Habituation and How Is It Possible?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Vegas Robb, Feb 28, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      Can someone please explain how someone can habituate to a sound in their head that is constant. And, what is the time span that someone can expect to see this habituation take place..is it months or years, or does it depend on the individual ??? I'm fascinated by the prospect of learning to ignore the obvious...thank you ..
       
    2. leslye
      Tolerant

      leslye Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      by just letting it be a part of who u are right now. not letting it get to you. Ruin you...
       
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    3. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      It's not ruining me...my life goes on regardless of T... Just wondering how to ignore a sound...
       
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    4. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      The basic idea of habituation in my opinion is learning to see it as a non-threatening sound. For example if your refigirator works or cars pass outside you don't turn attention to them. I dont think ignoring is the key. Maybe try to realize that it is not dangerous, it is not going to harm you, and it will gradually fade.
      I know little about it so this sounds more like smth for @Dr. Nagler
       
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    5. Micky
      Dancing

      Micky Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      10 / 2000
      Robb .. I think it all depends on the volume of ones tinnitus.. If you have low volume tinnitus.. You will habituate ( get used to it ) very fast maybe weeks or months.. On the other hand if you have severe debilitating tinnitus and you are a natural worry'er and easily stressed then the chances are quite slim .. As time goes by folk with severe tinnitus will gradually react less but will still be bothered by it .. Others here will tell you otherwise and say their tinnitus is a screaming tea kettle but they don't hear it for long periods ..these are patients with low volume tinnitus.. But think it's high..
       
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    6. DebS

      DebS Member

      Location:
      Ohio, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Mine goes back and forth. One day it is low and I think, "hey no problem. I can ignore this." Then the next day (like today) it is screaming and almost painful, and I think "no way will I ever be able to ignore this." So I do get discouraged!
       
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    7. Jeff M.
      Cowabunga

      Jeff M. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      La Jolla, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct. 2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      VegasRobb - Great question!! I used to wonder the same thing. In fact it really irritated me early on in my journey with T, because I have very high volume/high pitch T that is constant. It drove me nuts when people told me I would "get used to it" or that I will "habituate"!! I was convinced there was NO WAY I would ever get used to this incessant screaming in my head!! :nailbiting:

      BUT....... I am one year and four months into my T, and I have, for the most part....habituated. (I welcome all the "I told you so's"!!). Yeah, it's still there, but it doesn't control my life any longer. Just as Stina mentioned, I no longer react to my T as a threat or danger. My anxiety has subsided, because my brain doesn't fear the T any longer. Sure, it's bothersome at times, but I am moving on with my life!

      So, my point being, habituation is possible and real! But it does take some effort. You have to really want it and take steps to wrestle your life back from the T.

      Best to you!!! (y)
       
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    8. leslye
      Tolerant

      leslye Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I do that too Deb. Lastnight was awful :( I even broke down and cried. but this morning its very tolerable. Some days It seems gone! And im so happy. Then there it comes back again.. Now I just say ...thank goodness I have good days. Sure does makeup for the excruciating ones!! Lol
       
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    9. DebS

      DebS Member

      Location:
      Ohio, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      You're right, Leslye. Some sufferers get no relief, and at least I seem to average 2-3 good days a week. When it's bad I try to think of it as a migraine.
       
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    10. mikey13
      Mellow

      mikey13 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/ 2014
      the best way to think of it is in the respect of others things that people get that are annoying or a constant pain, but eventually they "get used to them". it eventually becomes part of who you are,and because of that you don't care. sorta like having an injury that at first kills you,but then over time you don't even notice it. like a limp, or maybe a constant ache. a t first it sucks. then it becomes an annoyance. then it's something you notice,but don't care about. then it finally is something you no longer notice,even if it's always there.

      I have good days and bad too. today it's gotten a little louder it seems,but I don't really care. the next step is to not even notice it's there.
       
