Habituation May Not Be What You Think It Is...

Discussion in 'Support' started by Mattv, May 11, 2021.

    1. Mattv
      Busy

      Mattv Member

      Location:
      lincoln, MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Now after about 6 years with severe, high frequency tinnitus, and having spoken to quite a few people (people known to me and trusted that also have tinnitus), including many doctors, I have come to several general sad conclusions:
      1. Tinnitus is usually forever.
      2. Habituation just means you don't feel you would rather die any more. You hear it just as loud, you hate it just as much, but it just doesn't evoke the panic feeling any longer.
      3. There is way too many people trying to make money on the internet promising to "make it better."
       
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    2. Lilah
      Blah

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yes. I believe full habituation occurs when one can resume "normal" life (or the "new normal" life which involves avoiding noise, sound enrichment, etc.) and become numb to the loud noise in the head/ears. I think a person can both dislike and become numb/surrender to the noise at the same time. People with severe tinnitus may only experience partial habituation, or may take a long time to experience full habituation.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Mattv
      Busy

      Mattv Member

      Location:
      lincoln, MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I like how you expressed it -- Surrender. That pretty much sums it up.
       
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    4. BrOKeN_1

      BrOKeN_1 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High Frequency Hearing Loss
      The sooner, the better too. I'm still a newbie to this condition though so what do I know. Lol.
       
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    5. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Yeah, that's basically it Matt. I'll add one more: You've worked through the grief of losing what you once had and have begun to move on again.

      "Surrender" is a bit loaded. It could also be seen as reaching an uneasy accommodation that allows life to resume with some normalcy.
       
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    6. Steph1710
      Old hag

      Steph1710 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/04/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Antibiotics - I think
      Most definitely! I thought habituation would mean the noise disappears into the background somewhere. However, after a year and a bit with tinnitus, I’ve realised habituation is just learning to live with a sound that is always there - but not panicking when you hear it, like you said.
       
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    7. Zaimon

      Zaimon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden Hearing Loss
      I thought habituation is the brain filtering out the sound because it's "used to it"?
       
    8. T Toledo OH

      T Toledo OH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/26/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud noise and earbuds
      My mom habituated and she only hears her tinnitus if she searches for it or talks about it.

      There are thousands of people who habituate this way.
       
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    9. Lurius
      Wishful

      Lurius Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Oslo, Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Valsalva maneuver
      I severely dislike the term habituation because it comes with a lot of empty promises. I also severely dislike this idea that tinnitus without emotional reaction equals tinnitus not being a problem. I'm not going for habituation, I'm going for silence. Habituation is just a step on the way there.
       
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    10. nocticolor
      No Mood

      nocticolor Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yeah, it’s like that for one of my closest friends as well. She says she never notices it unless she’s actively looking (or rather hearing) for it.
       
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    11. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      I am not sure if the sound is filtered out or removed so much as it loses priority in your conscious thoughts and in doing so no longer solicits a negative response or anxiety.

      I always hear my tinnitus, but I have realized there is a difference between hearing it and listening to it.
       
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    12. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Yup. I often say that habituation isn't such a great state to be in. People tout it as if it was a success story, but for me the only difference is that I don't mention anything to the rest of the world anymore (and so they think I'm doing great). It still is a constant annoyance and massive drop in quality of life, but it doesn't catch me by surprise and trigger panic anymore.
      I don't personally call that habituation. Her tinnitus stimulus has simply lowered its volume enough that the brain can't passively notice it among the rest of the signals it has to process and instead requires a conscious effort to amplify it. Similarly, there are many noises in our daily lives that are pretty low volumes and we don't really notice them unless we actively search for them.

      That's the difference between (passive) hearing and (active) listening. She just can't hear her tinnitus, but she can listen to it.
       
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    13. Vicki3116

      Vicki3116 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      I genuinely think it’s different for different people. Tinnitus itself is nigh on impossible to accurately quantify in terms of characteristics and what people experience, therefore accurately defining ‘habituation’ is equally as difficult. I personally know quite a few people with tinnitus who don’t hear it until they listen for it then forget it again, another couple who it bothers mostly at night and myself who’s brain was totally decimated by more noises than I can count.

      Is it there if I think about it? Yes, the same 5 or 6 noises (it’s a bit of a party in here so separating the noises is hard so I’m never sure). But more often than not, as soon as I think about something else, it ceases to exist for me.

      Do I hate it? Not anymore.

      Does it bother me? Mostly to such a small degree that I could only have dreamed of a few months ago. I can be hearing it loud and clear (I can hear it anywhere and everywhere), but it’s just noise now, it doesn’t register as tinnitus. I don’t feel I’ve gained a lifelong burden and I’m usually unaware I’ve lost silence, so I guess it’s just normal now. I don’t feel broken anymore so I don’t feel the need for someone to fix me, and therein lies the peace I guess. But like I say, everyone is different xx
       
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    14. kuromi
      Cheerful

      kuromi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      outer ear infection
      I haven't been on here very actively anymore in an effort to get back on track but one of the main reasons why I've been able to go back to living entirely normally with no change (except for noise protection of course.) is directly correlated with the fact that my tinnitus stimulus reduced in volume to the level where I have to actively listen to it to hear it rather than passively hearing it against the day like my first few weeks/months after onset.

      The value of being at that level is priceless.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Mattv
      Busy

      Mattv Member

      Location:
      lincoln, MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I know it's different for different people. I had it very mildly for many years. It was barely there, but I knew it was tinnitus. Then one day, wham - full volume 5 kHz constant (but influenced by certain head movements). I don't even consider what I had before tinnitus now by comparison. I think a lot has to do with you a person's overall state of mental/emotional stability and health as to how they react to it. I had about a period of 6 months of full on panic, but that subsided and I just live with it now. Audiobooks are my savior.
       
