Is Doing Nothing the Best Thing To Do?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Lorraine, Jun 8, 2012.

tinnitus forum
    1. Lorraine

      Lorraine Guest

      Hello, I'm new here, from Australia. I've had tinnitus for a few years now. It's generally constant, like crickets. I've found that having everyday problems seems to help because it takes your mind off things, that and keeping busy. I'm wondering whether the best approach to this is simply not to look for cures and just try to accept it. I do feel that it is getting louder though, and I'm trying not to let this bother me. I can deal with it at the moment. Does anyone else here feel that doing nothing is the best way of dealing with it, rather than actively look for cures etc?
       
    2. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      Hi Lorraine,

      given that there are no proven cures out there yet, what remains is peace of mind. My strategy is to make sure I live my life without anxiety (related to T anyway!) and then follow the research and trials; there seem to be quite a few promising approaches from the last couple of years or so.

      So, it's a bit of both for me really; it's doing nothing (which translates into "living a good and happy life") and then keeping an eye on developments. Passively looking for cures :)

      All the best
      DD
       
    3. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      I starting to think so as I approach 3 months and I have read about every cure and every trial that I could find, I have tried about 30 supplements from B-Vitamins to Vipocetine to Picamilon; I tried hours of listening to white noise, notched music, tones, exercise, acupuncture, massage, sacro-cranial massage, deep tissue massage, Bowen therapy, chiropractor, praying in church every week...the conclusion I am reaching is same as DD, get along with living and let T drift into the background. It still not there for me but I do have several moments a day when it goes away or I just don't notice it....I'm thinking "time" is the best remedy...It does get better each week for me.
       
    4. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      Lorraine

      real good comments from erik and DezDog

      yeah, if you are not in crisis mode then yes, um maybe, probably the best hing you can do is let it fade into the background

      best wishes
      mock turtle
       
    5. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      It is very tough to not notice, isn't it? All sorts of sounds are going on all around us, which we selectively ignore. We've all read that TRT habituation allows the tinnitus sufferer to ignore T. I'm about six months into my T, and it's been tough.

      Did you know that many newborns have ringing in their ears? When a baby is born, it is common procedure to listen for sounds in a newborn's ears. Doctors believe that this is actually a healthy sign.

      Of course a newborn has no experiences to judge things - it doesn't yet even know the concept of silence. Somehow, this sound goes away, or through neuroplasticity, it becomes something that is not noticed.
       
    6. SymphonSilencio

      SymphonSilencio Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      Hi Lorraine,

      Fact is whether or not a proper treatment or supposed cure is found in the future we have to learn to live our own lives in the present with as much hope, peace, and happiness as possible. Easier said than done obviously but I think its helpful to find treatments and methods that mitigate T in such a way that you either notice it less or that the anxiety isnt as bad.

      Looking frantically for new advancements and treatments is exhausting. I know many people on the various tinnitus forums do this from what I've read and Im not bashing them for doing so. Its just that many people in the world live with debilitating medical conditions of one kind or another and they too have to find a way to push through their own suffering and find some quality in their lives.

      I know persaverance and hope are some VERY trying things to maintain while having tinnitus but its the only way for it it not to rock your core. Take it one day at a time and if you need help weathering the storm there any many people here whom can give you rock solid advice.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    7. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Well said SymphonSinlencia.

      I was in a meeting today, under a lot of stress. My "T" was going through the roof. I found myself chanting to myself, "I will get through this, I will get through this....". I was almost like Dorothy from Kansas in the Wizard of Oz, chanting "There's no place like home, there's no place like home...."

      When I got this thing, I learned about TRT, and I read a very good paper about how we interpret sound, based on Jasterbrof....(whatever his name is). Something like, "Sound is what we make of it.". When I read this, I thought, " Aha!: I remember this course: Existentialism 101! John Sarte: 'To be is to do'; Decartes: 'To do is to be'; Frank Sinatra, 'Do be, do be, do...' "

      So, having tinnitus seems to require a certain "existential attitude", where one needs to hang onto their seat during times of stress, and remind themselves what reality actually is.
       
