Dec 24, 2013
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N. California

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    1. Zimichael
      That previous pyramid icon of mine is a natural rock, sitting in a lake at 10,500 ft. in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, California
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  • About

    N. California
    Tinnitus Since:
    (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
    Cause of Tinnitus:
    Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
    Born and raised in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia then), I first got tinnitus when my brother threw a fire-cracker at me at age 6. I adapted to it fairly quickly (the resilience of youth!) and it did not not bother me much until some noisy construction work I was helping with nearly 30 years later in early 1980's. Uh-oh...that was the real beginning! Bi-aural tinnitus, worse on the left = the side where that darn fire-cracker went off. Earplugs and earmuffs in noise zones became du jour from then on, though I still lived a pretty normal and vibrant life. Only those who knew me well could tell I had "hearing issues" as would notice I avoided high volume situations, especially in the first 3 years or so after this 'second volume level' of damage. My tinnitus did not rule my life and despite being pretty darn loud in my head I could deal with it. Dance classes, extensive travel, parties (but not near the band), dinner with friends, restaurants, etc. were OK...My inner volume did not "react" it stayed the same high pitched Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    That all changed in 2006 when hyperacusis and louder ringing joined the party (sic) thanks to a cocktail of ototoxic meds which made me feel like my head was getting blown off inside. [Neomycin & Amphotericin primarily]. That was a mistake on the part of my docs, but I was really ill and they were doing their best. It was one of those 'irreversible mistakes' unfortunately.
    I could hardly handle it for years. Depressed, scared, life turned upside down...a mess. The added reactivity of hyperacusis makes life much more difficult.

    However, over then next 6 years things calmed a bit, and I could actually do dance classes again (but not if loud music) and be around groups of people, etc., etc. However, despite high vigilance, in late 2012 I got re-triggered by exposure I could not even tell was affecting me at the time. It sounded safe (a small meeting in room with 'hard' acoustics) but it was not, and I walked out with an even higher level of tinnitus and renewed hyperacusis. Gaaaaaaaaarh!!! 2013 was a very, very, very hard year. After coming so far, and just getting my life back, to just lose it all again...Well, I had to keep myself firmly away from gun stores.

    Since the 2012 increase I have by necessity become reclusive and can't do 95% of the things I would like to be doing (travel, dance, dinner with a group of friends, etc., etc.) Still trying to work my way back to the surface but it's not going so well. Perhaps the more times one gets "zapped", with hard core reactive T & H the longer it takes to calm down again? I don't know, but seems to be the case with me.
    My one real escape is back-packing in the high country of the Sierra Nevada mountains and do it as often as I can. Pure, deep, open SILENCE...well outside my head that is! Anyone who wants to consider joining me, send me a PM.

    I try to not wear plugs all the time like we're supposed to not, but the world is a noisy place, and wearing them just amplifies the inside-my-head sound of it anyway, so Catch-22...Sigh! However, I am NOT a fan of this total noise exposure stuff, as the rules change with the kind of "Reactive T" and hyperacusis combo I have. You can read my posts for reasons.
    If you want a sense of how loud my tinnitus is, do a search for: "Eyes Like Saucers" under my Zimichael name. No BS, it's kinda insane when I think about it...Full on nuttso volume level!

    I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life with this condition. I was getting super amped about auditory brain neurology and the new Kv drugs that could cure us in the near future, but did not have a good experience on my Retigabine trial. Still watching the whole area though as still consider it the best "candidate" for an effective treatment - especially earlier on after first getting T.

    Joining this TT Forum (initially to try to get out of my shell a bit), has been incredible. I have learned so much and there are so many wonderful, dedicated people involved. After all my time with multiple levels of T and H, I do have a good amount of experience under my belt about the subject, so hope that perhaps I can help others as much as I have been helped by them.

    Best, Michael
If you have ringing ears then you've come to the right place. We are a friendly tinnitus support board, dedicated to helping you discuss and understand what tinnitus treatments may work for you.