HI, so everything began about 4 years ago when a noticed a slight ringing in my ears. I didn't worry too much at first as it went away after a few days. Then it kept coming back off and on for about a year. At first it really got to me and I began to worry that I would have to live with this forever because I had researched what tinnitus was. After on and off for a year it became permanent and though it was hard at first, I learned to ignore it and most days I got through okay. I tried to be as positive as possible and sometimes I failed miserably. The less I focused on it the easier it got, at first. Then I noticed I couldn't listen to music as much or as loud as I used too and I used to turn the volume all the way up with ear buds no less. Ear buds did me in and I kept turning the music down, lower and lower over time. Mind over matter would become even more important down the road. I struggled to give up my music and little did I know even at low volumes was still making it worse. About a year and a half ago the ringing started affecting my tolerance for sound everywhere and I found my ear phones even more uncomfortable and also noticed that movie theatres and loud places were starting to bother me quite a lot. About 6 months ago I stopped using ear buds and stopped going to movies all together. It was just too painful. I kept finding myself in disbelief it could get so bad. The things I loved now had to be moderated and sometimes avoided completely. I kept telling myself it would get better and it never did. All of this I went through without seeing doctors. Just had a feeling they couldn't help. Now in the last month it is so bad I am afraid to leave the house. The t.v. has to be turned down low and I can only listen to music with ear plugs even if its just on my iPhone. There is pressure and pain which has gotten much worse over the last 2 months. To top all of this off I have developed arthritis as well. Which just happens to have manifested seriously in the last four months. I have had other medical issues on top of these all in the last 8 months. It is taking every bit of willpower just to keep going. I don't like to complain and lately I'm in so much pain its very hard not too. My girlfriend is so supportive I don't know what I would do without her. I am not very good at asking for help and it bothers me people might get the wrong idea. I know what's happening and I'm not asking why, only how do I rise above it so I can find a way to help others.