Can You Habituate to Reactive Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by CarloZ, Oct 14, 2015.

    1. CarloZ

      CarloZ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      September 3, 2015
      I have tinnitus (buzzing) and reactive tinnitus (changes sounds). Can I still habituate to reactive tinnitus? Or does reactive tinnitus get worse as time goes on?
       
    2. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      I had really bad sound reactive tinnitus and mild hyperacusis this time last year when my tinnitus relapse occurred. I couldn't drive long distances and couldn't go to cafes etc. It continued for some 9 months for me whilst overtime getting better.

      I now have good days and bad days but neither can be directly associated with activity and/or noise exposure, rather it's the tinnitus itself which determines how noisy it's going to be on a particular day. Overtime I should be able to habituate. Just remember that while habituation can occur as early as six months, it generally takes 12-18 months to happen! :)
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    3. AlecP
      Procrastinating

      AlecP Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (I think)
      The short answer is yes, BUT it's not always as simple as that. It will vary person to person - I for one have a form of mild reactive tinnitus, in the sense that most days it's at a level which I have no problem with but then other days (for no apparent reason) it will be louder or more intrusive although it will still not really bother me.

      It has taken me 12+ months to get to this habituated stage and there have and still are many ups and downs. The key is acceptance and trying to carry on with life with as much normalcy as you did before tinnitus, whilst taking much greater care of your ears.

      Good luck!

      Alec
       
      • Genius Genius x 1
    4. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      Mark,

      Did you take steps to improve the reactive tinnitus and hyperacusis, or was it a time thing?

      Can you drive long distances & go to cafes now without protection?
       
    5. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      Yes to both. It took around 9-10 months to reach that point and I still have bad days 12 months later.

      Now I just do whatever.
       
    6. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      Did you do TRT, or was it just a matter of time before you were comfortable in cars & cafes?
       
    7. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      It was time more than anything else. As things improved I became aware that I could handle more. Initially there was lots of anxiety being in a cafe or from driving... You know fear of a spike, but as it stopped happening more and more I stopped worrying about it!

      It's not perfect yet though. I'm still not 100% habituated and I still have days with more obvious tinnitus, but my overall quality of life has improved.

      Just stay positive bro and be prepared to give it time. For most people they recover. Just remember the minority that don't are the ones on this board who are in the greatest pain!
       
      • Like Like x 2
    8. MarkoP

      MarkoP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkonwn
      @Mark Beehre, I found this thread and your situation sounds similar to mine.

      I'm 5 months into this very difficult mind-game.

      A week and a half ago I noticed I have reactive tinnitus after a long car drive, and after visiting a restaurant after the COVID-19 restrictions eased.

      Can I ask how are you doing now? I hope you are well. I believe in habituation and I was doing well before this reactive tinnitus came along...
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Hey Marko. Sorry to hear about that. I would recommend taking steps towards avoid the spiking, maybe wearing earmuff / earplugs, or both, for longer car rides.

      Do you have hyperacusis, i.e. do sounds like dishes clanking make you feel uncomfortable? It could be related to that.
      I've been in contact with Mark quite recently and he seems to be doing very fine as the reactivity settled.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. MarkoP

      MarkoP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkonwn
      @Stacken77, thank you for your response. Yesterday I ordered custom made earplugs and will use those. Some days higher sounds sound a little bit too loud but not every day. So maybe I have minor hyperacusis.

      I still don't understand all aspects that causes spikes. I had friends here last Saturday but the noise level was not high and it did not bother me. A spike still occured when I went to sleep. I'm thinking some foods might cause that (high salt or sugar). I can have almost a full day in silence but in the evening I hear louder sounds. Sometimes during the afternoon.

