Experiment: Listening to Tinnitus in Complete Silence

Discussion in 'Support' started by Ricardo1991, May 5, 2021.

?

Have you meditated while wearing earplugs/soundproof headphones?

  1. Yes, and I've found it helpful

  2. Yes, but I haven't found it helpful

  3. No, and I won't try

  4. No, but I might try

Results are only viewable after voting.
    1. Ricardo1991
      Wishful

      Ricardo1991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      The world may never know..
      Hi guys,

      Here is something that I have done for quite some time now. I've done this for years and I don't really know what to do with this or how it helps but I hope that maybe it can provide some sort of data for anyone studying tinnitus? I've brought this up to my ENT but unfortunately they don't display much interest.

      It's difficult to describe but I'll do my best. So here goes.

      Sometimes when my tinnitus is a bit crazier than usual, I wear earplugs, cover my ears with soundproof headphones and lie in bed in complete silence. This puts me in a meditative state; I listen to my tinnitus. I lie there listening to the flickering, hissing, crackling and whistles. Eventually after a few moments my brain seems to "eat up" the whistling and whooshing then I am able to "isolate" the sound.

      It's almost like I am diving deep into my own brain. Once I've "isolated" the sound, I believe I can hear the nerves hissing and whooshing and my mind focuses on the sounds and I can hear the different layers of my tinnitus separately. Sometimes something will startle me (slight movement from my body) and my head will fill with a loud static like TV static which then fades away. I can also hear my tinnitus fluctuate more clearly when I move my jaw and neck around.

      I do this for about 10-15 minutes and sometimes I'll find that my tinnitus has calmed down from what it was earlier. Not always, just sometimes it's almost like my brain learns to filter out the sound but it's only if I'm lucky. I'm only speculating here because I know nothing of how the brain works with tinnitus, etc.

      I suppose I wanted to share my experience to see if anybody else does this? I am creating a poll above; please let me know and leave me a comment if this is something you've ever tried. The ENTs I've seen before didn't seem very interested but I was just wondering if any of you have had this experience.

      It really is just an experiment (like most things related to tinnitus) because I only did this on "accident" once because I was trying to relax and just randomly thought of putting myself in complete silence haha.

      Have any of you tried this before?
       
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    2. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      I've done the same thing; I've also played with this long enough to experiment with silencing specific tones by making my "brain's ear" play the same tone and listening to that and then realizing that tone has dropped out of my tinnitus. I can even do this with 2 tones at the same time, but, given my tinnitus is 7-10 tones, this is more interesting that useful.

      I think the act of meditation done correctly can be very calming to the interactions between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and this can put us in a receptive state to simply be aware of the tinnitus percept without judging it. Getting to that point is difficult but my experience is, it can have an impact on our experience of tinnitus which is beneficial far beyond the time spend actually meditating.

      Also, I've meditated enough that I know there's no real rhyme or reason to it; sometimes I actually get spikes afterwards. Is that just because I wasn't relaxed enough and sitting for a half hour stressed my cervical spine? Who knows! No rhyme, no reason, just this moment now, collapsing seamlessly into the next, as it's ever been ;)

      The guy who writes the "Mind Over Meniere's" website is big on this idea but he also has books to try to sell and is kind of making a career out of it which makes me pretty skeptical of his intentions.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ricardo1991
      Wishful

      Ricardo1991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      The world may never know..
      I think I get you; like taming the beast by confronting it? I find that this experiment was helpful to me because I no longer really say "I hear a whistling." It's like I can hear it yes, but it's actually the "combination" of multiple sounds that create a sound like a whistle. Haha sorry, it's hard to describe.

      And for sure, it's very hard to get to a point where we're zen with our tinnitus but it is achievable. I try to remind myself that I know plenty of people in real life that have tinnitus and are doing just fine. They might struggle but are still present.
       
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    4. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      I was doing it in the beginning, following the advice from that guy's book that linearb mentioned. I believe it's also done in CBT to promote habituation. I've come across people on Facebook groups who successfully managed it in this way.

      I think it's achievable for some people, I'd be very happy if I could just meditate to the noise. I don't expect any cure or healing anymore, but getting to the state where I can meditate or at least relax when hearing tinnitus would be the best realistic goal.
       
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    5. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Started with a cold, possibly worsened by medication/noise
      I took a eight week mindfulness course for tinnitus. I had previous experience with mindfulness meditation for years. One of the approaches was focusing on the breath, physical sensations and body, some other times we focused on thoughts, all done non-judgmentally, the usual approaches.

      However, those of us with the most severe tinnitus found that almost impossible because the tinnitus was too distracting. Even sitting still was a challenge. We were suggested to try and meditate on the tinnitus itself as a possibility, but I found it impossible. I could sit twenty-thirty minutes and focus on my tinnitus but it was pure torture, and the restlessness was getting worse daily, at the end of the 30 minutes I was completely anxious and needed to move desperately and quite nervously.

      In the end, after a month of meditating on the tinnitus for 30 minutes a day I gave up because it was unbearable.

      In my opinion this works for tinnitus below a certain level, but when it's super-severe, this technique does not work, at least for me, and even classic mindfulness like focusing on the breath becomes almost impossible, unless you are the Dalai Lama.
       
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    6. Pharz

      Pharz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud noise
      Strangely it brings me at peace with the tinnitus. But unfortunately when I really need to focus on something else it becomes difficult to maintain my focus, until I fall in deep focus in my work, then I again don’t hear it.
       
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    7. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      I have met a person who actively meditates or focuses on their tinnitus for a few minutes a day. He is able to make it fade away most times and admits that sometimes the meditation spikes it temporarily but it always comes back down. I kind of can do the same thing where my hissing will be so loud and intrusive, I will focus on it for a couple minutes then I’ll just try to distract myself with something else and eventually I notice it has come down considerably.

