I'm Phonophobic

Discussion in 'Support' started by Striveon, Jul 5, 2019.

    1. Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi everyone,

      I've realized I'm phonophobic.

      I can't live a normal life due to fear of noises making tinnitus worse, which causes my tinnitus to spike due to anxiety.

      I want to go out, but I'm unsure how to.

      Any tips on where to start, what is okay, any help I can look for?

      I am so bored of not doing anything, but I don't want the tinnitus to spike either.

      Also, I want to go to places without the earplugs, any tips???

      Thank you... :)
       
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    2. Blodorn
      Inactive

      Blodorn Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably Acoustic Trauma
      Hi!

      When I was scared, I used a decibel meter app on my phone. When my environment was around 50-70 dB I felt safe. I avoid 70+ dB places generally.

      I never noticed any spike that was noise induced (even my dentist didn't spike my tinnitus 3 days ago haha.) Most of my spikes were because of anxiety so the better I feel, the quieter my tinnitus is.

      Today I go out without fear, I just avoid loud places (weddings, concerts etc...).

      This is specific to my case of course, but that's how I killed my fear.

      Take care :)
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      So now you go out to everywhere except for weddings and concerts? So is a mall okay with you? What kind of restaurants are okay without earplugs?
       
    4. Blodorn
      Inactive

      Blodorn Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably Acoustic Trauma
      Yup, I'm not afraid to go a mall, it does not spike my tinnitus, I can confirm it.
      Noise generally masks my tinnitus though. Did you experience noise-induced tinnitus before?

      About restaurants, I can't advise you because I haven't gone to any restaurants since my tinnitus began and I do not wear earplugs when I go out.

      I think I would avoid any restaurants that play music. But I'm not scared to go to restaurants, I should give it a try haha. :D

      Sorry for my chaotic English!
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Wow! This is very helpful, I'm still scared to try, but I want to step out of this fear and live life (without spiking tinnitus of course...)! I appreciate your response and advice, thank you!! :D
       
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    6. Flamingo1

      Flamingo1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      4-15-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Restaurants in the US have become insanely louder. I ALWAYS wear ear plugs in a restaurant, and am doing so right now as I type!! I bring my earplugs with me EVERYWHERE and will immediately leave any place that hits near 80 decibels. This has worked for me and I have noise induced tinnitus. I will not go to bars and clubs which had severely limited my social life.
       
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    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't want to use earplugs, so maybe only fast food restaurants are ok???

      What decibel app do you use? I have Samsung so... I don't know. I can buy a decibel reader but I don't know which one's good?

      Any other places you're okay with, without the plugs??? Fun places? Or regular chill places?
       
    8. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Start sound therapy with an audiologist to help with the fear of sound and see a psychiatrist for CBT.

      Stop reading the fear mongering here. Your therapist will probably advise you not read stuff on here anymore, which I agree.

      You have been here long enough to get the information you need. Now leave before you let this consume you.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Is sound therapy used in the ears?
      I didn't know we can have a psychiatrist for CBT? I thought we only had them for medications and that's it???
       
    10. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Are you saying that every advice to protect one's ears is "fear mongering"? Do you really believe that no sufferer will be saved from having to ensure louder tinnitus as a result of becoming aware of the fact that some/many of us should stay away from noises that are ok for the healthy people?
       
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    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      HI @Striveon

      It would help to know what caused your tinnitus? Exposure to loud sound is the most common cause. Were you are frequent user of headphones or going to places where loud music was present. Clubs, concerts or working in a noisy environment? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then the tinnitus was likely caused by exposure to loud noise.

      If this is the case do you listen to music through headphones? If you do then I advise you to stop as this can make your symptoms worse even when they are used at low volume. Have you seen a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist trained in tinnitus treatment and management? If not then I advise you to get a referral to see one of these health professionals. A person that has tinnitus may also have hyperacusis especially if the tinnitus was "noise induced". Phonophobia can result from overusing hearing protection and deliberately keeping away from normal everyday sounds. In addition to this, some people can develop Misophonia which is a hatred of certain sounds. It is possible for someone to have all four of these conditions which I have written about in my post titled: The complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, in the link below.

      I advise you to see your family doctor and explain your situation. Ask if it's possible to be referred to a Hearing Thearpist or Audiologist that specialises in Tinnitus, hyperacusis treatment. Most of these health professionals know about Phonophobia and Misophonia since they can be linked to a person having tinnitus.

      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-complexities-of-tinnitus-and-hyperacusis.25733/
       
    12. Flamingo1

      Flamingo1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      4-15-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      The app I use on my Android is called Sound Meter. Just make sure you don't have a protective case on your phone when you use it. I did and found that the case caused a subtraction if 10 dB off the reading!!

