Tinnitus can be mildly annoying or can escalate to something that feels so harsh and frequent that it can bring a boat load of distress and frustration into your life disrupting everything. If you’re a musician and don’t take the steps to protect your ears at concerts, while recording, or in any situation where loud instruments (or anything) are blaring, then you will not only acquire the symptoms of tinnitus and eventually permanent ringing in the ears (tinnitus), but you will no longer be able to fully enjoy your craft, your music, or anything else that requires good hearing to fully appreciate.
Tinnitus comes in many forms from debilitating (permanent) to temporary and many levels in each of those. The development of two main types have been given a great deal of attention over the years.
One is Objective tinnitus which is often the result of structural problems in the inner ear, outer ear (ear canal; ears). It is often the result of blood or bone abnormalities in or near the ear. These sounds are not like the tinnitus ringing in the ears that only you hear, but rather that a doctor can actually hear if he/she put her ear next to yours. This tinnitus ringing is actually audible and easy to detect because it’s actually creating a “feedback loop” that emanates from the body itself.
The other type of tinnitus/ ringing in the ears is called Subjective tinnitus. This is the version most people suffer from either temporarily (after a loud concert) or permanently (years of abusing your ears with loud sounds, chemical imbalances, or a damaged inner ear). This version, you hear very audible (to you only) sounds of hissing, whooshing, or worse the loud ringing in the ears that becomes maddening after a while depending on your tolerance threshold personally.
The sound is not actually a sound, which is confusing for many. The sound is just your brain interpreting phantom sounds because the inner ear is out of balance chemically. When your inner ear is out of balance, often due to too much salt and sugar intake (and others like MSG, alcohol, caffeine), the chemicals that are required and required to be in a specific delicate balance, are disrupted and the squelch is the result of the inner ear taking in raw audio entering through your ears and ear canals, and can’t properly interpret it into the actual sounds they are. Instead, it “tries” to figure out what the sound is and gets it wrong.
For musicians and even the fans that attend the loud concerts, the first exposure to tinnitus is a fleeting ringing in the ears following the concert that tends to stick around for a few hours to a few days depending on your diet and length of exposure to the sounds. Many take this as a normal extension to a great concert and become accustomed to it because it’s temporary and at first not incredibly annoying or even loud. Can you image if this never went away? That’s what full blown permanent tinnitus feels like but the volume is much louder- louder in fact that you may not even be able to drive, go to most jobs effectively, or do anything while it’s full blown. You can, when in permanent or temporary subjective tinnitus hell, find relief simply by being aware of how your diet affects tinnitus. Some basics to moderate, avoid, or limit drastically, are: Salt, sugar, MSG, alcohol, caffeine, sweeteners (especially artificial sweeteners).