with a small group of people, outdoors is always much much easier on my ears, but there often times is no control over how many people may join in on a small jam and inadvertently ruin the small volume situation I can tolerate or enjoy. I have not been able to get my former music friends to get together with me in smaller configurations. I don't know if this is because they are just busy or if knowing about my condition freaks them out, which I can easily imagine it would. It has been disappointing, to say the least. I have really come to realize it takes special people in this world to not just blithely abandon inconvenient scary people who are suffering.

After a long period of feeling totally despondent, I had some improvement in my H such that I could play my own instruments quietly enough to stay in practice a bit, with only a temporary increase in tinnitus. This may or may not have come about because of doing TRT sound therapy under the guidance of an audiologist. I stopped doing the sound therapy because after 2.5 years I felt I had given it enough time and I came to believe that what was more likely helping me was just the passage of time. Over 2 to 3 years I did improve to the point where I could sit in a quiet room and have a normal voice level conversation with one or two people, something that I could not do for a good year at first, I had to either avoid people or ask them to talk in library voices, which most of them were not very good at remembering to do, it became frustrating to even have to ask over and over. Socializing became this weird awkward anxiety ridden challenge instead of being nourishing.

As time went on, I found over 3 years that my motivation to practice music finally sort of gave out, in the absence of having a group I could play with. Fast forward to the last few months, and I have found 2 people who have been willing to find time to play with me, of course never with any sort of amplification. They are aware of my situation and amenable to quieting themselves if it helps, although they both happen to have loud voices and play on the louder side and can't remember to be any quieter, so mostly I try to adapt to them, thinking of it as a new form of sound therapy. The fact that I can tolerate this much volume is a major victory.

At the same time that there is good news, the sad thing is I pretty much have had to give up on doing things like classes, music camps, anything where a large number of students would be playing at once. It would be tricky for me to find new music people given my limitations. I now have no regular connection to the larger music community that I once hoped to nurture over years. My life feels very shrunken compared to how I always expected it would be. And the element of spontaneity in music has been severely curtailed, for obvious reasons. I hate having to be so rigid in what I can do with music, and socially.

I do attend a series of small concerts with my Bose active noise cancelling earbuds in. The volume of the audience talking or applauding is far more difficult for me than anything about the volume of the music. It seems odd, that seems to be common for other people with H. 

I consider the fact that I can still go to some concerts, and have anyone at all who will play music with me to be a big deal. It gives me hope. I don't know if I will ever get back to where I was before my injury, I doubt it, but I can at least have what joy and escape I do have with the music I can still keep in my life. If you love music and you believe that exposing yourself to more sound will help your ear problems, doing it through music makes total sense to me. I did not do Rob's specific protocol, I just gradually started listening to music louder over time on my own with no system other than trying to stick with high quality sound.  

For those who may be wondering, I have tried custom and non-custom musician's earplugs, and a few other newer items that claim to allow you to manage sound volume, most of which I suspect only work with people with normal hearing. No luck yet finding anything that allows me to block enough and hear enough to play music with people. There is just too much muffling from any sort of earplug device. Really the best one for me is still the Bose, because it seems to cancel out the most troublesome extra H sounds. But it also still muffles too much for "music hearing", which I treat differently from day to day ordinary hearing. I tend to think that someone will invent some sort of handy wireless earbud thing that actually works before anyone figures out how to cure H, so my focus is on that.

I have never had a setback, luckily, only brief spikes in tinnitus, so I do not deal with a whole lot of fear about that. The better my ears get, the less fear there is. I don't split hairs about whether my dislike of a certain type of loudness is misophonia or something else less "pathological", I don't find it to be at all helpful, I just keep trying to deal with everyday sound until it drives me nuts and then I put in my earbuds or get someplace quieter. I try to stick with what has become my own simple but hard won common sense about the whole dang situation.

Since we live in the same town, EDogg, I wonder if it might be good to have a (quiet) chat in person some time. I will leave it up to you to tell me if that sounds like a welcome idea. I do appreciate your contributions to this forum, I find them compassionate and intelligent.

Anniekin

 


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