Tinnitus from work told me to quit early

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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:53 pm

Post by mustymon »

I just want to thank Jacob and his book, and the ERE community here!
Back story: I worked as an engineer in the Bay Area for 10 years. Not saving much (other than 10-15% contribution to 401K) and ending up with two houses (and a divorce). After 2009 my net worth was negative due to the underwater houses that offset my 401K savings. Yes, my Target Retirement fund took a beating in 2007/08.
Wow, I re-read that the paragraph I just typed. And I have to admit I got no where for a decade, getting a 6-figure salary for half that time.
End of 2010, I got a job overseas. Doubled my income because of overseas living perks, and halved my federal taxable income due to foreign residence exclusion. I no longer pay 10% California state tax.
I started reading ERE and MMM in 2011. Sold off both houses by 2012. I reduced my rent by co-habitating. Went out less, enjoyed nature more. I traveled smarter (being frugal). Stop buying crap on Amazon.
I work near loud machinery. Lately I got a bit of ringing inside my head. People are changing things so we are less exposed to loud noises.
However, due to ERE and MMM (and +80% savings rate), I saved enough to retire in 2 and 1/2 years. $500K nest egg, $20K/yr expenses. Age late 30s.
The ringing in my head is saying the time is up.

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Post by Felix »

I don't know the details, but maybe looking into this would be an option.


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Post by JoeNCA »

That is brilliant, mustymon.
What a way to utilize overseas employment to increase income and to reduce taxes at same time to leverage ERE.
I must say, that's quite an achievement!
Shows there is more than one way to skin a cat. A food for thought, indeed.

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Post by Hottentot »

I live with tinnitus too, but because i made a dumbass thing to my ear some years ago.

I'm ok about it now, but i wish i could go back...

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Post by JohnnyH »

2.5 years, wow! New land speed record?

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Post by Tyler9000 »

Nice work, Mustymon. Impressive savings accomplishment.
I also recently developed tinnitus with a bit of hearing loss. I'm unsure what caused it, as the most recent noise exposure I can think of was months ago at at old job. But perhaps the effects were cumulative and something pushed me over the edge. I'm also in my mid-30s, and while I was already working towards the ERE path I agree that it's an extra kick in the ass to take best advantage of good health.
As an aside, if anyone has a good recommendation for treating or dealing with the symptoms, I'd love to have some advice.

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Post by chenda »

@tyler9000 - silence is usually the worse for tinnitus suffers, so masking the ringing with relaxing sounds can be helpful, especially when trying to fall asleep. Though you might want to get some medical advice, especially if its happened suddenly. I have very minor tinnitus in one ear, I think the result of too much clubbing. I've always avoided iPods and the like though as they can cause noise induced hearing loss and other problems.
@ mustymon - great job on the savings!

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Post by Tyler9000 »

Thanks Chenda.
Yeah, the doctor ran a few tests, ruled out serious conditions, and said my test results are common from noise exposure. Basically, I'll go back in 6 months to monitor any changes.
In the meantime, I'm just learning to deal with the noise. Some days are better than others, so I'm trying to isolate triggers.

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Post by mustymon »

@Felix: I'm wary about getting disability since I'm fine to work. Just can't work near loud machines cause I know tinnitus will get worst. Thanks for the thought. Also getting disability seems to go against work ethic, and ERE in general (IMO). Then again, we should all apply for mental "disability" after working 8 straight hours sitting down in an office for years on end.
@JoeNCA: The hard part is getting these rare overseas positions. Apply for a company that does overseas work. Work in US for awhile, then gradually do a horizontal shift to the overseas position.
@Hottentot: I have the same regret.
@JohnnyH: I was mildly surprise looking at my spreadsheet this year. But then again, I accumulated a 401K for 10 years that rebounded. I increased my salary with annual pay increases. I stayed in the same company for a long time, and my pay reflects that. In the atmosphere point of view, I accumulated $500K in 10+ years. Not bad, but I'm sure Jacob and anybody else can do that with a normal circumstances.
Tyler9000: It felt accumulative to me too. And I had it in episodes. I read that if you keep having these tinnitus episodes, the long it takes for your body to recover. Eventually, it becomes permanent. I bought custom ear plugs, and a Bose anti-noise headphones. Probably the only solution is environmental. Stay away from noise. I'm developing a wireless control, so work can be done further from the loud machine.
The worst part is sleeping at night, I'll try masking.

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