I am 28 and was diagnosed with otosclerosis 5 years ago. My hearing loss was moderate by the time I was ready for a stapedectomy. I got the surgery during May of last year and it was initially a success. My hearing in my operated ear got steadily better until October when, for no obvious reason, it relapsed. Not only that, but the tinnitus came. At best it's a mild humming that, for a few hours each day, swells into a loud droning with high-pitched undertones. I had to wait a desperate month for an MRI and CT scan to reveal what had happened. Scar tissue formed around the plastic prosthesis in my operated ear and possibly caused nerve damage. So now my hearing has degenerated back to how it was before the surgery and I'm also saddled with the damn tinnitus which is probably permanent. My surgeon said that corrective surgery runs a high risk of making things worse and the best he could do for me is prescribe me a hearing aid and tranquilizers. For those first two months since the relapse/tinnitus began, I could function quite well because I treated it like a temporary ailment that will go away. I could sleep well and tolerate the tinnitus. But during the holidays I experienced an inordinate amount of stress and that made the tinnitus a lot worse. I began losing sleep and during those nights I finally realized that I was 28 and afflicted with hearing loss and tinnitus that will probably get a lot worse as I get older. My protective wall of denial had come crashing down and even without the tinnitus hounding me, I was crippled by the relentless terror of what the future would bring. I was prescribed clonazepam and that calmed me down for two weeks until it ran out. That was a week ago and now I'm back on the terror treadmill and barely getting by with a zopiclone prescription that gives me a few meager hours of rest each night. I know that I'm in a loop that began during the stressful holidays but I don't know how to escape it. Will I become a deaf-man by middle-age? Will my tinnitus increase and drown out everything? Please, talk to me.