Zimichael
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Semi-retired

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    1. Zimichael
      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

    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    N. California
    Occupation:
    Semi-retired
    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 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 Eeeeeeeeeee.

    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 reactivity of hyperacusis makes life much more difficult.

    However, over the 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 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 (like lots of travel, dance, classes, dinner with more than one or two 'sound aware' friends, etc., etc.). However, as I have often said in posts, my hyperacusis seems to calm down about 5% per year, so after 6 years since the last "zap" in 2012 I am a little less affected by that. However, the psychological and emotional toll on me has been intense and is exacerbated greatly by the isolation it has caused.

    My one real escape has been back-packing in the high country of the Sierra Nevada mountains and do it as often as I can. Pure, deep, open, no earplugs needed SILENCE...well outside my head that is! *[Anyone who wants to consider joining me, send me a PM].
    As you may see from the new "Tinnitus Safe Travel & Meeting Network" threads I have posted I am ready (I hope) to maybe try travel and get out more again. Time will tell if that happens or not, but for sure is worth attempting.

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

    I joined the TT Forum (initially to try to get out of my shell a bit) in late 2012 I think, and was very involved for many years. However, I got totally burned out with endless requests for help and the amount of time I used to give to that. In return I seemed to get very little myself as "online reality" does not give me much. I need real world contact and meeting in person to feel like I have something more than a kind of 'ghost' experience of anyone. Thus my new idea about a network to do just that - meet other T & H people in person rather than a format where people just seem to go "poof" and disappear at a moment's notice.

    After all my time with multiple levels of T and H I do have a considerable amount of experience under my belt about the subject. I would like to help others of course, but as said above my energy levels for doing so are limited. I want to meet people in the real world, not just the cyber world, though I realize it may initially have to start there. So please honour that and don't bug me for endless info and help – especially on subjects that are already so well covered on TT if you put some effort into the Search function.
    Thank you!

    Best, Michael