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#2022352 - 01/27/13 07:14 PM tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover...
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Sooooo... to compliment me snapping the bone in the back of my hand a couple of years ago ( knuckle of fourth finger on right hand pshed right back.... bone set jutting out in a lump on back of hand...) i have been gradually getting worse tinnitus....


For a few years i have had intermittent episodes of deafness, with ringing filling the void.... well, six days ago i had the start of a continuous phase of this.... now its been going nearly a week and getting louder. To the point i hear it all the time, and its now interferring with me understanding conversation.


Im 32, will be booking a docs apointment tommorrow and if it is permenant i will be a very grumpy bear. Getting on amazing with my new teacher though.... and progress will not be halted just because i cant hear and have a smashed up hand..... minor issues haha :-)
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#2022369 - 01/27/13 07:44 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2619
Loc: Maine
Paul, interesting that you posted this now. I too have had periodic hearing loss and wicked bad tinnitus. My first onset was about 15 years ago. I totally lost the hearing in my left ear for a few weeks. The specialist thought I had meneres. No. My hearing finally came back but I had lost about 25% permanently. The tinnitus got better as hearing returned but it never went completely away. I have just learned to live with it. Then, about a week ago, BAM... it happened again. I lost all hearing in my left ear. Nothing but ringing left. This time I googled the symptoms and came up with "Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss". It said immediate treatment is needed or permanent damage could result. I went to the doctor the next day (a different doctor from 15 years ago) and she jumped right on it. Prescribed a large dose of prednisone. Two days later and my hearing is back to where it was. (The prednisone is also keeping me up all night and driving me crazy but hey... I can hear!!) Check it out and good luck.
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#2022379 - 01/27/13 07:56 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: Peyton]
BillM Offline
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Registered: 05/12/08
Posts: 1520
Loc: Maryland
Peyton - did the prednisone do anything to reduce the tinnitus once your hearing returned?
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#2022386 - 01/27/13 08:15 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2619
Loc: Maine
No, the tinnitus, I'm afraid, is permanent. It seems to increase as I lose more hearing and visa versa. When I initially lost my hearing 15 years ago the ear doctor told me that he could cut the nerve in my ear and that would get rid of the tinnitus. Of course I would also be forever deaf. He scared the crap out of me.

The tinnitus reminds me a bit of cicadas down south when I was a kid. Gives me a permanent nostalgic "southern summer" feeling.
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#2022481 - 01/27/13 10:29 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Sand Tiger Offline
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Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1087
Loc: Southern California
I've had off and on tinnitus for many years. Exposure to loud sounds makes it worse. I have long periods of remission, however another blast of sound will bring it back very quickly.

I try to take care of my hearing. Even something as minor as tissue in the ears helps a few decibels. Whenever I am outside and a fire truck or police vehicle goes by with sirens blaring I stop and put fingers in my ears. I keep the digital at a low volume. Same with headphones or ear buds, very low volume. I try to avoid venues where they blast the music.

Band members, orchestra members, certain instruments such as trumpet and saxophone tend to have more of problem than most. While hearing loss tends to be permanent, in my case, my tinnitus is better than it was. Take care.
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#2022583 - 01/28/13 02:26 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Cheers guys...I will mention prednisone when i see the doc... i have tried to be carefull and am more vigilant tyan most to loud noises.... being a plumber it seems i may get exposed to more noise than most... drilling and general site machinery.... plus living with a woman..... there may be no hope for me..... earplugs are in constant use... but damage is accumuiated from years of partys and youthful excess :-D
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#2022621 - 01/28/13 04:18 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Loud club music in the 1990s (standing next to giant speakers) did it for me.

Was made worse by riding a motorbike sans ear plugs. Problem is with ear plugs eventually you can hear and sort of compensate for them.

Today I get wicked ringing in ears all the time, especially before I sleep.

I've sort of managed it by using very low volume on everything. My CDP is set to about 30% max volume.

My computer is set to 5% full volume.

Open back headphones supposedly help as it allows some of the sound waves to escape.

Bizzarely I only play loud when learning a new piece, but I play a lot softer these days or merely turn the touch sensors off.

heck if I had a soft pedal I'd probably stick a brick on it.

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#2022663 - 01/28/13 07:22 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 812
Loc: Brighton Colorado
Paul, I hope they find a solution for you tinnitus...it is very tough to live with although many offer solutions. Keep us posted on your journey and I'm hoping your hearing returns and stays.
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#2022673 - 01/28/13 07:54 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2619
Loc: Maine
Paul, just to be clear, my treatment is not for tinnitus but rather for the deafness. It's the deafness that causes the tinnitus. In your case, as in mine, it's the reacurring deafness that should be the major concern. In my case it looks like Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss is the right call as the prednisone seems to be curing it. But I'm sure there can be many reasons for intermittent hearing loss. Is your hearing loss accompanied by a "full" feeling in your inner ear as if there is liquid in there? I've had that which was why my initial diagnosis was the onset of Menere's Decease.
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#2022698 - 01/28/13 08:40 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Lots of clubbing and free partys didnt help my ears either lol...