    8. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      My TRT starts in a couple of weeks. It's funny to think that a couple of weeks ago I didn't feel I needed it, but these last couple of days have been stressful, and the T is bothering me more, and it's feeling more like a lifeline.

      I think I must have gotten a good handle on it, and now I've forgotten how to "de-realize" it.

      The TRT approach is the only one that makes sense to me at this point, and it's a form of CBT. I also bought a book "Living with Hyperacus and Tinnitus", since it had a good section on getting to sleep and covers the basics of TRT.

      Not sure why I'm rambling here, but I think it helped :)
       
    9. Lorrie

      Lorrie Guest

      It's a very interesting thing, psychologically, I was reading up on it last night. It seems to be the brain amplifying the lack of sound from the damaged cilia, so it's amplifying silence in a sense. Masking isn't recommended as you need to hear the tinnitus in order to habituate to it.

      I'm interested in what we all have in common. I have always been sensitive to loud noises, especially loud TVs, and probably more touchy about noise than the average person - I've always craved silence so maybe tinnitis for people like me is inevitable with hearing loss. Maybe yoga or meditation could help the more highly-strung personality. Not so much to cure tinnitus, but to de-sensitise us generally. Has anyone tried these? Any thoughts on this?
       
    10. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      Lorrie said, "It seems to be the brain amplifying the lack of sound from the damaged cilia, so it's amplifying silence in a sense"

      yes i get that sense too, like turning the volume all the way up on your amplifier when no CD is playing

      additionally it seems these nerves excite each other from random firing and the randomness is replaced by simultaneous, coordinated and repetitive firing in the absence of any real sound signal..it hurts just to think about it

      which gets back to Lorraines point...maybe, sometimes we are just better off doing nothing

      "listening" to the tinnitus definitely turns the amplifier up for me

      Karl, nice analogy... holding on to our seat chanting like dorothy in the wiz of oz, "theres no place like home"

      but sometimes i fray at the edges and my positive chanting devolves into what the cowardly lion said when dorothy and company crossed the enchanted (haunted) forest
      " i do believe in spooks,
      i do believe in spooks,
      i do, i do, i do, i do,
      i do believe in spooks
       
    11. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      > "listening" to the tinnitus definitely turns the amplifier up for me

      I need to remember this.
       
    12. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      I just got back from taking my daughter to college for freshmen orientation. The stress of driving and sitting through 3 days of parent's orientations didn't help my tinnitus.

      Seems like I'm running out of options. For the past two months, for 1 hour in the morning, I've been listeing to a frequency that matches the tinnitus in my right ear. This seems to have changed my tinnitus from a pure tone to more like a white noise/cicadas. Trouble is, my other ear is now getting tinnitus. I'm hearing these "pings", like fireworks now and then.

      So I'm back to trying to wearing my maskers again, after not wearing them for the past 2 months. It seems to be helping,..maybe, maybe not...

      I keep getting myself pumped up, then letting myself down.

      Lorrie -
      There are a lot of theories about what tinnitus is. You state, "It seems to be the brain amplifying the lack of sound from the damaged cilia, so it's amplifying silence in a sense". In a nutshell, this may be exactly what tinnitus is. I think it's a nerve circuit, a lot like an electronic amplifier circuit, which has malfunctioned, and we are listening to the gain control of the circuit.
       
    13. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      Karl,
      I find the more attention I give my T, the more it changes; its tone spectrum seems to change, and it changes volume. As I become more stressed about other things, and then notice my T, it seems to add to the stress, and it gets worse. Particularly annoying is when I try to match the tone; it seems that concentrating on it to match it changes it. At first this was frustrating, but I'm beginning to appreciate the mental feedback that's going on.

      I found this PDF to be a source of comfort:
      http://oxfordlearning.org.uk/westbe...ationswb/pdf/A/L_Waite_GP talk powerpoint.pdf

      It talks about the Jastreboff model which I think has been mentioned in this thread, but it also talk about the character types. Do you recognise any of those traits in yourself?

      My relief and comfort is currently coming from knowing that people do become habituated, thanks to the brain learning to ignore this new signal. If a cure ever really comes it will be icing on the cake, but not letting it distress us is the first step.

