Are They Even Close to a Cure or Some Help?

Discussion in 'Support' started by rid0871, Sep 13, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. rid0871

      rid0871 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      may of 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      had my neck adjusted
      this is crazy, are they even close to a cure? i'm so tired of my brain sizzling, buzzing, ringing.
      it's getting way too hard. it's been 17 months.

      I have lost everything to this nightmare.
       
    2. The Red Viper
      Angry

      The Red Viper Member Team Research

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 15, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Current Theory: Leftover infection ETD + neck muscle injury
      Afraid not. The problem is that the research has splintered into two groups. One is just testing drugs to see if they work. Another is actually trying to understand the science behind T. The former will likely not bring any immediate appreciable results because they are essentially throwing darts in the hope that something will work. I put my money on the research side because the more that tinnitus can be understood, the better therapies will be developed that accurately address the issue.
       
    3. Hopeful1
      Depressed

      Hopeful1 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      No not even close to understanding exactly what neural changes in Tinnitus, what we know is when input from ear to brain is reduced, neural changes occur in brain which cause the perception of Tinnitus. They think increasing input from ear should reduce Tinnitus.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. The Red Viper
      Angry

      The Red Viper Member Team Research

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 15, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Current Theory: Leftover infection ETD + neck muscle injury
      For me proper diagnostics is the first necessary step. I want a doctor to be able to "plug" into me and hear the same sound I'm hearing.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. Jkph75

      Jkph75 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/27/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      They seem to be closest to curing hearing loss. If that's your problem, then maybe you might see a cure. You would think that would be harder to cure, but apparently not.
       
    6. volsung37

      volsung37 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Some day we may have the instrument they used in Star Trek. They will just wave it around your head and a quantum computer will diagnose the problem and advise a course of action in seconds. This probably won't happen until the 23rd century though.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. william adams
      Wishful

      william adams Member Benefactor

      Location:
      S Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one week after leg surgery plus hearing loss in higher freq.
      I find it odd that the millions of people that are seriously suffering from this annoying and sometimes debilitating condition that medical science has not been able to come up with some solution for this dreadfull condition. 50 % of soldiers coming back from war zones contract T and are costing the federal government tons of money . I have tried every suppliment known to man and am going on creatine next to try to find some relief. Who knows maybe one of us will stumble upon something that will help some of us for science hasnt done much so far.
       
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      • Informative Informative x 1
    8. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      A chuckle from @volsung37. You realize William Shatner, yes, good old Capt. Kirk, from Star Trek suffers from a severe case of Tinnitus. He spoke publicly about this dreaded thing and how he even contemplated suicide. So here is a man who had a fantastic career, made more money than God, can live the rest of his life without any cash flow worries and talking about suicide.

      Tinnitus is hard. It sucks and it changes many lives. Fingers crossed that a cure may come one day but I believe if it happens in my lifetime, it most likely will be a discovery from doing other studies and research/treatments for other things to do with the brain etc. Like ALS medications mentioned in a post possibly having a positive effect on Tinnitus. Because there can be so many different triggers to start T, finding the cure is going to be hard??
       
    9. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      William Shatner's latest public appearance is available on youtube. He was hired ( I believe ) to help bring more awareness to the issue because he suffers it, and also to ask for our donations towards research in finding a cure. The youtube video is called...."William Shatner Speaks About His Tinnitus".
       
    10. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      By the same logic, I find it odd that not more people (sufferers) are willing to donate and contribute towards their own cause:

      www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/fear.17127/page-2#post-200709

      The answer: the world (and the human beings who populate it) are not logical.
       
      • Agree Agree x 4
    11. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
      William shatner NO LONGER suffers with his t. He contemplated suicide in the beginning of his onset. But this isnt unusual for many with t at the start.

      He quite openly states that through habituation.. t is no longer a problem for him now. His video was to give people hope and educate ..
       
    12. Richard zurowski

      Richard zurowski Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      27/12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection.
      Tinnitus lacks funding research needs millions of mony into finding a cure, I can't see a cure for this awful condition coming to soon.. God I hope I'm wrong for the sake of all of us.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. Richard zurowski

      Richard zurowski Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      27/12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection.
      Cancer no cure? Parkinsons no cure? Motor neurone disease no cure? Alzheimer's disease no cure? Arthritis no cure? Common cold no cure ? Just to name a few. And Tinnitus ?
       
    14. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      @DebInAustralia

      He no longer suffers from his T or he is cured? I no longer suffer as badly as I once did however my T is still raging loud 24/7/365.
       
    15. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      For a cure, I agree. We are a long ways off. For a treatment (like a medication that reduces tinnitus without bad side effects), not necessarily. A lot of medical treatments have been discovered accidentally.

      That being said. Looking at the medical research currently going on and the snail pace it takes, we are likely at least a decade out from any sort of real treatment (not TRT).
       
    16. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      No offense but how in the world do you know shatners T is severe? And for that matter, how does shatner even know his T is severe? Not sure if you understand this but, there is NO actual objective way to gauge how severe a persons tinnitus is, it's all subjective. What one person thinks is severe could be mild to the next person. I'm sure even shatner himself understands this.
       
