Back to Silence

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

    1. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hi Jim,
      As step one says, quit thinking about tinnitus the old way. So, I quit masking. I think masking made me wonder, "How's the tinnitus doing?" When the masking was turned off.
      Like you, I had physical problems from tinnitus; anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, etc...
      This method erased my awareness of tinnitus, and gave me back my energy and a good mood.
      If you're sensitive, don't read this...

      My tinnitus problem became so bad I really couldn't carry on a normal conversation, I was too distracted. My anxiety reached a point where I felt like I was drowning in my own body. I begged doctors and friends with tinnitus to help me. It consumed me. In a time much shorter than I expected, I started to feel normal again while I fought hard to do steps 1, 2, and 3.

      2 and 3 are easy. 1 was tough.
       
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    2. Tharos
      Happy

      Tharos Member

      Location:
      Czech Republic
      Tinnitus Since:
      Since I can remember
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, but more significant after loud concert
      Hi @I who love music, thank you for your excellent posts here.

      I've had very mild tinnitus since I can remember (when I plugged my ears, I always could hear some faint ringing) but I was 100% habituated considering it as an absolutely normal natural phenomenon. But it spiked this year in February after one loud concert.

      There was an "initial shock" but I do your method and today I'm back in normal life. I only hear my tinnitus maybe five times a day and my usual reactions are: I'm fine, I feel normal etc. It doesn't bother me very much, I sleep well, eat well, work well... and I'm absolutely sure that if I keep doing your method and thinking about tinnitus this way I'll forget about it at all (in months or years). I know that brain can do it. My father has much "louder" tinnitus than I have but he only hear it when I ask him about it. :)

      But that loud concert left me with mild hyperacusis and it doesn't seem to fade yet. It's not as bad, but for example kitchen sounds bother me. I noticed that my ears are more tolerant when there is some soft background noise (wide band or pink noise for example) so I try to do some sound enrichment at home. I avoid overprotection and using ear plugs for normal level sounds.

      I hope that living in normal sound environment (no loud noises), doing your method and giving it plenty of time will help. Do you share the same opinion? Or is there something special you would recommend for hyperacusis? I read about various ear desensitisation protocols using pink noise etc. but I'd prefer more "zen" way... I don't want to give it too much attention since I think it wouldn't make me feeling good and I'm bussy living my life (which definitely makes me feeling great). Do you think that just doing your method and living in a normal environment is enough?

      Thank you very much! :puppykisses:
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      My predicament is EXACTLY like yours. No more loud concerts for me. I use protection in any super loud environment but live care free amidst all the normal everyday sounds. I never in my dreams thought I would make it this far. It's truly great hearing your story!
       
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    4. JimJimJalabim
      Lucky

      JimJimJalabim Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/23/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @I who love music
      I only really have the ability to mark these down for tracking purposes while at work, and admittedly, I missed a few days early on. - Though I do say to myself your suggested: "I hear it, I feel ____". Sometimes I add things from what I understand are the basics of CBT like "It's a phantom sound, it cannot hurt you". "There's no reason you won't habituate like the vast majority of people" "You've overcome worse things in your life" and "Other people have it worse, and they lead happy lives, you're just as strong"

      I went from ~70 marks over the 8 hour workday to ~35 within two days. With masking, granted. I've noticed that masking drastically reduced the marks I made. - But after masking, as you had mentioned, I found myself checking for it again.
      So i've stopped masking unless I really need to listen to something to alleviate some anxiety. I try to focus more on reading things than listening to things.
      The past 6 work days have been 21 (masking), 37 (first day without masking), 12 (masking), 23 (without masking), 15 (without masking), 14 (without masking). I stopped writing my associated feeling down for every mark, only when I realize it has changed from what I wrote down previously. The noted feelings have definitely improved from significant (depressed, anxious, nervous, worried) to more (calm, content, annoyed, fine).

      I try to only mark and make a note when I realize I hear the sound fresh, if I realize I had forgotten about it or ignored it for a time.

      I've also been attempting some mindful meditation at home after work to decompress. I haven't made time for it every day, but when I do, it definitely calms me down.

      You're absolutely right the hardest part is to stop checking on it. Sometimes I'll catch myself unable to hear it for a moment, which leads me to try to find it again - and I inevitably do. And even though finding it again is obnoxious, it still reinforces the idea that I can habituate which is good.