      When you talk about listening to the gain control, I think of it slightly differently; listening *is* the gain control. You're telling the brain it's important; it gets louder; and so on.

      I apologise if you know all this, but I still need to tell myself all these things, and so I'm hoping to remind you of a few things too; you seem more distressed lately and I think you've got what it takes to get on top of it.

      All the best
      DD
       
    14. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      DezDog -
      Great insights. I made a quick perusal of the PDF that you posted, and it looks very informative. What I gathered: Some of us respond to tinnitus more negatively than others, depending on our personalities and how we handle situations. And, "yes", I am one of those character types. I have a tendency to be obsessive in my thoughts. When I get my mind on something, I don't drop it.

      I agree with you when you say, "I still need to tell myself all these things". We are using this forum to get our thoughts together about this problem.
       
    15. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      Karl,

      I'm glad that helped. I tick the box on all those points (even the "responds aggressively", which took some effort to admit :-/ )

      What I had wanted to say in the original post was that I've been taking some proactive steps which seems to have helped in the last few days. Small things, but they include:
      - no coffee
      - exercise
      - good sleep hygiene (early to bed, get up if you wake up, don't clockwatch, don't fret that you didn't get enough sleep, you probably did)

      I miss my coffee and I always go back to it, but it's more that I've taken control (I'm not convinced there's proven research on the effect of caffeine on T). Makes me feel less put-upon.

      You're right about the forum - I feel proactive (and hence more in control) when I read and interact here.

      That's enough from me, I think!
       
    16. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      DezDog -
      Here's the slide that also fits me to a "Tee". I have every one of these traits, except "tendency toward hostile response" (which may have probably applied to me when I was younger):
      Tinnitus Personality Traits.jpg
       
    17. SymphonSilencio

      SymphonSilencio Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      I have to say that list of traits is errie as hell haha. I have all of those traits although gladly the last one isnt pretty rare for myself. To be honest the fact a person can have these traits and have something like tinnitus is downright deplorable. My OCD and over thinking traits hurt me the most when it comes to T personally speaking.
       
    18. Lorrie

      Lorrie Guest

      Why do some people with hearing loss get tinnitus while others don't? This is what I don't understand. Are there any physical differences between ordinary hearing loss and tinnitus?

      This interesting site suggests our limbic system has a "broken gate".

      http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/releases/11/pages/031611.aspx

      "Most researchers agree that tinnitus begins as a result of the brain trying to regain the ability to hear the sound frequencies it has lost by turning up the signals of neighboring frequencies."

      Reading this though and I'm still back to square one again.
      Is the problem mostly physical, psychological, or both?
      Does our personality type have any influence on these broken gates?
      Could it be similar to say, people with autism - where the problem largely stems from brain chemistry?
      And in the above case, which comes first: does brain chemistry abnormality lead to personality / physical dysfunction, or is it the other way round? Or maybe there's a self-propagating feedback?
      Are there any non-invasive therapies that "cure" brain chemistry issues? Which leads back to an earlier question of mine about whether yoga or meditation might help. Not as a direct cure for the tinnitus itself, but whether the calming effect can actually alter brain chemistry so that the tinnitus symptoms are reduced?
       
    19. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      @Karl: That's the one. "Hostile response" is what I was referring to; I've noticed it in myself when being defensive. Its inclusion in that list baffles me, but I expect there are some psychologists out there who recognize that list, and know why it's there.

      @SymphonSilencio: I think the slide is suggesting that you *suffer* from T *because* of those traits, not in spite of them. If you're a worrier, you're going to be distressed by the noise. Somehow, understanding this is a source of comfort for me. It's empowering to understand, and this is one half of what TRT is about.

      @Lorrie: I have the same question. I first thought I had damaged hearing, then the audiologist said my hearing was exceptional, especially given the fact I play in a (loud) band. So then I'm left wondering: what am I hearing then?! My suspicion is that the loud music has *changed* (read: damaged slightly, there's no way to sugar coat it, methinks) the way my ears translate sound, and this has changed the signal my brain hears. Of course, being a worrier, this provokes an anxious response. And off we go...
       