    17. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      @Telis

      You are probably right. His Tinnitus was enough, in his view, to contemplate suicide tho. Hence for him it was SEVERE
       
    18. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      @Telis

      When Shatner made his first public announcement about his T, he told the world how badly it effected him and how he was at the point he was considering suicide. Sounds kinda severe to me.....................
       
    19. vegasjon

      vegasjon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      I'm convinced I will die with the last sound I hear a ringing in my otherwise useless ears. But I'm a pessimist.
       
    20. The Red Viper
      Angry

      The Red Viper Member Team Research

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 15, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Current Theory: Leftover infection ETD + neck muscle injury
      The only thing that makes me hesitant about medications is that they all seem to mess with the brain and neurons. Furthermore they aren't targeted. So while a medication may be able to quiet tinnitus or even suppress it, it'll affect the whole brain. I suppose if you have severe T then you'll take it. However if you have mild or medium T I personally wouldn't mess with my most important asset.

      That is unless a new medication is discovered that actually targets T, suppresses it or induces a repair process or positively modifies plasticity in a permanent fashion, upon which you can stop taking the drug.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    21. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Yes, but depends how severe it is. If it's severe enough you are considering ending your life, it's worth a shot. If you can ignore it just fine, it's not worth the risk.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    22. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      L

      Yeah well, I've been here for a while now. I've read thousands of posts of people wanting to kill themselves over a what they later admit to as minor ringing at onset only to make a 100 percent recovery and not even hear it anymore. Just becasue the guy says he contemplated suicide means zero in terms of how severe his tinnitus is. I've talked to people that want to kill themselves over the thought of tinnitus, yes, they aren't even really sure they still have it anymore, but they think about it so much that it ruins them until they move on to the next obsession or learn to drop it. Is that severe tinnitus? I guess by your definition it would be since there were thoughts of suicide involved at one point.

      Without knowing exactly what other people experience, it's only just someones story. We believe what we believe and that's fine, but the stories start going too far (in my opinion) when they start getting stated like facts. I think this is one of the reasons that there is so much misinformation floating around regaurding tinnitus.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    23. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @rid0871
      In an ideal world everyone would want a cure for their particular ailment, and if this were possible then for some life would be great. However, in reality life isn’t like that and a cure for tinnitus may take some time. The best we can aim for is to learn to live with it (or habituate) as so many of us have been told by Doctors.
      When I first got tinnitus twenty years ago I was going through a very difficult time with my tinnitus as many people do.
      I read a newspaper article that helped to change my outlook on life and to think more positively even in my down times. This can be achieved but it does take time. The article mentioned: 19 out of 20 medical conditions cannot be cured.

      Many people do learn to habituate to their tinnitus. For those that have it severe as I do, it is still possible to a degree, but on occasions can be very problematic. I was medically retired from my job because of it. Even though no two people experience tinnitus the same, I do have an idea what it’s like when it’s loud and very intrusive.
      If you haven’t been seen at ENT then you should be referred, so all relevant tests can be carried out on your auditory system, and you may be referred to a Hearing Therapist who can suggest treatments as a way of coping with your tinnitus. Please read the post below as you might find it helpful. You can find additional posts by clicking on my profile.
      Best of luck.
      Michael

      An Introduction To Tinnitus

      For most people the onset of tinnitus can be very traumatic. It was no different for me having lived with this condition for twenty years now. Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel with help from various tinnitus organisations, books and online forums that can help a person through the difficult times so they don’t feel so alone.

      The ear is a very sophisticated and delicate organ. I think I’d be right in saying that many people don’t give this much thought or know the complex things that it does to enable us to hear and to keep our sense of balance. That is, until something goes wrong with it. The ear consists of three main parts:

      The Outer ear. This is the part that we see attached to the side of our skull and is called the Pinna. Its job is to collect sounds from the outside world and funnel them down the narrow passageway inside our head called the ear canal. It is approximately 26mm long and connects the outer ear to the inner ear. The ear canal is lined with wax, the medical term: cerumen. It protects the skin of the canal and helps prevent bacteria, dirt and other foreign substances from entering.

      The Middle ear. This comprises of the eardrum and the three smallest bones in the human body that are connected to it, called: the hammer (malleus) The anvil (incus) and the stirrup (stapes) The sound waves in the ear canal are directed onto the eardrum also known as the Tympanic membrane. It is a thin piece of tissue that is stretched between the outer and middle ear and vibrates when sound waves hits it. As the eardrum moves the malleus, incus and stapes, which are joined together also move and transfer the sound to the cochlea, which is in the inner ear.

      The Inner ear. The cochlea is the hearing part of the inner ear and is pushed by the stapes. It is a spiral tube that is filled with fluid. Its coiled structure looks similar in appearance to a snail. The vibrations that are delivered to it are turned into electrical signals by thousands of tiny nerve cells that are attached to it. These nerve cells are also known as ear hairs. As the nerves begin to vibrate to sound, the electrical signal travels directly to the brain via the vestibulocochlear (auditory nerve) known as the eighth cranial nerve. The brain interprets these signals into sound.

      The vestibulocochlear nerve transmits sound and balance information and is split into two: The cochlear nerve and vestibular nerve. Whilst sound travels along the cochlear nerve to the brain, the vestibular nerve is connected to the Semicircular canal.