      I think it’s the same principle that is in this video:

      How I Got Better From Tinnitus


      I really like it because it’s a positive outlook on recovery and maybe it works for some people.
       
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    8. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      It's an extreme comparison but I am often reminded of this graphic image of monk Thích Quảng Đức self-immolating to protest theBuddhist Crisis slaughter. Clearly he was in excruciating physical pain, but he maintained his composure and posture until the flames killed him and charred his corpse into that same full-lotus position.

      Reaching a level of distress tolerance that extreme, clearly takes most people years of dedicated practice in a way that's not possible for most Westerners with jobs to attend and life full of distractions. On the other hand, as much as tinnitus sucks and is painful, I wouldn't quite put it on the same page as "every nerve in your body screaming out in fiery pain at the same time".
       
    9. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      @linearb, I was thinking about this case as well. I went to see a Tibetan doctor and asked her how their monks would deal with tinnitus. She told me that it's extremely rare in Tibet for people to suffer from it, so she had no data. Now with the COVID-19 causing tinnitus + random SSHL cases, anyone is at risk. So I would still be keen to know it.

      I found this thread:

      Ajahn Sumedho — the Sound of Silence

      Not really sure what kind of tinnitus they hear. My negative mind says, a mild monotone tinnitus, sure, no problem. Severe multitonal one, who knows?
       
    10. 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
      My tinnitus sounds like mourning souls in hell. Listening to it is how you destroy your good mood and get anxiety and depression 101.
       
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    11. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      As I was reading your post I was going to quote that exact book but you beat me to it.

      Apparently, getting tinnitus is like a right of passage for meditation. It’s very common with breathing exercises (I should know, that’s how I got mine) but I was surprised to see how many people get it from deep meditation. No one knows why it happens but likely it’s something to do with the nervous system.

      Given that you have already posted the information about meditation causing tinnitus, I find it odd that tinnitus is not a common phenomenon in Tibet.
       
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    12. MBH

      MBH Member

      Location:
      Upstate NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Overloaded stress
      I usually stay busy with noise around me but when I'm suddenly in a quiet spot, it's instantly hell. My body starts to bother me. I work to find noise and put myself back in self-absorb mode. I don't know what's worse, sudden quiet or sudden noise. Either one, for me, there is no getting used to.
       
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    13. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      I do this every night.

      It indeed used to work before, when it was just a ringing and static sound.

      Then I got worse and now?

      Never works. It's always hell... It's what I would've imagined hell is. Hearing nothing but the monstrous diversity of sound effects and piercing humming and disgusting wavering noise. My morning is no better, same disgusting wavering there to greet me, or to wake up to loud explosions in alternating/both ears at 4 am, with no hope of sleep again.

      I keep trying to make friends with the devil, but it's getting suicidal without real sleep happening.
       
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    14. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      Yeah, I would still want to see more data on Tibet and tinnitus. I wonder if the character / tonality of tinnitus affects the meditation practice for them.
       
    15. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Have you considered taking some medication for anxiety and depression? When I first got tinnitus in 2015, it helped a lot and I am considering starting medication again now that it has worsened.
       
    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ricardo1991
      Wishful

      Ricardo1991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      The world may never know..
      I'm definitely not the Dalai Lama haha.

      But I agree and I would also say that I am in the "severe" category with my tinnitus. It's definitely really loud, I would even say that I can feel my tinnitus as little shocks and almost a burning sensation inside my head.

      However, I think there's a huge element of surrender when it comes to habituation.

      This year, my left ear (my good ear) spiked and hasn't really come down but I've given myself up to the noise and have sort of accepted this is my life, like I use masking for sure but I also got to know my tinnitus. I don't understand how it works but it's definitely a part of my life, but not my life.
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ricardo1991
      Wishful

      Ricardo1991 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      The world may never know..
      Definitely not quite the same BUT I think the metaphor is very clear here. Thanks for sharing. This was very insightful and I actually found it inspiring.
       
    18. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      At its worst my tinnitus is a screechingly painful thing that correlates with TMJ dislocation, pain, and stabbing ear pain.

      This was a significant obstacle to learning meditation, but, my starting point for doing so was exactly being in that state of unbelievable, intolerable 24/7 distress. I had to start with 10-15 minute fully guided meditations and then work from there to breath meditation.

      I've been struggling lately, with tinnitus but more with life's general stresses and overall darkness that's happening in my life right now, and so I am back from the 5 mins of daily meditation I try to do with our child every day, to setting aside 40 mins of every afternoon to just watch my breath and let go of each distraction as it arises.
       
    19. GeorgeLG
      Lonely

      GeorgeLG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower after yrs of rock guitar, constr & comp shooting
      Holy crap, this just happened to me 5 minutes ago:

      I was sitting here trying to get some work done with the jet engine in my head at full throttle and pounding with my computer speakers on the lowest possible setting when I stumbled across this thread and the YouTube link of David.

      First David, thank you kind and dear soul. Then I read in the comments about a Dr. John Sarno book. I read his book about back pain decades ago after Howard Stern raved about it about breaking the emotional physical cycle and that helped me a lot. I went from emergency room visits to 300 pound wheel barrows of concrete over the next few years.

      Then while I was being amazed about all of this and thinking about the possibilities, the tinnitus stopped at near 0% for around 30 seconds after days on end on high alert - weeks with no break.

      It's back as I type this but holy crap. In that one moment, I now believe that this can be managed. I am convinced now that I can get this under control.

      What an eye opening day!

      Thank you again kind sir. I have work to do but I am "woke" now in the best possible way.

      George
       
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