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    11. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      Has yours faded? Is yours gone away and you can no longer hear it ?
       
    12. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      i know that it's not going to harm me..it's only a sound. Never the less, it's bothersome at times..other times it's so low I don't care. I think I have very low T compared to others. It's a tinkling sound that stays low most times.. It's never loud
       
    13. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      my T is very low in volume..but it's not the volume that irks me. It's the sound it makes.its kinda like cicadas scratching on glass..a little irritating at times. I wish I had a constant low straight tone..it would be easier...
       
    14. cullenbohannon
      Thinking

      cullenbohannon Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2014
      My father had had T for over 20 years and he has def habituated. My uncle has it as well. From speaking to them they said the biggest factor was probably the fact that they didn't have time to think about it ay all because they were so busy. They both were both running their own business's. So from that i gather staying busy and active is important. They both literally had no time to worry about it and I would've never known they had it if i didn't get my t recently. After my father heard about my t he remembered he had t as well.
       
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    15. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      I know the feeling. My T is wildly fluctuating, sometimes it can be very quiet, but irritating nevertheless. I'd say you'll be OK very soon.
       
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    16. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I was habituating and HAD habituated several times before I was 20. I'm 55.
      When I was young I didn't know of "Tinnitus," but I knew my ears would ring like mad when I played loud music.
      I didn't know what "Habituation" was until a couple years ago. My T comes and goes it seems. I does absolutely no good to think about how loud it is, will it go away, etc...
      But if I hear it and feel the urge to listen to it, I only judge my response to it. I keep it behind glass, know what I mean?
      I wish I didn't have it. But I'm wishing in vain.
      These are severely damaged nerves. They're not getting better.
      BUT as I've said before, my T has been a positive influence on my behavior, my physical health, and my discovery of (not so damn loud) music.
      Your question is a good one, and a common one.
      Answers are very subjective. Just stay away from loud sounds or you'll pay a horrible price.
      There is something worse than tinnitus. I call it MEGA T. I had it twice. Scary.
       
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    17. Grace
      No Mood

      Grace Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/14/2013
      Mega t? Sounds terrifying... Guessin its like the megladon of tinnitus...cant imagine :-/
       
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    18. Magpie
      Sporty

      Magpie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/1999

      Over a period of time you become less annoyed by your tinnitus. In the beginning you might be scared, angry, worried, stressed and panicky. You might even become depressed. I believe that it often depends on the individual and if you have a history of anxiety and depression then it might take a longer period of time to stop reacting to your tinnitus. As I see it habituation is different for different folks. Some say it means they no longer hear it unless they purposefully listen for it. My experience is different and I hear it almost all of the time. So that's it in a nut shell you become less annoyed by it or you may be one of the extremely lucky ones and not hear it unless you listen for it? Regarding a time frame well it's different for everybody but the sooner you stop worrying and go back to doing what you did before you got it the sooner you will overcome the demon in your head.
       
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    19. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      Thank you very much...insiteful
       
    20. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      When I said "fade away" i meant that you won't notice it so much Sort of like when you have a lamp on the table but you are not actively aware of it all the time. No, mine hasn't gone away, its still as it was before (luckily) but since its mild as your, ive noticed how my brain has gradually started losing interest in it Therefore it seems not to be there, even in the silence
       
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    21. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I don't know what else to call it. MEGA T.
      Well, I had had T for years and had been avoiding loud music for years too. But a friend of mine fixed up his upstairs in his barn into a high tech LOUD stage/studio complete with stacks of amps, mixing boards, at least 20 mikes, a rack of guitars, a huge drumset with mikes, monitors, music stands, wires and wires, lights. So.... about an hour later (even with plugs and headphones) I had to leave and for 2 years my T frequency went down to like a whistle or horn blaring in both ears, but DIFFERENT notes. THAT can drive you crazy. So for two years I listened to that and all sounds, voices included, were distorted, like monsters or something. As if my eardrums were shredded. And I had SUPER sensitive hyperacusis, like if someone in a quiet room turned the page of a book it would send me and my ears pounding. My hearing and my nerves were shot. I just plugged up with cotton for two years never expecting to play music of any kind again ever. But after a few years I could play acoustic music and still do but I'm constantly on guard and always have my cotton. I went through this twice. That's Mega T.
       