I will keep posted on here how it turns out.... my left ear once or twice a week will suddenly go completely deaf, with a ringing in it... over a couple of minutes normal hearing is gradually resumed.... t his is a separate problem to the constant ringing i think as i have noticed it happen ontop of the constant ringing.... i registered this morning with the local doctor( moved 6 months ago..) and can make an appointment in 2 days...
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#2023171 - 01/29/13 01:13 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 803
Loc: Finland
My mother has tinnitus. I don't, fortunately, but I have been told by a doctor that there's some hearing loss in certain frequences that she thinks is from listening loud music. So I try to be more careful. I am most worried about playing a lot with earphones on my silent piano. I sometimes get a feeling in my ears that I am going too loud. Anyone with a digital and earphoes should be careful...once you get tinnitus it may not ever resolve, so better be careful.

Hope you get better!

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#2023226 - 01/29/13 02:59 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Me too mate... itll be a few days till i can see a doctor... practice pedal or earplugs are in constant use with my piano at the mo.... :-(
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#2023246 - 01/29/13 04:04 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Artur Gajewski Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 306
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
I hope you guys get some good news from your doctor. Piano is based on hearing and it would be a tremendous loss if you would loose hearing.

I would love to see an option to deaf people who would like to play piano. I would think some sort of visual representation for the sound would be one option. You hit a key, and a circle with certain color and location on screen appears. The more you press on the key the larger the circle gets. This is closest I can come up with music for deaf people.
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#2023253 - 01/29/13 04:27 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: Artur Gajewski]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 803
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Artur Gajewski
I hope you guys get some good news from your doctor. Piano is based on hearing and it would be a tremendous loss if you would loose hearing.

I would love to see an option to deaf people who would like to play piano. I would think some sort of visual representation for the sound would be one option. You hit a key, and a circle with certain color and location on screen appears. The more you press on the key the larger the circle gets. This is closest I can come up with music for deaf people.


There are deaf musicians, and they usually feel the vibrations and go by that. I am sure the piano creates enough of those? Just saw a documentary about a deaf musician and it was quite amazing what she could do. Also I know a deaf singer who can sing with the band, she listens through her feet.

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#2023273 - 01/29/13 05:33 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Artur Gajewski Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 306
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
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#2023363 - 01/29/13 10:01 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Fordsnack Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 34
Loc: United Kingdom
Tinnitus can be a nightmare but it can become bearable and even reduced in volume. It is a brain problem, not a hearing problem as there are stories out there of people having there auditory nerve severed only to be faced with just the tinnitus noise and nothing else. Having said that there is obviously a link between hearing loss and tinnitus. Certainly in my case.

The reason it is a brain problem is to do with the limbic system and fight or flight mechanisms in the brain. In a nut shell, if you lived in a country with deadly snakes, you may become hyper aware every time you heard a 'sssss' sound. It is important for you to hear it (it could be a matter of life or death), so your brain cranks up the volume. Now tinnitus, being musicians, our hearing is very important to us. The minute we hear tinnitus, we start thinking that we are going deaf. A healthy reaction to this would be to take a break from the loud noises, or wear ear plugs if prolonged exposure is likely. However, it is easy to become obsessive and thinking about how our ears are damaged and that we will go deaf and how terrible that is. The brain has then put a label on tinnitus marked 'important' and it becomes the only thing we can think about, and the brain cranks up the volume. Further more, becoming obsessively vigilant with ear plugs, cuts out the 'outside' sound and the brain trying to balance, cranks up the internal sounds (tinnitus). A catch 22 you might think.

Tinnitus retrainment therapy 'TRT' helps cultivate a healthy attitude towards tinnitus and a scientific understanding on how the brain processes sound. It seems to be helping me so far after having tinnitus constantly for 6 years.