      So, thank you for this.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Sounds like you're doing great. It gets easier as you go and the day will come when you say, "Hey I didn't hear it til lunchtime!" But you won't listen to it. You'll just make your mark and keep going.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hey folks, I was in the hospital for 3 days for a ruptured appendix. Guess what? Even in that dead quiet environment I never heard or thought about my tinnitus once.
      I can't say enough good things about this method!!!!!!!!!
       
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    7. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      I was going to like this but felt odd liking that your appendix burst. :ROFL:

      Soooo . . . very sorry for your recent hospital stay but delighted to read your method works.
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Your post demonstrates how the reactions diminish. It's very encouraging for others to read this. Thank you.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      UPDATE:

      Wow, it's been a while since my last "update."
      This method saved my sanity and changed me for the better.

      For the new folks, let me give you a rundown of my history and give you some hope so maybe you can try this method.

      *As a boy I played a lot of loud music on drums and guitar.
      *At 15 years old I knew I had a serious problem that would not "just go away."
      *From age 15 to 55 I tried all kinds of wacky "cures" and asked many doctors about my tinnitus.
      *I discovered Tinnitus Talk and learned about what I call "Back To Silence."
      *I was happy knowing there was still one thing I hadn't tried (this method).
      *I admitted that my tinnitus would never go away, but I knew that other people could learn to, or naturally habituate.
      *I wished for even a little relief and told myself I would be glad if I got it.
      *I did the method right, and I just don't hear tinnitus anymore. It faded fast in the beginning as is still fading.
      *I still pop in here once in a while.
       
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    10. frankhovin

      frankhovin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (best guess: volume damage)
      @I who love music:

      (Which I do myself. A lot.)

      I'm a lurker here, but I just have to say: What a fantastic person you are, judging by what you've done and contributed with in here. Since I occationally actually wear a hat, I take my hat off for you. Kudos. The best.
       
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    11. Tharos
      Happy

      Tharos Member

      Location:
      Czech Republic
      Tinnitus Since:
      Since I can remember
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, but more significant after loud concert
      Guys, I'd like to let you know that I have continuous success with this approach. Yep! :)

      I stick on this method since I believe that it's very important not to leave it too early.

      Let me tell you how things are going in my life after about three months on this method. I only make marks on paper when I respond to my tinnitus with some negative feeling and these days I only make around two or three marks per day. I still hear my tinnitus many times every day (because I taught my brain to hear it very well in the past) but today I'm somehow indifferent to it. I mean that my tinnitus rarely invokes any emotion or feeling in my body/mind.

      But that's not all! :) I also realized that my brain started to filter that sound out occasionally. It's funny how it works. When I'm in a room with some sound enrichment (ticking wall clock, refrigerator…) I realized that when I focus my attention to some source of a real sound my brain then starts to filter tinnitus out somehow. However sometimes my brain decides to focus my attention to the tinnitus signal and then it pops in my head significantly. :) It usually lasts for few seconds and after that my brain usually starts to filter tinnitus out again. And this repeats over and over again. Funny. :)

      But this proves to me that my brain is capable to shut tinnitus signal off completely and all I have to do is to give it time and stick on this method until I forget about tinnitus completely.

      BTW, my life is completely back in normal these days. I sleep great (without masking sound), eat great, I feel full of energy and I fully enjoy my life again. My initial insomnia, eating troubles, anxiety etc are gone. To be honest I start to enjoy my condition somehow since this experience really makes me stronger and teaches me alot about mind and brain capabilities. I plan to apply something like BTS to another issues in my life. :)

      I'd like to thank you @I who love music again for your story and for sharing your great experience!
       
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    12. Hazel
      Dreaming

      Hazel Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one-sided hearing loss (of unknown origin)
      @I who love music, I love your post and am very happy for you that you've finally found peace. Well done also for ignoring the negative comments. If it works for you, and it apparently has helped many others as well, that's all that matters!
       
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    13. PamelaNY

      PamelaNY Member

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      This technique has been very helpful to me. Thank you.
       
    14. CsaulNol

      CsaulNol Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      How long (time) were you exposed to all this loud music?
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Age 12 to 16. I played the drums and practiced with very loud music in headphones. In the early 70's.
       
    16. Lisa88

      Lisa88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      This is an important and most helpful success stories thread.
       