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    16. Psych
      Wishful

      Psych Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Many moons...
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Mine keeps changing, and is sometimes much worse than at other times. If this makes sense, I've "habituated" to even the loud tinnitus, by itself, for the most part, but not to the added pressure and/or hormonal mood change that sometimes accompanies it.
       
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    17. Vicki3116

      Vicki3116 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      Totally agree with you. I wonder if I hadn’t panicked so bad initially then would it even have become so much of an issue? I will say this though... I think there’s a lot of self deception and settling for less involved. I can convince myself I’m ok day to day, and I suppose I am, but sometimes it hits me that this has really affected me and the person I was doesn’t really exist anymore. This really has changed me, life feels exhausting now, everything feels a lot less colourful, I just feel kind of blurry and maybe a little lost, but maybe that’s what habituation is. Carrying on with something you can’t do anything about and getting to a point where you believe you’re happy. But deep down, I know life is not the same at all. I guess I’ve just trained myself to forget that I used to be happier. It’s such a difficult thing to explain and to truly grasp, even if you’re the one going through it. Sometimes I thought ‘this isn’t going to kill me’, and sometimes that brought relief, sometimes disappointment. Such a bizarre condition.

      I’m glad you have your audiobooks, they’re great. Stories can go some way to taking you away from yourself and when you’re dealing with something relentless, that can really help can’t it xxx
       
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    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Your comments about habituation are interesting and I think all of them are true, if one chooses to look at it from your point of view. I believe habituation does exist, for tinnitus is a very common condition that many people have and are able to live their lives doing everything that they want to so this is proof that habituation is obtainable.

      However, it does have some limitations for we are all different and a lot will depend on the severity of the tinnitus and how it affects a person's mental and emotional well-being. My post: The Habituation Process, on my started threads goes into it in more detail.

      Michael
       
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    19. Sironketchup

      Sironketchup Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL / Stress
      How do I habituate to no sleep? My brain has refused to switch off for more than 2 years!

      I'm disabled because of the inability to sleep!
       
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    20. Óscar PP

      Óscar PP Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Coronavirus
      If you mean Jastreboff and the coping industry you're right.

      There should be another Nuremberg-like process prosecuting all these quacks.
       
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    21. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly debrox - noticed after debroxing.
      Hey, I’m sorry. I feel for you. I understand there are a lot of people on this site who have an extreme variety of tinnitus and then there are others who come here worrying about something minor. Including me. Most of what everyone is saying about habituation is true but point no. 1 is not true.

      If you’re a new to suffering and reading this. Know this:

      Most people who experience tinnitus have it for a short period of time, after which it goes away or reduces.

      Nearly everyone I know who had tinnitus, now say it’s gone, or not noticeable. I also have a friend who hears it in a loud restaurant and he doesn’t care at all. I have it come and go in 4 forms. Thankfully nothing extreme. I am a very happy person once I got over the anxiety.

      I appreciate your situation but most people who come here for support don’t need to hear that “it’s forever.” It’s always necessary to have hope in whatever you do.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Mattv
      Busy

      Mattv Member

      Location:
      lincoln, MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Yes, and all the supplements, hearing aids, and audiologists who claim to be able to "help."

      They are just profiting off people's desperation with this affliction, providing minimal, if any benefit.
       
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    23. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      My hearing aid helps me. According to this very forum, I'm not the only one.
       
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    24. Ehren M
      Nerdy

      Ehren M Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/24/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Same for my mother, step father, and multiple others I know including high-functioning college instructors and federal researchers. In many cases and with many afflictions, we have the power to determine whether we succumb to our conditions or learn how to make the most of this life we have and to adapt our lives to what life throws us. I'll also share that I have recently found it deeply comforting to consider that there was never any guarantee that my life would always be comfortable. I have been very lucky to have lived a life so full of rich sonic experiences that I now have a constant memory of those experiences ringing through my head all day (lol)
       
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    25. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud live music show
      My hearing aids are also helpful, no question.
       
    26. T Toledo OH

      T Toledo OH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/26/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud noise and earbuds
      My tinnitus goes away for 5-12 days but it always comes back. It is difficult when it returns so I get by knowing I will have quiet soon.
       
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    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Mattv
      Busy

      Mattv Member

      Location:
      lincoln, MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      My hearing aid helps me too - to hear. It’s a powerful, giant industry with many ‘influencers”, the claims to help tinnitus are dubious. Caveat emptor.
       
    28. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud live music show
      The hearing aids help me for two reasons.

      One is that the hearing aids can play white noise. This allows my tinnitus to be partially masked at all times.

      The other is that, for some reason, a little bit of amplification helps with my tinnitus as well. I'm not sure why this is the case, but I find my tinnitus is definitely more tolerable when I use "masking noise + amplification ON" than with "masking noise + amplification OFF." So the amplification does help some, even though my hearing is normal (according to an audiogram). Again, I'm not sure why this is the case, but empirically it is true for me.
       
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    29. Mister Muso
      Creative

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      "Habituation from tinnitus is possible."

      Me reading this with hyperacusis: H'mm ok.
       
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    30. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Habituation makes it so that the medical community doesn't have to give a damn.
      It's like having any chronic medical condition but giving up on people helping you.
      So either you kill yourself or you keep going.

      And god help you when it gets worse because you just might.

      I'm very envious of those whose tinnitus "goes away for a few days". That would give me so much crazy hope and living would be night and day. That would be closer to success than "getting used to it".

      Habituation, in my opinion, is not success, and I cringe when I read about those on here as a success story, it's building a thick skin and coping mechanisms beyond what normal people have.

      But you shouldn't have to, and you did nothing wrong to deserve this constant torture, even if it becomes all you remember hearing.
       
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