      There are three semicircular canals or ducts in each ear. These small tubes are interconnected and filled with a fluid called endolymph, which contains motion sensors. The canals are at right angles to each other. When the head moves the fluid in the canals detect it and sends this information to the brain, so it knows how to keep the body in balance.

      It may surprise some of you to know that tinnitus is quite common. Mention to a friend or family member that you’re experiencing ringing in your ears and it’s causing you no end of distress and you’ll probably be told: “I get that but just ignore it”. “Mine only bothers me at night when it’s quiet but once asleep I’m fine. Another might say: “It plays a tune, at first it was strange but I’m used to it now”. And so the story goes on.

      This casual approach to tinnitus doesn’t stop there for even some healthcare professionals have a cavalier attitude to it as if it’s no problem at all. I have read on Internet forums and been told by people after seeing their GP that the sage advice given was “learn to live with it as there’s no cure.” Telling someone this when they are in distress and seeking help with their T is the last thing they want to hear, as it can often leave one at a crossroads and not knowing which way to turn.

      All things considered, it must be said this relaxed attitude towards tinnitus is changing amongst some healthcare professionals and the way they treat their patients. More understanding is being given as it’s realised when tinnitus is intrusive it can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and their emotions. This hasn’t come too soon and such people whom we reach out to for help are to be commended.

      We are all different for no two people experience tinnitus quite the same. Similarly, the condition comes in many forms: Mild, moderate and severe. It can either be constant or intermittent. It can manifest itself in one or both ears. When in both ears it is known as bilateral tinnitus and with this one can sometimes experience a sensation of the noise coming from withing the centre of the head. As if that isn’t enough, tinnitus can fluctuate in intensity daily, which can complicate matters and make habituation more difficult but still possible.

      There is no hard and fast rule for the way tinnitus will affect a person, nor is there any definitive treatment that will work to make them cope better. However, it is my intention to try and convey to you that I understand how distressing tinnitus can be when it’s severe and the way it can make a person feel having lived with it for many years. At times it hasn’t been easy but like others that have learned to habituate to their T, I hope to make your path to it a little easier and less stressful.

      I want to dispel the doubts and fears that are often associated with tinnitus when it’s loud and intrusive. Remove that wall of negativity that some people find difficult to overcome which can hinder or stop the habituation process. Replace it with positive thinking and in doing so you’ll be able to move forward and realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just because you have tinnitus doesn’t mean your future is mapped out to be one of doom and gloom. With positive thinking a lot can be achieved and I will discuss this later. For now I’ll say this: Once you learn how to harness positivity and incorporate it into your daily living, gradual changes will start to take place both in your mind and thought process about this condition as life will become easier and less problematic.

      As I’ve previously mentioned tinnitus is a common condition. When it is mild or moderate many people are able to live quite comfortably without it impacting too much on their daily life. For these kinds of people habituation to their T happens quite quickly and therefore, the need to visit their GP or to be referred to a tinnitus clinic doesn’t usually occur.

      The causes of tinnitus

      For the less fortunate amongst us that have intrusive tinnitus it can become a problem that usually requires a referral to a hospital ENT department, where further investigation needs to be carried out to try and find the cause of this anomaly.
      Some of you may have already been seen at ENT, but for those that haven’t, I will give a account of what you’re likely to expect on the day you arrive for your appointment. I won’t be able to cover everything but hopefully I’ll include the most relevant.

      Your consultant or ENT specialist will ask a series of questions that will probably begin with, how long have you been experiencing tinnitus and when did it start. Is it in one ear or both and whether it’s constant or intermittent? You will be asked to explain in detail what the tinnitus sounds like and does it change. Tinnitus varies considerably between people from buzzing, whistling and sometimes musical tones are heard.

      One of the most common is a hissing sound, which resembles white noise. You’ll be asked when does it bother you the most and how does it affect your daily living. A common question is do you have any idea what might have caused the tinnitus, as there are many factors

      Whilst this is going on your doctor will be listening and observing your body language as this can give an indication of how the tinnitus is affecting you physically and emotionally. The questions are necessary for it is you that is experiencing the tinnitus, as no one else can know what you’re going through so try to remain calm as possible.

      Notes will be taken about your medical history and whether you’re taking any medication. Your occupation could also give clues as to the cause of your tinnitus especially if you work in a noisy environment or operate machinery where noise levels are high. You may be off work sick due to your tinnitus, which is not uncommon. An important piece of information is what do you like to do socially. Do you attend nightclubs or visit places where music is played loud regularly? Over time subjecting one’s hearing to high sound levels can cause tinnitus.

      We live in a world where most people have a mobile phone on their person the majority of the time. These devices have much wider uses these days than mere telephony. They can browse the Internet when we’re out and about take photos, communicate on social media websites and do many other things. They are often used to listen to music via headphones. Walk along any high street or travel on public transport and you’ll see people listening to their music through headphones or attached to an MP3 player. They are often totally immersed into what they’re listening to and sometimes oblivious to those around them who can clearly hear their music, which is an indication that it’s too loud. Prolonged headphone use and listening to music through them at high volume levels can cause tinnitus.

