Hello Fellow Tinnitus Sufferers

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by João Henriques, Oct 10, 2019.

    1. João Henriques

      João Henriques Member

      Location:
      Copenhagen
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st time: a flight; 2nd time: who knows...
      It took me a while, but I've finally decided to join you. I'm 33 years old and I've first experienced chronic tinnitus after a flight to Italy back in May 2017. It took me a while to realize what was going on as my ear felt blocked - just as it had been so many times before after a flight - and I expected it to get back to normal pretty soon. I didn't know what tinnitus was at the time, but I was familiar with the ringing in my ears, as I had experienced it many, many times before during ear infections, after going to a concert, club, etc. To my surprise, a few days passed by and the ringing never went away. Days turned into weeks and it was still there. It was quite annoying, but it mostly only bothered my at night and during commuting (I could hear it faintly over the sound of the train). I must have been in a fairly strong mental state at that time, because I never let it get the best of me and fairly soon I stopped caring about it. I even went to the ENT and clearly remember telling him that I could still hear the noise, but somehow it didn't bother me anymore. He said that was the best possible outcome, considering there is no cure (I had no hearing loss by the way).

      More than two years passed by and while I knew I still had tinnitus, it didn't bother me at all. Now, a few months ago (mid June 2019), I randomly woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that my right ear was ringing like crazy. Way louder than ever before. The next day it was still there. It was on a whole new level. Somehow, for the first week I didn't worry very much, but after a couple of weeks it became fairly obvious to me that it wasn't going away anytime soon and that was a major blow to an already fragile mental state (I was very worried/anxious about professional and personal matters). I panicked badly and was in a very, very dark place. It just felt so unfair that on top of all the other issues I was experiencing at the time, now I also had severe tinnitus to deal with. I felt incredibly powerless and catastrophic, dark thoughts ran wild through my mind. Because this wasn't the first time I had struggled with anxiety and depression, I knew I had to seek professional help immediately, before it was beyond "control" and medication was the only option.

      Since then, it's been up and down. I've been to the ENT (still no hearing loss), I'm seeing a psychologist, and I'm trying my best to approach it one day at a time, with as much of a positive attitude as possible. There have been periods where I've felt fairly decent and could see some progress, but from time to time, there are some really difficult days. Today was one of the those days and I was suffering immensely. That is what made me register here and write this post. I'm not really sure why I felt like I needed to write this here, but for some reason I had to. Curiously, it's been one hour or so since I started to do so and I'm now a lot calmer and I have been able to abstract myself from the noise relatively well. How crazy is this condition? Oh wait, now that I've realized this there it is again. Oh well...

      Days like today make me question everything, but deep down there's still a glimpse of hope that I will habituate once more and better days will eventually come. I firmly believe that working on my other issues (professional and personal) will lead me to a more stable mental state, which will in turn help bring myself to a more relaxed/peaceful existence, from which I can hopefully re-learn to coexist with my tinnitus.

      I wish you all the best.
       
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    2. fishbone
      Shitfaced

      fishbone Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1988
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud noise and very bad sickness
      A warm welcome to the forum! I'm sorry that your tinnitus bothers you. All of us have been in your shoes and still are. Tinnitus has changed our lives and this site and it's members unite and stand together against it. From my experience with tinnitus, I think that it is a good idea to talk it out with a professional. Having the proper mental state can be quite helpful when it comes to dealing with tinnitus. Talking it out and expressing yourself is always helpful when it comes to life matters and tinnitus in general.

      All of us have had difficult days, the ringing can be so loud and just horrible. I live with severe tinnitus and horrible hearing, it's all about motivating myself even though at times even I don't feel like doing anything. it's all about pushing yourself and trying to take those small baby steps to accomplish your goals.

      As I say in my various posts, only WE can truly help ourselves, no one will do it for us. Try to gather strength and keep doing the good job. This forum has many members and lots of experience when it comes to tinnitus, people like @billie48 are amazing his posts are always touching and encouraging. People like @Greg Sacramento shares some amazing insights into life and appreciation. I also respect people like @Michael Leigh he has decades of insight as well. You get lots of great people doing one thing and that is trying to help those that suffer.