      What do you have against ear plugs? You should probably stay home as you've been doing it you are not willing to carry them with you and pop them in when necessary. I have not found ear plugs to be inconvenient in any way and have actually found that they allow me to go places that I normally wouldn't due to my tinnitus.
       
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    13. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Phonophobia - literally means the irrational fear of loud or unexpected noise.

      When one has tinnitus - usually caused by noise damage - a healthy respect for the possibility of further noise damage, is anything but irrational, it is common sense.
      The actual volume of noise ‘created our hideous damage.’
      Further acoustic trauma could increase the devastation
      Could we live with that - further damage - louder Tinnitus?
      I go to the shops, I socialise, I go to restaurants, I visit the gents loos with wretched damaging hand driers in them, I live a relatively normal life.

      As soon as I dress in the morning I put a couple of ear plugs in my pocket.
      I very rarely use them.
      I will pop them in on a railway platform, especially a metro platform, in the gents loo, in a noisy restaurant etc... but not by rote.
      They go in if I am experiencing discomfort from noise.
      My concern re: noise and further damage is completely rational, hence not phobic.

      Ear plugs in my pocket = no need for anxiety.
      I have it covered.
      No ear plugs = risk it if you prefer that. I don’t.

      Nine times out of ten those plugs remain in my pocket.
      No sweat.
      But never allow other people to tell you what is safe and what isn’t.
      They do not have your ears, your Tinnitus, and your possible future acoustic trauma aftermath to cope with.
      We are the only experts in our own Tinnitus journey.
       
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    14. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Yes.
      Go wherever you wish without using earplugs,
      as long as you have them in your pocket to cope with times of discomfort.
       
    15. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Regarding anxiety - do you indulge in bruxism - Jaw clenching - which anchors anxiety, an emotion, to the body?
      All the time you have bruxism you cannot solve problems of Tinnitus anxiety, nor any other form of anxiety.
      Jaw clenching can be easily cured in half an hour!
      I have some notes, if you wish.
       
    16. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      An almost unbelievable post from you.
      Does this indicate just how little faith you have in the Tinnitus Talk site that you help to manage.

      I object to every word of this.
      Somebody suffering with severe tinnitus will get far more relevant advice on how to move forward from other caring sufferers than they will ever get from a trick-cyclist or an audiologist.

      I’m here to tell you
      Jack Straw that those people know Jack Shit!

      Nobody on this thread is ‘fear mongering’ as you like to put it - we are advising caution for Christ's sake.
       
      Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I do not wish to engage in a long drawn out debate about @Jack Straw post @Jazzer as you have made your disapproval quite clear.

      Jack Straw is correct in everything that he has said. There is far too much scaremongering and wrong advice given to a lot of people in this forum, to stay away from normal everyday sounds and promoting the overuse of hearing protection. Last year two members of this forum contacted me after developing Phonophobia and Misophonia. According to them, it was a direct result of following the advice of certain members in this forum, who I shall not name, that promote the overuse of hearing protection and to keeping away from normal everyday sounds. If out on the street and one hears a police or ambulance siren, they should quickly reach for earplugs or earmuffs etc..

      Both members were referred to a Hearing Therapist for treatment of Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Phonophobia and Misophonia. They were advised not to visit tinnitus forums too often and not to read posts that mention to keep away from normal everyday sounds and not to use earplugs too often. I kept in touch with the two members for a short while, whilst they were having treatment. This was the reason I wrote the post: The complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-complexities-of-tinnitus-and-hyperacusis.25733/

      Michael
       
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    18. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      There is a massive difference between having tinnitus and knowing to avoid loud sounds and having phonophobia. Phonophobia is literally an irrational fear of sound. Even healthy sounds people are afraid of. And yes I think there is quite a bit of fear mongering on here and this adds to someone already unhealthy thinking.

      Someone knowing to not be around loud noises is one thing, someone who has an irrational fear of normal (not loud sounds) is a different story.

      I am rather sad to see this is what it has come to between me and you.

      As I mentioned above phonophobia is not tinnitus and is treated differently. He asked about help with PHONOPHOBIA and not tinnitus. The only way to treat a phobia is with exposure therapy, hence seeing an audiologist for safe levels of sound therapy to get over the phobia.

      Also, I mentioned that he has gotten enough good advice here since he has already been here for months. Reading horror stories is not helping his phobia. Also, reading anecdotal evidence items based as fact isn’t helping him either.

      I can also guarantee I know far more about about tinnitus than “Jack Shit”.

      Best of luck Jazzer. I’m not sure why my opinion and experience with tinnitus would matter less than yours. I have had it for over 25 years and also have it rather bad as well.
       
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    19. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Spot on!
       
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    20. Julien87
      Happy

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      I am in the same situation Striveon. I am thinking of doing CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, I think it would be the best solution for me.
       