      One of the main causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise, although stress, hearing loss and some medications, and including an ear infection are also known to cause it. With noise induced tinnitus a person can also experience hyperacusis, this is having a sensitivity to sound. I will be covering this in more detail later on as it deserves to be explained at length and how best to treat it since it’s closely linked with tinnitus. You will probably be asked if you are sensitive to sounds.

      Usually the doctor will look into your ears using an Auriscope to inspect the ear canal, eardrum and to see if there is any wax build up. If everything is fine this part of the consultation will be drawing to a close. The next step you’ll probably be having a hearing test which will be carried out by an Audiologist, afterwards you’ll see the ENT specialist again for the results and further consultation will take place.

      A routine procedure for someone that has had tinnitus for some time and referred to hospital for treatment is to have an MRI scan: Magnetic resonance imaging. It will enable the ENT specialist to closely examine the inside of your ear and brain to see if there is an acoustic neuroma present. An acoustic neuroma is a benign slow growing tumour attached to the eighth cranial nerve, also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve. It connects the inner ear to the brain. It can cause problems such as hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus.
      If your hearing test and MRI scan show no abnormalities, then it’s likely your doctor will discuss with you the different treatments that are available to help you manage and cope with your tinnitus better. Most people will be referred to a Hearing Therapist and you’ll probably be advised to wait for an appointment letter.

      Tinnitus can play havoc with one’s emotions especially in first few months of having the condition. Some people can find it overwhelming and feel stressed out. This is quite understandable so mention this to your doctor as an antidepressant might be prescribed if you haven’t already been given them by your GP. Antidepressants can help prevent a person becoming too down due to their tinnitus. Tinnitus has a direct affect on a person’s moods. The more stressed one becomes the louder and more intrusive it will appear to be which can result in a person’s feeling more depressed. Tinnitus feeds stress and stress feeds tinnitus.

      When you meet with your Hearing Therapist for the first time you’ll probably have a lengthy conversation, where you’ll be able to relay how you’ve been feeling since the onset of your tinnitus. Remember, the person you’ll be seeing knows lot about this condition and the way it can affect a person emotionally and physically. Some of the comments that you may have been told by people that play down tinnitus as a mere minor irritant because there’s isn’t intrusive won’t be mentioned. Throughout the consultation you’ll be listened to and advised how to look at your situation a little differently which comes with time and adopting a more positive approach to life. Hearing Therapists help their patients by showing them a way forward and demystifying a lot of the negativity that surrounds tinnitus. Not surprisingly, this level of understanding and empathy doesn’t always come from training and working in an ENT department alone, for some of these people also have tinnitus. Over the years I’ve met quite a few Hearing Therapists and Audiologists at tinnitus forums helping people who said they have tinnitus.

      Coping strategies
      Coping strategies that people have found helpful will be explained, as well as giving you advice on the type of equipment and treatments available to you at the clinic. Some are listed below.

      TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy)
      Sound machine. Sound enrichment
      CBT (Cognitive Behavoural Therapy)
      Relaxation exercises
      Natural environmental sounds
      CDs and MP3 downloads

      Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

      Tinnitus retraining therapy or (TRT) has been around for a while and is one of the most effective treatments for tinnitus. Many patients achieve good results with it but like anything, the benefits will be variable from person to person.It involves using sound enrichment and counselling. Sound enrichment is achieved by wearing white noise generators (wngs). The device closely resembles a hearing aid and fits around the back of the ear, from which a small tube is attached that rests in the entrance to the ear canal. The white noise is adjusted via a small rocker switch on the wngs.

      There is another type of white noise generator that serves the same purpose but is smaller and more discreet which some people might prefer. The device is inserted into the ear canal and has a small volume control to adjust the white noise. The second part of the treatment is involves counselling. It is necessary for the patient to have regular outpatients appointments, with their Hearing Therapist who is trained in the field of tinnitus and the perception of it. Some patients are also affected with Hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound). If it is present at the same time as having tinnitus then the white noise generators will also treat it.

      TRT was founded by Professor Pawel Jasterboff and follows a strict protocol, which should be adhered to for the patient to receive maximum benefit. It must be said, the treatment is expensive. Some clinics that practice it choose to modify the treatment to their requirements but good results are still possible. Tinnitus retraining therapy is not a quick treatment and therefore must not be rushed. It requires the patient to wear two white noise generators for up to ten hours a day. They are first put on in the morning and the white noise set to just below the tinnitus, and then left alone. It can be tempting to turn up the volume when out on the street as traffic noise can make it difficult to hear them. Please don’t do this.

      Constantly adjusting wngs volume will delay the habituation process. Over time the brain habituates to the white noise generator and pushes the tinnitus further into the background where it becomes less noticeable. This cannot be successfully achieved if the wngs is repeatedly adjusted throughout the day. Tinnitus counselling is a vital part of TRT. Tinnitus can become a problem when the patient starts to believe nothing can be done about the condition. If one isn’t careful anxiety and depression can start to take hold. Through regular counselling sessions with a Hearing Therapist trained in TRT, the patient learns not to look at their tinnitus as life threatening nor to be constantly afraid of it and to be monitoring every little change in its perception. The Hearing Therapist does this in a controlled and precise manner so that the patient feels relaxed and not pressured. Over time the negative thinking that is often associated with tinnitus and hyperacusis gradually dispelled and demystified. Therefore, it must be stressed and understood, this treatment takes time.