      Right now I want for you to keep relaxing and just doing small things on a daily basis to remain productive in your life. Don't put extra pressure on yourself to achieve habituation. Habituation is something that could take a long time to achieve. We have to be in a mental state that allows us to achieve it as well. Any resistance can delay our passage into habituation. Keep talking it out with your therapist, try to clear that mind as much as you can. try to find ways to cope/adapt and move forward.

      It's not easy, it takes work and all of us are putting in the work and trying our best to live our lives with tinnitus. You can do it and the folks on this site are here to support you!
       
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    3. LostOutWest
      Talkative

      LostOutWest Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi Joao - I'm so sorry life is kicking you in multiple ways. I wanted to reply and just let you know that your story helped me tonight. You wrote your experience, which is similar to mine right now and to many on this form in some form or another. And knowing that others are out there that can related, was helpful.

      You also inspired me to talk to a therapist and build a strong program around my situation. Let's just take this one day at a time right now, together.

      Could not agree more about dealing with our personal and professional issues. My life needs work. I believe by doing the work, I will be able to manage this tinnitus to the best outcome possible.

      Take care of yourself - we'll get through it together.
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      João Henriques

      João Henriques Member

      Location:
      Copenhagen
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st time: a flight; 2nd time: who knows...
      Hello @fishbone, thank you so much for your warm and insightful welcome. As you say, only we can truly help ourselves, I firmly believe that as well. This is a very "lonely" condition to go through, but I know it is possible to pull through and keep enjoying life. Heck, I've done it once, why shouldn't I be able to do it again? So many others have done it too. Even in the worst days, my 5 year old son and newborn daughter still need me and I have to do my best to be here for them. Forward is the only possible direction, no matter how hard it is. Habituation or no habituation, we must keep on going and having a positive attitude is bound to be more helpful than a negative one. There's no point in dedicating our precious time to making catastrophic projections about what tomorrow will be. The only point of access to our lives is the present. That's why it must be taken one day at a time, without setting too many expectations. Trying to remain productive in our lives is extremely important too, we all need to feel there is of direction and purpose to our lives. Thank you!

      Hello @LostOutWest! I'm glad I was able to bring some comfort to you. Indeed, there are many, many people going through similar hurdles as we are, and while that does not help with tinnitus itself, it surely is proof that you're not alone and it possible to keep going and enjoy life. Please do speak to a therapist if possible. Even if they are not very familiar with tinnitus, they can help you deal with the emotions and pain that come from it. In my case, I was already in a pretty poor mental condition before the massive tinnitus spike I experienced a few months ago (may or may not even be related), and that needed to addressed sooner or later. In a way, tinnitus was a friend here, as it made me seek professional help in time, avoiding a major anxiety and depression crisis, that I was most certainly heading to (I could clearly feel the build up). Hang in there and stay strong!
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @João Henriques

      Welcome to the forum.

      I read your post with interest and believe that you will be able to habituate again as you have the willingness to move forward with a positive attitude. Some people misinterpret what I and esteemed veterans like @fishbone mean when we talk about having a positive attitude to tinnitus. This condition is intrinsically linked to our mental and emotional wellbeing and cannot be separated from it. For some people it can take time to acquire a positive attitude but it's something that can be achieved and is important, as it encompasses many things including those we associate with.

      Life is problematic, so whatever is going on in a person's life can have an affect on the tinnitus and in some cases quite profoundly. Therefore, our mental and emotional wellbeing need to be kept in balance. Stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus makes stress worse. If they are not properly managed, one could find themselves spiralling down into a vortex of confusion and discontent. The counselling you are having is a good idea and please continue with the medication as long as it's required. I believe both these things will assist in making your path to habituation easier and less problematic.

