Tinnitus- My Hell

March 16, 2009

I have been quiet about this over the last few weeks- partly because of the embarrassment and partly because of exhaustion.

It is time I said it though and the fact that I have truly fucked up my ears between having an ear infection/virus and going to one gig too many without having proper protection for my ears.

I now have tinnitus and it has had such a devastating effect on my life over the last month that it really is no longer a life I lead but an existence.

My life is filled with a high pitch ringing that is insistent and unending.
The pain and pressure on the ears from the virus magnifies everything.
I am unable to sleep.
I have no appetite and have to force myself to eat.
I cannot concentrate.

I have put money before my health over the last few months and if I had ordered the musician plugs I had promised myself for Christmas and had gone to the doctor straight away when I wasn’t feeling well then I would not be in this state.  As always, I looked after everybody else first and only myself when forced to.  Well I am certainly forced to now and  I have been to the specialist and will be getting tests to determine a few things but ultimately, from what I have read, there is not much that can be done.

To say that this is life changing would be to minimalise the extent that it has changed my life over the last month- this is devastating and has changed my whole existence.   My life now centers around forcing myself to work and running home to bed to try to get some peace with music on.  I still have to mind the boys and this has also had an effect on them since their dad is no longer a playful man but somebody who is a shadow of himself.  I have been unable to meet with friends, go to the cinema or even go out at all since the exhaustion and sound is so encompassing.

I am unable to sleep even with soft sounds or white noise playing in the background with the tinnitus cutting above those sounds and still noticeable- even with sleeping tablets I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

I cannot underestimate how important it is to wear ear plugs when going to a gig or nightclub- you might think that it is not that loud and make the same mistake as me.  You can find the foam ones at chemists and for the few minutes it will take you on the way to the venue it is worth every minute for your sanity.

You really need to watch this and make the effort to protect your ears– nobody else is going to so make sure you do!

Tinnitus- Can You Hear That?

I will not say I will be stopping this blog as the only thing keeping me sane is listening to music, but it will definitely be slowing down since my concentration is non existent most nights.  This post is going to be a sticky on the front for everybody to see as a permanent reminder.



  1. Tinnitus bites the big one all right. I found this message board is pretty worthwhile…


    Also I joined the ATA…


    They do good work and they support research.

    You might look into tinnitus retraining therapy. You can do it in a formal way with a clinician, or less formally as a self-help endeavor…

    Look for this book: Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Implementing the Neurophysiological Model

    Good luck.


    • I am female, 64 living in the UK. I have had screeching in my ear since January – it does not stop for one moment – thank goodness I am at least able to sleep. I have had an MRI scan which showed that there is nothing wrong in my head or ears. I have lost 60% hearing in the ear which has tinnitus. The other ear feels full but hearing is ok. I am being referred for brain retraining – not quite sure what this involves – but I can understand why people consider suicide (not me). This noise is incessant and the only way I actually get a little relief is by playing scrabble on the internet – having to really concentrate – so I am here playing scrabble for hours on end!! If anybody knows of any surgical procedure which could stop this noise I would be happy to investigate – although I believe there is no help.
      Thanks for reading this – had a bit of relief whilst typing 🙂

      • Thanks for the comment Gail- hopefully the retraining will help you so that you can find some peace. Indeed nothing surgical or medical that can be done unless there is an underlying problem that can be fixed…hopefully research will continue and there will be something, someday to help quiet the sound in all of the sufferers.

      • Hi Gail and others also suffering,

        There are options for tinnitus treatment outside of conventional medicine.

        Please read about the story of my colleague Kevin Barry from Ireland:


        Who overcame tinnitus through practicing Shaolin Wahnam Qigong (Chi Kung).

        A dynamic meditation that heals through the bodies’ own innate powers of regeneration and recovery.


  2. Jeepers you poor thing! Coincidentally I just read an article today on tinnitus, and was only thinking what a distressing condition it must be, especially for a music fan.
    From what the article said, there are some types of ‘treatments’ where you can learn to focus on other noises besides the tinnitus noise – it’s probably the tinnitus retraining therapy mentioned above.
    There’s also surgery, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work.
    Good luck, I hope that you find a way of managing the condition for yourself.

