Does Everyone Eventually Habituate?

Discussion in 'Dr. Bruce Hubbard (Psychologist, CBT)' started by Barbara777, Aug 26, 2015.

    1. Barbara777

      Barbara777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hello Dr. Hubbard,

      I've had tinnitus for seven months and I don't think I am close to habituation. My question is, does everyone eventually habituate? Are there any signs that habituation is starting to happen? My tinnitus is loud and reacts to sound. Is there anything that can be done to help habituation happen?

      Thank you.

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    2. Dr. Hubbard

      Dr. Hubbard Member

      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Hi Barbara

      It might be helpful for you to know some facts about habituation: Habituation is a natural process in the brain that pertains to all areas of sensory stimulation. For example, chances are that right now you're not aware of the sensations of your body against your seat, your feet against the floor. You can become aware of these sensations, but your brain tends to screen them out because they are not important. Similarly, the brain routinely habituates to (screens out) even very loud ambient sound (like sirens, traffic noise, overhead flight patterns). And, eventually, the brain comes to screen out the sounds and sensations of tinnitus which, while upsetting and annoying, are ultimately not important.

      The best data we have indicates that about 98% of people with tinnitus go on to habituate. With tinnitus, habituation generally takes about 6-18 months. Detailing the process of habituation is more than i can get into here. It is gradual, beginning with the realization that for a few moments at a time you were not thinking about tinnitus. At first this may occur while engaged in activities that demand your full attention. Over months, these periods will gradually expand. The last to go are the times when you are least distracted by other sounds and activities (e.g., at the end of the day when you lay down to sleep).

      Sound therapy, like TRT, and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) are designed to promote habituation to tinnitus. They do this by reducing the negative emotional reaction to tinnitus. This helps calm the primitive part of the brain that tends to keep this reaction alive, and feeds your brain's negative, anxious attention to the sounds.

      Hope that helps!
      Dr Hubbard
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