Back to Silence

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by I who love music, Dec 7, 2014.

    1. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Struggling a bit with this. some days it’s not as intrusive where I can go long periods without thinking about it, but on intrusive days it’s nonstop.
       
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    2. Henry Orlando FL
      Balanced

      Henry Orlando FL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound via earbuds from a digital device.
      Yep, that is the way it goes. Some days better than others has been the most common experience from my reading about people with tinnitus. It took me at least a few months using the method to get to where I thought I probably had gotten all I could from the process in terms of reduction in my sounds entering my consciousness.

      Now years later I still practice the method at least a few times a day. One is typically when I wake and shortly after getting out of bed. Another is when I get into bed at night. Then a few times during the day but many days none. Maybe now the method acts as a bit of a security blanket if you will that is a message to my unconscious to take it easy and not be concerned which keeps my tinnitus sounds out of my consciousness.

      All I can say for you is the method is not a quick fix and you may never get to never having your tinnitus never enter your consciousness again but then again maybe that will happen for you. Also I use other methods as well when needed. I would say keep at it myself.
       
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    3. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I will, thank you for the information and help!
       
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    4. BearWonda

      BearWonda Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I received this advice from a kind stranger.

      This method have totally changed my life.

      This is no exaggeration.

      The person gave me a number of sources and I randomly tried the "Back to Silence" method first.

      I'm a pretty cynical person by trade so when I read it I thought there is no way this is going to work but thought I would just give it a go. I did what the in the video told me to do, acknowledged whether the tinnitus was bothering me, if it was ok, stopped measuring it etc and noted down the number of times it was happening on my phone. As well as noting down my emotion.

      Oh my days!

      The ringing has massively dropped off and most days I'm not hearing it. I can sit in a silent room for the first time in nearly a year and not have the usual all consuming anxiety come over me about the noise in my ear.

      If I focus on it, it's still kind of there ever so slightly in the background and at night I prefer to have some white noise to drop off to sleep but its not at the forefront of my mind as it had been.

      Maybe this is a widely known method but I'm totally astonished that this has worked. Anyone who hasn't come across this needs to give it a go.

      Part of me is still worried this is just a lull, that's its something else making it go and that it's going to come back but it's been so much lower for the past week that I'm hoping this is it. I'll just keep going with the method and see where it goes but this has been incredible.

      This thing has dominated my thoughts for 11 straight months. I have driven my wife insane, I got so down at times, cried a fair bit and even resorted to repeatedly hitting the side of my head like a mad man.

      For now my tinnitus is not there and so just wanted to say a huge thank you again to the person that suggested this method and would recommend anyone giving this ago.
       
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    5. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      That’s fantastic! How would you describe your tinnitus before?
       
    6. BearWonda

      BearWonda Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I had tinnitus in my right ear only and it sounded like one of those old fashioned bell alarm clocks but stuffed under a pillow.

      It came out of nowhere. I don't listen to loud music, generally take care of my hearing. I saw multiple specialists, had numerous scans etc but they couldn't detect an issue.

      I had totally given up and thought that was it, so I implore anyone to give this a go. I'm hoping it doesn't come back but if it does then at least I know it can be reduced.
       
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    7. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Update:

      Back to Silence has significantly helped reduce my tinnitus volume and the intrusiveness by at least 50%. I just keep having a habit of finding myself monitoring it when I don’t hear it or worrying it’s going to get worse later. Guess I need more time. Most of my tones I don’t mind, it’s just one that does bother me a bit.
       
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    8. Henry Orlando FL
      Balanced

      Henry Orlando FL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound via earbuds from a digital device.
      Sweet! Sounds like progress to me. Maybe a little bit of mindset I picked up in CBT would be useful as well he says with a smile. At least is was from me in thinking about tinnitus as follows:

      God (or maybe “My Unconscious”, or “Universe” if God does not work for you), grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

      Tinnitus sounds(s) are definitely something I can't control. They will do what they do and I can accept that is the way it is and that does not mean I have to be conscious of them all the time or even some of the time so I work on the part which is something I can control.

      Also dive into this one a bit as well:

      “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” —Carl Jung

      Read up about this one here:

      ‘’What we resist, persists, embrace it & will dissolve’’

      Then on the worrying about it will get worse element I keep this in mind:

      "I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." —Mark Twain

      “How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!” —Thomas Jefferson

      Enjoy!
       
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    9. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Thanks, those are some great quotes!
       
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    10. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      So glad for your improvement, I hope it gets even better.

