Habituation — Are There Days/Times When You Don't Hear Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Ed209, Sep 15, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I have a question regarding habituation: when habituated are there days/times where you actually don't hear it? I know it's always there like the way we filter out the sound of annoying traffic etc, but what I'm asking is, can it actually become completely filtered. In other words a state of mind where you actually don't hear it at all but can selectively find it by listening for it.

      The reason for my question is because I feel like I have amnesia about my own tinnitus. Previous to my increase which has now been over 9 weeks, I am seriously struggling to remember exactly what I heard in a silent room. It's been really bugging me to the point that I've got a feeling that my old T at some point may have even gone away completely. All I know is that the first time I got T over 10 years ago, I remember the struggle to accept it and vividly remember the ringing in my ears whilst reading books months/years after onset. I did little research on it at the time because I already knew what it was.

      I accepted it and moved on with my life and essentially forgot about it. One day I recall a friend asking me if my ears ever rang at night and immediately knew he must have a tinnitus concern. I remember the conversation we had whereby I told him I had ringing in my ears but didn't pay any attention to it any more and only heard it if I listened for it.

      On a day to day basis I had ZERO interest in it and I literally NEVER thought about it. It only crossed my mind fleetingly when I'd see a tinnitus story on the news for example.

      Then my increase happened and it totally snapped me out of my trance. I remember doing a T sound check (which id stopped doing years ago) and thinking this is louder than usual. Then the panic set in which totally reminded me of how I felt when I first noticed it all those years ago. The thing is, because I never thought about it or acknowledged it I'm not sure if I was well habituated or if it had gone away completely.

      The louder T I have now doesn't affect me sleeping at all, even though it is loud and raging away it has always felt somewhat familiar if that makes sense. I have good and very very bad days which in itself confuses me. I don't ever recall having fluctuations.

      So if you have made it all the way to the end of my ramblings my question is simple: Do you think I was habituated or had my T possibly gone away?

      That question is kind of rhetorical as it is impossible to answer, but my initial question at the top is the same thing: When habituated are there days/times when you don't hear it?
       
    2. Xynic

      Xynic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      I know exactly what you describe - prior to my increase, I sometimes didn't know if I still had tinnitus or not. I think if I then tried to find out I could hear it, I came to the conclusion that I did, but for weeks or even months on end I would go without consciously ever perceiving it (meaning, without perceiving it at all). I'm pretty sure I could lie in bed in a silent room at night and perceive what I heard as total silence. I'm fairly sure the "sound" was still there, though. Then again, you're right, how can you be sure?

      My guess is this is what will happen with the new one, too, eventually. It took me quite a while with my first one back then (I do remember being super anxious, listening for it and hearing it consciously for quite a long time, though I couldn't say for how long).

      I mean even with new increased one now I definitely have short times when I don't remember I have it, and it's kind of really like it's not there then. But I remember it consciously way too often, and as soon as I concentrate on it it pops up again. The good times are getting longer and more frequent tho.
       
    3. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      That's exactly how I feel @Xynic. I'm pretty sure the sound has always been there but my mind had conditioned it out, almost like a hypnotic state. But then I think maybe it had gone, it's really annoying but ultimately doesn't help me with my situation now.

      For some reason this time around I am far more obsessive over it. I seriously need to stop thinking about it like I did the first time round. If that level of habituation can be reached again it's as good as cured anyway.
       
    4. Xynic

      Xynic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      I totally agree, that's all I'm trying to do, too. And I also feel like I'm obssessing more over it this time, although it's hard to tell because my first one is so long ago. I think it's sort of a mixture between a "return of the repressed" type thing and the consequence of the sudden realization "whoa, wait a minute, it can get worse??" My new one's also being difficult because it still changes tone, intensity and localization every other week if not more often and spikes for a short times on occassion, probably a consequence of me obssessing too much and trying various treatments.

      Looks like we're trying to get to the same spot here, I guess it's just going to take its sweet time. In all these recent years, I was happily even going to concerts and clubs, going home and sleeping like a baby, and while my ears MUST have rung, I always thought I was in silence! It's so weird that it's different subjectively now. Standing in front of a speaker grinning not paying nothing no nevermind seems like a crazy thought now, and yet that was me just a few months ago! I also know that my hearing is just fine (got checked multiple times, and subjectively it's fine, too), and whenever I AM exposed to semi-loud sounds like drumming it does nothing to my tinnitus (in fact it's often kinda better afterward, the spikes only come in semi-silence when I concentrate on it), so I keep wondering why the hell it's so hard for my brain to get away from the fixation.

      I expected myself to habituate way faster at first I gotta admit, because my logic was, well the first time you got tinnitus was a first-time shock, now you're experienced and it's just an increase after all. I did it all without meds or retraining therapy back then, too. Super weird, so my only explanation is really just that it probably takes time for the brain to get used to drowning it out.
       
