How Habituation Occurred For Me

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by PaulaH, Jul 29, 2015.

    1. PaulaH

      PaulaH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Health anxiety
      I had heard the word "tinnitus" before but never gave it much thought. At first, it was annoying. I waited for it to stop. When it didn't, I became frightened. I became a nervous wreck. In addition to the ringing, my ears alternately were muffled and I had hyperacusis which compounded the fear. I was terrified of going to sleep because I was terrified of waking up with it! When it didn't go away, I slipped into the darkest depression of my life. I never contemplated taking my own life but I agonized over how I was going to live my life with tinnitus. I read everything I could about it. I was at different times discouraged or encouraged by what I read. Dr Stephen Nagler is wonderful. Julian Cowan Hill was very encouraging. Check Google and You Tube for more on these 2. They helped me more than anyone else. I have had tinnitus for 11 months. I have habituated and most of the time I hear silence. If I keep listening to the silence, I will hear the ringing. It's as simple as that. I can choose to distract myself and get back to living and consequently no tinnitus, or I can stay in that place of distress and play mind games with myself such as "On my God, it's louder" or "I can't stand it; it's never going to go away."

      I try not to beat the drum of what I do not want in my life. I was online quite a bit initially searching for answers and understanding, but what led to habituation was staying off line and thinking about tinnitus as little as possible. I stopped trying to mask it. I stopped asking other people "can you hear that?"

      I believe my tinnitus was brought on by a very signifiant health scare. Mine was distressful and intrustive...I rated it an 8/10. My step-father was in a war and believes the subsequent loud sounds of explosions are what triggered his tinnitus. He rated his a 10/10. He, too, has completely habituated and can hear the sounds of tinnitus only if he strains to hear it.

      Take heart if you are suffering or discouraged. Stop being consumed by the shock and fear of having something happen to you that you feel you cannot control or turn off or get away from. You cannot stop thinking about tinnitus by trying not to. The more you try NOT to think of something, the more you will think of it. What worked for me was disracting myself with a different thought, a new thought. My mind would follow and the tinnitus despair would subside as I lost myself in the new thought. Gradually, distracting myself became automatic. I'm scared - think a new thought. I woke up terrified hearing the ringing - think a new thought. As simplistic as it sounds, for me - it worked. I began to have longer and longer periods when I heard no tinnitus because I truly was distracted. I was gentle with myself as I began to practice this. It's hard at first because you're suffering. If I returned to the fear of tinnitus, I would listen to music or watch You Tube while my ears twittered away. Distraction comes in many forms. As an aside here, unpleasant tasks like balancing the checkbook are major distractors. Physical movement of any kind works like a charm. Basically, anything that requires you to participate instead of just sit and stew. I was going to close by saying Don't Give Up! but the truth is I believe if you do nothing but stop reading about tinnitus and searching for answers and documenting the loudness of your tinnitus at any given time that you will habituate.
       
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    2. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      win.jpg
       
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    3. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      @PaulaH
      Thanks for your encouraging report. I really wonder why T goes into background for many, but for others not.
      Is it your attitude, loudness, frequency? I really don't know.
      My T is like the old CRT TV signal (ultra-high), sometimes multiple tones and loud today.
      Have no clue how this can go into the background and you have to search for it (can hear it even in the shower).
      But good that things are better for you.
       
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    4. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      @Martin69 I am sure you have had several moments, short or longer, where your mind was focused on something else and you had 0% thoughts on T -> you were not aware of your T at all? I believe this happens to ALL people with T, regardless of how severe their T is. The more you are habituated, the more you have these moments. This is how I see habituation.
       
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    5. melfreeman08
      Blah

      melfreeman08 Member

      Location:
      Orange County, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/26/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sinus Infection
      Thanks Paula! I have not habituated but I have had several days where I don't think about it and I can only imagine that's how I'll feel once I habituate. I do notice the more I do, the more things I immerse myself in the less I think about T. I start a new job soon, and I'm excited at the prospect of it being a great distraction from T! Thanks for your story!
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      PaulaH

      PaulaH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Health anxiety
      I wanted to come back and tell people who might be feeling desperate (because I sure did) that habitation is real.

      I never thought I would go days and weeks without giving tinnitus another thought, but it's true... I do. What I did was examine the thought that what we resist persists... my every waking moment was focused on the sound I heard. I felt so trapped with it. I could not turn it off. I spent every waking moment resisting the sound. Therefore, it persisted.

      Only when I just began living life again despite the ringing did I begin to notice at first minutes, and then hours... happily a whole day... a weekend... a week... until one day I realized I no longer thought about tinnitus at all.

      Could I still hear it? Absolutely. If I listened for it, there it was just as loud as it had been initially, but the moment I returned to my life and removed my focus on it... I no longer heard it.

      I hope these words help someone else who is suffering. There is hope. Habituation is real.
       
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    7. Tweedly

      Tweedly Member

      Location:
      Turkey
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly barotrauma/migraine/sinus issues
      Thanks @PaulaH for coming back and revitalizing your succes story after more than 5 years!

      That is the greatest proof that habituation is not only possible, but also can be enduring (which is even more important).

      It’s one of the questions I (and possibly others) ponder a lot. Yes, one might be able to habituate, but does it stick?

      Thanks again!
       
    8. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      The ultimate likelihood of successful habituation depends on the severity and the volume of the sound.

      I had 24 years of habituation, followed by 7 years of none.

      Dave x
      Jazzer
       
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    9. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      Since you asked. This is just my experience. No matter what I did, over the last 30 years I've had many spikes but always habituated after all of them. It takes 12-18 months.

      No rhyme, reason, or timing, just bang the spike!
       
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    10. Tweedly

      Tweedly Member

      Location:
      Turkey
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly barotrauma/migraine/sinus issues
      So sorry to hear about you having to go through that over and over again. I guess that’s striking at the heart of this condition too, the fear of it getting worse.

      But you must be one strong individual to keep on going and giving tinnitus the middle finger!
       
    11. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      mild for years. severe on 09/17/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Habituation isn't the concern for me. It's all the members who come here saying they had been habituated for years, but then it got worse. I don't want to continue this downward spiral of worsening. I don't want to worry about every loud sound I hear or deal with another terrible headache because I'm too afraid to take ototoxic pain medication.
       
    12. Tweedly

      Tweedly Member

      Location:
      Turkey
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly barotrauma/migraine/sinus issues
      What would be your way then? Do you mean living life not caring about spikes etc. and just doing whatever you want to do?

      I guess it comes down to fear of the future. If you are “habituated”, but afraid it will get worse, then you are still dealing with tinnitus and not really habituated.

      Living in the now would be better I think. It’s all we have anyway. Someone without tinnitus might be dead by tomorrow because of a car crash.
       
    13. aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      "Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday."
       
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