How much is real, how much is in our heads?

Discussion in 'Support' started by EricMI, Oct 7, 2013.

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    1. EricMI

      EricMI Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I hate it when doctors tell you its in your head.

      Mostly because there is no validation or explanation behind it. I found something a few months ago about a condition where noise will involuntarily cause the muscles of the ear and neck to tighten causing, or worsening tinnitus.

      After dealing with my tinnitus for just under 2 years now I really am starting to focus on it being in my head, not the noise, but the cause.

      2 years ago I used a router to put in a cat door. Afterwards I had a hollow feeling but I've had that before after loud noises, no I did not use ear protection. I heard a slight ringing and instantly became obsessed with it. Mostly because I was familiar with tinnitus and the lack of treatment or a cure.

      The noise was so slight but it bugged me because it was there and before it was not. After 3 days the noise was louder and louder until I could hear it above all else.

      I thought I had damaged my hearing, I was stuck with this for life, is it going to get worse, is my hearing affected, etc.

      Went to an audiologist and was tested. Near perfect hearing but the noise persisted. Went to an ENT, was told I had wax in the ear. I did the drops for 5 days, I swear at the end of the 5 days the noise was barely present. Then I had my ears cleaned which if you've never had it done, quiet it is not.

      Instantly I felt everything tightened up again and by the time I got home the noise was back. Went to specialists, experts, you name it, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the routine.

      Then I saw a neuromuscular therapist who specialized in tinnitus. Saw her, noise was 99 percent gone. Then it came and went, came and went. I shied away from loud noises at the start until I was told not to or develop a aversion to them.

      As I ventured back into louder environments I would get nervous and the noise would come back worse and worse so of course your concerned your damaging your hearing more.

      Had it tested again, way better than the first time I had it tested.

      I tried to stop concerning myself that I was doing damage to my hearing and it would come and go, never gone but I had to be in a quiet room. We would goto a movie and it was loud, again I'd get worried and it would get worse.

      I'd go to the gun range, even though I was wearing double ear protection I was would still get concerned knowing the next sound could be the one to do it.

      Woke up one morning about 7 weeks ago with it screaming in both ears, mine is predominant in the left. I only hear the right when laying on it, but oddly enough not with ear plugs in. Went and saw the neuromuscular therapist, she did some work and I felt great.

      I knew in my mind the problem was not gone, I personally do believe that I suffer some level of baseline tinnitus but at a much lower level than I would perceive most of the time. Still I went from super loud to serenely quiet, nerve damage would not act like that.

      More exposure to louder noises and the noise came back. I would anticipate the noise and tighten up.

      A few weeks ago I went to an event that is probably the loudest noise you can experience and still hear. NHRA dragsters are probably 170db+. But I went prepared, double ear protection, distance, etc. First few passes no problem. I could hear it but it was not bad, normal.

      Toward the end of the night I started to let it creep back in, even with the ear protection what if something is still happening and I cannot tell due to the noise. POP it was loud again.

      Came back home, it settled back down but I was so freaked out over the permanent possibility it kept coming back. I learned not to worry about movies, gun fire, etc because I knew it was not going to make it worse(well without ear protection it would), but this was something different. A sound so loud that even ear protection may not help you.

      I figure it was around 130db where we were sitting and I was wearing 40+ protection, so I know in my head that that was not the problem, it was more pressure than noise.

      So its been up and down the past few weeks and this week its up, very much up. Neuromuscular therapy has done wonders but the last time it did not help as much, is that because something is wrong or I did not relax enough?

      My noise level truly does change. It is not that I do not hear it, or do not notice it. When really working on relaxing today, doing some stretching and other things the noise went down. When I sat and worried about it, it went up.

      Your body learns muscle memory, for good and for bad. I do not doubt anyones tinnitus or issues especially regarding hearing loss but I'm just figuring out after nearly 2 years that a good portion of this might truly be in my head.

      The question is, how to unlearn what has been learned.

      I left this generic on the 'in my head' part. But that could lead to other causes. In my cause I believe the muscle tightness causes fluid build up, lymphatic massage, SCM stretches and a few other things let that fluid drain and I get better, but the root cause still might be worry translating into a reaction.

