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Tinnitus, anyone?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


fat flotilla
Aug 16, 2004
Unfortunately, I have a slight case of Tinnitus, or ringing of the ear(s). It's not bad as some people's, but it drives me nuts when it's too quiet.

Unfortunately as well, unless there's a bit of noise it really stands out and sometimes destroys any relaxation that keeps me under the water as long as I can. That's only when it's bad, though. However, lately it has crept back in. My right ear, to be exact.

Does anybody else have this problem? and if so, have you found anything that helps?

As I haven't yet had the pleasure of going deep as most of you have (stuck in Texas, remember?), I don't know how it will effect my dives after equalizing to deeper pressures, hence letting me hear more underwater currents and activities, thus keeping attention away from that damned ringing.

I do what I can, folks, but sometimes it's nice to know if people can do more to help.

gimme a hollar, but not in my right ear, please, heh-heh.
Sinkweight, unfortunately, I too have tinitus, in both ears. It began in the right ear back around 1999, when I wasn't diving for several years. It was associated with diziness/balance problems that took a year to subside (or just adapt to. Then a couple of years ago the left ear started. At that point I had been freediving for a year or two, but never had an ear infection or barotrauma. Howevever, the second time, the ringing was louder in the left ear as it still is today. Strangely, during the first couple of months of both occurences, certain noises such as clanking silverware in the kitchen drawer, or the crumpling up of a sheet of paper would be somewhat painful sounds. Not terribly loud levels, but irritating nonetheless. I must also mention that during the year of balance adjustment, any head movement would make it difficult for my eyes to settle on distant small objects. I would have to stop walking across a parking lot in order to allow my eyes to stop movement so that I may recognize a person off in the distance. I believe the doctors called this "oscillopsia" (not sure of spelling). Also the snap of biting a crunchy cookie would trigger the eye instability for a brief second. The doctors never got to the bottom of it, but I had a recent theory that my impacted wisdom teeth may be causing the problem. I even made an appointment to see an oral surgeon to have them removed a few months ago, but my wife talked me out of it. She thought I was crazy for making such an assumption. Although I do have periods of irritation of the lower left wisdom tooth every 6 months, to the point where it feels like it's on the verge of erruption.

Well, enough of my rambling. The good new is, the tinitus does not impair equalizing at depth. In fact I can effortlessly equalize hands free to 150' but the ringing persists. And I know what you mean about it seeming extra loud when underwater and it's extra silent down there. I don't know to what degree you experience the tinitus, but it has never prevented me from relaxing underwater. I have learned to tune it out.

Maybe this condition skips a generation. I recall my grandmother saying her tinitus sounded like train whistles! Man, I hope she really didn't suffer that bad, and was exagerating!

I hope the news is encouraging (about the equalizing) and I sympathize with you.

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I have had tinnitus for around 20 yrs. It sounds like a tea kettle whisltling in my right ear and there is a softer ringing in the left. It never stops. This being said, I don't think it has ever affected my diving in any way at all. You really learn to tune it out and I hardly notice it when underwater for that reason. Be patient and with enough dives you too will eventually learn to tune it out.

About once every 3 or 4 weeks the sound will suddenly change its pitch and is very noticeable. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced that and what the reason might be. It seems to do this when I am doing absolutely nothing.

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I first noticed it while I was driving and I thought that I was picking up electrical interference in my head.
From what I have learnt and understand is that it is like an electrical hum in your head but outside noises drown it out. People wearing ear muffs hear it but can't when they take them off.
People in their senior years, such as myself lose some hearing. Pardon? I SAID LOSE SOME HEARING!! Ok no need to shout. This means there is not enough volume of noise to drown out the ringing in your ears.
But you soon learn to ignore it. Although some may get it worse than others.
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It's no joke! There is no cure as it is caused by nerve damage in the inner ear, whether by diving too deep, infection, age or whatever. If you dive and suddenly find it appearing, especially if you've been down a looooonng way, IMO you need a trip to the doctor. On occasion it can be a sympton of a micro stroke and those damned things add up. My late father in law was a tragic example. As an amateur SCUBA diver, he exceeded his depth limit down Tahiti way and began to get the ringing in the ear. After than it was all downhill with one little stroke after another until he ended up spending the last two years of his life in an Alzheimer's facility. This stuff is not for giggling over.
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Hiya All

I too suffer from it, although to be honest It has never worried me during freedives. Mine has been caused by 18 years of skydiving and sitting in the doorway of mostly old aeroplanes. As freedivinmike said, it seems to be more noticable on certain days then others, and in fact as I read the title to this thread, I suddenly noticed the ringing in my ears !! :D
As, no doubt, did everyone else who suffers from this !!


so as long as u are able to compensate the pressure by equalizing are u in no danger of causing damage and making the tinnitus worse no matter how deep u go? I have it too by the way. I think i notice it more after a full day of diving/spearing b/c my ears are a little clogged like when u are in an airplane and this just allows you to hear it better. but diving itself doesn't aactually make it worse does it?
Now that is one good question. Hello . . . is there an ear, nose and throat specialist in the house?
Over the years, diving has seemed to make no noticeable difference in mine. It is just about the same sound today as when it first started.

Sorry to hear about your Dad Oldsarge. But there may have been more than Tinnitus in his case.
Usually caused by damage to the ear and in most cases loud noise over a period of time. Mine using grinders etc in my trade and musician with speakers thumping away. Anything alse that happens, such as, my ears don't equalise as fast as they used to would probably not be caused be the tinnitus.
Anyway, if you think you may have a problem a Dive Doctor is the one to see.
I have had this problem most of my life, if I recall correctly, however I didn't know what it was until I was 20 or so, when I read an article that explained it in a magazine. As I finished the article, I began to grow a despair and concern, since I am quite fond of hearing nice and clearly. It happened to be that the ringing was sporatic prior to that moment and very seldom was it something I had noticed. The idea of having this ringing in my ears grow worse and deafen out the subtleties of music, insects, wind in the trees, etc, was very very disconcerting.

