13 Years of Sound Sensitivity and Tinnitus: It Gets Better

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Trisoloran, Dec 4, 2020.

    1. Trisoloran

      Trisoloran Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/IDK
      I beat tinnitus and sound sensitivity again and again and again.

      What follows is how I have lived with these conditions for the past 13 years and lived a 'normal' life. Movie theaters, rollercoasters, air travel, higher and self taught education, career changes and an expansion of my musical tastes.

      Real quick, I'm 32. I was 'gifted' with moderate hearing loss at birth and 'endowed' with tinnitus and sound sensitivity at 19. The exact cause is unknown, but at the time I was an extensive headphone user and I've been prone to ear infections my entire life. First it began with tinnitus, then it progressive to 'everything is louder' and within weeks my conditions were in full bloom.

      So, what did I do? I completed my finals and proceeded to hide out in my childhood bedroom for three weeks, just recovering. Trips to ENT, audiologist were informative but not particularly help nor compassionate. My family helped me and my true friends stood by.

      What happened next? Well, ear plugs became part of my EDC (every day carry) I wore one in my bad ear (left one) while driving, walking in the street, in a loud room with people talking, you name it. Eventually, I returned to my outdoor job (lifeguarding) and re-entered college. Throughout this time my tinnitus was constant but my sound sensitivity would wax and wane. I did eventually experience spikes; I'll quickly list all that I can remember;

      1. August 2008: needed to quiet lifeguarding job
      2. December 2008 - January 2009: Santa's gift??
      3. January 2011: snow???
      4. January 2013: ear infection from swimming
      5. February 2015: shower ear infection
      6. December - January 2015: impacted ear wax
      7. February 2019: probably ear wax
      8. December 2020: new car is louder than I thought it would be, getting better though

      What advice do I have to give with general coping/keeping tinnitus/hyperacusis at a manageable level? It's this; keep track of what sets you off. If there is a pattern or a root cause, eliminate it. I didn't go to a single movie theater from 2008 til 2014. I stayed away from roller coasters until 2016 and used protection when I went. I kept protection on my person and made sure I had spares and back ups. For many years I kept a pair of sound proofing ear muffs in my car. If a certain frequency sound sets off your tinnitus, mitigate it as much as you can and know what things will make noise in a similar frequency. We are victims of genetics and circumstance but we're victims who can't afford to wallow in the righteous fury of vicitimhood. No one will look out for you but you.

      How to keep gong and get back out there? Well, I'm not going to preach about mental toughness. That's bullshit. I am going to preach about forgiveness and self care.

      Who is being forgiven? You. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself. Much like our current pandemic affected society and economy, the world wasn't built for people like us. You'll forget your earplugs one day, have an emergency vehicle pass by you while you're walking, get caught up in rowdy street celebration of some kind. It isn't your fault. You can't go back in the past and do something differently after the fact. If there is a cause you understand, focus on how you can fix it and not raging at a past you.

      Self-care is hard. The pressures of adulthood don't stop when you have a bad day. This is of course EVERYONE'S situation but our definition of a 'bad day' doesn't involve hair (usually). What works is that you do what to have to do to get through that day. Ignore the weird stares if you're wearing earmuffs, skip out on that work event at the bar and make that appointment instead of buying someone a Christmas gift. If someone goes overboard pressuring you to a night out, if that person is a close friend, talk to them after you calm down. There are times when it'll be you with a book, TV/computer/video game on silent while you're missing out on something. It isn't your fault and sometimes you come first. If people know you and care for you the person, they will understand. Those who don't will be telling on themselves pretty quickly with how they act. You come first in those situations.

      So, overall, a 'normal' life is possible. I've been to top golf, arcades, bars with small arcades, amusement parks, St. Patrick's Day parade (for hours with earplugs + earmuffs but what an experience!) traveled overseas, held a number of different (indoor!) jobs, dated, walked friends' dogs, played and baby sat young nephews. I'll never drive a high performance car, see Slayer in concert, become an airline pilot, go to a shooting range, use audiophile quality headphones, get a surround sound system, go clubbing, hand out flyers in Lower Manhattan or watch The Giants play Jets in person. But guess what? I wasn't going to do any of that or can't do anything of that, with or without my condition. One final thing: you can't do everything with the people in your life that you used to do but be damn sure to do what you still can. Flex when you can, make a face appearance at that family party with the middle aged cover band playing Gábor 70s rock live and loud. That half an hour goes a long a way.

      I can't speak to any therapies, as I've never seriously considered going through the process. An audiologist wanted to 'study me' but I wasn't and I'm still not interested. I might learn something from all of you if there are indeed new effective medications and therapies.
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    2. Orions Pain

      Orions Pain Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A series of unfortunate events
      This is positive :) One thing you don’t mention is a description of your tinnitus? How loud is/was it? Was it reactive? Easily maskable?
    3. AUTHOR

      Trisoloran Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection/IDK
      It is fairly loud, when I want to hear it. Perhaps in the ballpark of a small fan from across the room on low speed.

      Usually I have to focus to hear it, although during an uptick I'll hear it no problem. So, yes, my tinnitus is reactive. As far as masking, I do not need to do anything special, as I have acclimated to the sound and I don't hear it when things are quiet and I'm not thinking about it.
    4. Shakey3258

      Shakey3258 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      My last week has been unbearable Is that bad when it woke me up I thought I was going to have a heart attack now that it's really getting really serious now but unfortunately I have a loose tooth now obvious this call stress what's the word things worse I couldn't get a dentist and even if I could I was of balance I couldn't even walk straight so now I am really panicking dreading the thought of going to sleep just in case I wake up again like this wondering if I was having a heart going to have a heart attack with the shock to my system I'm just trying nobody else has gone through this way you think you're going to die through the stress.I will admit I've never cried so much in my life I can handle my spikes at 10 most people could not handle that all day spike like I have but now Idare not go to sleep tonight it must be stress I'm thinking about buying the tinnitool its dear £500 cheap to get rid of this its cold laser treatment anybody else tried it all the best

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