Advice on Masking and Focusing

Discussion in 'Support' started by DGad, Apr 18, 2015.

    1. DGad

      DGad Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hello all community members,

      this is my first post so I believe a brief overview is required for those willing to help to understand where I stand.

      Had the first episode of very mild unilateral (left ear) tinnitus in the summer of 2014, not long after my 22nd birthday, after a minor and weak cold for 2 days. Went away straightaway - came back for a few days, gone again. Wasn't fussed too much as it wasn't constant and only left me with a few sleepless nights. However, in September 2014, tinnitus became more frequent and started torturing me every day after spending a few hours in a room with mold which led to me have a huge allergic reaction. The tinnitus again, was unilateral, low rumbling/rustling sound. Went to the docs, no acoustic neuromas or hearing damage so dunno what caused it: I was always very active throughout my teenage years and at that particular time, eating healthy though maybe stressed slightly to a higher degree than the average folk; the idea that I quit smoking a month before (for 6 months I was only smoking occasionally to avoid the cold turkey) did cross my mind several times yet from what I can observe in the literature, it is very uncommon and overall a long stretch.

      I think what's very important to mention is my background: for ~5 years prior to the onset of tinnitus, I slept with ear plugs for most nights (took great care in terms of preventing wax buildup and so forth) as I was/am extremely sensitive to sound since I was a child - mainly explained by my Asperger's (hence intrinsically protected my ears from loud sound). In addition, I was involved with music throughout my life, including classical music in substantial amounts leading to me to have a highly differential/selective hearing by that age. Yes, I'm pretty much the worse case scenario to have tinnitus haha! :)

      Since then, I have acquired white noise generators to relieve my hyperacusis (the hearing test showed that I cannot tolerate sub-normal noise) which helped at the start when my tinnitus was at its infancy. However, I have had 4 major flare-ups since September, 2 of which coincided with a really bad case of acid reflux (have a hiatal hernia and am pretty much constantly on medication - and already discussing surgery prospects this year). I have more or less managed (with extreme sleep deprivation of course even huge amounts of melatonin + sleeping tablets and other sleep aids) to habituate to my tinnitus before the flareup 2,5 weeks ago - must say that really good knowledge of CBT saved my guts! However, the last flareup (with the most debilitating hyperacusis - took 3 days for me to leave the house) really hardened me as it resulted in bilateral tinnitus (Left ear - 2 pitches: 1 is a low rumbling sound, the other is around ~1,5khz; right ear is around 3khz and extremely, extremely loud overpowering the left ear). The annoying part is that I'm not able to effectively mask it- any sound that exhibits a sound in the ~3khz range from fans to white noise actually gets exacerbated (even piano sound) so I need to really mask by volume rather than pitch. However, even now I can only tolerate sounds to a certain degree hence the last 2 weeks were pretty much without a good night's sleep. Furthermore, my focus is completely gone even when during the day when wearing the white noise generators and not aware of the tinnitus, which is a common feature I've heard (which also inhibits me from doing solid CBT).

      Seen the doctor this week and she said that simply continue with what you're doing and give it time (done the hearing test again - my hearing is slightly worse than the previous test, yet still tangibly better than normal hearing). Easier said than done. My health has been progressively getting worse (lack of sleep), my studies are suffering badly, and my quality of life has reached the point where if this doesn't improve in the short-term and quite substantially (to whatever cause - habituation or other), will be no longer acceptable to me. Do understand, I had 4 major flareups in the last 8 months - that does scar you psychologically! Being an extremely positive person and knowing CBT got me to this point, but the experience really hardened me and drained me mentally. So I am asking for your experience/knowledge in terms advice on masking (knowing the issue I have) and anything that would improve my focus (which I believe is not the result of sleep deprivation as I had issues from the very start - nervous system shock possibly?)

      P.S. Yes, I'm on gingko (certainly helped), zinc, omega, b vitamins), I do neck/should physiotherapy/stretching, my diet has almost non-existent artificial sugars or salt - almost a vegetarian in diet (rarely eat meat), moderately active and did experiment with diet to no avail.

      Any advice and support will be strongly welcomed!

    2. Stink

      Stink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      sorry i couldnt read your long message it was too long to read but i want to try help

      try masking sounds that are natural (wind, water, sea, forest, crickets, cows, birds). it helps you concentrate.'

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