Am I Habituating?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Lisa123, Dec 16, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Lisa123
      Overworked

      Lisa123 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      So here is my story. I have tinnitus caused by an acoustic trauma for 5 months now. Now recently my tinnitus started to change after my fourth month in, it started to quiet down. During my initial months it was practically impossible for me to sleep or study in a quiet room, now I do it all the time. I still hear my tinnitus, but most of the time it doesn't seem that loud and at moments I even think it's quiet (when I plug my ears at such moments the T is as loud as ever, but not really when my ears are unplugged). I do still have spikes once and a while when I've been near loud environments and quickly switch to more quite environments.

      Am I habituating or is there a possibility that my T is slowly fading away?

      How does habituation actually work? I've been reading these amazing stories on this forum about habituation. But how does it change your perception of T? All those people in the world who presumably have tinnitus but not even give a damn about it or don't even know they have it. Is this because they habituated naturally?
       
    2. Marcini
      Dreaming

      Marcini Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Habituation is basically just acceptance. You still hear it the same as always, but you no longer react in a negative way towards the tinnitus. You just get on with it and live your life as best you can regardless.

      It is possible that a person's tinnitus may decrease over time but it is more likely that you have just habituated to it over the months since it appeared.

      Everyone is different. Some people may have very quiet tinnitus and not even be aware of it. Others may have similarly quiet tinnitus and be unable to cope. Generally it's harder to adapt when the tinnitus is louder, but habituation is possible regardless of how bad the tinnitus. Interestingly, it is estimated that 10% of the world suffer from tinnitus at some low level while 1% have more severe tinnitus.
       
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    3. awbw8
      Balanced

      awbw8 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2013
      It sounds like it might be a little bit of both for you right now (lessening sound and habituation) which is just fine!

      It took me a year-ish to habituate after my own acoustic trauma. I think the sound faded a bit, but mostly the way my brain reacted to it changed - so in that way it does change your perception of the tinnitus. It goes from a threat to a non-issue, and when you're not focusing on it, it can seem quieter, but if you really check it (plug your ears) it sounds the same. There will probably be ups and downs, but give it time, things will likely keep getting better.

      Habituation is a natural process, so if you don't get in its way, and it sounds like you're not, then it will largely just happen. The same way you habituate to trains if you live near some tracks, or planes overhead if you're near an airport. Of course, it's easier to get used to those because you can A. get away and B. you're not threatened by them, but it's the same idea - you'll get used to it to a degree where you don't care.

      I'm not sure I'd equate acceptance with habituation. Acceptance can have this connotation of taking on something you don't like sort of begrudgingly, if gracefully - as some kind of unwanted duty/necessity. Habituation doesn't have an emotion attached to it, and you can't make it happen. It just does and it sounds like you're on your way :)
       
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    4. Lisa123
      Overworked

      Lisa123 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma

      I'm far from accepting my tinnitus. I hate it. I'm a very perfectionist type of person. And I need to study a lot. So having tinnitus is something I'm not coping well with. Can habituation happen even though you're far from accepting?
       
    5. Marcini
      Dreaming

      Marcini Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Well, no one likes their tinnitus, believe me. You just have to try to accept it. Unfortunately there is no alternative at the minute. Hopefully there will be a cure some day but for now you just need to stay positive and put it out of your mind. Focus on the positive things in life and always try to have something to look forward to. The less you focus on it the better it will seem. It's not perfect but it's better than ruminating over something that you can't fix. If you can stay positive and not let it get to you then you're well on your way to habituation.

      I'm also a perfectionist type. There may be something going on in the brain that makes us more prone to tinnitus in the first place. People with GAD, OCD and other mental health issues seem particularly prone.
       
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    6. awbw8
      Balanced

      awbw8 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2013
      I think so - I think the two will kind of happen alongside one another. When I first got T, I could NOT imagine even wanting to habituate, it sounded like such a sad thing - to get used to that sound. I'm sure at some moment I accepted it in there somewhere - but it wasn't an "ah hah" moment - like habituation, it happened gradually. Acceptance was in moments where I wanted to crawl under a rock and die, but instead I went to work, or saw a friend. It was more in my choice to live than in learning to "accept T" per se. Habituation wasn't an "ah hah" moment either, there wasn't a "I'm not habituated" and an "I'm habituated" line that you cross in a day's space. Like you, I said to myself...wait, am I habituating? Over time, I had to assume, yes, I guess I am. The bad days grew fewer and fewer until days were just days again, no better or worse than ever before.

      That said, you don't have to give your T a big, genuine mental hug - but don't recite a mantra of T hate all day. "I who love music" (a user) had a great suggestion - if you find yourself feeling angry about your T volume or anything, tell yourself about your reaction (not the volume) and then let it go. E.g: "Wow I'm frustrated with my T right now, I'm scared I wont habituate," not "gosh my T seems louder than yesterday, what a disaster, how will I ever habituate." Better yet, use some of Dr. Hubbards mantras if you're feeling scared, "Gosh I'm really angry at my T right now, but others have had this and habituated or the T went away, one of those things will happen for me, too." The point it, telling your brain Tinnitus is a thing to focus on negatively as a threat is no good - you don't have to like the T, but do try to do a living meditation with it - if it comes into focus, gently acknowledge it and then let it go, or start a positive activity to take your mind off it for a bit.

