A Musician's Tryst with Tinnitus

mark_wood

As a musician, I've always been around a lot of noise and sounds. Rehearsals, shows, studios or even most of my social gatherings for that matter, there's always music at higher than average decibel levels.

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Musician's Tryst with TinnitusEarPeace.com

Constant exposure to higher than average decibel levels leads to loud noise damage in the ears. This was unfortunately something I found out only when it was too late. Just days after my 54th birthday, both my ears started to ring. I honestly didn't know what the condition was even called. Common folk call it ringing in the ears. Because that's what happens - your ears ring. For some like me, its like a bell constantly ringing. For some others, it's a whooshing, buzzing or static like noise.

A quick visit to the audiologist told me that I had a condition called Tinnitus. The good news was that Tinnitus was a very common condition. How common? 50 Million Americans a year are affected by ringing in the ears. But, for a vast majority of those 50 Million, the ringing lasts just a few seconds at a time. And, it comes on just a handful of times a year.

For me, it stayed on for a 24/7 basis. I was in the unlucky 2-3% of Tinnitus sufferers who had the misfortune of suffering from chronic and persistent Tinnitus.

When my ears first started to ring, I must admit that I was incredibly distressed. Every single waking moment was spent on trying to figure out how to make the ringing stop. After joining a lot of support group forums, I understood that I was not alone with this feeling of helplessness and anxiety. But, it also turns out that worrying about Tinnitus is probably the worst thing you can do. Worrying causes stress and anxiety and that only makes your Tinnitus worse. It's a vicious cycle. If you have just been diagnosed with Tinnitus, you must learn to habituate to it.

Habituation is a process where you will continue to acknowledge the presence of a sound, sight or feeling, but not worry or let it dictate your conscious thoughts all the time.

To explain this better, let me give you an example. Imagine you are sitting in a very dark room with no light. Then, a lamp is turned on and off. It would be impossible for you to ignore the lamp turning on and off. But, what if a second light could be turned on and kept on. Now, even if the other lamp continues to blink on and off, you won't mind it as much as you did before.

It's the same with Tinnitus. The more you fight it, the more profound and obvious the ringing will be in your head. The more you accept it and move on with your life, it can fade away into the background. You will always hear it as long as it is there. But, it won't affect your quality of life.

This is something that took me months to understand and accept. If you have just been diagnosed with Tinnitus, I want to save you a lot of time. Stop worrying. Don't search for pills or supplements that will turn off the ringing. There are no cures. There are definitely no overnight cures.

There are a lot of things you can do to lessen the ringing or even let it resolve naturally. To begin with, clean up your diet. Eat less of salty, sugary and fatty foods. They all mess up your blood pressure and blood pressure changes greatly affect your Tinnitus. This happens because blood carries nutrients to your ears. Erratic blood pressure makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood into the tiny capillaries that lead into your ears. Instead, other vital organs like your liver, kidneys and your brain are prioritized. Without oxygen, potassium, calcium and other vital nutrients in the blood, your ears begin to malfunction. Tinnitus, vertigo and even hearing loss are all potential side effects.

Like bad food, smoking and alcohol can also make your Tinnitus quite bad. If not for alcohol, at least give up on your smokes. You will come back here to thank me because you will without a doubt experience Tinnitus relief, if you gave up just smoking.

When suffering from Tinnitus, it is also imperative that you protect your ears against loud noise. Get yourself a pair of high-fidelity ear plugs or musician's ear plugs. These are non-electronic ear plugs that use grooves to lower decibel levels before sound waves hit your eardrum. You can still hear loud noises and sounds, but at reduced decibel levels.

Lastly, educate yourself about Tinnitus as a condition. The more you learn about it, the better the chances of habituating to it or overcoming it. Either one of those outcomes will allow you to continue life normally.

I hope this helped someone.

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Freelance musician just enjoying life. There's nothing more satisfying that traveling to new places to treat fans who love your music. Here's to a great life!

Manchester, NH
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