      You said that your tinnitus increased after a period of habituation? If there is no underlying medical cause for this within your auditory system, the reason could be related to sound. Before the tinnitus increase, did you regularly listen to music through headphones? Go to clubs or concerts? Work in a noisy environment? If the answer is yes to any of these questions your tinnitus increase could be noise induced. If it is I advise you not to listen to music through headphones even at low volume.

      Please click the links below and read my posts.
      All the best

      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-to-tinnitus-what-to-do.12558/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/acquiring-a-positive-mindset.23969/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-the-negative-mindset.23705/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-habituation-process.20767/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/is-positivity-important.23150/
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      João Henriques

      João Henriques Member

      Location:
      Copenhagen
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st time: a flight; 2nd time: who knows...
      Hello @Michael Leigh!

      Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate the work you and other more experienced members of this community are doing. I'm not a religious person, but I'm tempted to say you're doing God's work here. Could make a really significant difference in the lives of many people.

      I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment about emotional well-being and tinnitus. I do not know exactly what caused my tinnitus base level to increase suddenly after a 2 year period of full habituation, but whether it is physical, mental or both, our emotional state plays a huge role in how we deal and adapt to it. I'd go as far as to say that our emotional well-being is the key factor, regardless of how you got your tinnitus.

      To answer your question from the last paragraph, as far I/we (the ENT) can tell there is no hearing loss/damage. I do have a deviated septum that may or may not cause the fullness sensation in my right ear (where the tinnitus perception feels worse). I also had a long medical history with ear infections due to obstructed eustachian tubes (I had to get surgery when I was 5 to remove my adenoids and insert tubes in my ear drums), so it's not like my ears are in mint condition... I'm currently taking a steroid nasal spray as prescribed by the ENT, but I honestly don't think it will make any difference as far as the ear fullness and deviated septum are concerned. Maybe surgery is something to consider. But back to your original question, I work as a researcher, so I spend all my day in a quiet office in front of a computer. I naturally listened to a lot of music with earbuds (8 hours a day easily). I've always been fairly conscious about the volume though, so I am not entirely convinced it is related to loud noise exposure. But who knows? In any case, I've stopped using the earbuds and now I only use regular headphones (the ones that cup your entire ear), but I don't listen to music anymore as my tinnitus reacts in a weird way to sounds. This is in fact what bothers me the most nowadays. It's not even the tinnitus itself in a quiet place. I'm OK with that. It's the strange reaction/fatigue I get when exposed to complex sounds, like the noise from a busy street. It doesn't cause me any pain, so I'm not sure it can be considered hyperacusis, but it causes great discomfort and it's really difficult to ignore. If I spend enough time outside, I just get so fatigued and focused on the tinnitus that it's going to be a bad day from there on. It's been really hard lately, but the show must go on :)

      Thank you once more for your kind words of advice, I will certainly read your posts.

      Cheers!
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @João Henriques

      Thank you for your very kind words Joao and if I may say so, for your detailed and well written post. I am not a practicing Christian nor a regular church goer but believe there is a higher being and it's one of the reasons I live my life a certain way and choose carefully the people that I associate with. That is my sermon over.

      I believe the increase in your tinnitus, after your long habituation period is the result of Headphone and earbud use. These are without doubt in my opinion and others that know about noise induced tinnitus, the most dangerous pieces of equipment that will increase tinnitus and make the condition worse. Therefore, I strongly advise you to try and stop listening to audio through headphones and earbuds even at low volume.

      Although you may have been listening to audio at low levels through headphone/earbuds this was probably the reason your tinnitus had taken a while to manifest itself to what it is now. I have corresponded with many people that have habituated and noticed their tinnitus increased. Whether it's 6 months, 2 years or longer. The usual cause is headphone use or listening to loud music at clubs, concerts etc. In most cases increase in tinnitus is usually sound related, when there is no underlying medical cause.

      A member of this forum that I have written about many times returned to using headphones after 6 years habituation. Her tinnitus was low and she could work. Within one week of listening to music through headphones at low volume, her tinnitus increased to very high levels. The last I heard she is unable to return to work.

      Take care and I wish you well.
      Michael
       
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