      To complete a course of TRT takes approximately twelve to twenty four months and in some cases longer. The duration of each counselling session is left to the discretion of the Hearing Therapist. Typically, these can last up to one hour or more. The amount of appointments required will be different for each patient, but it is quality rather than the quantity of the counselling that really matters. There are a few misconceptions about TRT and the way it is administered that some people misunderstand which I want to address. If a patient is given one white noise generator to wear this is not TRT. When two wngs are issued and no tinnitus counselling is offered on a regular basis, it is not TRT. I am not saying that a patient will not gain any benefit from the above treatments; I only want to state they do not follow the proper Tinnitus retraining therapy protocol.

      White noise generators should not be used when going to sleep at night. When retiring for the night, one should use a sound machine by the bedside and adjusted to a level just below the tinnitus. The sound machine should be set to play throughout the night until morning.

      The Sound machine

      When the brain hears tinnitus for the first time it can feel threatened, as it has never heard this strange new noise before and because of this, it latches onto the sound and doesn’t want to let it go. It is similar to someone moving home and relocating to a new area where trains or motorcars might frequently be passing near their home. The brain is not used to hearing this amount background activity and starts to focus on the sounds and in do so they are given importance and thus become louder. However, the brain is capable of doing and adapting to many things. As time goes by, it no longer interprets these sounds as threatening and slowly pushes them into the background of the mind where they are now seen as unimportant.

      Tinnitus and the way the brain reacts to are a little similar. As previously mentioned, most people with mild or moderate tinnitus adjust to it quite quickly. Although, we are all different, it’s natural to expect some people will take longer than others, so there is no definite time frame. However, the outcome will usually be the same for people in this group. After while the brain will perceive the tinnitus as unimportant and gradually push it into the background where it becomes less noticeable and this is called habituation.

      The same does not always apply to anyone with loud intrusive tinnitus. People affected in this way should try to avoid quiet rooms and surroundings during the day and especially at night, as it’s quieter, and the T will appear to be louder and more intrusive. It is a good idea to buy a sound machine that plays nature sounds. They are often recommended to people with tinnitus who find difficulty getting off to sleep. In m opinion anyone new to this condition should buy one.

      The sound machine can be placed by the bedside and also used during the day. For night use some people prefer to connect it to a pillow speaker particularly, if they have a partner that might be disturbed by it; although most people find they can drift off to sleep easily when listening to the soothing sounds of nature.
      If you decide to use a pillow speaker, make sure the sound machine that you buy has a 3.5 audio output socket fitted that will enable the pillow speaker’s cable to connect to it. The volume of the sound machine should be set just below your tinnitus and not at a level that will completely mask it. The same also applies when a pillow speaker is being used.

      When we sleep the auditory pathways and brain are still active. If the brain hears silence it has the ability to increase the level of the tinnitus making it louder and more intrusive during waking hours. The sound machine with its low level non intrusive sounds, will gently deliver sound enrichment to the brain while we’re asleep which will, over time help it to push the tinnitus further into the background of the mind making it less noticeable during the day and helps the habituation process. Anything new that we bring into our lives takes time to get used to. Most people are used to sleeping in their bedroom at night in complete silence. Therefore, please remember the sound machine takes a while to get used to but the benefits are realised you won’t want to be without it.

      Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Tinnitus.

      Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) maybe offered as a treatment for tinnitus. It can teach coping techniques to help a person deal with the negative thinking and thoughts that often accompany the condition when it’s intrusive and for those that are new to it. This treatment can be practiced through a Hearing Therapist or clinical psychologist. Patients are asked to keep a diary of the times they find their tinnitus to be most annoying and distressing. Detailing the nature of the distress and what might have caused it. All this information helps the therapist to make suggestions on how to think and do things differently, which the patient might find helpful. By changing the way one looks at their tinnitus the distress is reduced and the noise becomes less noticeable.

      Relaxation exercises

      Relaxation exercises can be beneficial and a good way to channel stress. It can take a while to learn the technique. If you are offered the opportunity to attend a relaxation class and have the time, then it’s something to consider trying.

      Natural environmental sounds


      Some people find natural environmental sounds to be very therapeutic for their tinnitus. The opening of a window or the sound of traffic and even the rustling of trees has been mentioned. It’s as if all one has to do is turn to mother nature to find all the answers. A personal favourite is to be by the sea and listening to it lapping against the shoreline for it creates the perfect ambiance for relaxation.


      CDs and MP3 downloads
      Not only is tinnitus experienced differently by each person, the type of treatment that one uses to get relief from the condition and make life a little easier can be different too. Some people find listening to relaxation CDs through a portable cd/radio player beneficial or downloading MP3 tracks from the Internet and listening via their mobile phone or MP3 Player. Listening to music through a mobile phone or MP3 player is fine in my opinion, as long as they are connected to a docking station that has speakers attached.

      The sound therapies mentioned above come under the heading of sound enrichment for tinnitus. My advice is to experiment and see what works best for you, including household items such as a fan or ticking clock. Most people with intrusive tinnitus prefer non-intrusive sounds such as white noise, sound machine and environmental sounds. Music on the other hand tends to draw attention to itself and evokes emotions, which probably isn’t the best source to use for sound enrichment.

