Paul Much is 23 years old and suffers from tinnitus. People that suffer from tinnitus constantly hear a buzz, ring, whistle or hum in their ears, while in reality there is none. There are over 13 million people in Western Europe and the USA alone that suffer from tinnitus. Paul’s loud ring in his ears suddenly appeared around three years ago.
Paul about his tinnitus
“I suffer from tinnitus. That’s a buzz or noise which I constantly hear in my ears. I have always made a lot of music, went to a lot of festivals, went to a lot of gigs. I knew then I should have been wearing earplugs, but you’re young and you think it will no way happen to you.
At a certain moment, I woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning with a kind of siren going off in both my ears. I was going to do my entrance exam for the conservatory that year, but it was one big drama during the exam. I didn’t play well at all, so I could go home again…
The first two weeks were very hard for me. I was really startled by noises. In the beginning, I couldn’t even handle the noise coming from the metro doors closing while I was waiting at the station. The ‘squeak’ coming from the doors closing… And when I was standing next to a friend at the station, who closed the zipper of his coat… I just couldn’t stand the noise.
Your ears are very over-sensitive. Luckily, that faded away after a while, but listening to the noise at a club or playing drums without earplugs, that’s not possible for me anymore. My earplugs are always in my back pocket. I always carry them along. And that’s no problem really, but it would have been nice if that hadn’t been an absolute necessity and if I could just stand normal noises.”
Tinnitus caused by hearing damage
There are many ways to suffer tinnitus. Hearing damage is by far the most common. Other causes of tinnitus are stress, medicines, trauma to the head or neck and a recurring ear infection. Many different diseases can also involve tinnitus.
You can suffer tinnitus by being in an environment with loud noises for too long. The louder the noise, the shorter you can stay in this environment without being at risks. This overview forms an indication:
|Volume||Time before risk of suffering hearing damage||Example of noise volume|
|120 decibels||Immediate||Dance event, pop concert|
|110 decibels||Immediate||Dance event, pop concert, drums, chainsaw|
|100 decibels||After 5 minutes||Dance event, pop concert|
|95 decibels||After 15 minutes||Dance event, pop concert, violin|
|92 decibels||After 30 minutes||Pop concert|
|89 decibels||After 1 hour||A truck at full speed|
|86 decibels||After 2 hours||A train at full speed, a saw, a mixer|
|83 decibels||After 4 hours||Traffic noise|
|80 decibels||After 8 hours||City noise|
|77 decibels||No risk of suffering hearing damage||Loud conversation|