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    17. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      When I first examined the “Back to Silence” method I got nowhere with it.
      I simply did not believe it.
      I still think the title is misleading, by the way.
      But I have to admit that there is some virtue in it.

      There is a tendency to wake up every morning, assuming you have been able to sleep at all, hear all this “Effing Shit” going on, and quite naturally think:
      - I ‘effing’ hate it,
      - I can’t stand it any longer,
      - I want to die,
      - This is ‘effing’ hell on earth,
      - For christ’ sake,
      - God help me,
      .......etc.....
      and go on thinking those thoughts, and reinforcing them all day long.
      The anger at this injustice is obviously justified, and extreme.

      But I have to admit this.
      I have began to notice that, even though I hear my ‘shit’ 24/7, and yes, I hate it, there are times when I find myself thinking “well, it’s there but:

      - I don’t seem to care so much,
      - I’m okay with it,
      - I’m not too bothered just now,
      - I feel okay at the moment....”

      Now don’t get me wrong - I absolutely loath and detest Tinnitus - but there are definitely times when it seems to bother me less.
      At those times I am okay.

      At those times I am abmitting to a better feeling, and perhaps a better outlook.

      Have any other members experienced anything similar....?
       
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    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Hello everyone,

      Terry here, also known as "I who love music." In fact, I love music so much that I'm making a musical instrument called a hurdy gurdy. The instrument itself is loud and making it has been a noisy affair, using all my power tools I have at hand. A few years ago I wouldn't have attempted this because of my tinnitus. The Back To Silence method has let me manage my tinnitus and with this new awareness, I've learned to prevent spikes. There's an array of noisy tools behind me in the photo, I've learned to wear ear protection when using the noisiest ones.

      me%20tt.jpg

      In the past four years I've met many people online who've had success with the Back to Silence method. I've also talked with many who've had limited success while admitting they didn't do the method 100 percent. And I've talked with some people who have many questions and doubts about the method and don't try it at all.

      In real life (offline) I've met some folks who've had great success, too. All this makes me very happy. I remember when I was a nervous wreck and my tinnitus was out of control until I learned about this method and tried it, with great success.

      If having tinnitus weren't bad enough, about a year ago I got a rare form of cancer. I'm okay now and I'm glad to be back in the garage banging around. But in all those weeks in the hospital bed, I didn't have to respond to my tinnitus ONCE. You know what it's like in the hospital, very quiet, but tinnitus was not there.

      I have tinnitus and if I think about it I hear it. I'll break "Step One" and tell you it's loud. Thank goodness for this method though. If you're new to these posts or are an old acquaintance, please don't give up.
      Remember the method,

      1- STOP talking about tinnitus, measuring it, comparing it, describing it, and thinking about it.
      2- When it's bothersome, tell yourself, "I hear it, I feel .........." (insert your true emotion)
      3- Make a note of this and each response on paper, review you paper weekly to see the change in your responses.

      Hang in there. Like anything else worthwhile, it takes time. Re-train your brain to deal with tinnitus in this new way. I'm not a doctor, or nurse, or specialist. I don't know exactly why it works. I'm just an old retired noise maker.

      See ya,
      Terry
       
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    19. Trusty Mutsi
      Relaxed

      Trusty Mutsi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Viral Infection
      Thanks so much for this. Quick question: Do you just make a mark, or also write down the emotion?

      Also, how often do I mark it down if I'm constantly hearing it? I don't think I could literally keep writing it every time I notice it, or I'd lose my job :(
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I think writing down the emotion, even part of the time helps you see how the number of responses AND the emotions that accompany them change over time, and that is empowering. The empowerment will excite you and keep you going. You have to keep going until you don't respond anymore. It's important to not give up.

      Like many people, you wonder how or when to record your responses when you hear tinnitus all the time. Like you, I heard tinnitus all the time so I decided to make pencil marks when the tinnitus was most intrusive, after all, I can't sit and make pencil marks all day. To my surprise, just saying step two to myself started to work. It wasn't long before a half a day would go by before I noticed the tinnitus.

      BUT... a strange thing happened in those early days of doing the method. After not hearing tinnitus for, say, the first six hours of a given day, something would kick in and I would ask myself, "What does the tinnitus sound like today?" Of course, at that point I would hear my tinnitus. This told me something. That's why step one is so important.
       