    (Thanks also for the comment on my blog!)

  3. hope the noise goes away soon Tim. that sounds horrible from what you described. how many gigs did you go to per week if you dont mind me asking?

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that, Tim. That must be terrible. I had a problem with my ear for a couple of days last week, and it drove me demented — can’t imagine what it must be like for you.

  5. @Ethan- thanks for the links- the message board is full of postive stories which do help. Had come across the book but was waiting for everything else to calm down before trying it.

    @Aoife- Thanks- still have a few tests but yeah that retraining therapy looks like to be the best option. Had the hearing test this morn and that is normal at least. Not sure if it is any worse for a music fan or non-music fan but I definitely have to have the radio on a lot more now- Phantom in the evening & Lyric FM overnight.

    @Adnans- Gigs would vary so not always one a week- sometimes it could be a month apart. Some weeks could be two though. Was never right up at the very front so thought I would be safe enough further back- obviously not.

    @Nadine- Thanks:-) Looks like time will tell. Still have MRI to go then back to specialist for results. Safe to fly to the States with boys at least but definitely going to be a more subdued trip than I had planned.

  6. Jaysus Tim, was thinking your were a bit quiet alright. Ya poor old thing. I have always admired your energy and exuberance for gigs and going out and hopefully in the not too distant future you will return to your former glory. Take care.

  7. @indiecater Thanks Kevin-hopefully so. Tis a bit better now that the inner ear infection has gone away but sound is still there. Finding the energy is the tricky bit these days.

  8. Tim, so sorry to hear this. I really hope you get better soon. I’ve been putting off buying ear plugs so this has really motivated me to sort it out.
    Hope to see you feeling better soon.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about this. Must be terrible for you! I hope you can get treatment soon.

  10. @Aoife- thanks:-) Am in States at the moment & between rest and Ginkgo Biloba it is getting easier to bear- still there of course but hopefully will habituate to it easier now. Plugs definitely good idea!

    @Karolee- thanks:-) As above it is getting slightly better. No real treatment available but just another thing that I have to put up with along with my food & chemical sensitivites, migraines and sleep apnoea!

  11. Tim, I don’t know what to say, our thoughts are with you, it’s an awful thing – a wonderful guitarist I used to play with had to pretty much stop playing because of it. It really is the worst punishment for a music-lover, I really hope it attenuates decently, and you get some peace.


    • Thanks Daniel- definitely not a good thing and punishment would be damn accurate. Hopefully will settle at some stage…being in the States at the moment with miserable weather and cold not helping!

  12. Tinnitus visited me while I was in the USAF, and worked on a radar site in Alaska.

    It never go away, and so far, there is no cure.

    • Yep- know its there for life unfortunately. If you haven’t tried Ginkgo Biloba then it may give you some sort of relief- has helped distance the sound with me but some days still worse than others.

  13. It’s been a few f months – has your tinnitus subsided a bit? Or, have you just gotten used to it?

    I’ve had tinnitus for 15 or so years (I did spend time in some pretty loud clubs), and I think I’ve gotten used to it by now.

    It does get better and worse – extra noise, lack of sleep, jaw problems and really quiet rooms make it worse. You really have to be extra careful around loud noises now and the tinnitus will be worse for days if the noise is too loud.

    There are many things you can do for some help. There is NO cure – unless you have a medical problem. Everyone reacts differently to the various treatments out there. You’ll just have to do some reading and try a few things.

    Hope things are better.


    • Hey Dan-thanks for the comment. The tinnitus has subsided a bit and the days are easier but the nights are still tough going and if I happen to wake up in the middle of the night I can’t get back to sleep. Suppose that to some extent I have gotten use to it and have definitely use ear plugs anywhere I think is going to be too loud.
      The gingko biloba does help distance the sound a bit so will continue with that.

  14. That’s good news about the days – not so good for the nights.

    Mine came on gradually, so I didn’t have the shocker that you did getting used to it. I’ve gotten to the point where I can pretty much ignore the screeching – except that one ear does have some hearing loss.

    Love those foam ear plugs!

    Stay positive!