      This brings me to issue a word of caution. I advise anyone whose tinnnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise not to listen to music through headphones even at low volume. Even if their tinnitus wasn’t caused by exposure to loud noise my advice is not to use headphones. There are mixed feelings over headphone use and tinnitus but many people that have had this condition long term share my view.

      Headphones and Tinnitus.

      The views on whether a person with tinnitus should listen to music through headphones are controversial. Some people show no adverse affects while others do even when the volume level is kept low. As I have already mentioned we are all different so the only way a one can know is to experiment for themselves if they want to. In my opinion, when the tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise/music and it has become intrusive - by this I mean a person having to seek help at ENT, then they shouldn’t listen to music through headphones no matter how low the volume is set.

      Most music has syncopation throughout its frequency range, so it’s constantly changing in pitch, rhythm and timbre. The beat of the music and volume can also change while listening. This evokes pleasure and can stir our emotions. This happens whether we listen to music loud or soft, although certain types of music does sound better played at a higher volume than others, and vice versa. Once the Cochlear in the inner ear becomes damaged by noise exposure, it is much more sensitive to sound. This is one of the reasons hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) is often experienced with noise-induced tinnitus. The wearing of WNGs (white noise generators) as part of TRT treatment can often cure the condition. I will be covering Hyperacusis and Habituation in more detail later on.

      The organ of the Corti, which is attached to the Cochlear, has approximately 20,000 hair cells. These hair cells move to the vibration of sound and are just one of the components in the auditory system that enable us to hear. Someone that already has a sensitive auditory system due to noise-induced tinnitus and listens to music through headphones at a low volume, risks irritating the Cochlear further; this can make the tinnitus louder and more intrusive. In my opinion, it can be misleading when some health professionals tell tinnitus patients, listening to music through headphones is fine as long as long as the volume is kept low. These health professionals mean well and know a lot about the anatomy of the ear and therefore, it is not my intention to try and undermine their abilities or expertise. However, It must be said, that many of them have never experienced intrusive tinnitus. This leads me to say, one of my ENT consultant’s who is an Audiovestubular consultant, and someone that I have a lot of respect for, once told me that I know more about tinnitus than she/he. This person explained, for the simple reason they had never experienced it.


      I have spoken to people and corresponded with them by email and at Internet forums, complaining their tinnitus has become worse because after listening to music through headphones even though the volume was kept low. My advice to anyone that has tinnitus that was caused by exposure to loud noise is not to listen to music through headphones, as the auditory system is more sensitive.

      White noise generators.
      Some may question the use white noise generators since they emit white noise directly into the ear. White noise generators don’t usually irritate the auditory system due to the volume being kept low and its frequency range remains constant so there is no syncopation within it unlike music. Although white noise generators can be bought privately to treat tinnitus I don’t advise anyone to do so, unless a Hearing Therapist/Audiologist has first tested their auditory system for suitability. A person must also be shown how to use these devices correctly, as improper use can make the tinnitus worse. Furthermore, they are normally used in conjunction with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy to get maximum benefit.

      The brain cannot habituate to a sound that it cannot hear.

      Some people believe totally masking or covering up their tinnitus with another sound so it can’t be heard means they have habituated. This belief is incorrect. The brain cannot habituate to a sound that it cannot hear. As soon as the source masking the tinnitus is removed, the brain will immediately focus on it and in some cases the tinnitus can become louder and more intrusive. The correct way to use white noise generators, sound machine, or any other source for sound enrichment, is set their level just below your tinnitus. In other words, make sure the tinnitus can be heard above the sound source.



      Answers to Hyperacusis and Habituation


      Hyperacusis.

      Two questions often asked about tinnitus are: How long does it take to habituate? How do I know if I have hyperacusis?

      One of the main causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. Quite often though hyperacusis, (sensitivity to sounds) accompanies the condition. This is because the nerves in the auditory pathway have been subjected to noise trauma and thus become highly sensitised. Hyperacusis can be extremely painful. It can cause tinnitus to spike sometimes making it last for days until it settles down again. Within this time the person affected can be in a lot of discomfort. Music that was once pleasurable to listen to through a home music system or radio is now an ordeal so one prefers not to listen to it. The closing of doors, washing up of kitchen plates and cutlery is enough to send a person running for cover, as it can feel like a pneumatic drill is piercing through your ears and head. It can become such a problem a person is afraid to venture outside their home in fear of road traffic noise sparking an increase in their tinnitus due to their sensitivity to sound.

      One of the best ways to treat hyperacusis is by using “sound enrichment”. This can be achieved in many ways but I one of the best to wear white noise generators. Two should be worn to keep your auditory system in balance. The sound level of these devices must be adjusted correctly so as not to cause further irritation to a person’s auditory system, which can make the hyperacusis and tinnitus worse. It is best to always make sure their sound levels are set just below the tinnitus. Wngs are usually worn for up to ten hours a day. Two things are achieved over time. The hearing system is constantly subjected to low-level non-intrusive white noise, which will help to desensitise it. Secondly, they help the brain to focus less on the tinnitus and push it further into the background making it less noticeable. This form of treatment is also known as TRT.