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    21. JohnK
      Busy

      JohnK Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/26/2015 (habituated) 5/13/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity and/or stress
      I think I'm on track to hit 40 noticings in 2 hours!
       
    22. 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.
      I would say keep at it. Sure it seems a bit crazy or futile or that it won't work. It worked for me. Remember you are doing this process to train the brain which can take a while.
       
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    23. Damiano

      Damiano Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection, possibly medication
      Thank you very much for this, inspiring and encouraging. My main difficulty is that now I hear it all the time. In particular, in the morning and at night but also in the street and over TV, at work etc.
      Troubleshooting the three steps:

      1- STOP talking about tinnitus, measuring it, comparing it, describing it, and thinking about it.

      Stopping thinking about it when you hear it all the time and loud is difficult. Any tips? I can stop talking and describing but thinking is hard, perhaps one can experience the sound non-judgementally like in mindfulness? I agree this first step is the toughest


      2- When it's bothersome, tell yourself, "I hear it, I feel .........." (insert your true emotion)

      It's bothersome most of the time for me. Do I do this at random times?

      3- Make a note of this and each response on paper, review you paper weekly to see the change in your responses.

      I'll start but I suspect I'd write notes all day. What do we do if we have to work, kids etc? Can we do this only during some parts of the day or do we have to do it all the time?

      Thanks
       
    24. 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.
      Hi Damiano,

      You are in a good space keeping at it even though it can be frustrating. Let me address my thoughts to your specific questions first:

      Overall you do understand how the Back to Silence system is applied I figure.

      On this item:

      1- STOP talking about tinnitus, measuring it, comparing it, describing it, and thinking about it.

      Stopping thinking about it when you hear it all the time and loud is difficult. Any tips? I can stop talking and describing but thinking is hard, perhaps one can experience the sound non-judgmentally like in mindfulness? I agree this first step is the toughest.

      Yes, you indeed experience the sound non-judgmentally like in mindfulness. The sound… in my case sounds… are something that I cannot control so perhaps one needs to consider his bit of advice:

      Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. My tinnitus is something I cannot control so I need to be in acceptance on that aspect of life for me.

      On this aspect:

      2- When it's bothersome, tell yourself, "I hear it, I feel .........." (insert your true emotion)

      It is bothersome most of the time for me. Do I do this at random times?

      3- Make a note of this and each response on paper, review you paper weekly to see the change in your responses.

      I will start but I suspect I'd write notes all day. What do we do if we have to work, kids etc? Can we do this only during some parts of the day or do we have to do it all the time?

      Yes, I would say. Particularly in the beginning of applying the process you probably would be doing nothing but writing it down since I heard them pretty close to constantly for long periods of time in the beginning. What I did was at the end of a period of not noticing the sounds and then upon noticing them again, I would state the process to myself verbally like “I hear my tinnitus and I feel X. I definitely did not write it down all the time. I could not write it down at work for example. I could not write it down when driving of course. I would say don’t try to be perfect about noting it down in writing each time. I would be perfect about saying the words to yourself each time. Another way I would say how I noted my sounds was what I would call episodes of tinnitus, not every single moment of hearing the tinnitus. I did note the tinnitus verbally every time I began an episode of hearing the tinnitus.

      I would say also that I don’t know you of course. Everyone has his or her unique situation. I have my baggage I bring to tinnitus and you have yours. I have used other things as well as Back to Silence. I have used L-Theanine, particularly right after I started having tinnitus from a loud earbud incident. I also have used it for a while when I had a couple of big spikes over the years due to loud sound incidents. I used it mostly to get to sleep (200 mg and I weigh 160 pounds) 20 minutes before bedtime. Worked like a charm to get to sleep. If I woke up in the night and began to obsess about mostly work issues, I would take 200mg more then. That also worked like a charm. When I was in those two spiking times, which were so big that I had to work to re-habituate all over, again I used 100 or 200 mg after work to reduce my anxiety until I had worked myself back into habituation. You might want to try that.