      I think I have habituated at some point but these louder sounds in the evenings suck. Maybe it is still a good sign that it can be quiet from 8:00 to 17:00 or so for many days. And 5 months is a very short time with this condition.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    11. cruise
      Relaxed

      cruise Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      In my first months I still noticed spikes and high and low days. I never found a cause or pattern so I just gave up looking for one. After many more months I got so used to my tinnitus that I don't notice a difference anymore between high and low days. I think there is still a difference in loudness from day to day but since I am not consciously aware of my tinnitus I do not notice the difference anymore.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    12. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I'd just like to add that my tinnitus behaves in a very similar way. In the evening, it always increases by a notch. I can almost always rely on it being louder by 8 PM, just like clockwork. My initial tinnitus did not behave this way, it started after my tinnitus became very reactive. Although it is very annoying when going to sleep, I have come to accept it as a recurring phenomenon.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Yes, you can habituate to reactive tinnitus. If you couldn't, I'd be dead by now.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    14. MarkoP

      MarkoP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unkonwn
      Thank you for your answers! Yeah, I'm also a person who maybe thinks too much about things. And with this tinnitus thingy, it is not a good starting point. I just have to think that this will make me a better and maybe more relaxed person when time goes by.

      Best moments are when you forget that you have tinnitus, when you go for a walk in the nature and actually listen to the nature and not your Spotify which I always did before.

      Time will heal. That is the only thing that I can count on.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Ava Lugo
      Gloomy

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/03/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      How can you habituate to such an intrusive tinnitus that you hear all the time and very clearly over everything like myself? The kind of tinnitus you don’t have to “look for“ to hear it. Is it part of accepting the unmaskable intrusive tinnitus monster as a part of you?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 2
    16. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Sorry, my initial response to @CarloZ's question was rather monosyllabic in hindsight. I feel now I should have elaborated somewhat more.

      So to revisit my answer: Again, yes you can habituate to reactive tinnitus, but only in the same way one would habituate to non-reactive tinnitus; by keeping it static.

      This is to say, so long as you're avoiding loud places and wearing sufficient hearing protection when you find yourself in loud places (for me that's everywhere outside my front door, as I live in London) then you can live harmoniously with it.

      The caveat for those of us with reactive tinnitus, is of course, that should we be exposed to loud noise unexpectedly, or try to tolerate loud noise in social situations without adequate hearing protection for the sake of appearing "normal", then we will of course suffer a spike (and potentially risk an increase in our baseline volume) setting us back to square one of the habituation process. Which again, is entirely possible to succeed from, given I can no longer count the number of times I've had to re-habituate to increased tinnitus or white knuckle my way through a one-thousandth spike.
       
    17. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Hi, @Ava Lugo.

      Yes is the answer to your question I'm afraid, at least if it's me you're asking.

      Perhaps there are sufferers who have found other ways of coping: frequent masking and taking medication etc. But the only way I've found that is workable long-term (because it's best to assume one is in it for the long-haul) is to essentially become one with your tinnitus.

      I'm not a fan of people who join these forums and share posts to the effect of: "After developing tinnitus x amount of years ago, it no longer bothers me". My tinnitus always bothers me; in the sense that I can no longer live the life I desire to live.

      I can't travel on planes; hence I can't travel to certain countries I'd like to travel to. I can't spend hours outdoors in my city enjoying time with my friends (I can enjoy time out with my friends, but with hearing protection on, there's a limit to how much time I can spend with them). I can't even enjoy the summer this year with all the windows open in my apartment, feeling a cool breeze and enjoying all the noise of seagulls squawking and children playing; because despite my fondness for them, those things have and will, spike my tinnitus.

      But I have habituated to the noise. I no longer spend every waking hour in fear and anxiety distracted by the noise in my head like I did when I was in my first year.

      I'm able to read, study, sleep perfectly well despite this horrible condition, and my tinnitus is by no stretch of the imagination "mild".

      So yes, you can absolutely habituate to it (especially well, if your tinnitus is non-reactive). But as others have said, you can't run from it, habituation means not masking it and just trying to do normal activities that distract you from it while it plays in the background: like watching TV, playing video-games and reading etc.

      Believe it or not, I read more books (with this screaming noise in my head) in my first 2 years with tinnitus, than I have at any other time in my life.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Hug Hug x 1
      • Winner Winner x 1
      • Creative Creative x 1
    18. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I find your post highly interesting. May I ask; approximately, at what threshold does your tinnitus react, i.e. what's the smallest noise that makes it go off? Does the sound of your own voice cause a spike for example?

      From what I can read in your post, you are actually able to mitigate spiking with hearing protection. In my case, it doesn't matter if I have single or double protection, about any sound that hits my eardrum gives me a spike. Most of the spikes are temporary, but I feel like the baseline is on a slow but steady upwards trend.

