Can Mindfulness Be Useful for Hyperacusis & Associated Anxiety?

Discussion in 'Support' started by FrontRoomFanatic, Mar 29, 2020.

    1. FrontRoomFanatic
      Dreaming

      FrontRoomFanatic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Damage (Music)
      Hello all.

      Been on here a fair bit the past few days. Have been anxious about hyperacusis recently, resultant from being on lock down and increasing the sensitivity to sound I am feeling.

      Anyway; I wanted to find out if many of you use mindfulness to assist with either the hyperacusis itself, or related anxiety? Do you feel it is of significant benefit for you?

      My hyperacusis isn’t too bad, it’s mostly around artificial noise sources. The anxiety around it is getting worse and is severe. I’m thinking of beginning mindfulness to give me a coping mechanism for if it does get worse. Appreciate any input.
       
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    2. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Clown World
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      Mindfullness is great for emotional anxiety, but it won't do anything for a damaged inner ear.
       
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    3. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Mindfulness is sort of a vague term. It's important to focus or occupy your mental energies on something OTHER than tinnitus. That and masking are really the only two working tools in the arsenal (beyond falling into addictive behaviors that flood your system with pleasure hormones to compensate for the pent up stress, exercise, food, drugs, booze, sex).
       
    4. Agrajag364

      Agrajag364 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yeah be careful with this.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      FrontRoomFanatic
      Dreaming

      FrontRoomFanatic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Damage (Music)
      I wondered if masking can bother the hyperacusis any? Suppose it would be on a case by case basis perhaps? Have thought the same about hearing aids. The tinnitus side of the equation doesn’t stress me now. Just a little bothersome hyperacusis and have had some anxiety about it getting worse.

      Although I have been doing some thinking and reading today. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to accept the fragility of my body and that I can’t control everything that will physically happen to me. I’ll have other physical problems to deal with as life passes by and I need to just accept that. All things fall apart.
       
    6. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      It very much depends on what you want from it. In general, CBT has less value, the worse the hearing condition is. By value, I'm referring to doing things with your handicap that you normally can't do.

      The thing is, you can't "learn" that your phonophobia is okay because every time you're around sound, it's a deeply negative experience. This is not what CBT is made for. CBT is designed for, say, agoraphobic or germophobic people who have learned incorrectly that their fear, which is really irrational, is rational.

      On the other hand, if you have very minor hyperacusis and loads of irrational fears regarding sound, CBT may help. For example, say you have evidence that 80 decibel sounds don't make you worse (or even bother you that much), but you have conditioned yourself into believing that they might. You can't break the cycle of "double checking" decibel levels. In this case, this is exactly what CBT is made for.

      You wouldn't say someone with ALS can walk if they understood that walking is safe. It's not irrational. CBT only works for irrational thoughts. Otherwise, it's called a disability.

      If I start to climb out of my disability, I anticipate needing CBT down the road for dealing with irrational fears relating to sound. I have spent the last 10 months holed up in a house. I think about sounds and decibels constantly. If my hearing disorder got cured tomorrow, my brain is conditioned to avoid sound. I may need a therapist to facilitate this transition.

      Unfortunately, this is not how it gets talked about. It's often just a way to blame you for your disability, which we would NEVER do for something more visible.
       
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    7. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I think that really depends on the case. I always thought my hyperacusis was A problem, but the tinnitus is THE problem, so it's the reverse of yours. I'd feel a huge relief if my tinnitus went away even if my hyperacusis remained unchanged. I've avoided getting a dedicated white noise generator or masking hearing aids but being next to a fridge or hearing the dishwasher go in the other room is extremely soothing to me.
       
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    8. serendipity1996

      serendipity1996 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Kinda in a similar position. Hyperacusis isn't too bad, it's improved substantially and I rarely experience pain any longer. Contrast this with 2 months ago when my setback was at its worst and I couldn't go outside and run errands w/o experiencing burning, liquidy pain, tingling and fullness for the remainder of the day.

      But it still feels like I've got some psychological hurdles to overcome particularly around artificial noise sources as I'm afraid I'm starting to avoid even just watching a short YouTube clip in case it triggers my pain hyperacusis. Additionally, it feels like my auditory system has gone on 'high alert' and perceives every sound as a threat. One particular issue I have is difficulty tuning out background sounds, e.g. my laptop fan, refrigerator noise etc, shower fan. It's strange because even 2 months ago when my symptoms were *way* worse and distressing I wasn't bothered by these sounds. Prior to my setback again I had no issues with these sorts of ambient background noises. But now it's like my ears are constantly 'searching' for these sounds and I can't not notice them now. Especially continual 'droning' sounds like my laptop fan. And I can even feel it triggering very mild 'pain' hyperacusis symptoms after a while - tightness in forehead/ears. I've even taken to using plugs when using my laptop but even then I feel a bit ambivalent about it since it feels like I'm verging into over-protection territory. It's a bit strange because objectively my hyperacusis is way better than it was but it's like I've lost my ability to just tune out background noise?

      I also have anxiety and take medication which can make me more physically anxious which I've found can trigger heartbeat sounds in my ears and tonic tensor fluttering. So it's probably all related. I mean it's clear to me that H fundamentally stems from very real physical damage to the cochlea but I'm at a point where it definitely feels like there's some kind of psychological negative feedback loop involved.
       
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    9. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That's because your hearing is not enhancing and dampening sounds as normal ears. It means something is wrong, but it is subtle, for the moment.

      You just have to be careful with objectively loud noise, impulse noise and sudden loud sounds. Even so, hyperacusis sometimes means having bad days for no reason, tired ears, and irrational physical reactions to medium sounds your ears dont like. It is just the way it is...

      But the positive side is that you have to carry on doing things and living a normal life, only being very careful with loud sounds (power tools, car horns, sirens, stuff like that) because these can make your ears change fast.
       
    10. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That's a great comment! I totally agree with you
       
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    11. serendipity1996

      serendipity1996 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      I have never had any issues with sudden noise like car horns or passing ambulance sirens since my hyperacusis started 4 years ago even when in a setback. It's more continual droning noise that's the issue.

      Yeah it definitely feels like there's some sort of distortion going on and certain frequencies are more prominent. Hoping it improves.
       
    12. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      In theory it is the role of outer hair cells (OHC) to enhance or dampen sounds, and maybe they are not working properly. This is typical with hyperacusis or noise sensitivity. Examples:

      - For instance, you can be sitting home with a clock ticking on the background and the sound is enhanced in silence, and suddenly the clock sounds so clearly.

      - Or you can go to meet friends at a cafe, and it is quiet when you arrive, so you hear what your friends say and also sounds around. Over time more people arrive to have coffee and the place gets Fuller and louder; well, your ears adapt progressively, as the surrounding noise goes up, and make you perceive the background sounds less loud, and focus on your conversation.

      In those situations referred before, if OHCs don't work properly you can have trouble hearing the clock clearly, and in the noisier cafe situation you can have trouble understanding speech in noise, competing sounds, or trouble with ignoring sound in the background.
       
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    13. serendipity1996

      serendipity1996 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      If this is the case then I pray FX-322 helps!
       
      • Agree Agree x 1

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