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    21. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      @Michael Leigh - there is not one item of fear mongering on this thread, so I reject your comments, and stand by what I have said.
      Members are talking about their own experience and their own initiative regarding ear plug protection.
      The most valuable resource any sufferer of tinnitus has is their own experience.

      Remember - there are no tinnitus gurus who have all, or even any of the answers.

      Not you - not me - nobody.
      There is nobody to revere.

      We are the only experts of our own tinnitus.
      Recognising this fact we should all be cautious around excessive noise, detect our own level of discomfort, and act accordingly.
      We can experiment with our own exposure.
      What we really must concentrate on is experimenting with deep relaxation and meditation as an exceptional coping method.
      There is no time to lose in experimenting with the practices that may help us to feel better, to cope better.
      For myself - I reject all masking gadgets because the principle is counter to acclimatisation or habituation to the reality of our sounds.
      Of course I happen to know that you champion masking gadgets - white noise, and all that.
      With a cacophony of noise going on - why add another.
      You and I disagree on so much.
      I am not claiming I am right.
      I am not claiming you are wrong.

      What I am saying is that my most valuable resource is my own experience, which I trust above anybody else’s advice.
       
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    22. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      There was a time I liked corresponding with Jazzer and reading his posts. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. His use of expletives has become regular. Bad habits he has picked up from certain members that he engages with. I do not correspond with these people for this specific reason.

      Michael
       
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    23. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Well - as you realise - I did not accept that there was any fear mongering on that thread, neither did I spot one solitary horror story.
      Re-read the thread if you like.

      What I did detect was that good cautious advice from other sufferers was brushed aside as if ‘the experts’ could come up with something better.

      What I was advocating is cautious self experimentation - which I still regard as the best way forward, perhaps the only way forward.
      We have to trust our own common sense, and our own judgement.

      I meant nothing personal by the way.
      My views are simply that.
      I am perfectly ready to admit that I disagree with much that is generally advocated as tinnitus treatment - largely because my own experience tells me that it doesn’t work.
      Perhaps I’m a bloody maverick?

      Sorry if I upset you buddy,
      Dave x
       
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    24. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      There was obviously no fearmongering in the thread when I posted because there were barely any posts in this thread when I posted. I am talking about Tinnitus Talk as a whole.
       
    25. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Hahahahahahsha........x
      Michael Leigh - you are a caution buddy.
      I used the word ‘shit’ - is that really an expletive.
      We all take a couple of those a day (I hope!)
      I also used the words Christ sake.

      Is there any hope for me - or am I to be damned?
      Oh dear - there I go again. (damned.)

      Please excuse me for not taking you too seriously Michael.

      Dave x
       
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    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Jazzer

      A white noise generator used correctly can help treat tinnitus and hyperacusis quite effectively. Some people believe these devices mask the tinnitus so that it can't be heard, this is not the correct way to use it. The white noise should be set slightly below the tinnitus. Over time the brain learns to habituate to the white noise and slowly pushes the tinnitus into the background, so it becomes less noticeable: Habiatuation. If hyperacusis is present, the white noise will also help to treat it and in many cases cure the condition, by desensitising the hypersensitivity of the auditory system, caused by "noise trauma".

      I do not claim to be a tinnitus guru. However, I have had it for many years corresponded and counselled people with "noise induced" tinnitus. There are many similarities that people with noise induced tinnitus share, which is how it affects a person's mental and emotional wellbeing. I believe I understand this to quite an extent which has enabled me to write many posts and articles on "Noise induced" tinnitus.

      I wish you well.
      Michael
       
    27. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      @Michael Leigh
      I will leave it there Michael.

      Good luck
      We all need it
      and it’s in precious short supply

      Dave x
       
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    28. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Yes - many sufferers live in fear - of course.
      The ability to express that fear and ask for help is crucial.
      But what I do see is other members jumping to the rescue - doing their level best to alleviate those fears and help out all they can - by offering suggestions and possibly even remedies.

      I am not sure that I really see your point Jack.
      However - good luck

      Dave x
       
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    29. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I excuse you @Jazzer and no offence taken as it's water off a duck's back as we say. I behave in a certain way. Whether talking to someone or in writing, I never use profanity it's just the way I was brought up. I appreciate we are all different but as my 6th decade approaches, it's too late for me to change, not that I want to!

      Michael
       
      Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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    30. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      This seems to imply that nobody here has phonophobia, as it is rational to fear the sounds that might forever ruin one's life. Right?
      "Normal" (as in loud, but not loud enough to be noticed by a healthy person) sounds HAVE been known to cause permanent tinnitus spikes.
      He also said
      so it should have been explained to him that if he wants to maximize his chance of getting the latter, he should find new ways of keeping boredom at bay.
       
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