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    22. mikey13
      Mellow

      mikey13 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/ 2014
      someone had some good advice I read about T. if it starts bothering you, do something! anything! just something to keep your mind off it - run,jog,exercise,watch a movie,play a game,do some work,anything! teachyour brain that even though the T. is still there,you are able to do stuff.

      I was sitting around for awhile,feeling a little depressed but mostly angry. I literally had a moment where i was cursing,yelling,seriously pissed as to WHY this happened to me!! WHY??!! then a revelation - i didn't know, and i never would. some people get it,some don't. and I decided right there it didn't matter anymore. I never stopped going to work,but I concentrated more on the work I was doing. started cleaning my house again,doing laundry and dishes again (LOL! gonna make it sound like it was a pigsty for a while. it wasn't,but it was cluttered a lot!), exercising again, taking my kid to the mall and to the movies again, doing my hobby again.... it's still there, I KNOW it's still there, but I don't care. that's the first step towards Habituation, accepting it and not having it rule or ruin your life anymore. you CAN live with this,and -this is MY opinion only - the sooner you start living your life with it,the faster your brain can habituate to it not being a threat to your life and the way you live,and the quicker you get used to it. there are points in the day I don't notice it at all. the goal is toget whole days where you don't notice it at all.

      I've said this before,but I don't have a choice - I HAVE to habituate. I have to work cause I have a house,kid,and cat I have to take care of,pay for,and support. Can't just wallow in it. I can't have my son tell me he's hungry,what am I making for dinner,and I sit there and dont want to get up. i fully believe everyone can habituate eventually - there's success stories right on the forum of people with it for decades who are still going,still living their lives. it hasn't stopped them. it WON'T stop me! and when you decide it won't stop YOU, you'llbe on your way!

      Best of luck man!!
       
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    23. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      Thank you very much..you've been helpful ...and you're right....
       
    24. Vegas Robb
      Alone

      Vegas Robb Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas Nevada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/26/13
      thank you and good luck.Robert
       
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    25. mikey13
      Mellow

      mikey13 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/ 2014
      yes,Stina is right!

      right now it's new,and your brain is reacting to it negatively,just like it would any new condition or injury. but over time it perceives the T.as less and less of a threat, and it fades more and more into the background.. even uit goes away,it will be no more of an issue to you than the fan running on your laptop,or the birds chirping outside, or the crickets in your yard at night. a;ways there,but something you don't care about and don't notice.

      it takes time,for everyone. I've had it for exactly one month today (which isn't long,really) ,and I've gotten to the point where I no longer care about it,even though I know it's always there. I haven't reached anywhere near full habituation yet, but i feel I'm on my way. once I started doing my normal stuff again,I felt so much better,I can't even tell you how much better. I have days where I hardly notice it at all, and days like the last 2 days where's it's constant. but I don't stop. I can't. to do so would be to let it win,and that's not something I'm willing to do.

      another thing that puts me more at ease - remember,when it's really bothering you,it's not a disease or problem...it's just a symptom,and it will NOT threaten your life or cause you any more harm.
       
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    26. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Let's compare a constant loud sound in your head, something that is not readily habituated ... to something that is readily habituated, like the sound of an air conditioner in your home.

      So there are obvious differences, right?

      Your tinnitus is internally-generated; the air conditioner sound is externally-generated.
      Your tinnitus is loud; the air conditioner is not loud.
      Your tinnitus is bothersome; the air conditioner is not bothersome.
      You cannot walk away from your tinnitus; you can walk away from the air conditioner any time you like.
      Your tinnitus is always there; the air conditioner sound is intermittent.
      The list goes on and on.