      Look at it this way - you have had tinnitus for 22 years and in the span of 1 month a new technique that you are just now trying has reduced your tinnitus by 50%. That's F 'in huge! Try to focus on this success where so much progress is made in such a short amount of time. Then build on what you have done and imagine further and permanent improvement. There is literally nothing to lose and only gains that are possible like you already have. Your life is better for the rest of time just because of the last few weeks. This is proof that the technique works and proof that you can get better, You are better right now. If, in the worst case it comes back, repeat the process and send it away again. We become what we imagine, what we are convinced is possible. Visualize success. You deserve to be happy and healthy, let yourself have this and enjoy every day of improvement.

      If you would like some inspiration on overcoming impossible odds because you place no limits on yourself watch the documentary - Dawn Wall, 2017. What this kid did was supposed to be impossible and yet...

      George
       
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    11. cheoingwee

      cheoingwee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud noise
      I just want to thank all who contribute to this thread.

      I am lousy at English; I am Chinese educated so I read and re-read this thread many times over try to get as much as possible out of this thread.

      May you all be well and happy always. God bless you.
       
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    12. Henry Orlando FL
      Balanced

      Henry Orlando FL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound via earbuds from a digital device.
      You write well in English so not so lousy seems to me. I agree with you as well that this thread has contributed to me in adjusting to having tinnitus and I thank all who have contributed to it. I am happy to be able to give back if I can make a difference for someone. It is a gift people give me to allow me to make a contribution to them if I can.
       
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    13. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I keep returning to this thread each time I relapse, but it does give me hope that I may be able to habituate again one day.
       
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    14. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      We have more control over our bodies with our thoughts than was once thought to be the case. It’s well accepted that stress, anger, rage and other negative emotions can make us sick, even give us heart attacks. Cortisol levels increase, oxygen deprivation occurs at muscle sites, etc. The thoughts in our heads change our bodies physically. I bring this example up because I bet that 90% of the people here would agree with this mechanism. Research on how the brain works has also discovered links between memories and emotions and the effects on our bodies in positive ways as well as negative. It is now understood that our brains are constantly being rewired in reaction to these thoughts and emotions - neuroplasticity. Sure, happy thoughts can’t fix everything. We can’t regrow a limb because we have a positive attitude because our bodies do not possess that ability but we can affect many other things. We become what we imagine, what we want to become. A positive attitude imagining success actually changes the wiring of our brains. This positive effect on actual physical problems is seen in stroke victims where the loss of proper speech for instance is repaired through proper training, maneuvers to rewire the brain to avoid the damaged area. When my mother-in-law had a major stroke 5 years ago, my wife asked the doctor what could help her paralysis and speech problems. He outlined a series of training and stimulation exercises and said that many hours per day focused on this would help her but people rarely do this. After a lengthy family meeting and agreement by all of us my wife moved in with her mother who lived alone and worked with her every day for 6 weeks and she is now completely normal with no apparent effects of her stroke except the pacemaker she needed for the heart rhythm problems that started that day. Hers is a dramatic example, maybe not typical but it shows what is possible. In the beginning she would forget to open her eyes and could not form words. She had partial paralysis of one side of her body. She lacked emotion and empathy. Now she’s normal mom again. My wife has since passed away but I go over every night for dinner and we solve jumble puzzles together. She is 83 and beats me half the time. She does not say oh I had a stroke, I can’t solve jumble puzzles anymore, she says oh good you brought jumbles, let’s get to work.

      I had major plumbing removed due to prostate cancer including the main valve for urine control. I have friends that still need to wear diapers because they lack control from this operation. My brain was capable of repairing the process and learned how to use new muscle control to perform the function of the missing valve at the base of the bladder. Why do I have 100% control and the next guy does not? Skill of the surgeon is involved but I committed to the process, fully convinced that my body could learn to do this and it did. My buddies are still wearing pads and talk a lot about the fear of losing control, the image that they review in their head every day is that they will never have control over this function.

      Tinnitus is real and it causes major suffering for many people. There is more than one mechanism and it’s not completely understood yet but one thing is clear, our brains and the extended neurological network has fabricated sounds that don’t exist. I believe that neural pathways can be changed starting with our thoughts and emotions about the sounds. If we accept this condition and think of it as something like any other chronic illness like say arthritis and understand that it cannot actually hurt us, it just is. We don’t fear it, we don’t obsess about its presence, we don’t monitor it, we don’t describe it, we don’t compare it. Instead we believe that it’s no big deal and can be made to be unimportant, to not affect our lives. Spikes come and go, the noises change. It can go away and return. No problem, I am going to think about this as the many noises all day long from the jackhammers, car horns, people yelling and whistling on the streets of a busy city where I don’t even notice them anymore. Some people would not live anywhere else. I might even call tinnitus my old friend like my brother-in-law does. I will imagine it unimportant and that my brain can rewire away from this. I will focus on what is good in my life, what I can enjoy when this becomes unimportant. These are phantom sounds that don’t exist and I have control over how my brain and nervous system handles this.

