Is Habituation Just Getting Used to the Noise and Not Having It Bother You?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Kathi, May 8, 2014.

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    1. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      I've learned a lot about habituation here and in reading the success stories here and a couple of blogs, I see that people go days and weeks without noticing their T. Then I'll read that they mask at night or still hear their T in the morning. I'm confused, to be honest. Is habituation just getting used to the noise and not having it bother you? It's only six months but most of the time my noise doesn't bother me anymore. My T also fades in and out of my awareness when I'm engaged in something like work, tv, a conversation, etc. but it's only for minutes--then I'll hear it again and then continue with what I'm doing.

      I think I've deluded myself--I thought habituation meant that I wouldn't hear my T unless I listened for it, like my friends at work. Question is: Is that true, will I only hear it when I listen for it or will I always wake up to it and need to mask at night.

      Thank you for any insight. :)
       
    2. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Hey Kathi....I think you put it right - Habituation is the point you get to when you no longer react negatively to your T. In talking to people with T over the years, I think there are essentially 3 types of habituation which I notice- #1 where you always hear it but it doesn't bother you; #2 where you don't hear it unless you listen for it and #3 which is a combination of the first two. Mine is similar to yours. If I am engaged in something it is not there but then I may hear it for a bit and then I forget about it again. I do still hear mine all day long but I only notice it periodically. Some days mine is louder than others and therefore I notice it more but in the end the most important thing is your reaction to it. If you don't react negatively to it then it doesn't bother you. ;)
       
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    3. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids

      Kathi
      You're doing very well! If you go for periods of time without noticing it (much less reacting to it) you are winning. I consider myself largely habituated but it took me a year and I still hear mine (too loud); but I don't react to it and I, too, go for long periods where I may even forget I have it -- I believe that to be an habituated state.

      So, to answer the question; no, that is not true. Mine is 'stupid-loud' so there is no way I could NOT hear it; but I just don't care enough to react to it and it no longer has the ability to hold my focus hostage. At night, however, it is more challenging for the obvious reason that my mind is trying to focus on nothing -- yet there is a something there; so I need masking to cover the T (and get my sleep). Nonetheless, I am ever so slowly moving away from the need to mask at night; I guess that would be a greater level of habituation -- like a black-belt :LOL:.

      Glad to hear you are doing so well; it only gets better all the time...

      Mark :)
       
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    4. cullenbohannon
      Thinking

      cullenbohannon Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2014
      Hey Kathi even Dr. Nagler says people who are completely habituated will hear it from time to time. I suppose this applies to the blackbelts that Mark refereed to as well. I think its a great sign that it leaves your awareness at times.I think thats a great sign that you can and will habituate. I think if you can become engaged and not be distracted by your t even if its for short spurts, this is a sign that you can habituate. After so may years who knows, maybe you wont hear it unless you listen for it.
       
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    5. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      Thanks for your insight guys--I guess there are different degrees of habituation. Maybe someday I'll be a 'black belt'--probably years down the road. My two friends that have to listen for it have had it over 10 years. I do have one friend that has had it for 30 years and she hears it whenever she sees me! She also said that she hears it every night when it's quiet.

      I guess I fooled myself into thinking I wouldn't hear it anymore when I first got it if I could habituate. It's okay --that gave me hope and got me to where I am now. Life is livable and there is still a lot of joy. I also think I am just starting to habituate--my husband said that he notices that I 'forget' about T more than I realize--and maybe I'll get even farther along the road.

      Thanks for all the encouragement. This forum and all its members are my rock.
       
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    6. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      So 4 months passed since I got the t. Everyday is the same now. Upon waking up same though comes to my mind "Is it there? Will it ever go away?" Then regular stuff comes: shower, breakfast, work, lunch, dinner, and so on. During that time I am distracted and I either hear it or not. I accept it and I live it but it feels like I am more getting used to it then habituating? I cannot accept that it will never go away. I search for solutions and hope some day I will figure it out. Meanwhile I am accepting it and living with it. That's my reaction. Weird, but true. Probably in dr. Nagler's point of view I am just making it worse, but that's my nature. I want it to leave my brain. I don't like it and I will never do. I feel violated and lost. I am so jeleous when I see my friends leaving so happy and not being ever aware what the t is? I understand that this is not the worse but it still haunts me. I don't complain to people, I just watch but in my mind I want to spit it out so badly.
      Am I getting used to it? Yes, I don't have a choice. But getting used to it and habitualing are probably two different sides of the coin. And while this happens my body is attacking me all over. Other problems like pain in the eye , weird sensations in my right side of the face, neck issues, phantom teeth pain pile up. It feels like somebody turn that switch to test my patience and see how far I can go. Is that my karma? Maybe it is and I have only one choice , get used to it, live with it and hope that good days will come.
       