      An alternative to wngs is to use a tabletop sound machine that plays nature sounds. This can be used for sound enrichment to help the healing process of hyperacusis. Again it is best to set the sound level just below the tinnitus. As previously explained sound machines can be very useful at night by the bedside and in the day used to fill in the background ambiance in room.

      Treating hyperacusis takes time as there is no quick fix and everyone will respond to treatment differently.
      Please bare in mind that a person with tinnitus and hyperacuisis, if the hyperacusis is left untreated sensitivity to sound will always remain a problem. In some cases hyperacusis can get better naturally without using sound enrichment but there is no guarantee. A word of caution. Some people use earplugs to help suppress external sounds because of their sensitivity to sound. Earplugs are available but should only be used when in noisy surroundings and not to suppress normal every day sounds, as doing so can prevent the healing process of hyperacusis.


      Habituating to Tinnitus.
      Habituating to tinnitus often seems shrouded in mystery for the more seriously affected people that are in distress and have had to seek help at ENT. It can be particularly difficult for people that are new to tinnitus to comprehend. How does one know when they have habituated to their T and more importantly what does this actually mean? The following doesn’t apply in every case of tinnitus for there are some people that have large fluctuations in their T and every day can be a different experience. This is one of the most severe forms of tinnitus and medications may be required to help cope with the condition. Habituating to this type of tinnitus is still possible to an extent but does present additional problems.

      To others I will say this: You’ll know when you have habituated to your T regardless of whatever treatment you are using via ENT etc as your brain will over time push it further into the background so it becomes less significant, in a similar way to the people that have mild tinnitus. Although your T may be present and on occasions it will spike, over time it will cease to be so much of a problem unless you deliberately focus on it and bring it to the forefront of your mind.

      Computers and tinnitus
      This topic has caused much discussion on tinnitus forums whenever it is mentioned. Some people refuse to believe that using a computer can make tinnitus worse, while others are more open minded about the issue. Then there are those that agree with me that using a computer can make tinnitus worse for some people, due to the EMF (electro magnetic field) that all computers emit.

      I believe it would help if I explain the way near field computer use affects me, and the steps I’ve taken to reduce my exposure to computer EMF. IF anyone decides to try my suggestions their life might become a little easier. In 2008 my tinnitus became increasingly worse for reasons I’m not quite sure, as I’m usually careful about being around loud sounds. One evening I was listening to a favourite symphony on my HI-FI and enjoying quite a lot turned the volume up but didn’t notice any adverse effects. It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed my tinnitus begin to increase. This continued over the next two weeks and times it was excruciating. I needed help, as there were no signs of it reducing to its previous levels.

      After various tests at ENT I was referred to a Hearing Therapist and began TRT for the second time in eleven years. I didn’t know at the time that my tinnitus would change so dramatically and affect my life for nearly five years. For two years I was unable to read a book and using a computer was a definite no. Every time I tried within a few minutes my tinnitus increased to unbearable levels that would last for days.
      At the time I knew nothing about the effects of EMF from computers but was convinced it was causing my tinnitus to increase every time I used it. I spoke with two electronic engineers that also have tinnitus and told them about my problem. They mentioned some people with tinnitus are sensitive to EMF that a computer emits. I was advised to move my PC into another room and use a: wireless keyboard, mouse and external monitor. I was prepared to try anything so bought the relevant cables, wireless keyboard and used a TV as a monitor.

      The advice that I’d been given worked for I was able to use my computer without my tinnitus becoming louder. Six years on, the computer base unit is still in another room and I use a wireless keyboard, mouse and external monitor. I also have a laptop. On many occasions, I have tried using it in the conventional way to make sure my symptoms were not psychosomatic. Each time my tinnitus becomes worse within an hour or two. I have persisted and the tinnitus reaches such unbearably levels I have to switch it off. I have passed on my experience to others that were having difficulty with their tinnitus and also use a computer. Some people have noticed an improvement after trying my suggestion, or reducing the time they’re at the computer.

      When I saw my hearing therapist in clinic, I told her what I’d done with my PC, and explained the effects of computers and EMF. That it can make tinnitus worse for some people. I was informed no other patients had mentioned it. I didn’t pursue the matter any further and let it rest. Around four weeks later I returned to clinic as part of my TRT treatment. It was then explained to me that a few of her patients had talked about noticing an increase in their tinnitus whenever using the computer.
      This topic has raised many questions whenever it is talked about. There will always be people for and against something. The sceptics want scientific proof that near field computer use can make tinnitus worse for some people. My answer to this is: I have none but there is information on the Internet about EMF from computers making tinnitus worse for some people that are hypersensitive to it.

      Positivity and tinnitus

      For some people prolonged intrusive tinnitus can be very stressful and at times debilitating. This can sometimes lead to depression and a person may need to go on a course of antidepressants. I have often been asked in tinnitus forums and via email “It is great if you’re able to be positive, but simply telling someone to be more positive about tinnitus isn’t going to change anything”. I want to clarify here and now, that isn’t what I mean. Thinking more positive about tinnitus and bringing positivity into your life takes time it isn’t achieved overnight or by simply thinking to yourself “I must be positive about my life”.