      • Like Like x 1
    20. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Lorrie and DezDog-
      The dilemma you are facing is the psychological explanation of how to treat tinnitus versus the physical reason of tinnitus. Initially, there is no psychological cause of tinnitus. Somehow it starts, due to an obvious cause, such physical trauma (loud noise, Q-tip too far in the ear). Other causes, such as ototoxicity, old age, are much less clear. (Wow, I sound confident today!)

      I have also been hung up on the question of "how did this start?". I have been obsessed by this question, learning the mechanics of the ear. I'm an engineer, so I've tried to figure out the whole mechanics as best as I can. I've actually contacted researchers. My audiologist has sent me a lot of paper, too.

      What I have learned this week (and thank you DezDog for posting that wonderful PDF): I am the type of person who obsesses, who created a psychological loop when I first heard this noise. As a result, this noise grew and grew. Now I'm back to wearing my maskers, and I'm letting things go. Which brings us to the point of this tangent, "Is doing nothing the best thing to do?" Yes.

      If you have a tendency to think only about pschological causes, you're missing the big picture. For a better understanding of tinnitus, I think you need to look at the basic anatomy of the ear.

      Ready for an engineer-with-tinnitus' understanding of the ear? Here goes...

      Illustrations/Photos Showing the Inner Ear:
      There are "inner hair cells" and "outer hair cells". The "inners" do the hearing. Researchers are not yet clear about what is the function of the outer hair cells.

      Hair Cell.jpg
      The inner hair cells are connected at their tops by a neuron switching mechanism. This is absolutely fascinating research, discovered by James Hudspeth:

      Hair Cell Mechanism.jpg

      The below illustration shows the nerve connections between the inner hair cells and the outer hair cells. Most of the nerve connections emminate from the inner hair cells. Notice there are also a few nerve connections going to-and-from the outer hair cells:
      Hair cells.jpg
      Some researchers believe that tinnitus is due to an imbalance in the above nerve circuitry. Sort of like an electronic circuit, like an amplifier, generating noise.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      Karl, this is gold. Thank you. DD
       
    22. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Yes, this research by James Hudspeth explains a lot. I'm not sure if many in the medical community are following this type of research, because it borders on physics.

      For those who are interested, here are some websites explaining how the inner ear really works:

      From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, "Signals from Hair Cells":
      http://www.hhmi.org/senses/c110.html

      James Hudspeth on YouTube:"Science 101 for Parents - The Biology of Sensory Perception: How Children Discover the World" (you will see a model of the inner hair cells on the right of the stage):
      Science 101 for Parents - The Biology of...


      Nobel Laureat/Physicist Steven Chu talking about the biophysics of the ear:
      https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~dattorro/Tin/tin.html
       
    23. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      well done Karl
       
    24. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
    25. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      erik -
      I didn't know what a type D personality is, so I looked it up on Wikipedia:

      "Type D personality, a concept used in the field of medical psychology, is defined as the joint tendency towards negative affectivity (e.g. worry, irritability, gloom) and social inhibition (e.g. reticence and a lack of self-assurance). The letter D stands for 'distressed'.

      .... The prevalence of Type D personality is 21% in the general population..."

      I'm not sure if I fit into that category. I tend to be obsessive, focusing on things. I think that a lot of people with tinnitus are just super-sensitive to their aural environment, whatever their type is.
       
    26. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      erik karl
      im half type A and half type D

      i sympathize
       
    27. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      DezDog, you mentioned that you started TRT and I think you're in the UK like me. Could you let me know where you had the TRT please? Did you just go to your GP and was referred or did you seek out a Jastebroff trained therapist? Thanks. click
       
    28. DezDog
      Angry

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2009
      Hi Click, I wouldn't have seen this had I not seen you mention it in the "paracetamol" thread. I found a local therapist and then asked to be referred. I had one consultation, and I learned that TRT was a combination of masking techniques and mental approach, and that it was slightly "out of fashion" now; the preferred approach being to focus on the mental issues (anxiety, feelings towards the noise etc). I haven't been back (yet); it seems I'd climbed far enough out of the hole to be considered "able to help self" (it wasn't formalized that way, but that's how it felt) which I'm very happy with.
       

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