      But in terms of habituation, in the final analysis it all comes down to one thing:

      Your brain classifies the air conditioner sound as a neutral stimulus, while your brain does not classify your tinnitus sound as a neutral stimulus.

      And the question is ... how do you get your brain to classify your tinnitus as a neutral stimulus? Because once that happens, you will habituate your tinnitus as readily as you habituate the sound of the air conditioner.

      With the goal of changing the way your brain classifies your tinnitus in mind, there are certain obstacles that are within your conscious control, and there are certain obstacles that are not and that must therefore be addressed indirectly.

      So, unnecessarily attending to your tinnitus by keeping diaries or by spending too much time on tinnitus Internet sites are examples of two things that are within your conscious control. Goodness knows you necessarily attend to your tinnitus enough as it is. Becoming knowledgeable about tinnitus is very helpful, but becoming misinformed about tinnitus is not - in fact it can actually be counterproductive. Talking to your spouse about your tinnitus at all hours of the day and night is something you have the ability to limit. Avoiding silence is helpful, but getting so fixated on the project that the tail wags the dog is not. That sort of thing. And, yes, following the instructions in the Henry & Wilson book can be helpful indeed.

      Then there are the obstacles that can only be indirectly addressed, the obstacles over which you have no conscious control. If addressing the obstacles you do control is not getting you there or is not getting you there fast enough, then that's where the help of a knowledgeable and experienced tinnitus clinician comes into play. In my own case, I did TRT - but that is only one of a number of strategies available for indirectly addressing the obstacles to habituation over which you have no direct control.

      That's how I have come to see it, anyway.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    27. Magpie
      Sporty

      Magpie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/1999

      Fading away into the background is not my experience. Maybe for low level/mild T this might occur and I have read some who reported after completing TRT their tinnitus reduced in volume. One wonders what level of T they might have experienced and and it tells me that we are all different and our T is different. I would have thought the normal positive outcome would be that you no longer react to your tinnitus even though it has not changed in intensity. I really don't like the term fade away as it suggests what Hazel thinks might be true when he wrote this BS:

      The final stage of habituation is when the signal is no longer detected, and cortical neurones are unresponsive.

      With tinnitus this means that it is no longer heard, or only on a very occasional basis. The important difference is that even when it is heard, it no longer produces any unpleasant feelings. However, maintaining tinnitus habituation is easier if tinnitus IS heard from time to time. This enables you to renew your beliefs that tinnitus is ‘your friend’, and guards against relapse.

      http://www.tinnitus.org/tinnitus.html
       
    28. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Duuuuuude! That is terrible! Glad you are ok now; that being said, I am very motivated to stay away from excessive noise (even more motivated than before).
       
    29. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Magpie, I am so glad you posted that quote from Mr. Hazell.

      And here's why. Not only is it incorrect, but it shows an incredible lack of understanding on Hazell's part of the mechanisms involved in habituation. Worse than that, it demonstrates a complete disregard for what tinnitus sufferers deal with each and every day of their lives. And Hazell's notion of somehow making your tinnitus your "friend?" Absolutely nauseating! What has that man been smoking??!!

      As a (former) tinnitus sufferer, I find Hazell's statement quoted above in red to be appalling. More than that, having been a tinnitus clinician myself, I find it embarrassing to read that sort of nonsense from a supposed authority.

      And get this: I approached Hazell years ago and asked him to change the wording, but he thought it was just fine.

      So kudos to you, Magpie, for recognizing it for the total BS it is.

      Stephen Nagler
       
    30. NeoM
      Moonlighting

      NeoM Member

      Location:
      America
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/31/2013
      @Dr. Nagler out of curiosity how often do you hear yours? I remember reading Shatner's experience and he stated he only heard it when he consciously focused on it. I don't know if it's the same for you.
       

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