Five weeks in, just saying hi. (long story)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by flimflam, Sep 12, 2016.

    1. flimflam

      flimflam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi all, I hope you’d forgive the long post. I wanted to come say hello, and introduce myself. I’m a guy in my mid-twenties, and live in New Zealand. I like long drives, cooking, and reading 

      On the 7th of August 2016, I woke up one Sunday morning with a very distinct tone in my left ear that would fluctuate every couple of seconds. It went like this-> toooooteeeeeetooooo *silence*, maybe a 5/10 in my silent room. It was actually loud enough to wake me up. I initially didn’t think much of it, maybe I slept on my ear wrong, maybe it was something electronic in my room, and maybe it was coming from outside my window. I laid in bed listening to it for a few minutes coming and going before getting up to go about my day.

      I think it’s worth mentioning that a couple of days ago (probably the 4th or 5th of August) I came down with a case of sore throat, stuffy nose, and some moderate coughing. Basically a case of the flu! I also, very stupidly, got in a dumb argument with a friend which probably didn’t help with the stress and sickness I was going through. I had also heard this tone roughly a month ago one morning- but it went away and I completely forgot about it until I heard it again and said ‘this sounds familiar’. I was also a music fan, guilty of listening to my iPhone with little thought to volume; and I was used to having my earbuds in as I sat at my work. Not ear shatteringly loud for eight hours, but not too soft as well.

      Anyways, went to bed that night and heard it again which made it really hard to sleep. Woke up the next morning and heard it in bed, and at this point I was getting worried. Consulted Dr. Google and learned about tinnitus for the very first time. I spent the next few days furiously googling everything I could find, every forum, every post, every article. I was an absolute mess running on 2-3 hours of sleep a night.

      I stopped eating. I stopped anything that I used to enjoy. I was so angry and at the same time embarrassed and couldn’t bear to tell my friends and family. Went to a doctor for the first time in years who basically did a two minute hearing test (and said I had a drop in left ear 6 khz) and recommended me to an audiologist. I got the same infuriating advice of ‘this is for life, learn to deal with it’ from my doctor. No questions about my flu, stress, diet which I later learned via this forum to have an effect on people’s T. She asked if I was around heavy machinery, or if I had gone clubbing- both were a resounding no.

      Fast forward a few days, at the audiologist. They did a more comprehensive hearing test with beeps, words, some sort of pressure machine, and they also looked inside my ears. Everything came back normal. No hearing loss detected. Their parting words were ‘consistent with normal hearing and middle ear function in both ears’. Great. My audiologist was really attentive though and everything my initial doctor wasn’t. Empathetic, understanding, she even said she had T herself! She hears it at night when she goes to bed but it doesn’t bother her. She gave me a few jaw exercises, advised masking at night, and recommended seeing an ENT if it persisted. This was a month ago to the day.

      I started masking at night and in the early mornings with a dehumidifier running in my room. Maybe got a couple of good night’s sleep for the first time in two weeks. Just avoided quiet rooms in general, which really sucked since I loved just staying up late and reading by myself in the silence. At this time, the party in my left ear was still going strong but the white noise of the machine really helped.

      I also made the call about two weeks ago to stop masking, since I didn’t want to delay habituation or rely on sound/music to go to sleep since this wasn’t the way I wanted to live the rest of my life. Funnily enough, it was a Friday when I said enough is enough with the masking. Woke up Friday morning to the two-tone blaring in my left ear and went to bed that night ready to stick it out and sleep with no masking. However, T didn’t show up as I lay in bed that night. In fact it didn’t show up the next day, or the day after that. Lying in bed with a dead-silent room and no tone.

      At this point, I THOUGHT that I was starting to hear other chirps or tones but I was really only concerned about beating the initial fluctuating tone that I wasn’t even sure if half the other stuff I was hearing was coming from my ears, or from my constant monitoring and searching for sound from that ear.

      I thought I was in the clear. Flu subsided, I was eating healthier and cut out sodas, caffeine, excessive salt and sugar. I didn’t hear anything too worrying until Wednesday, when it came back in the middle of the night. Woke up in a cold sweat but was still stubborn enough and didn’t mask. It again went away until Friday where it came back in the dead of night. Still determined to stick it through and for a solid nine days didn’t hear my dreaded tone, just the phantom chirps and beeps in my ear that were one off and quiet that I didn’t mind too much, although I still hated it 

      Cured, right? Nope. It came back last night at around 3AM with a vengeance and I had a relatively sleepless night. Woke up this morning and heard the remnants in my left ear for the first time in about two weeks so I decided to stop lurking and post here because it looks like I am in for the long run!

      Anyway, that’s my story. I am sorry it’s so long but it just feels so good to get it off my chest. I’m normally very even keeled and strong. But I am so tired of this up and down roller coaster. This last month has been the hardest month of my life and I am still in a very dark place, with a grim outlook for the future. I’m trying to stay strong for my younger siblings and my mum but I am just so very tired. I am hoping this will still go away, although I’ve been flu free for about three weeks now and it’s still there- although it has backed off in frequency where I don’t hear it at night when I try to sleep, and it doesn’t wake me up first thing in the morning. Still lots of restless nights though but I am determined to make it through this.

      By Christmas this year, I am hoping to have made some progress  I am reading only success stories now when I need reassurance or some inspiration and trying to stay away from everything else.

