3 Months Into Mild Tinnitus — Story for Newbies to Help Cope with Initial Panic and Depression

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by rmnkby, Mar 8, 2019.

    1. rmnkby

      rmnkby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec-12, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      I just wanted to share my progress in 3 months after my acoustic trauma (concert) that left me with mild tinnitus. This post mainly targets newbies, to help them cope with the initial panic and depression. Even mild tinnitus can get someone pretty depressed in the early days due to the power of the two key phrases: "permanent" and "no cure".

      First let me tell you about my current situation. After my trauma, I was left with two sounds: One is the pretty common super-high pitch "eee" sound. The other one is kind of a screeching sound, I was more concerned about the latter, as it is harder to ignore.

      Today at 3-month mark, I can say that the really high pitch sound hasn't improved much. The second sound, however, has subsided quite a bit, probably to 30% of what it was at 1-month mark. (Note that it's not 30% of day-1, it's 30% of the level on day-30).

      Today, I can sleep with silicone earplugs (I have been doing that for the last 10 years) and fall asleep in no-longer than before. When I think about tinnitus while trying to sleep, I can hear it very clearly, but as soon as I think about something else, it fades into the background and disappears. One minute later, if I think about it again, it's still there at the same loudness. Pretty significant actually, especially with the silicone earplugs, but my brain is already starting to do a good job of filtering it out, even though it has only been 3 months. That gives me great hope that I'll even forget that I have it in a couple years.

      I still use headphones (though no in-ear earphones, and no louder than 20-30% volume). I only use it in office, where I don't have an option to use speakers. There are people in this forum who will tell you "absolutely no headphones, no exceptions" but I feel like such extreme measures don't help dealing with this mentally. I really find it hard to believe that using headphones 1 hour a day at 20% volume can make your mild tinnitus worse. Like anything else, this is also not understood well enough, and there's no scientific data to back that you have to absolutely avoid headphones, even at low volume. This is my feeling on this. I recommend to take everyone's opinions with a grain of salt, decide on the level of risk that you're comfortable with, and at the end make up your own decision.

      I got ear molds (musicians ear plugs) and use them for concerts. Although, from now on I'm only going to concerts that have a reasonable volume, preferably quieter outdoor section, or outdoor festivals where the sounds dissipates into the air and doesn't have nearly as high of a SPL as an enclosed club. I avoid loud and small clubs completely. Considering I'm 36 years old, I've been to those places enough times already..

      So sum up, my mood has gone from constant panic and depression to "it'd be nice to not have this mild ringing, but oh well.."

      I have a few suggestions for the newbies:
      1- It's OK to be sad/depressed about it, spending all day on forums, panicking whether your life will ever be the same, etc. in the early days. Don't fight these feelings, just do what you gotta do and let these feelings dissipate. Trust that you'll eventually feel less and less sad about this. Just like fighting a cold virus, your body/brain will fight this sad feeling, and eventually get back to a normal state. That's just how incredible our body/brain is. It always does its thing to survive. Remember your first break-up? Do you feel nearly as sad as day-1? This is the same. Of course, if 6 months later you're still feeling as bad as day-1, you might need professional help. But don't expect to feel great and completely forget that you have tinnitus a few days/weeks after your trauma either. Give yourself time. Feel what you gotta feel.

      2- Don't worry that your new life will suck with all the new limitations. Think of this as a blessing: Most people get much worse tinnitus when they're older. That's maybe because those people didn't have tinnitus when they were younger and didn't get a chance to become experts on this like us. Thanks to our current condition making us experts, we will all take care of our ears in the best way possible for the rest of our lives. And maybe our ears will be in better shape when we're older than if we had never had this problem when we were younger.

      Trust that your brain is amazing, and as I explained above, just like fighting a flu virus, it will also fight this symptom and do its best to make it stop bothering you. You will also stop feeling sad, just like a joke stops being funny after a while, and continue living your lie with new limitations which will help maintain your health better for the long term.

      PS: Don't forget that there is always a chance for a cure as well, but I do not recommend completely relying on it to be OK with your condition. I believe most people with mild tinnitus can get to a state where they don't even care whether there's a cure or not, and that should be the goal.

      Good luck!
      -Erman
       
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    2. M.K.
      Bookworm

      M.K. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Somatosensory
      Hey @rmnkby, this is a great post! A lot of what you said is something that I try to tell myself when I’m feeling super down and anxious. If you don’t mind me asking, how mild is your tinnitus? Meaning.. when do you really hear it? Thanks in advance!
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      rmnkby

      rmnkby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec-12, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Hey M.K. Glad you can relate to my thoughts. My T is pretty mild, it has to be totally silent for me to hear it. For example, I cannot hear it over a computer fan. But it's definitely there when I sleep. So one might say "easy to be so relaxed and positive when your condition is so mild", and I understand, that's why I specified the target audience as "mild sufferers" in the beginning.

      I feel like what bothers us sufferers is a combination of "current annoyance" and "anxiety about future". I think with mild tinnitus, as you get used to it, the portion of "current annoyance" decreases, and we are really mostly worried about the future, the limitations in our life, whether it'll get worse, etc. For me the current annoyance is minor, only some nights that I hear it more because I struggle to sleep due to some other reason (which used to happen once in a while anyway due to work stress, etc.). And for the "anxiety about future" portion, my way to handle it is to see this as an early warning, which I should feel blessed about. Without this warning and all the information I have learned in the process (mostly on these forums) I would probably keep doing stupid things and harm my ears in worse ways, and end up with severe hearing damage/tinnitus when I'm older.

      Another thing that shocked me during this process was to see how many of my friends (close friends that I've known for years) also have this condition, and I had no idea, because it's not worth mentioning for any of them. They simply don't care.

      How about yours? Is it as mild as mine? What makes you so down and anxious? Sleep problems? Or just worrying about the future?
       
    4. Iowa54
      Alone

      Iowa54 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012 possibly 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Band practice/shooting incident.
      I so wish I had it back at the "only in quiet rooms" stage. I hope something will come along to help knock this thing down a bit. Good luck to you as well.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      rmnkby

      rmnkby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec-12, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      @Iowa54 , I'm sorry that yours is worse. May I ask, what was the initial cause of your tinnitus? Was it noise induced and mild in the beginning, and got worse despite being careful afterwards?
       
    6. Iowa54
      Alone

      Iowa54 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012 possibly 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Band practice/shooting incident.
      I believe it was noise induced I don't know exactly what did it but it could have been one unprotected shot at the gun range or being in a band practicing in a small room. After I first told my parents they got my hearing checked and it was okay. Took precautions from then on and eventually I didn't really hear it anymore. Had it that way almost 10 years. Had my first ever "spike" that I think is permanent but I hope not. Louder than it's ever been. Thought this time might have been another acoustic trauma but it came on almost a month after a loud event. Audiologist says hearing is still fine. Ent shuffled me in and out saying there was nothing they could do but possibly give me an mri to make sure it isn't a tumor. Told me I was young and things would get better and I was out in about 10 min.
       

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