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adam2525

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Hi Dr Nagler.

Possibly a strange question. I just don't know what on earth is going on with my tinnitus.

I bought a new car. Each time I drive it my tinnitus goes up. Its the strangest thing. I’ve never had this issue with any other car I’ve driven. I was so concerned about this I went and bought a decible meter, and the cabin noise is "safe". It averages high 60's to low 70 dbs. So no chance of any auditory damage. I am certain the cabin noise is not damaging my ears in any way.

 
A couple of examples of my T playing up.

1. I drove locally, no more than 5 minutes and boom my tinnitus increased.

2. I drove for 10 minutes to a destination. Spent 5 minutes out of the car. Drove another 10 minutes. Stopped for a few minutes to collect something. then drove home for another 5 minutes. Two hours later my tinnitus is still going nuts. I just don’t get it.

 
I appreciate that my mind (conscious or/and subconscious) may be playing a part. Such as:

When I drive I'm truly hoping that this is the journey when my tinnitus doesn’t go nuts, so I don't have to contemplate selling the car, two weeks after I bought it.

Though if the car was causing my tinnitus to rise I would take the hit and sell it in a heart beat.

 
So the $64,000 question. If I'm not  causing any auditory damage, what on earth is going on, and what if anything can I do about it? Are there any strategies you could suggest so that I am one with my car :-)

Best wishes,

Adam

Dr. Nagler

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
Possibly a strange question. I just don't know what on earth is going on with my tinnitus.

Adam, there a whole lot of folks just don't know what on earth is going on with their tinnitus. Tinnitus seems to have a mind of its own. Indeed, for the most part those individuals who believe they actually do know what is going on with their tinnitus haven't had tinnitus long enough to realize that they really don't know what's going on with their tinnitus after all! As I have said on a number of occasions, the only predictable thing about tinnitus is its unpredictability.

And by the way, you can count me among those who don't know what's going on with tinnitus, mine or anybody else's. I'm just giving this my very best shot!

Quote:
I bought a new car. Each time I drive it my tinnitus goes up. Its the strangest thing. I’ve never had this issue with any other car I’ve driven. I was so concerned about this I went and bought a decible meter, and the cabin noise is "safe". It averages high 60's to low 70 dbs. So no chance of any auditory damage. I am certain the cabin noise is not damaging my ears in any way.

Congratulations on the new car. And yes, you are right in that dB levels in the 60s and 70s are nowhere loud enough to cause auditory damage.

Now that doesn't mean it can't aggravate your tinnitus; it only means that the mechanism is not one of physical damage at the cochlear level.

Quote:
A couple of examples of my T playing up.

1. I drove locally, no more than 5 minutes and boom my tinnitus increased.

2. I drove for 10 minutes to a destination. Spent 5 minutes out of the car. Drove another 10 minutes. Stopped for a few minutes to collect something. then drove home for another 5 minutes. Two hours later my tinnitus is still going nuts. I just don’t get it.

I appreciate that my mind (conscious or/and subconscious) may be playing a part. Such as:

When I drive I'm truly hoping that this is the journey when my tinnitus doesn’t go nuts, so I don't have to contemplate selling the car, two weeks after I bought it.


Perhaps look at it this way ...

Tinnitus loudness may be viewed is a function of (1) the strength of the electrochemical tinnitus signal itself wherever in the auditory system that signal originates and (2) the brain’s influence upon that signal. Tinnitus is not the electrochemical signal itself; tinnitus is the end product of the signal and the brain’s influence upon it. I strongly doubt that your car has influenced the strength of the tinnitus signal at its point of origin. But if you want to be certain, then you can ask an audiologist with experience in tinnitus loudness matching to perform a loudness match before you drive and after. The tinnitus loudness match (in dB) is felt to be a reflection of strength of signal at origin. There is, however, a second sort of loudness measurement, the tinnitus loudness rating, which is basically how loud your tinnitus sounds to you (on, say, a 1 to 10 scale) at any given point in time. And the tinnitus loudness rating is a reflection of both the strength of signal at origin and the brain's influence upon it. What you are describing in your post is an increase in your tinnitus loudness rating; I do not believe that it represents an increase in your tinnitus loudness match.

Now there are numerous factors that affect the brain's influence upon the tinnitus signal. Prominent among those factors are the limbic (emotional) elements and the autonomic ("fight or flight") elements. These limbic and autonomic elements tend to feed upon themselves, and you have very little conscious control over them because they represent an internally-reinforced conditioned reflex. What I am trying to say is that even if you tested another car and found that it didn't affect your tinnitus, once you got rid of your recently-purchased car and bought yet another (no doubt at a financial loss), within a few days the problem would quite likely recur.

Quote:
Though if the car was causing my tinnitus to rise I would take the hit and sell it in a heart beat

I personally don't think that's a good idea for the above-stated reasons - but who knows? Like I said, the only predictable thing about tinnitus is its unpredictability.

Quote:
So the $64,000 question. If I'm not  causing any auditory damage, what on earth is going on,

I cannot say what's going on for sure. The best I can do is offer an educated guess, which is what I've just done!

Quote:
and what if anything can I do about it? Are there any strategies you could suggest so that I am one with my car :-)

As to what you can do about it, that sort of depends on how much your tinnitus bothers you. If it doesn't bother you much at all, then just go with the flow. Things may well settle back down in time. And even if they don't, you already said that tinnitus doesn't bother you. On the other hand, if your tinnitus bothers you a lot, then the very first thing to do in my opinion would be to look into what you can do on your own to remove your Barriers to Habituation.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Stephen Nagler
Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC


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adam2525

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 #3 
Dr Nagler, thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

Adam
Dr. Nagler

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 #4 
Glad to help.

stephen nagler

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The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
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Dr. Nagler's Tinnitus Corner is provided for education and information only. It is not intended for the purpose of providing medical care and should in no way substitute for appropriate in-person consultations with qualified healthcare professionals. By using this site, participants agree to hold Dr. Nagler and Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC harmless with respect to any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage arising from following the postings herein.