How to Quantify the Loudness of One’s Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Mark62, Sep 6, 2021.

    1. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @Marcuso22, my point wasn't mainly about what is severe or not, but just telling that hearing t over the shower doesn't necessarily equal severe, debilitating tinnitus.

      We are all different, and severity can't be measured. Two individuals could experience the same type of tinnitus, but only one of them may perceive it as severe. Perception of it, reaction to it and thus psychology play a major role in this too.

      But I fully agree with you that having fluctuating tinnitus that changes in sound and frequency throughout the day is difficult. I know have this is, because mine is like that too... not to mention the reactiveness on top of it.

      So you are 9 months in now? I can't tell if benzos make you worse as I did opt out for it when I was at my worst and couldn't sleep for weeks. But what I can tell is that at the 9 month mark I didn't feel much progression either. After 12 months with counselling, and getting the anxiety under control, things started changing, slowly - for the better. But its a continuous, everyday challenge. A marathon.
       
    2. Marcuso22

      Marcuso22 Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud prolonged exposure to alarm system
      MindOverMatter, I didn't see your posting until now because you didn't click on Quote at end of my posting. I don't know if you have been told this but if you don't click on Quote button then users don't know they had a response to their posting when checking for messages.

      As your pseudonym implies you put a lot of emphasis on counselling & how a person reacts to their tinnitus. This being said & true you can't dismiss one has to try and figure out what is physiologically making the tinnitus worse or maybe better i.e. level of sounds, use & type of sound therapy, external sources like appliances or electric fans, diet, medications, etc... There's so much to try and figure out when pretty well every sound causes a different tinnitus reaction.

      Reactive tinnitus and hyperacusis is one huge puzzle & I guess that's why some of us need to keep a mental or physical journal to try and see where there is a definite cause and effect. Not everything with tinnitus is related to stress & usually after two to three months people's anxieties or reaction to it start to change as they become more and more aware of what is happening to them & understand the negative effects of the fight and flight syndrome and how it's intertwined with one's tinnitus.

      But I personally find that even having all that knowledge about it doesn't mean we can like a flip of a switch lower our tinnitus when it starts to spike out of control. It's very complicated and not easy to ride out the spikes and bad days which are usually spent staying in bed when sleep is badly affected.
       
    3. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I agree with you totally.

      There is no flip switch, and it is complicated. However - if sticking to the topic regarding quantifying loudness.

      Loud tinnitus doesn't necessarily have to equal debilitating.
      ...and psychology and our reaction to the phantom sounds plays a huge role in this.

      Reactivity and hyperacusis makes all this of course way more complicated.
      I know, because I have these challenges myself for the last 2 year. And tinnitus for almost 20. And as you say Marcuso22, it is try and fail on this complex, and often very unpredictable, journey...

      I'm not trying to downplay anything, I'm just saying that loudness alone; i.e. hearing over shower etc.; doesn't have to be/felt to be intrusive.

      ...and there is hope, even with loud tinnitus. Overfocusing on how loud your tinnitus may be surely doesn't make it any lower - but rather the opposite (perception wise).
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      There is no puzzle between reactive tinnitus and hyperacusis. It is all caused by having an oversensitivity to sound. The root cause is hyperacusis. Try to stop thinking that you have reactive tinnitus and concentrate on getting treatment for hyperacusis. This may require seeing an audiologist for counselling and wearing white noise generators to help desensitise your oversensitivity to sound.

      Problems can occur when some people convince themselves they have insurmountable problems that cannot be treated. I have: reactive tinnitus, hyperacusis, noxacusis, doxacusis, phonophobia, misophonia, and anything else they can throw into the mix. Usually this is self diagnoses without seeing a medical professional. This can have a detrimental affect on a person's mental and emotional wellbeing, in addition to the tinnitus.

      All a journal helps to do is reinforce negative thinking. Concentrate on bringing positivity into your life and if possible, seek treatment.