    5. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      What you are describing is identical to me. I'm a musician so going to gigs and clubs continued and I am just extremely annoyed that I didn't use ear plugs. I guess I was used to the ringing that much that it bypassed my conscious mind.

      My new sound was first noticed around 2 days after a loud gig. Not the very next morning but 2 days later. This has always baffled me, as if it's caused by loud sound I'd have expected it to continue from the gig to the next morning and continue from there without fading. The fact of the matter is I don't recall having issue until the Sunday night/Monday morning. The gig was on the Friday night prior.

      So much of tinnitus is physchological and neurological, and that makes it very hard to discern objectively what's going on. So much so that last night I couldn't tell for a moment if a sound I was hearing was real or in my head. It turned out it was real and it was the PS3 which id accidentally left on.
       
    6. Xynic

      Xynic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      I PMed you
       
    7. Forever hopeful

      Forever hopeful Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2015
      @Ed209,
      Mine came on 2 days after a load concert. ENT said it was a delayed response to acoustic trauma. No hearing loss for me but the ringing was delayed.
       
    8. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I also have no hearing loss. In fact statistically most people with T have some form of hearing loss, yet from my own personal experience most the people I have encountered with T either in person or online have no hearing loss.

      Obviously this does not factor in hidden hearing loss or higher frequency hearing loss, just the standard 125 to 8000hz range that audiologist and ENTs test.
       
    9. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Habituation comes over time and you might not hear your sound but if you do you are at ease with it and doesn't bother you at all.
      You may still get spikes and they can bring unwanted emotions back but your tinnitus soon settles after a few days to your base sound and you learn again not to focus on it and not let it bother you.

      For some people with sever tinnitus they might need the help with hearing aids or maskers and can not habituate to their tinnitus and continue to suffer but learn to stay positive and do what you can stay happy....lots of love glynis
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. Forever hopeful

      Forever hopeful Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2015
      @Ed209,

      I think statistically, what I read is that 90% of people with tinnitus have hearing loss but only 40% of people with hearing loss have tinnitus. If you think about it though, any given person is only exposed to a small percentage of people, who have T considering it is actually in the millions so the statistics make sense.
       
    11. Jean-Philippe

      Jean-Philippe Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/01
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ear infection
      @Ed209

      I tried to start a conversation with you but can't because of your setting. Interesting what you described. I got T for 7 months now. I Wonder if I didn't already have it before and simply just didn't notice it.

      By example, last year at my hunting camp, it was so quiet I heard ringing then opened the window to hear noise then fall asleep. Next morning forgot about it, never questionned it.

      I also remember hearing T when plugging my ears, or once when listening at home for a sound I was hearing(not T), I heard a ringing but then not bothered. I also remember going to bed once with ringing for no reason saying to myself WOW my ears are ringing loud tonight!

      Anyway, maybe I only had very very mild T and had a increase 7 months ago or perhaps I already had it but never noticed, bothered, cared... Probably will never know.

      How are you now? Can you say you are improving and getting close to the state you were in before?

      For other members, since the original post is already almost a year old, do you think it's possible having T without knowing it? Or do you think It's possible being habituated without knowing it either? Finally anybody knows if it's possible to habituate to that level? (Like if indeed I already had T).
       
    12. Hopeful1
      Depressed

      Hopeful1 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      I wonder if i had before bit mever noticed.....i will never know.
       
    13. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Not sure what settings have been altered; I've had conversations on here before. At the moment I'm still hit and miss, but I do keep going through large periods of habituation. During my holiday I never paid ANY attention to it. It was as good as gone essentially because my attention wasn't on it. Looking at this old thread it still makes me wonder what my old tinnitus was like and its quite annoying thinking about it. I had a level of habituation that was deep because I never gave it any thought at all but I definitely had it.

      It does make me wonder how much of tinnitus is controlled by the limbic system. I know it's controversial on here but I put a thread up in the past on the research done into the effects of cortisol on T (https://www.tinnitustalk.com/posts/175034/)

      I believe in some cases, not all, (tinnitus has too many different root causes to fit anything definitive) that there is a mechanism within the CNS which controls the tinnitus signal. I also read some research months back in a science journal that suggested it may be a function within the brain that is faulty. A part that normally acts like a gate mechanism to filter the sounds out, but in tinnitus sufferers has gone wrong.

      I think stress and obsessive thinking has a bigger role than people give credit. The mind is so complex that we under-estimate it's control and the deeper inner workings. Cortisol damage is known to wreak havoc in all areas of the body and a vicious circle of tinnitus and stress is a devasting combination.