I am no expert, this is all just from my experience with TRT. I am playing the piano more than ever these days. My TRT guy even said I could feasibly practice piano all day, as long as I took regular breaks.
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#2023365 - 01/29/13 10:03 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Fordsnack Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 34
Loc: United Kingdom
obviously it is important to get your ears checked out properly as some of the previous posters have said, tinnitus can be caused by a number of reasons
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Nocturne in c minor - Chopin
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#2023385 - 01/29/13 10:59 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1117
Loc: chicago, il
i developed tinnitis about 6 weeks ago, and the onset was acute but not caused by any external stimuli (e.g. loud noise). it was quite unstable (fullness in ears, buzzing, ringing popping) and painful to be around high pitched frequencies (cappuccino makers, crinkling of paper, dishes being stacked etc.). i saw an internist who was no help at all, other than to refer me to an ENT guy.

tinnitis could be related to TMJ, and physical therapy seems to help. google reveals interesting info. also, i've gone to a chinese herbalist & acupuncturist and it seems to be stabilizing the tinnitis into a single very high pitched frequency, which i can manage.
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#2023393 - 01/29/13 11:19 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
KurtZ Offline
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Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 966
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
The connection between tinnitus and loud sounds is assumed but not proven as it is with loudness and hearing loss. There are many people who have industrial exposure to loud sound with it's commensurate hearing loss who don't have tinnitus. There are also people with tinnitus who have no significant exposure to loud (above say 95 db spl) sound. From what I 've read, yes I have tinnitus for about 15 years now, it's clear that it's psycho auditory and not just mechanical damage. I found Fordsnack's post about evolutionary biology responses interesting.
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#2023431 - 01/29/13 12:45 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3604
>my left ear once or twice a week will suddenly go completely deaf, with a ringing in it... over a couple of minutes normal hearing is gradually resumed....

I also have something like this occasionally but not so bad as you describe. It's like something pops in one ear and then things become suddenly much more silent (like 20dB reduction) on that side with a high pitch (15kHz?) sound on top of it. In about a minute, it returns to normal, gradually the volume increases.

If this is the same as your problem, this might be something different, unrelated to the ringing. The ringing might just become more audible because other signals are lacking during that period
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#2023435 - 01/29/13 12:51 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Very interesting info above..... does make sense with my brain focusing on the sound.... im wearing earplugs throughout the day at work (plumber) and it has definately got more pronounced day by day...

I think my occasional deafness in left ear, followed by ringing... is seperate to this issue as that is still happening same as always...

This new problem is a constant high pitched whine, with me every waking moment and now is prominent even when i am in conversation. Pretty rubbish but putting things into perspective...

When i registered with the docs on monday, the receptionist had two tiny hands with no fingers and little stumps for thumbs... lovely woman but made me thinkfor a second about the magnitude of my issue....


I am going to enjoy every second i can play the piano and not pay too much heed to how long i can enjoy my hobby...
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#2023507 - 01/29/13 03:22 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
SwayingTree Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 63
Loc: Arkansas, USA
It's got me too. For years I've had occasional periods where the ringing would get loud enough to catch my attention and annoy but it would always fade inside of a day. About 5-6 weeks ago, out of the blue, it became constant. There was nothing I could point blame to; it just started. Since before Christmas I have listened to a constant, high-pitched whine in both ears, though stronger in the left. I plan on consulting with a doc once the current outbreak of stomach bugs and flu subsides as I don't want to sit in a room with that right now. It is irritating, but I find that playing the piano is actually respite, because if there's noise that interests me I can forget about the ringing for a few minutes. Best wishes to other sufferers.
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#2023512 - 01/29/13 03:25 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Scout Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 48
Loc: USA
Fordsnack, you put that info very well, thank you. I've had tinnitus for 5 years, and eventually habituated to it quite well. It has periods when it's lower volume, and (more often) long stretches when it's high and loud, but at no time do I have no tinnitus at all. The first few months before getting some CBT help in coping were a nightmare.

Did the piano ramp up your tinnitus? Were you afraid to play it? I ask because 5 years ago I was on long hiatus from piano for other reasons, but 8 months ago I began to play again. There didn't seem to be a change in the tinnitus until a week ago when we bought a new (used) piano, which I LOVE. But the tinnitus seems at a new level, and I'm becoming afraid to play. Do you have any tips from your own experience? I can't believe it's the piano itself--the room is very well padded for acoustics, the lid is closed, and the experience of playing now is probably less loud than our old upright was in a small harsh room.

How long did you stay away from piano? Do you still have tinnitus while playing now but able to let it fall into the background?
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#2023575 - 01/29/13 05:39 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Fordsnack Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 34
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi Scout,
When the tinnitus got really loud I made some drastic changes in my life, but playing piano was never usually an issue. Only sometimes would I stop playing out of frustration when playing a particularly soft and expressive passage of music. All I would be able to focus on was the white noise and ringing.
I found when teaching in school, having a fair few heavy handed pupils, it would drive me mad and I did wonder whether I would be able to continue teaching. Luckily I managed to organise an electric piano which is not ideal but seemed like the best solution.