      Also, I am (was?) also a perfectionist, I think T is a good lesson in letting go of some of that a little - it was a hard, but good lesson for me. Life is not perfect, we age, things break and cannot always be fixed. It's one thing to "know" that - which I did before, but another thing to live it. I think (from my humble observations) that most people who are truly bothered by T are those who are perfectionists and don't deal well with a lack of control. I didn't think I was that person, but surprise, I definitely had some of those qualities and T brought them out in the open. I did not cope AT ALL well with T in the beginning, but now I'm fine. You'll be okay, I can tell from your first post that you'll make it :)
       
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    7. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      I'm still in the early stages of my tinnitus (almost 2 months). I've been on a roller coaster with good days and bad days, but of course I only focus on the bad days. I'm praying my habituation begins soon, since I want to get back to my life (going to the gym, golfing, hanging out with friends, etc.). A lot of my problem is not getting enough good sleep. If I can jump that hurdle, the rest may become a lot easier. Doing baby steps now, I stopped taking sleeping pills, and am trying to naturally go to sleep. The sleeping pills (Ambien) definitely put me to sleep, but I didn't like the side effects. Praying that habituation will be my savior and will able me to sleep for 8 hours or more. I haven't even taken one afternoon nap since I got this 2 months ago, which is something I loved to do on the weekends. Will this be possible once I habituate? Definitely encouraging to see how many people get better over time. Are there any tips on how to habituate quicker? Or do you just let it take its natural course, however long that would be?
       
    8. @Mark K. Dont try to force habituation, it takes time and you must really give it. Get yourself busy by a hard work out or something similar. I didn´t sleep during my first 2 months, only 4 hours that the sleeping pills gave me. The sleep thing turned around once i started listen to rain sound during night, makes your brain tune out a bit on the T, if you haven´t tried that give it a shot.
       
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    9. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      Hey Nick:
      How high pitched is your ringing? Mine is very high pitched so it's pretty hard to find a masking noise. I've used cricket noises, but it's so annoying hard to go to sleep. Tried the rain and waterfalls, but doesn't really mask the ringing. Not sure if any one knows of a better way to mask a high pitched noise?

      By the way, are you still taking the sleeping pills to sleep? Which one?

      Mark K.
       
    10. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      Hi Mark,
      I take Mirtazapine (Remeron) as AD and sleeping aid.
      Nick does the same as far as I know.
      Remeron is prescribed often in Germany for T patients.
       
    11. Bart
      Balanced

      Bart Member

      Location:
      Antwerp
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/06/2014
      @Mark K.

      Hello Mark,

      I use bird songs with flowing water sounds in the background set to repeat, it does not really mask it, I do not know anything that really can mask this sound but it helps to fall asleep most of the time.
       
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    12. Blair14
      Tired

      Blair14 Member

      Location:
      New Brunswick, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
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    13. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      Hi Mark,

      I know what you are going through--we all do. Try to use sound enrichment to help you at this early stage. Do you have an iPod or iPhone? If so, you can have nature sounds and white/pink noise to mask when you're having a tough time. You really need to avoid silence this early on.

      i used Ambien sleep meds the second month of my tinnitus. They would help me fall asleep but I couldn't stay asleep with the meds. I used to take my computer to bed with me playing white noise right over my head! I burned the fan in my laptop. :) It does get much easier, believe me.

      Try this for a good night's sleep.:
      White Noise : 9 Hour Long Tinnitus Masking



       
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    14. patty

      patty Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Mark,
      What you should do is to start doing the things you've always loved doing including seeing friends, going to the gym, etc. even if you force yourself. That helped me even when I was exhausted. Then you'll be even more tired and you will sleep better. You tend to forget the T while you are busy with good things. But time is your friend with this. Habituation gradually happens. You'll start to have more good days then bad --a turning point will happen--and then you'll start feeling more positive. Try using the TV to mask by keeping it on low volume. Sleep does slowly improve. It took a year but I can take naps now, and still sleep at night. It's good that you are trying to sleep without meds. I take a combo of trazadone and remeron for sleep and usually get 7 hours, but I think it's time to try to go off. Sleep is important at this early stage. Take care.
       
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    15. amandine

      amandine Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      july 2014
      whats the story if one can fall asleep without any sound at all in the room but wake up after four hours due to habit forming now not sleeping enough. What to do then. By the way find the white noise really annoying so what to do about that as well? and the bells are annoying too.....the only thing is rushing water but that gets really annoying too. Just want this damned thing to go away and leave me alone...........
       
    16. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      Maybe you can try some nature sounds from the time that you go to sleep-cicadas or birdsong. Try some pink or blue noise-it's not as harsh as white noise. That along with sleep meds may help you get 7-8 hours. You might want to try CBT--it helps with the way we think about our tinnitus and also teaches us about exposure. Have you tried relaxation and deep breathing exercises or mindfulness of breath? You'd be surprised how these exercises can relieve stress...thereby ultimately lowering tinnitus perception.

       
    17. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Lisa
      Habituation means that you no longer have a high level of fixation on your T, you are able to focus on whatever you want, and that you no longer have a significant (negative) reaction. As a result, your limbic system will put the sound of your T 'in the back of the bus' so it no longer sounds quite as loud. If that is your case (and it sounds it) then, yes, you are habituating (congratulations!). IMHO natural habituation is the best we can do until they find a cure.

      Now, if only I could find a way to 'kick it off the bus' :LOL:.

      Mark
       
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