      I think understanding that a lot of times we are our own worse enemy gives you a lot more control over the situation.
      • Like Like x 1
    2. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      What exactly did that neuromuscular therapist do? Any specific massage to areas of the jaw? When you say "T is in your head", do you mean generated by mental things or stress? T is "in our heads" no matter what the cause is, sometimes it could incoporate the inner ear as well, but the auditory cortex in the brain is what produces the phantom noise. So in a sense we all have T "in our head".
    3. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      My hyperacusis was pretty instantly sooooooo much better after I massaged my ears (the area around) with tiger balm whilst (did I just use "whilst" correctly?) taking a hot bath.

      When I took the subway last week I covered my ears when the train stopped at the platform, today I didn't even notice it. I just noticed that I hadn't noticed it when I entered the train.

      I also feel instant relief in tension when I massage the area around my ears. (Make a Spock hand sign)
    4. EricMI

      EricMI Member

      Tinnitus Since:

      I'll reply in detail later on, short on time.


      If you are feeling relief from that motion then that is usually the lymphatic system. I do the same thing help the lymph nodes drain and it makes a huge difference. The next steps are working farther down where the lymphatic fluid travels along the shoulder and front of chest.
    5. object16

      object16 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      My own feeling is that hearing was developed many hundreds of thousands to million years ago, and was designed to hear very quiet sounds, so that we could hear if there was a nearly animal ready to make us into its next meal. Ears were not developed for the Industrial Age, and definitely not for engines and machinery etc. The fact that the ear is so resilient is mainly just by luck. I do not trust anything noisy at all any more. I don't care, I just stay away, this is my own health, and I am already on 5 different meds to go to sleep, and in the past I was sure that I would be in a pine box very soon, also my family needs me to keep earning money, so I just use my own judgement. The hearing of different people will be different, and you have to be the judge of what is best: Do NOT believe the "experts" - they just tell you what is correct for most people - I figure out what is right for me, by my own experience. My own experience says that avoiding any sort of noise at all is a good thing, but also that your ear needs constant sound to stay in "balance" - otherwise with no sound at all it develops hyperacusis which will lead to tinnitus.
      Completely stay away from the race track stay away from guns, wear super hearing protection with tools, stay completely away from any live concerts stay out of movie theaters etc. Your body is speaking to you, so listen to what your own body has to say. Very gradually, if you use small amounts of white noise in the background, and constantly during the night when you sleep, your tinnitus should get less, or you will be able to deal with it better. Keep the white noise level slightly less than the tinnitus - it should NOT "mask" it. Your brain is trying to find something that is not there anymore, and while it is doing this search, it generates a noise. You can distract it with small background noise, and even try CR NM. Your tinnitus is your brain speaking to you that it did not like what you did to it. Your own and my own experience and the internet tinnitus patient experience is that tinnitus is not normal - the "experts" claim that "normal" people will hear tinnitus in a quiet room, but if you go and check with for example remote isolated tribes in Africa or South America - these guys will have completely absolutely no hearing loss what so ever well into their 80's and none of these guys will ever experience tinnitus - tinnitus is the result of the industrial age and machinery etc. that is my theory anyway.
      • Like Like x 1
    6. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:

      Just wanted to add the great potential of T also being a result of mental trauma and stress that doesn't need to have anything to do with exposure to loud noises and/or acoustic shock. Seems like the auditory cortex and the inner ear can be damaged by an overflow of stress hormones like cortisone and adrenaline. Also, T can be produced by physical trauma to the head or neck area, creating the exact same shock to the brain as acoustic trauma. Many people with head injuries due to either accidents or sudden violence have T. Strokes to the head, impact etc. I remember when I was a kid we used to preform a stupid and dangerous thing where we took both out open hands and smacked them on the ears of someone, just like you would smack a flies between your palms. Smack!¤ That created a slight T in the seconds and minutes after impact. Seems like the brain respond to shock like this with generating phantom noises.
      • Agree Agree x 1

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