      If a person wants to improve the quality of their life they have to be prepared to try and help themselves, because there is no wonder drug or operation that can cure tinnitus at this time. Unless a person faces these facts they will forever be trawling the Internet going from forum to forum complaining why there is no treatment for tinnitus when actually many of these people want a complete cure.
      I once read a newspaper article that mentioned: nineteen out of twenty medical conditions cannot be cured. Someone once told me “I don’t want to be positive about tinnitus, I hate it. Being positive wont make it go away. This is true, however, thinking more positive and bringing positivity into your life will reduce the perception on how you relate to tinnitus. CBT and TRT are based on having a positive attitude, without that these treatments aren’t effective.

      Long before CBT, TRT and the Internet came on the scene Doctors have been telling tinnitus patients, there’s no cure you’ll have to learn to live with it. Most of us know this is easier said than done. So how does one start to think more positive about their tinnitus and to bring positivity into their life?
      The fact that someone with tinnitus is reading this page suggests to me their tinnitus for today at least isn’t so intrusive that they are unable to function, for that I’m pleased because this is something positive, instead of lying in bed on medication doing nothing. If you are able to work that’s even better as your tinnitus isn’t so severe you’re incapacitated. I see this as something positive in a person’s life. Being able to earn a living and support yourself. Therefore, you’re able to do all the daily tasks one needs to survive in this world. You may have some difficulty granted, but you’re still achieving and that's progress.


      It is still better than someone that is visually impaired or severely disabled and unable to earn a living. Or, people with severe tinnitus that are depressed and on medication and unable to work. So by looking at our own circumstances and seeing what we’re able to do and achieve we can think more positively about ourselves. There is nothing more satisfying than being independent and I suggest you hold onto those thoughts. If you live by yourself consider getting a cat or a dog so your home environment won’t feel so lonely. If you have a partner and family think about spending some quality time with them, as this can help reinforce your sense of belonging, and the love that binds you together, then your T won’t make you feel so isolated. Sometimes opening up sharing your thoughts and how you feel can help immensely and keep negativity at bay.

      I have just given a synopsis of what I believe can help a person’s quality of life improve with positive thinking. It doesn’t happen overnight but a lot can be achieved when one is prepared to try. By moving forwards and taking one day at a time you can occasionally look back and see how far you have come.

      Michael
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    24. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      @Telis

      Indeed that does get mentioned in many posts. As I have said to others that talked about "checking out", that when my Tinnitus really got nasty is when I lost my hearing and it flipped my life upside down into chaos. Lost everything including my job, but not just from the Tinnitus, but more the effect of hearing loss. Employers don't want to make the effort to keep a deaf guy on staff. You end up in total poverty after awhile. I entertained thoughts of checking out for a brief while but soon snapped out of my self pity. Never told a soul until after I got over it. Some people have told me that T never bothers them at all during the day but in the evenings it spikes and they think their life is over. I'm like, damn I wish I could have even one day that my T fades and comes back in the evening. What a break that would be.

      Just the same, if some event makes people so miserable that they feel they have no future here on earth, they need to seek the proper help and try to understand that so many other people in the world suffer greater issues every day yet still want to live. We all have heard countless stories of children in hospitals that are fighting for their lives with no hope, yet they want to live. Quadriplegics and paraplegics in wheel chairs that cannot even dress themselves but want to live. Terminal cancer patients fighting tooth and nail to live. Boat loads of refugees fleeing war torn areas seeking a better life and safety with just the clothes on their backs because they want to live. I do my best to get some of the people on here to realize this is no reason to go off the deep end. They can still do many of the things they always could have and their life is in no danger. Close to 7.5 Billion people on the planet today and most could care less if you live or die cause they don't know you and probably never will. So it's up to you to keep fighting on to live and survive cause only a handful will give a damn if you go. In a couple short generations, the memory of you will be gone. So make the best of what you have to live with and get on with living.

      I imagine Shatner got some good psychological help to get thru the dark times. I should hope anyone here on TT who thinks they have no future will do the same.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    25. Penate

      Penate Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/04/2015
      I'm starting to believe that what I have is not tinnitus, why? because my noises and hyperacusiss and reactive condition never going down, I don't think people like me TRT or CBD or hearing aids and all that craps working at all. Now I understand why someone says there are tinnitus and there are (TINNITUS )..........
       
    26. whale
      No Mood

      whale Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/25/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Myofascial crap Bruxism, a jackhammer, stress who knows
      We are all there or was there, but Sorry, no. the only thing we can do is work on our mental health, as our mental health improves we habituate easier and when a cure come it will take all the better.
       
    27. rid0871

      rid0871 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      may of 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      had my neck adjusted
      why does my eyes feel off, cant even watch tv. its like things move just a little. or when looking at things they seem fake. like being on cold meds. its been like that every single moment since my ear went full and the noise started. Dr.s cant find anything
       
    28. Lorac

      Lorac Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden profound hearing loss in left ear.
      He talked about beaming up long before he had tinnitus though.
       
      • Funny Funny x 1
    29. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      @Lorac

      I didn't know that. Interesting.
       
    30. Lorac

      Lorac Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden profound hearing loss in left ear.
      @MikeP505 ,
      Sorry for the sick sense of humor.......a coping mechanism for me.

      @rid0871 ,
      You have some weird things going on. Have you been to a neurologist?
       

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