      TLDR for the really busy-

      1. Had the flu, got into a silly fight five weeks ago in August.
      2. T appeared the next day as a fluctuating low-high tone, recognised the sound since I heard it briefly for a morning in July but disappeared.
      3. Stressed out, no sleep, no eating, depressed and anxious. Felt alone and empty.
      4. Saw a general practitioner who was unhelpful but referred me to an audiologist.
      5. Audiologist did a hearing test- everything fine, hearing normal. Suggested an ENT if it persisted.
      6. Started masking about 1.5 weeks in my T, decided to stop masking after two weeks of that since I didn’t want to depend on it.
      7. Funnily enough, my main T subsided dramatically the very same day. Could go to bed and wake up the next day T free. Still heard the occasional beep or chirp but my sleeping was getting back to normal.
      8. It’s been 2.5 weeks since I stopped masking and have woken up to screaming T three times, all have been after I slept on the T ear for a few hours.
      9. Last night was the worst since it started. Woke up at 3AM after rolling over to left side and heard a wee symphony in my ear. Interestingly enough, I have slept on my left side before without hearing it but I guess this time was different.
      10. Currently struggling. Feel back to square one after what I thought was some good improvement. I THINK I can still hear what sounds like whistles and chirps at a 3/10 level if I am watching TV, and turn off the sound suddenly. This is in addition to my fluctuating night T.
      11. Flu subsided about three weeks ago, but T has stuck! Although I still have some seem to have a bit of gunk in my nose.
      12. Cut caffeine, cut soda and energy drinks, eating much healthier, trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I noticed that the frequency of my night T has reduced but again, got the big strike last night which drove me to write this.
      13. Don’t know how I can habituate as this is not a static tone that my brain can learn to ignore. Every time I heard it, always feels like a new and painful experience. It can go dormant for a few days and then bam! Whereas when it first started it was every night and morning, maybe it’s a good sign?
      14. Still hoping it will go away completely :)

      Since T first hit, I’ve noticed a lot of interesting noises in my head. Not too sure if they are actually there or if my brain is just being hyper aware and filling in stuff. I do think I have a sort of cricket T, which I’ve had for years but it is a static sound and I’ve equated it to the sound of silence so it’s never ever bothered me until the tones started.

      I’d like to really thank you in advance if you’ve read all that. It was a big help just to write it all out and I hope we all make it 
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    2. MikeP505

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!

      Keep well buddy and hang in there. We understand everything you are going thru.
    3. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. Your T is relatively new experience to you and so your brain tends to monitor what T does and zoom in on each new or changed sensation. New T is also known for unpredictable moves, such as changing tone, changing ears, sudden unexplained spikes, multi tones, ear fullness or pain etc., etc. So the brain considers these as alarming symptoms. It will stop monitoring them when, given time, it learns that such things are a new normal (if the symptoms continue) but that it is not life threatening. T can be an annoyance or irritation but it is not an end game. So with some good positive strategies, you can gradually learn to live with it without the mental struggle. With less stress and anxiety, the hyperactivity of the neurons generating T may subside over time. That is when habituation will begin and T may reset to a more normal or stable state. Your T situation may fade. Even if it stays and spikes at times, you can try masking it. I masked all days when my T was new. I even had the earbuds of my ipod in my ears when I tried to sleep due to having a wife by my side. Don't take off masking so soon if your new T is bothering you emotionally. Masking can be faded out slowly. Some members just treat this as one necessary thing to deal with the spikes, including this doctor. He treats this as a new normal without fighting it. When you don't provide negative emotions, T will be robbed of the fuel to continue its tyranny over you. Here is the post of the doctor and he is now providing answers in the Doctor's Corner. It may take time for T and the ears to settle down. Accepting the new normal will help eliminate the emotional ups and downs. Take care. God bless.
    4. AUTHOR

      flimflam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Thanks so much for the kind words @MikeP505 and @billie48

      I definitely think stress plays such a big role in this. I can tune out dozens of keyboards at work, the constant whir of the photocopy machine, plenty of different beeps from different devices, and the mumbling of people talking- why can't I, in time, apply it to T? Especially since I believe I am fortunate enough that my five week old T is faint enough I don't hear it at all during the day, it's not as loud as a running kitchen faucet. It also doesn't constantly go off- while it sucks that I can't get used to it quicker, I do get some moments of complete silence in quiet rooms.

      I believe that I was just very hesitant on masking since I wanted to get back to normal as soon as possible. If I slept with no noise in my room pre-T, then that's where I wanted to go back to. I get a little anxious as I get into bed, but sticking to a rigid sleep schedule the past month plus the help of some 'good night sleep' pills (valerian root, magnesium) put me to bed thankfully before the tones start, if ever.

      Finding that sleep is such an important tool in coping with T. The more of it you get, the better you generally feel about EVERYTHING. Like I woke up this morning after a relative easy night (only woke up twice at 1am and 3am and heard a few tones and beeps- was back to dreamland after a few minutes each time) heard the faint sounds in my left ear but felt that I could definitely cope and live with this, if it didn't go away.

      That's the ultimate goal- for this to just leave as quickly as it came! But if it doesn't, then I think the road to habituation will be a more challenging one- but something I am hoping to overcome down the line.
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