      Michael
       
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    5. Marcuso22

      Marcuso22 Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud prolonged exposure to alarm system
      But there is a difference between reactive tinnitus and hyperacusis. It's not all about sound. I believe that's where you get stuck. I am beginning to look at how salt and sugar in my diet affects my tinnitus. That has nothing to do with external noises! Some people's tinnitus gets worse due to TMD issue's or neck problems. Some are affected by medications or supplements they take daily. Tinnitus is not one dimensional; It's multidimensional! And that's what makes tinnitus especially reactive tinnitus so complex and perplexing even for audiologists & hearing specialists.

      My audiologist at last appt lowered the pink noise volume in my BTE S-G to as low as you can go and it was still too loud for me. In fact he tricked me by shutting off the pink noise where I only heard microphone static noise and I found that too loud for me. I decided before even seeing him to not wear my BTE S-G's for time being. I've been using sound from my phone app's & from YouTube. Too loud a volume of sound is not good for hyperacusis so for me at this time the BTE S=G's are not good match for me, unless I simply wear it in my Left ear which isn't as reactive.
      Many tinnitus experts online have even recommended using a daily journal to keep track of what may be a trigger for making one's tinnitus worse. As I mentioned tinnitus is multidimensional so it's not easy to figure out a causal relationship. If one can discover a pattern of their triggers then that's a positive by eliminating or reducing that trigger in one's life. People with all different kinds of health issue's do this. For example if one discovers they suddenly have a food intolerance or sinus allergy one has to figure out what is triggering the problem. So many will keep a daily journal of what they ate or what they were exposed to in case of sinus allergy. All the positive thinking in the world will not eliminate a triggered response. That takes time with close observation to what is happening to oneself.
       
    6. Marcuso22

      Marcuso22 Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud prolonged exposure to alarm system
      I guess one could find out the decibel's it takes to mask their tinnitus and use that as a measuring level of their loudness.
      I can't speak for that person. I agree everyone is different individually so different reactions to a stimuli, but at same time with reactive tinnitus and hyperacusis the perception of the sound can get extremely loud as is the case for me & it can take you by surprise or it can last for a while at that level which becomes exhausting and stressful. It practically makes you freeze in your tracks like paralysis because you can't really do anything else to escape it or ignore it. It's to overwhelming at certain levels.
       
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    7. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      You sound like me. I don't know how to keep working with this insanity.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      With respect Marcus, I know you are going through a lot of difficulty at the moment and wish you well with whatever you decided to you.

      I once had very severe hyperacusis that has been completely cured using white noise generators as part of TRT. The treatment took two years with counselling. People that choose to believe in reactive tinnitus that is their choice. I do not believe such a thing exists, although I know tinnitus can react to sound. The majority of people that say they have reactive tinnitus have been exposed to noise trauma and have an oversensitivity to sound which is often hyperacusis. For some people it improves with time, in more severe cases professional help is needed. This may require counselling with an audiologist and wearing white noise generators to help desensitise the auditory system.

      In my opinion tinnitus becomes multidimensional when people allow it. Instead of focusing on one thing which is the tinnitus and perhaps hyperacusis and seeking treatment if necessary; instead they look to diet with the belief it can affect their tinnitus. If you weren't affected by certain foods prior to the onset of your noise induced tinnitus, diet is unlikely to affect it now. However, the mind can be very convincing and suggest to people do not make things harder on yourself by looking to food and drink and depriving yourself of the things you like to consume. Eat healthy for sure but don't make it become a problem.
      I do not like the sound of white noise generators to be set by your audiologist. For this simple reason he can never know what you are hearing or experiencing. The best white noise generators are those that have a volume control that allows the patient to adjust themselves. I have two types of white noise generators. Behind the ear and smaller more discreet, in-ear MM10. Both have volume controls.

      If you are not having regular counselling sessions with your audiologist, which is something I believe you need, then please make enquiries elsewhere to get this. If he is just adjusting the volume of your white noise generators and giving you a brief pep-talk for around 15 minutes, and asking how you're getting on, This is not good enough! You should be having counselling sessions with an audiologist or hearing therapist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. These sessions to begin with should last for 1 hour every two weeks and then adjusted accordingly. The duration of counselling should last a minimum of 6 months. If needed, extended to 12 or 24 months.