      All the best,
      George
       
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    15. Henry Orlando FL
      Balanced

      Henry Orlando FL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound via earbuds from a digital device.
      Thanks for the great post. Makes perfect sense to me George.
       
    16. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      What confuses me is the point raised about describing our emotion even if it is a negative one?

      I'm concerned a negative emotion may reinforce a negative pathway?

      What exactly do you say when you hear your tinnitus?
       
    17. Phil-O

      Phil-O Member

      Location:
      Lancashire UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2015
      If it's a negative thought I guess I hear Terry's voice (I who love music) from his video saying "I don't hear my tinnitus" and sort of gives a lift. I don't think mine is / was as bad as his though so I keep going.

      Kind Regards,
      Phil
       
    18. Henry Orlando FL
      Balanced

      Henry Orlando FL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound via earbuds from a digital device.
      You may be right about the assertion "...may reinforce a negative pathway" aspect. Assuming you are right, then one has to look at is the risk of reinforcing the negative pathway in the short term worth the positive outcome of reducing the frequency of negative emotions arising if/when one reaches habituation through the use of the Back to Silence method in the long term. I would say the further one goes up in the stages of habituation see here:

      https://www.ata.org/sites/default/files/Stages of Habituation (Hubbard_Hallam).pdf

      Negative emotions would decrease so in the end result it is to have less negative emotions than in the past to reinforce those negative pathways you are concerned with.

      Just follow the method (see below) and in time the negative emotions coming up will reduce or maybe even stop around tinnitus sounds.

      The "Back to Silence" method calls for not measuring the sound(s), not to monitor the Tinnitus sound(s) or focus on it, do not describe the sound(s) or compare the sound(s).

      Another way to think about it is to follow the four "don'ts" of the Back to Silence method:

      1 - Don't measure it
      2 - Don't monitor it
      3 - Don't describe it
      4 - Don't compare it

      Do the following:

      1- STOP talking about tinnitus, measuring it, comparing it, describing it, and thinking about it.
      2- When you hear the sound(s), tell yourself, "I hear it, I feel .........." (insert your true emotion).
      3- Make a note of this incidence (just put a hash mark for instance and add them up daily... the total will go down over time) and each emotional response in a word or two on paper is best, review your paper weekly to see the change in your responses.

      Once you get to less than 5 or 10 incidences per day, you can stop writing them down and only do it in your head since you do not have to speak it aloud to get the result.

      If you don’t want to write it down then OK, give it a try just verbally and see how it goes. If you do not notice a decrease in incidences over time then begin to write them down to keep a count even if it is only a hash mark to keep the count.
       
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    19. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      There is no doubt that a positive or neutral emotion is better than a negative emotion and that will come eventually but focusing on how you feel about it even if negative, changes the focus away from the details about the sound and this changes the relationship that your brain has with the sound and therefore the way and where you process the entire mechanism. This breaks the hyperfocus and fear cycle, the priority and allows for plasticity to take place. Over time you might go through:

      My tinnitus is a 7/10, it sounds like cicadas, I hear it in a quiet room, it spikes in 30 min after coffee.

      My tinnitus makes me feel anxious, afraid and sad.

      I am worried about the future.

      I am tired today.

      I want to do something fun today, I want to be around loved ones.

      Today was a good day.

      I have a nervous elderly woman who lives next door. She started texting me last Sunday. Oh my god there is this awful thing shining right through my back window across the lake, I hate that thing, why is it pointed at me, I want it to go away, I’m yelling at the neighbor but they won’t do anything. It’s horrible, I hate it, ...

      I am extracting these exact quotes from my phone as I type this. She was in panic mode.

      I looked and 200 yards/meters away across the lake was a science experiment with some aluminum foil on a bench in the guys back yard. The guy and his son were using the sun to heat water, probably a school project. It took me a couple of hours to calm the woman down and get her focus away from this harmless science experiment. First explaining what it is and how it works and that it can’t hurt her, it will come and go throughout the day as the sun moves. Then we talked about how she felt about it, why it upset her, ... Then I encouraged her to do something else to change her focus. This went on for hours but I finally got her on to laundry, family, kids, childhood stories, etc. No more hyperfocus on the details of the thing across the lake. No more fear. Now a much less important part of her life. I realize that tin foil in a neighbors yard is not debilitating tinnitus but the mechanism and process of dealing with it is the same.

      Just remember. Tinnitus in the vast majority of cases is a phantom sound that your brain created and controls. How you perceive it and react to it is also processed by your brain. This same brain can rewire, reprioritize, even decide that the phantom sound is no longer necessary. Our brain and the larger nervous system is creating and controlling the entire thing and our emotions and reactions are sitting in the same brain. In other words you have something to say (or feel) about the whole thing. You have some control over this.

      Will there be a cure someday? We may be the cure.