      In addition, I am a member of the American Tinnitus Association. They just released a podcast with a psychologist named Dr. Hubbard, who has tinnitus and specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for those with tinnitus. I have used CBT successfully. You can hear the podcast here:

      https://www.ata.org/podcasts/episode-10-habituation-tinnitus-using-cognitive-behavioral-therapy

      Dr. Hubbard says 98% of people with tinnitus can achieve habituation. In this podcast, he tells you what he thinks you need to know about CBT. He also has a lot of free resources for those with tinnitus on his website here:

      https://www.cbtfortinnitus.com/cbt-for-tinnitus-resources

      On his free resource page, he has a 90-minute webinar, a mindfulness meditation audio, recommendations for self-help books (he is working on one of his own) and other key self-help information to give it a go for yourself. He does offer coaching on dealing with Tinnitus as well should you need/want that. I suggest you give it a listen and look.

      He says many people can complete CBT for tinnitus in as little as 2 to 10 sessions with someone who is trained in CBT for Tinnitus but unfortunately, most therapists are not adequately trained in CBT and don't know anything about tinnitus.

      I have tinnitus and hyperacusis. The second time I had a sound damage event that this time caused a markedly increase in my tinnitus sounds I lost my habituation again. I used the Rewiring Tinnitus book first and then bought the program ($50) which made a big difference. To get back to habituation I used what I had learned from the past as well including the Back To Silence method.

      The creator of the Rewiring Tinnitus program has Meniere’s disease, which causes vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and the feeling of pressure in your ears. A complex case.

      The program was frightening to use since it ultimately has you build up to meditating to the sound of your tinnitus or in my case sounds (not your breathing, which is the usual meditation focus) with earplugs in your ears. I have been meditating off and on for maybe 15 years now. At least 10 years before I had tinnitus so I had some meditation experience.

      I was at a basic level very much afraid of the sound(s) from the beginning of my tinnitus and it becoming even louder which indeed it just had which made me even more frightened. What the Rewiring Tinnitus program did for me was to free me from the fear of whatever the sounds are or might become (although one can never be sure 100% of course but I am highly confident now), most likely I can handle it. I now know the loudness of the sounds has less to do with habituation and becoming comfortable with living with tinnitus. It is more about how one reacts to the sound(s). That said, some people have more “baggage” to handle than others do so my experience may not be the same as yours. I am back to habituation now after a month or two with my new louder sounds he says with a smile. I do now meditate sometimes to the T sounds with earplugs in my ears but most of the time to my breathing and I don’t hear the T sounds most of the time. When I do maybe 5 to 10 times per day I verbally do the Back To Silence process.

      Maybe more than you want to know!

      Hope this helps Damiano.
       
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    25. Damiano

      Damiano Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection, possibly medication
      Thank you very much for taking the time to write this very helpful reply, Henry.
      I have experimented today and there were long intervals of time where I could do nothing but observe the tinnitus without judgement. It is difficult, the mind kind of rebels and wants to start the usual commentary "I can't stand this anymore", "how can I go on like this for months and years", "how will I take care of my family", "I can't concentrate and work anymore", etc. So I observed the noise without judgement, but it's not easy, it's very intrusive and one ends up suffering emotionally. It's hard to pinpoint a single feeling, it's more a continuum. I tried, at the worst moments, to apply the technique: "I hear my tinnitus and I feel ....". I did it probably something like 100 times today, but I wrote down only 30 notes because the rest of the time I was working, or driving, or cooking, etc. All the "...." are negative or at most neutral for the time being, since we have been instructed to tell the truth. This is inconsistent with the "fake it until you believe it" advice given earlier by other posters, as I understand we need to be sincere here.

      Thank you also for pointing out the technique of Glenn Schweitzer, I had read about him earlier. I tried to use my tinnitus as an object of meditation but I find it very distressing, so it's not easy for me. I will take a look at the links you posted and the material from Dr Hubbard, thank you for that.

      In terms of the golden rule, I think we need to accept tinnitus as you say, but this need not be forever. Drugs under development, like FX-322 or REGAIN for example, should be reaching the market in a few years, hopefully, and with bimodal neuromodulation having progressed well we might have a few shots at improving the tinnitus itself. Until then I hope methods like Back to Silence and CBT can help us cope. I will continue with the practice and report back if it is successful.

      Thanks again for your very helpful reply.
       
    26. JohnK
      Busy

      JohnK Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/26/2015 (habituated) 5/13/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity and/or stress
      My goal is to habituate to the point where I don't notice or care enough to want to bother with these treatments when they come (and like you I also believe it is just a matter of time). I was there once before, I shall get there again.

      Making good progress with BTS. I don't count the times but I do note them and it feels like I'm noticing it fewer and fewer times a day.
       
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