      I have mentioned many times tinnitus is mostly mental. I am not saying the intensity of the noise can be controlled by thought. It is how the condition affects a person's mental and emotional wellbeing. This is vitally important. Counselling with someone that knows about tinnitus and hyperacusis, can help a person to think more positive about life. This takes time to acquire. Although wearing white noise generators for both tinnitus and hyperacusis can be helpful, to get the full benefit of this treatment counselling is required.
      I disagree with what these so called experts in tinnitus have told you to keep a daily journal. They may be expert doctors and physicians and know all about the anatomy of the human body. However, anyone that is a true expert in tinnitus, has to live with the condition for at least three, preferably five years and have experience of when it is severe, mild or moderate and they should have been under the care of an audiologist or hearing therapist. Only then can they call themselves an expert. They will know how the condition can affect a person mentally and emotionally and be able to understand how the condition can affect people.

      Most ENT doctors will never understand this because they are physicians, not tinnitus experts. They treat underlying medical problems within the auditory system that cause tinnitus but they do not treat tinnitus as this is not their area of expertise. Having an MD or PhD in the medical field does not make a person a tinnitus expert. This can only be acquired by experience of having the condition in the way that I have outlined.

      Any tinnitus expert worth his or her salt, knows keeping a daily journal only reinforces negative thinking and keeping their problems alive. They will know the way forward is to incorporate positivity in your life and work towards doing the things you like to do. One of the doctor's that used to attend this forum I know quite well and have corresponded with him many times. He has tinnitus. He recently read my post on food drink and tinnitus, and agreed that keeping a food diary is not a good idea.

      All the best
      Michael

      Food, Drink and Tinnitus | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    9. Ava Lugo
      Gloomy

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/03/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      Do you have the kind of tinnitus that is hard to ignore?

      I also got bad hearing loss and very intrusive in your face unmaskable tinnitus.

      When you say you hear it over the shower, do you mean you have to look for it to hear it over the water?

      People say they can hear it over stuff but only if they listen for it. I never have to look for it to hear it over stuff. I hear it very clearly in public places and can't help but hear it because it's so intrusive.

      Do you hear it very clearly and you can't help but hear it? How do you deal with it?
       
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    10. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      I can always hear it, no matter where I am. However there is a difference between hearing it and listening to it. I do not dwell on it. If my attention is pulled back to it, I consciously try to shift my focus to something else. I make an effort not to panic or spiral downward with negative thoughts.

      I have severe hearing loss for several frequencies in one ear. I do think hearing loss makes it more challenging.
       
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    11. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
    12. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      I have multiple tones and it's unmeasurably loud! Also, the tones are difficult to describe - a hybrid of ringing and buzzing... EEEEEEE!!!!!

      It rarely changes unless a perceived spike but it's been particularly awful lately. I hear it over everything and trying to sleep is becoming really difficult again. :-(

      I am kinda interested in measuring the decibels and frequency - it might give people a slightly better idea of how it is? Maybe?
       
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    13. guenguer

      guenguer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden hearing loss 2004/12/14
      I'm hearing my 6-10 plus random ones even in the shower. Always, everywhere.
       
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    14. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I’m reluctant to mention ‘meditation’ once again, but I have to say that it gives me great comfort.

      I know that I cannot have ‘peace and quiet’ but I can have ‘peace and stillness,’ by virtually putting myself right out.

      It takes practice.

      However, if you cannot do it unaided you could try guided meditation, where you have the teacher’s voice to concentrate on.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Dave xx
       
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    15. Sash
      Doubtful

      Sash Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      cleaning out wax
      I am trying to mediate but it’s difficult to concentrate as the tinnitus is so loud. I will continue though.
       
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    16. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      It is also very tough for me Sash, but I persevere every day.

      I start by asking my tummy to take over the breathing for me.

      I never decide when to breath in or out - my tummy just breathes as and when it wants to. Eventually it creates its own rhythm, and then I just observe it.

      A soft mouth and a soft tummy are essential.

      Your lips should be closed but your teeth and jaws apart. (Like a baby.)

      Teeth should never close except around food.

      Practice a a soft mouth and hanging jaw.
       
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