Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rambo Chick, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    I seem to have developed a high pitched ringing in my right ear. I noticed it a few days ago and its still going. At band recently I have been wincing when the band, particularly the cornets, plays high and loud.

    I'm really worried that it'll be permanent and also, if it has been caused by band, that'll mean drastic measures... :(

    It can be caused by many other things too so I'm hoping it might be something other than band.

    Has anyone else had this? For how long?
  2. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    To be honest, it doesn't sound like my tinnitus, which is constant and on an F# (how great for a brass player...), but go and see your GP asap. It might be nothing, of course, but why take any risks?
  3. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Not just me then, lol! seriously though, I'd go see your GP, might just be an infection that they can clear up nice and quick.
  4. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

  5. TubaPete

    TubaPete Member

    I have had something similar since I was about 15 - I'm now 41! I believe it to be tinnitus but have never had a formal diagnosis as it came on so gradually that I never noticed a big change and I have learnt to live with it.

    The only times it causes me problems are:

    - when people play Cornet Carrillon (no great loss there - just don't programme it)
    - when cornets play loud in a small space (again - just avoid small bandrooms)
    - when it's totally quiet or I'm wearing earplugs (I get round this by having my radio on when I go to sleep and never wearing earplugs)

    I've known a few musicians who have had this sort of problem and hey have all reached a point where it has stabalised and they have been able to function normally again, albeit with the odd minor adjustment.

    My own problem is caused by cornet frequencies and is stronger in my right ear - can be difficult when playing Bb Bass but is fine when conducting...

    Good luck with it - and if in doubt go see a doctor. It might just be the start of something serious and getting checked out never did any harm!

  6. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with other recommendations that you get this checked out.

    I've had tinnitis for several years; formally diagnosed by a specialist. In my case it's only in the right ear and is a constant, very high pitched sound.

    I was told that it's a natural part of the aging process (I'm now 63) and is not treatable beyond using a device, similar to a hearing aid, that creates "white noise" that masks the sound. They only recommend that when the tinnitis gets severe.

    I wish you well!
  7. George BB

    George BB Member

    At 70 I have constant tinnitus and a certain amount of hearing loss so I am having my hearing tested at the hospital next Thursday. I do get discomfort verging on pain when the band get too enthusiastic as we have a small bandroom. I will ask the audiologist, or what ever they call themselves, if forty years of banding could be a contributing factor. I have read up loads of stuff and opinions seem divided. Keep the thread going and I will report the results in a week.
  8. mxb59307

    mxb59307 Member

    Consider some musicians earplugs. I use them - they decrease the volume without affecting pitch. Relatively cheap one-size-fits-all ones work well (<£20) or you can go for much more expensive custom molded ones (>>>£20!) depending on your buget.
  9. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member


    I am 25 and have had about 11 years of banding - so not loads but a fair amount and lots of concentrated music making.

    Its funny with all the posts about sop players being a cause because ours is quite loud too and just started sitting next to me (about the time I got this tinnitus.....)!:redface:

    My tinnitus has been wavering but has come back tonight with some ear discomfort so it's off to the docs for me tomorrow - thanks for the advice everyone. I would hate it to be purely band related as I dont want to give up - music is a MASSIVE part of my life!

    Thank you for all your replies!
  10. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    I wore an earplug at the last rehearsal I went to - just in one ear. It's good for protection but lousy for hearing what I'm doing. All I could hear was a weird buzz sound and not the sound I was actually producing. That also happens when you get a cold and ears get blocked.

    Has anyone else tried this? - very bizarre!

    So whilst it's good to protect my hearing which is of course very important, I find it difficult to hear if I'm playing well. I guess it would be something I would need to get used to.

    Thanks for the tip though:) I can get hold of ear plugs for free(the cheap ones!) which is good so budget not an issue!:cool:
  11. popmills

    popmills New Member

    I have had this problem for 30 years due to army service on tanks. I normaly play soprano and find that my internation suffers as the problem is severe at higher pitches. When I play Euph there is no problem with internation. No one else in the band is willing to play sop so there I stay. To all sufferers a change of instument may help.
    Regards Barry
  12. mxb59307

    mxb59307 Member

    I don't think that the cheap foam earplugs will be suitable as they are supposed to block sounds regardless. Musicians plugs are designed to let some through without changing the sound. You can read up about the frequencies that are bad for your hearing and which ones are reduced to safe levels when wearing musicians plugs.

    I agree that the sound is changed when using plugs. Obviously your playing experience cannot be exactly the same, particularily as sound is transmitted through the jaw when playing brass instruments. Effectively this sound (which is always there but not as noticable as the sound entering via your ear) becomes more noticeable, but it should become as natural as sound through your ears if you wear plugs all the time. That being the case, I would suggest wearing plugs all the time, including when playing quiet band pieces and even when practicing at home. The sooner that becomes the default sound heard when you play, the sooner you can adjust and get used to it. It may take some time, but it can be achieved. A compromise can be reached by wearing one plug if only one ear is affected as this can help give a better balance of sounds heard through the ear and those 'felt' through the jaw.

    No solution is going to be ideal or as good as your natural hearing, but inaction now might mean more damage to your hearing and more problems later. Patience is required initially, but an effective compromise can be reached.
  13. Martin

    Martin Member


    I think you mean, 'Intonation' mate!!! lol!!.

    How are you getting on with Talisman?;)

  14. popmills

    popmills New Member

    Spelling not my fortisimo (is that right) Sop part for Talisman dead boring. Had pleasure of covering Eup part one week and tonight horn if not cancelled.
  15. George BB

    George BB Member

    As I said in posting of 5th Feb, I had a hearing test at the hospital today and this confirmed a marked loss at the higher frequencies. This could have been partly due to playing in brass band but more likely caused by fifty years of knocking nails in. (I'm a now retired carpenter)
    As far as the tinnitus is concerned this is a nerve problem and as to the cause the jury is still out so to speak. It could also be caused by loud noise but research seems inconclusive. The audiologist however said that precautions against loud noises were a very good idea. I asked him about ear plugs and he said that the ones designed for musicians are very effective but the good ones are expensive. For myself, I've lived out my four score years and ten and am now in extra time so will probably carry on the same but for you younger players, give the plugs a try and pass the word as to results. My hearing aid/s will be ready in a week or so, so then I may be able to hear past the tinnitus.
    Keep playing and
  16. Di B

    Di B Member

    I have a problem at the other end of the band.

    Tenor and bass trombone players playing loudly sometimes cause severe pain in my right ear but only for a short time. I have found out that moving the position of my seat a little can stop it and it was always worse when playing solo euph.

    Has anyone suffered similar or can anyone advise? I have always believed it happens because a bell is pointing right in my ear but it doesn't always happen.

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