  15. I really agree with what you said about the overall tinnitus subject another tip that i would give would be to see your docter first. Check out this page for even more tips on tinnitus http://www.squidoo.com/banish-tinnitus

  16. Anyone enduring unwanted ear noise has my understanding and genuine sympathy. I too know what it is to suffer tinnitus, so I’ll throw in a couple cents worth.

    I was able to find relief by following a holistic regimen which took some persistence, but it helped me a great deal to pay more attention to what I eat and get regular exercise and relaxation.

    Granted, my tinnitus was connected with my sinus and allergy problems, not high decibel sound damage to the inner ear, so what helped me might not help you. Nevertheless, healthy diet, exercise, and stress management can only help any condition.

    • Thanks Stamon- diet does indeed make a difference and does help to a certain extent. A healthy diet won’t decrease the sound but it won’t make it any worse as happens with foods with a lot of sugar, preservatives and flavour enhancers.

  17. I too understand. I have been to many, many shows without the use of hearing protection. Alway’s tried to get floor seats, or pit. Love it. But yes, the shows have begun to inflict damage. Alway’s thought that the hissing you get when you leave a show was normal. Never knew until it was to late. Sorry to hear about your current condition.

    • Thanks Warren- sorry to hear about yours. Am sure gig people are sick of me mentioning it but the only way to get people to recognize the dangers is by constantly keeping people aware of it!

  18. I have it bad also. Look into Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, pioneered by Drs Pawel and Margaret Jasterboff. She is practcing in Maryland and he is at Duke.
    google them

  19. hi, thanks for the info. I think many people are going to benefit from reading this post. I have subscribed to your feed and look forward to hearing more next time you update.

  20. As a former tinnitus sufferer, I can personally attest to the devastating effects of tinnitus. My tinnitus began after exposure to a loud noise coupled with a nutritional deficiency. My advice is don’t listen to the “experts” and find your own solution.

  21. Tim,

    You can try to change your lifestyle, ie. playing sports, becoming more active, or even yoga can really help your tinnitus. This is how I found relief from my tinnitus. Hope this help!

  22. Great post. I especially found it useful where you share about using ear plugs to protect the ears… its very important to protect the ears to avoid further damage.. thanks, Barbara.

  23. Hi Tim,

    thanks for bringing this to my attention. Ive been shooting gigs for 18 months now – often more than 1 or 2 a week and I dont wear anything. Im going to a chemist today.

    Hope you recover in as much as possible. And, thanks again.


  24. Avoiding loud music should bring the tinnitus disorder, but for cure, you need to consult a doctor. Thanks for sharing your story

  25. Welcome to the real world motherfucker. Its shit, think yourself lucky you got a few good years before that shit kicked in. I had it since I was 4 boohoo. Good thing is it tunes out now and again, then kicks back in with a screetch so hard you want to die, again and again and again. But I’m still here Yay!

  26. Delayed response folks but thanks for all the comments.

    @Mark- good to hear you’re wearing plugs!
    @- JT- glad you’re still with us.

    For those looking for earplugs for gigs I have been recommending Juno in the UK since they have a good range and are reasonably priced. http://www.juno.co.uk/dj-equipment/hearing-protection/

    I also had a message a short while back from a band member about a laser therapy that worked for a friends tinnitus and is being performed in Germany by a Dr. Lutz Wilden. I haven’t looked into it too much but the details can be found here: http://www.dr-wilden.de/en/ and a pdf here: http://www.dr-wilden.de/pdf/dgo_en.pdf

  27. Hi there to every one, the contents existing at this
    site are really awesome for people experience, well, keep
    up the nice work fellows.

  28. hope the noise goes away soon Tim. that sounds horrible from what you described. how many gigs did you go to per week if you dont mind me asking?

  29. I’ve been suffering from Tinnitus for a few years now and I’ve recently found relief in a great Tinnitus ebook. You can check out a review of it here at http://curemytinnitusnow.com/

  30. Sorry to read this

    In the same place right now. And was actually wearing plugs, but was on an antibiotic that could cause tinnitus by itself … The audiologist said the loud noise plus the medication was my kiss of death. Severe tinnitus in both ears. Just want to say that Zoloft and Xanax have been very helpful. Along with a ton of vitamin and herbal stuff I’m taking as well. Good luck and hang in there


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