      I'd say that reactive tinnitus absolutely can be habituated to - if it does not cause permanent increases of the baseline (and you can actually like, talk, and do the most essential things without it becoming worse). I lived approximately 1 month with tinnitus that reacted immediately, and always receded to baseline after some time; I was totally habituated, but after an incident which caused a hyperacusis setback, my spikes have become more prolonged and permanent.

      Also, @Damocles, have your baseline increased significantly over time due to reactive tinnitus?

      All the best,
      Stacken
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    19. Stanlex
      Wtf

      Stanlex Member

      Location:
      A world where everything sounds funny
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019 - mild, 03/2021 - the real shit
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Something that cannot be identified by 21st century tech
      Not sure if by reactive tinnitus you mean that beeping over water, hearing buzz when near electricity and other psycho shit. I have had that for 3 months and I would say I have habituated to that. I am not even panicking or being depressed about it. I just take it as life.

      Remember, there are thousands of people with altered taste and sense of smell because of COVID-19. You are not alone. Having broken senses is a "fashion" in 2021. Having this mindset made me stop giving a shit about the distortions. Also, I noticed that I don't hear them when I don't think about them. I wish the same thing had had happened with my tinnitus, which is a real beast, unlike the distortions which are mild in my case.
       
    20. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Hi again @Stacken77 my friend,

      Apologies in advance for the boring and formulaic answer: but my reactivity changes on a day-to-day basis. It'll be dependent on factors mostly such as; how much sleep I've had and if I've already worn hearing protection that day. If I haven't slept much, then just a conversation in a quiet room with one of my parents will cause a fluctuation in my tinnitus each time their voice hits my eardrum. However, on good days, this isn't the case.

      Same for if I've been out that day with hearing protection for a couple of hours; while with hearing protection in, I become more attuned and less aware of my tinnitus. However, when the earplugs or ear defenders come out/off, my ears become hyper-sensitive and the same scenario as I documented above will occur.

      What's important to note (and please understand I am not playing our condition down, and never would), over time you do become used to this. Even on bad days when my tinnitus is hyper-reactive, it becomes like an ache in the back that worsens when you bend over for example; it just becomes too familiar to pay any attention to. So while it might not fit the traditional idea of habituation (as in, becoming completely unaware of ones own tinnitus), it only affects my life in as much as the restrictions that tinnitus has placed on me, in order to prevent it from becoming worse.
      Yes, absolutely. For me, use of earplugs and ear-defenders completely prevents: small fluctuations when exposed to everyday noise (from people talking and plates clattering etc.), spikes (as in, significant temporary increases caused by being exposed to children screaming and car horns etc.) and permanent increases in my baseline volume (from being exposed to some w*nker revving his Harley Davidson next to me on a street while I'm shopping, for example).
      Yes, unfortunately, several times over the last 12 years.

      The most prolific being from an MRI scan I had to have for an unrelated health scare.

      On the one hand I was devastated by the permanent increase in my tinnitus, but on the other, I was just so relieved I wasn't going to die (given the negative result), that I was able to handle it relatively well.
      I am so sorry to hear about the onset of your highly reactive tinnitus, but take my word for it, over time this will settle. I can see you're doing all the right things (wearing your hearing protection to enjoy a nice "fika" despite those noisy roosters!). Just keep looking after your hearing the way you're doing and over time your body will heal (enough that you, like me, will be able to endure until a decent treatment makes itself known, and we can live our lives to the fullest once again).
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Winner Winner x 1
    21. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      @Damocles, my man! :huganimation:

      Thank you for the very detailed response.
      It was very well appreciated.

      Take care,
      Stacken
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    22. Ava Lugo
      Gloomy

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/03/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      So one more question. There is tinnitus that spikes and is louder for awhile after being exposed to noise, but I know there is also tinnitus that reacts instantly to external noises, so I’m guessing not only does your tinnitus spike after the noise exposure but it also rides on top of every external noise?

      I’m guessing it does so on bad days because you said on good days you can be unaware of it because you wear hearing protection and stuff.

      I am worried I am legitimately screwed because mine wasn’t noise-induced and I can’t wear earplugs since I was born with an ear that’s 80 percent deaf and the other ear has a closed ear canal so I usually turn my bone anchored hearing aid off if it gets too noisy but that means I hear pretty much only my tinnitus at that point or I might play some chimes on my phone if the living room next to my bedroom is noisy.
       
