18 Months with Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Nich, Dec 30, 2015.

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    1. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      My T began randomly one night 18 months ago. It incited a flare of my panic disorder and my life got very dark very quickly. For the first time ever I had to go on an SNRI and klonopin just to survive. I lost 30lbs from the stress and had to go to my car during the work day to deal with constant panic attacks. The constant dog whistle in my head just drove me crazy. I literally thought I was going to be disabled or worse from this. After one month I still felt crazy but it was a bit better. Two months in the overt panic started to subside and I got off the klonopin. About four months in I was down to just high anxiety and I started to not hear the T an hour or two a day when I got really busy. Six months in I had a set back and the character of the T changed. It just got stuck in this mixed hiss and dog whistle that had previously been my 'bad days' sound. It has since stayed there. Regardless, I soldiered through and really started to learn what it meant to accept it. I guess the shift made me realize I couldn't control it. I also got off the SNRI as I could tell I was mentally healthy enough to start recovering without help. About a year in was when I really started to get annoyed that I was letting this sound annoy me. So I just started to sit and listen to it. It was hard at first as you don't realize how much you've habituated until you sit for 20 minutes and focus on the sound. But, then I also realized that it was amazing how much my brain was muting this terrible sound. And, I learned that if I let my focus go to it and it goes full strength loudness that it will not get stuck there. Sounds silly but I really think a part of me was scared of that. About 14 months in I was getting pretty habituated. At least 4-5 hrs a day I didn't hear it. still has some passing anxiety off and on.

      So now it's the much talked about 18 months in.

      And, the big question is, 'are you fully habituated?'
      Functionally, yes I think I'm about as habituated as I'm going to get. I have rare days where I just forget it's there and don't hear it. Most days I hear it 3-4 hrs a day. When I hear it, it only rarely induces anxiety. And, the sound, while not pleasant, has lost most of its bite.

      'Is your tone louder, softer, the same, etc?'
      It is louder than I started with but I don't perceive it as loud anymore. My tone cannot be masked except in the shower, hot tub full blast, and outside when cicadas are singing loudly. It is loud enough that it has caused a real loss of hearing as I have a hard time hearing over it when there is a lot of noise and it gets reactive. But, I care about how I perceive it. And, in general, I perceive it as less loud and MUCH less grating than when it first came on.

      'How does it affect your life now?'
      On a scale of 1-10 I'd say it's a 2. It can cause a crappy day now and again and can be annoying. But, most of the time it doesn't have much effect anymore.

      'How is your anxiety and panic?'
      I still get a little anxiety from it from time to time. But, my general level of anxiety is the same or less than before it set in.

      'What have you lost or how has your life changed from T?'
      Mostly positive things have happened. Found out my dad has had super loud T since he was about my age and we have bonded more through this. Prior to T I was seriously sound adverse but now I'm much, much better. Still don't like loud places, but they no longer cause stress. Honestly, the single best advice I was given when this occurred was to just refuse to change my life. Go to everything you are invited to and fake it until you make it. BEST ADVICE EVER.

      'Have you found anything that helps your T?'
      Klonopin has a marked sound reduction effect. I have a lot of variability and spiking in my T and Magnesium really seems to help it be more consistent. Anything that relaxes my muscles around my neck reduces volume. Can be muscle relaxers or a serious hot tub session or anything in between.

      'Anything that makes your T worse?'
      Butternut squash soup from Panera increases the loudness a lot. Thai food seems to cause an increase in loudness, especially when it's really spicy. Stress and anxiety make me notice it more.

      'Does your current reality look like what you thought at the onset of your T?'
      No. I thought I would be disabled or suicidal or at a minimum struggling to keep my job. My job performance has remained very good. I actually got a couple raises and more responsibility over the time. I thought it might ruin my marriage but we are stronger than ever. I was worried that it would just get worse and worse and I'd be a basket case. But while it has gotten louder and moved to a more caustic tone I actually don't perceive it as loudly now and the tone hurts less than it did initially. The hyperauscussis that came on initially also went away which I feared never would.

      'What was the top advice you were given?'
      1. Don't change anything in your life. Suffer through the social stuff until you get back on track.
      2. Stop evaluating the quality and changes in your tone and instead evaluate how's it's making you feel. Cause you can actually change that.
      3. Accept your tone as a new part of you (this is really hard, but key to habituation).
      4. Stop searching the Internet about T. It's all depressing and scary and only represents the most severely affected among us.
      5. Be judicious in treating T with OTC stuff and supplements. The vast majority of stuff does not work.

      'Are you a success story?'
      I think so. I'm happy and love my life. T is hard and I am fully aware that I'm going to have setbacks from time to time. But I no longer believe that it will seriously hurt my life or relationships. I view it like my panic disorder now. It's there. It can be annoying sometimes and sometimes it will flare and make life hard. But, it always clears up and isn't anything to fear or worry about.

      If you are new to T just don't give up and know that it will get better.
       
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    2. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Great story. Pretty close to mine as well. Two years just in here.
       
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    3. Sgguy46
      Jaded

      Sgguy46 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      @Sound Wave what is your story? care to share? thanks
       
    4. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      It's somewhere here in this forum. :) But pretty much similar to yours, timewise as well.
       
    5. joseph Ghass
      Angelic

      joseph Ghass Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2015
      Did you try to change ur diet or exercise?
       
    6. Nich
      Batty

      Nich Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Arkansas
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2014
      @joseph Ghass I tried to do better with both but only made small progress there. However, exercise was very helpful with managing the anxiety and panic when it first occurred.
       
    7. Natalie Roberts
      Depressed

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Thanks for sharing. :)
       
    8. Charlie396

      Charlie396 Member

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Good stuff man
       

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