This is all before I started the tinnitus therapy and my feelings toward loud noises has changed somewhat. The london underground trains often reach levels way over a hundred decibels (think pneumatic drill) and yet people don't seem to be going deaf left right and centre. The reason has been suggested, that because the trains pull into stations very frequently, the ears have time to recover. So in theory, as long as you are not playing piano at fortissimo, continuously for hours on end, your ears should recover just fine.

I was afraid to play, and afraid of police sirens and loud pubs. This unfortunately can lead to hyperacusis which is hyper sensitivity to loud noises and I was actively avoiding loud environments. This creates further negative thoughts about tinnitus which in turn strengthens the neural path ways and the brain becomes even more efficient at noticing tinnitus.

After some TRT (I am still going through therapy) I began to not block my ears when I heard a police siren, not put in ear plugs at the first sign of loud noise in a pub when they put the music on. And my hearing did not get worse when I had my hearing tests. Sometimes the tinnitus would be loud, but gradually it has calmed down, and now I play piano and tinnitus doesn't really cross my mind.

As for tips, I would suggest going to see a tinnitus specialist if you have that option. And try and notice your thoughts when you are having a bad tinnitus experience. Most negative thoughts we have are falsifiable when challenged. Such as: "I am going to completely deaf" or "I cannot enjoy the piano anymore". These are 'all or nothing thoughts' which, for me are untrue. Negative thought patterns like these can be rather pernicious if left unchecked.
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Nocturne in c minor - Chopin
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#2023699 - 01/29/13 10:11 PM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: Fordsnack]
Scout Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 48
Loc: USA
Thanks for all you wrote, Fordsnack. I'm glad for you that you're back to playing piano and have made so much progress with TRT. That is heartening to hear.

Even though I had learned to put the tinnitus on the back burner, other things you describe have still been familiar all along, such as being afraid of sirens and other loud but normal sounds; the kettle whistle going off is a really big one for me. I know I should not keep on that path of being overprotective. (I don't have a specialist, but my excellent primary-care doctor has checked my hearing and monitored the situation all along--I have no hearing loss, amazingly.)

You are so right about those (globalizing) negative thoughts! Even after learning to cope with them, now with the new piano and ramped-up tinnitus I find myself thinking Oh we shouldn't have bought it, Oh I won't be able to play it anymore, Oh it will always make the tinnitus louder. Thank you for the reminder that these things don't have to be true; you've made my day.

If this new difficulty continues I will look for a TRT specialist. Best of luck to you in completing the therapy, and ...

... good luck everyone!


Edited by Scout (01/29/13 11:30 PM)
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#2023833 - 01/30/13 05:04 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Fordsnack Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 34
Loc: United Kingdom
Thanks, im glad I could have been of some help. All the best!
_________________________
Just started working on:
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Nocturne in c minor - Chopin
youtube.com/elysiumproject

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#2023837 - 01/30/13 05:15 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3604
>The london underground trains often reach levels way over a hundred decibels (think pneumatic drill) and yet people don't seem to be going deaf left right and centre. The reason has been suggested, that because the trains pull into stations very frequently, the ears have time to recover. So in theory, as long as you are not playing piano at fortissimo, continuously for hours on end, your ears should recover just fine.

I think not. 100+dB really IS dangerous for ears and max exposure is 15 minutes per day. Furthermore, high frequency sounds are more damaging. Piano fortissimo can go up to 103dB. Actually I read somewhere at DPA microphones that at 10cm from the sound board levels can go up to a staggering 130dB. Anything above 112dB is instantaneous damaging I think.

check this

http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html
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#2023873 - 01/30/13 07:08 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Just had my docs appointment...

Both ears very clean, no wax or inflamation. Unfortunately there is nothing she can do... refered me to the british tinitus website... said it may go or not...


And asked if i had been stressed lately.... " yes, by my hearing".....

Looks like no quick fixes.
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#2023898 - 01/30/13 08:16 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2619
Loc: Maine
Paul, interesting. My doctor on the other hand was much more concerned with why the sporatic hearing loss than my tinnitus. Probably because I've lived with the noise for so long I'm just used to it. As I said earlier, she prescribed a ten day course of prednisone in case of Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (did you google that?) . I'm also scheduled for an MRI tomorrow to rule out a tumor.

Too bad you don't have Doc Martin near by... smile He would figure it all out in a heartbeat.
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
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#2023902 - 01/30/13 08:25 AM Re: tinnitus, oh the joy for a music lover... [Re: UK Paul UK]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Her attitude was to leave it and i said if it contues i will return... ill give it another week or if it gets worse then i will kick up a fuss... she glazed over my comment about the intermittent deafness... will make more of a point next time. The joys of life eh! :-)
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