To my dismay , the following day and night I was struck with Tinnitus and it troubled my attempts to fall asleep. At some point I had the thought that it was too coincidental that I suddenly had an overwhelming case of this problem. Being a person with a significant time spent exploring the work of the brain, I came to the idea that my attention to the concept had taught my brain that I was interested in the ringing sound and therefore it was not something the brain should filter out anymore. Basically by thinking about Tinnitus and by getting a confirmation from the magazine that it exists, I had told my brain to find the ringing sound and acknowledge its existence. Anyhow I won't go into all the details of my theory and understanding of how it works here, but to move on, I decided I needed to reverse this process that had taken place.

I focused my mind on not being disturbed mentally at the idea of the sound, in order to stop reinforcing to my brain that the sound was something I was interested in. I put extra focus on being interested in the rest of the sounds in the room. I would let myself get distracted and thinking about things I was interested in. I generated an overall feeling of contentment. Eventually I fell asleep. The next day it was not an issue and so on.

So, ever since that day, the day that Tinnitus unfortunately became a concept to me, I have moments where I remember it, and suddenly begin experiencing it. As soon as it starts, I work at distracting myself and lightening my mood and experiencing the sounds around me without trying to hear whether or not the ringing exists. It goes away almost immediately (seconds to a couple minutes), and I get on with life.

To emphasize the point, all this while I have been typing this email, it has come back loud and clear, and is not gone yet, because by writing this I keep acknowledging it and am not taking the time to let it go. Actually to be truthful, I am so afraid of it, that I did partially decrease it a few times while writing just to make it through this. Thanks for putting me through this! ;) Now I am going to go fix myself.

Ps. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in exploring this further.


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Thanks everyone, I was worried there for a while. It's comforting, but troubling at the same time, to know that there are others out there that go through the same thing but, like me, somehow learn to manage. I've hit a couple of Tinnitus sites around the web, but there seems to be so many causes of that darn ringing.

I don't think I listen to music that loudly, so I'm going to turn my attention to the supplements and drugs I take. Maybe that's the culprit.

Since I last started the thread, the ringing has fluctuated in volume and pitch. I'm going to try and write down things I've been doing, and see if there's a correlation. I could barely hear it this weekend, and I'm already backtracking to see what I possibly did to make it subside, or perhaps it was body chemistry, or it was just a fluke.

Perhaps some of you saw my other thread about the underwater MP3 player that goes down to 100 ft. or so. I know it's not performance levels at all, but for recreational diving, it sure would take the emphasis away on "ringy" days. I'm going to go look at a set later today, if I buy it, I'll give you the low-down on its counter-Tinnitus abilities.

My sincerest, best wishes to you all, and your health,

Hey, sorry. That MP3 player is rated for 200 ft/66m.

Now I know why I never made it in sales.

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I was wondering if anyone knows if those white-noise tinnitus masking CDs/programs are effective at all? I am experiencing an exacerbation of chronic ear issues - draining fluid and ringing constantly for more than two weeks. Admittedly, my patience is wearing thin and I'm a little afraid it will stay this way or get worse. Has anyone tried these CDs/programs?

Also, for my future reference, is dynamic "better" for the ears than vertical freediving?

Thanks, all. I read the other threads on perforated eardrums and ear plugs. Great help. Much appreciation. Cheers to you,
Sorry, but I don't have any experience with those CDs.

But perhaps tis will help you:
A couple of weeks ago I realized a gentle tinnitus in my right ears, too. It was low and some kind like hearing the blood flow. But fortunatly only in the night when it is very silent. My doctor recommended me that I should drink much more during the day. Since I drink 2.5-3 liters of water during the day the tinnitus is nearly gone. That's worth to try.
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My right ear has been ringing for about 3 years straight :( not from diving tho, some booger poped a balloon right by my ear:vangry
I hope you popped his head! A lawsuit might have been justified but physical response is just sooooooo much more satisifying! :martial
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Rbsub, thanks so much - that sounds like a simple thing for me to try. Mine is a metallic sound - metallic static-y sound. Hope yours resolves permanently!

Joe123321 - that's a terrible thing for someone to do to you! I'm sorry to hear it!!!

Best wishes.
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...My doctor recommended me that I should drink much more during the day. ...

:friday Woot woot! Doctor said I could! :hungover :yack :friday :chatup

On topic: I have moderate tinnitus. As RB said - more drinking (water)! And NO, NO, NO caffeine, chocolate, or loud music! :naughty I've found that (and my doc supports) caffeine (and chocolate), make a difference in both the volume, and pitch that I perceive. I worked a long day yesterday and this morning thought "just one cup of coffee, only today..." and now my ears are singing away! :vangry

On the good side, it doesn't seem to affect my diving, with the exception of the annoying noise. More of a concern - and I'm interested to see if any other db'ers experience this - Surfer's ear. After 29 years of surfing & diving, I may require a minor surgery, to drill out the bony plates that my ears have formed in their effort to stay warm in cold water. My doc says that the surgery may also provide some relief from the tuning fork in my head! Any one else had this surgery?

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And NO, NO, NO caffeine, chocolate, or loud music!

No chocolate?!?!?!? No caffeine??? This would be a realy hard therapy for me. I'm happy that me tinnitus is nearly gone without such destitutions :t

But anyway: I will have a look on it.
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