      George

      BTW, Henry types faster than I do. Lol.
       
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    20. nay

      nay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert without earplugs
      Has anyone tried this while they've been having weird fluctuations and new tones? The idea behind this seems sound and it's similar to what my therapist and audiologist are suggesting, but it's really hard to not monitor the tinnitus itself when you keep getting new tones (I've had a few in the last few months, some have gone, some are still here, at least for now) and have some sound distortions. Especially because I never had issues like this before this year (and I've had tinnitus a long time).

      I have been recently diagnosed with OCD which certainly makes the new tones and distortions have a stronger grip on my mind. The new tones because one of them isn't always there, and because they're new, I'm hoping they go away soon. The distortions because it's not always clear whether I'm hearing a distortion or whether the source sound actually sounds like that. And because the distortion kinda sounds like one of my new tones and I mix them up sometimes (see where I'm going with this?)

      At the same time, I've seen posts on this thread talking about this method still working when spikes flare up, so if it can work despite spikes, why not new tones and distortions I guess? Especially since it may be the obsessive monitoring that caused these issues to get worse in the first place. And certainly this worked for the original poster, who was in a pretty bad place (which is what matters, not the ins-and-outs of his tinnitus right?)

      I guess I'll make a ENT appointment too just in case, but not pinning many hopes on that.
       
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    21. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      @nay, I am sorry that you are suffering.

      It's very hard to let go of tinnitus at first and let it become a lower priority. When it first shows up it's shocking and scary. I am an engineer and obsessive attention to detail is professionally a feature not a bug but in our personal lives the converse is usually true, including here.

      Things I had to ask myself: what purpose is hyper focus serving in this case? What good can come of assigning values, names, frequency, ... and staying focused on this 100% of the day? Why do I engage in catastrophic what if thinking? If my brain made this up, why can't my brain de emphasis it or make it go away? How much influence do I have over this? Do I need this as a form of identification, does this define me or get me attention? If so, why? In the absence of a cure, what other choice do I have? If a stroke victim can learn to walk and speak again with new neural pathways due to plasticity, why can't I do the same? Why am I still thinking about this and not getting to work changing the way I think about and relate to this? These concepts have worked for me before in chronic pain and panic attacks, why not here?

      Don't worry about good and bad days, new tones, new spikes. They all come and go. It's part of the condition. Reduce triggers and stress. Eat and sleep better. Surround yourself with people who care about you. Share when you need to, give them a break when you can. Protect where it makes sense. Ignore uncontrollable events, it's life. Stop measuring and reporting and start focusing on your emotional reactions.

      OCD is common among my "people" (engineers). In my professional career I managed over a thousand of them and have an engineering degree myself. You can get better. You can live a happier life.

      George
       
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    22. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Just feelings towards it. I say:

      I hear my tinnitus and it’s bothering me.

      I hear my tinnitus and it’s not bad at all.

      Tinnitus is making me feel down today.

      And so forth.
       
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    23. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower, rock band, constr & comp shooting, chemo
      This is just me, maybe not quite what you should say. I think oh there you are, sup? Get in line behind cancer, see ya later cuz I got shit to do. If I hear a new sound I think oh wow that's a good one. Later, I got shit to do. Then I get busy with something constructive or arrange for some time with a loved one who cares about me. Then if at all possible, I don't talk about this.

      One of the things that helped me get my head wrapped around all this was that hyperacusis showed up at the same time. I had to start turning off all the air filters in the house and the TV in the background, etc. One day I turned all that shit back on and thought holy crap I used to ignore all these sounds 24/7 including when I sleep? Now I know what I must do. Ignore the new sounds.

      George
       
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    24. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Ok, so you're not counterbalancing it with a positive word...

      I'd ensure you say then *I feel bothered* rather than *it is bothering me* (if we are describing feelings).
       
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    25. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Can relate.

      Yesterday easier. Today... challenging.
       
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    26. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yeah you’re right. The point is to not give it attention and if you do, just note your feeling and move on. It’s kinda like retraining the brain to lessen it as a threat. I’m still not 100% but it has helped. Some days I’m so bad I just have to fight anxiety. Better days have been more frequent though.
       
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    27. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yeah allow it time, it’s not easy for everyone that’s for sure lol.
       
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    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hey, how's everyone doing?

      Back To Silence rocks, right? Don't forger - stick to it and do it do it.

      Terry
       
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    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      OOPS.
      We don't describe tinnitus. That's the old way.
      - Terry
       
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    30. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Terry,

      Great to see you back. Thank you for checking up on us and giving encouragement!

      One thing I am still uncertain about is: to say 'I hear it, and feel anxious', will that be a bad thing for the brain to latch onto a negative emotion, even though it is an emotion?

      Can anyone enlighten me on this because I really want to give this technique a go?
       
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