    23. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Yes that's correct @Ava Lugo, my tinnitus does indeed "ride on top of" many external noises, as you say. But not all.

      Unfortunately I can't tell you which noises it does and which noises it doesn't "ride", as, appropriate to the thread's subject, I just don't monitor my tinnitus enough to be aware of where noises fall on my internal white-list and black-list anymore.
      I do see your problem. The requirement for you to use hearing aids, will annoyingly add a further complication to the mix, I'm certain.

      This is because, for me, if we say on a scale of 1 to 10 my tinnitus is usually a 6 (it isn't, but for argument's sake let's just go with this number). When I'm indoors it's a 6, and then, when I'm outdoors, with the use of hearing protection, it remains 6. Therefore my tinnitus (as long as I avoid spikes) is always at 6, and so despite fluctuations due to my reactive tinnitus, I can still become acclimatised to it.

      In your case, let's say yours is also 6 with your hearing aids on, but then you need to turn them off at some point, and it jumps to a 9; we have inconsistency and so a much more difficult task of acclimatisation.

      My advice to you would be to seek out other tinnitus sufferers on the board who also use hearing aids, as this just isn't my terrain. But some people swear by them and I'm sure are living well, having habituated alongside their use of a hearing-aid.

      With regards to not being able to use earplugs; use ear defenders when you have to. I don't like when I have to wear mine in public, as they're less subtle, but most people just assume they're headphones anyway.
       
    24. Sean

      Sean Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01-01-2011
      Thank you for writing this detailed post.

      Did the MRI increase your baseline tinnitus? I don’t need an MRI, but just curious.
       
    25. Ava Lugo
      Gloomy

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/03/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      Have you experienced a ringing competing with every word spoken to you? How do you mentally deal with it when it happens? Are you able to enjoy music or does it sound distorted?

      These are my last questions.
       
    26. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      How does one have an MRI without damaging their ears? Using earplugs and earmuffs?
       
    27. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Hi @Sean,

      Yes.

      Have a look at my reply to @Stacken77 on this thread. I mention the permanent worsening of my tinnitus after an MRI.

      In fact, I believe there are lots of stories of MRI scans permanently increasing people's tinnitus on the forum.

      Just type MRI into the Tinnitus Talk search engine if you want to see for yourself.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    28. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Yep @Ava Lugo, there are days I experience this. Not every day, but often.

      As I said earlier, over time you just become accustomed to it.

      You have to think, I've been experiencing this phenomenon for over a decade now; there's only so long your body and brain can keep taking note of the "pain" before it registers it as something unremarkable that to some degree can be ignored.
      Well, this is a tougher question. When I listen to music, I rarely experience any distortion, except with certain instruments playing; like electric guitars.

      My theory is because I listened to so much music (pre-tinnitus) with electric guitars in it, those must be the hearing frequencies that are most seriously damaged in my ears.

      But no, for the most part distortion is not a problem.

      But do I "enjoy" music? No, not without suffering the consequence of a spike after I've listened to it; so I rarely do.
       
    29. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Hey @Wrfortiscue,

      Hope you're doing alright.

      Yes that's right. Earplugs + Ear Defenders is the safest you can make an MRI scan as someone whose hearing is already compromised.

      I can't remember who posted it (it was over 2 years ago now), either @Alue or maybe @linearb (but suspect the former). Anyway, they posted a link to a pair of MRI-safe ear defenders which they had worn (in a stand up MRI, I think?)

      These are absolutely necessary; because what the radiologist is going to give you (or gave me, at least) are a pair of flimsy plastic cups that don't even create a seal around your ears.

      Thank god, I was wearing earplugs (albeit an inadequate SNR rating) otherwise I would seriously not have a morsel of life to live now.

      Also, couldn't find the thread I was referring to with the link to the MRI-safe ear defenders so here's one:

      (For the Brits)
      Ear Protection - Safety Gear (oxtools.co.uk)

      (And for the Americans)
      MRI Non-Magnetic Ear Muffs - Passive Hearing Protection (mriequip.com)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    30. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Hey, thanks for reaching out, I appreciate it. I’m going to reach out to my doctor to see about my next steps. Hope all is well with you.
       
      • Like Like x 1
Loading...

Share This Page