      The big difference for me from the two times I've had tinnitus is that the first time I had it I never researched it. I never went down the rabbit hole to turn it into an obsession. I believe my mind got bored of the signal because I ignored it, so on some level my mind/CNS let it go and took it out of my 'active' conscious thoughts.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      just to add; when I say took it out of my conscious thoughts, that doesn't mean it was gone. I could always find my tinnitus whenever I wanted by tuning into it. It was almost like scanning a radio tuner for a station. The signal was there but it was buried.
       
    15. taintworthit

      taintworthit Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably years of live rock shows.
      Nighttime is the worst. Mine can be forgotten or masked during the day at work and if there are other noises. The worst is when I obsess about it it seems to increase to just f with me.
       
    16. Jkph75

      Jkph75 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/27/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Your T must be really mild, so I am sure you will either be able tune it out or it will go away again. You can block out a loud sound in the sense that it doesn't bother you anymore but you can't make yourself actually not hear it. If I forget about mine for a while, it still snacks me in the face if I enter a quiet room.
       
    17. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      I'd disagree with this completely. I had mild tinnitus for over 10 years and what I have now is loud believe me. I've got multiple sounds, mainly a high pitched dentist drill sound over a constant hiss. I get cicadas and zaps occasionally as well; like an electrical storm in my head.

      I can get into a state, generally when I'm busy doing stuff I like or am in the right place mentally whereby my consciousness doesn't listen to it. Extremely hard to describe, but I can be snapped out of this state in an instant by someone just saying the word tinnitus.

      I found in the first year after my increase I was having spikes and up and down days. Good days and bad days you could call it where the intensity would literally vary. Some days were like a siren in my head; absolutely awful. I stopped coming onto this forum and I stopped looking at tinnitus research and started to focus on my life again 100%. I've kind of lingered these last few days on the forum as I came back to post my holiday pics, which I promised billie48 a while back.

      I found when I stopped obsessing over my T I started to hear it less, literally. Perhaps this is the same mechanism as the 'back to silence method'. All I know is that your brain can become bored of the signal once you relax your CNS and stop thinking about it 24/7. It makes a huge difference. Talking about it on the internet continuously can turn it into an unhealthy obsession and make it worse.

      The brain is an extremely complicated organ. Do not underestimate the power of your subconscious mind and what you're feeding it.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    18. william adams
      Wishful

      william adams Member Benefactor

      Location:
      S Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one week after leg surgery plus hearing loss in higher freq.
      I hear my T everywhere but in the shower and sometimes outside if there is noise. When I get my mine on a project or socializing with friends it seems to fade into the background and im not aware of it. When I try to just relax it is there. Im 9 monthes in will it improve? It doesnt frighten me anymore but sometimes annoying...
       
    19. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      We're not all the same and our T is from different causes, but from my experience your perception of T can alter even though the T itself is no different.

      You have to stop prioritising it. By this I mean don't make it your first check of the day and the last. For example I used to wake up and think damn my T is super loud today. Nowadays I just wake up and I don't acknowledge the ringing, I ignore it and go brush my teeth. By the time I'm out the house my tinnitus is a not even a thought on my mind. This can be a seriously hard stage to get to because most of us dwell on it and obsess over how it will affect our future etc.

      Become impartial, stop looking at tinnitus online and go about your day. After a certain amount of time, if you really have put it on the back burner, you'll realise at some point you haven't thought about tinnitus in weeks. This occurs even though you'll still have the ringing; your perception will move away from it.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    20. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      This is inspirstional. Cheers man
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. Candy

      Candy Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unidentified
      Thanks @Ed209 been having a very bad day, quite hopeless, your words give me some encouragement.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. william adams
      Wishful

      william adams Member Benefactor

      Location:
      S Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one week after leg surgery plus hearing loss in higher freq.
      Thanks Ed 209 you are absolutely correct for I have noticed each month I go for longer time slots where im not aware of my T. In a way at the beginning its like a obsessive compulsive disorder where you think about it 24/7.. Then as monthes tick by we work are way out of it little by little. Im taking your advice and just do my thing and the hell with the T. With the right attitude like you have we can get pretty close to our normal lifestyle. Thanks again Ed and God bless !!!!!!
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    23. Jkph75

      Jkph75 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/27/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      That's awesome. Sounded like you were saying that you could hardly hear it. Hope the same happens for me. I can forget about it during the day, but it is still so hard to sleep with this noise
       
    24. william adams
      Wishful

      william adams Member Benefactor

      Location:
      S Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one week after leg surgery plus hearing loss in higher freq.
      Jkph75 I play nature sounds like birds chirping, crickets ocean waves and all this is available on utube and it helps mask the T.. I sleep like a baby.......
       
    25. whale
      No Mood

      whale Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/25/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Myofascial crap Bruxism, a jackhammer, stress who knows
      When you say zaps, you mean brain zaps or your hear zaps?
       
    26. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13

      Well ... without being smart ...

      It is in your head ....
       

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