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    7. RicoS
      Confused

      RicoS Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress or Acoustic trauma
      I guess I am full in the habitation proces now...and during the day I don't hear it. I do not use masking any more during the day. Was in a silent room in the house with my son just a moment ago playing and I did not hear it.....reason.... I didn't think of my T for one second. I was reading him a story and normaly my T screams above it...and now I didn't hear a thing. And remember my T is loud when I focus on it. When I plug my ears T is just as loud as ever, but with unplugged ears my T registers less by the week because I came to a point that I just will not spend any more energy on it. This is not me that is making that decision otherwise I would have done it much earlier, but it my whole body and mind that says.....screw this....were done with it. Just go on with your life.

      You can not force habitation I guess.... everything in me just gave up on it and tries to ignore it as much as possible
       
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    8. Ilija
      Breezy

      Ilija Member

      Location:
      Jagodina, Serbia
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud gig/year of loud headphone usage.
      I think I'm pushing on #3 right about now.
      I don't hear it and it doesn't bother me any more, and when I do hear it it's only cause I'm focusing on it.
      Right now I'm wearing headphones and it's sooooo mild, I'm not rubbing it in or anything I've just been really happy these past few days :)
      I still have slight sound sensitivity but it's fading as I care less, I also get headaches from time to time, anyone know what that's all about?
       
    9. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress

      When I first got T, I had headaches in my left temple area (I have unilateral T) but they stopped after awhile. If you have headaches regularly, I would suggest that you see your doctor. There are many reasons for headaches and he/she can help you sort it out.

      Thank you for bringing up this old post of mine--it's from last May and helps me to realize how far I've come in the short time from then to now--even though it seemed like a long time. I'm almost at a year and so much better thanks to the members of this forum and a kind and compassionate physician.
       
    10. Ilija
      Breezy

      Ilija Member

      Location:
      Jagodina, Serbia
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud gig/year of loud headphone usage.
      They're not constant but my what I notice is my ears are more sensitive to cold now.
      Also I only get headaches after intense physical work, for instance playing basketball sometimes gives me headaches other than that I don't get them much.
      Did the sort of ear fullness go for you? it's not that my ears feel full as they feel like they're tensing up.
      Also did you have mild hyperacusis too? it seems a lot of people here had it in the beginning only to have it fade after the ears healed a bit.
       
    11. MattK

      MattK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/13/2014
      Kathi, remember that you're still new, even though you've come a long way. If you're starting to not notice your T at certain times, I would guess that those times would become more frequent. So, I would think that it is possible for you to eventually get to a point where hearing your T would be rare relative to how much you don't notice it.

      But you're still in the process of habituation from what it sounds like. So there is no reason to think that this is as good as it gets for you. The important thing though is to just keep in mind that regardless of your T, you are enjoying life. I can say, that I am probably similar to you in where I am at. And I know that when this whole thing first started, I never thought I'd get to a point where it didn't bother me anymore. Even as I hear my T right now even with a white noise app playing, it doesn't bother me. Quite honestly, I think even if I got to a point where I didn't need a white noise app to sleep, I think I would have it regardless, just because I like the sound of heavy rain or thunder storms. I really look forward to thunder storms and it had never occurred to me before that I could at least have the noise from it through an app.

      But, I never was too concerned for your future. I knew you would make it because of your attitude. You seem to embrace the possibility of habituating and were willing to give it a chance. I can't stress enough how much CBT and changing our way of thinking has helped me. Many people still view tinnitus as the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them, and if that's how they're thinking, then it's no wonder they can't move on.
       
    12. Sen
      Caffeine

      Sen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October, 2012.
      Yes.
       
    13. Magpie
      Sporty

      Magpie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/1999
      Kathi wrote:
      I've learned a lot about habituation here and in reading the success stories here and a couple of blogs, I see that people go days and weeks without noticing their T. Then I'll read that they mask at night or still hear their T in the morning. I'm confused, to be honest. Is habituation just getting used to the noise and not having it bother you? It's only six months but most of the time my noise doesn't bother me anymore. My T also fades in and out of my awareness when I'm engaged in something like work, tv, a conversation, etc. but it's only for minutes--then I'll hear it again and then continue with what I'm doing.
      I think I've deluded myself--I thought habituation meant that I wouldn't hear my T unless I listened for it, like my friends at work. Question is: Is that true, will I only hear it when I listen for it or will I always wake up to it and need to mask at night.


      Kathi everybody is different and some feel their tinnitus is really loud yet they only hear it in a quiet room or when they intentionally listen for it. Other people hear it 24/7 and can't mask it unless they use headphones and listen to music at a volume that might cause further damage. There is a huge difference between the two but they might have the same beliefs. Habituation seems to be a different experience for different folks and some say that they habituated and basically couldn't give a stuff about their tinnitus. They might also say they now no longer hear it unless they listen for it.(Good luck to them because it's something that escapes me.) Others say they habituated but they still hear it almost as much as they ever did so nothing changed other than their reaction(hey that's me!). Think in terms of my experience that you might still hear it after you habituated but you won't have a negative reaction.

      Their may also be a reason why habituation is a different experience for different folks. Why in the end does somebodies brain consider tinnitus as non threatening and perhaps as a consequence they no longer hear it? And why does somebodies brain consider tinnitus as non threatening yet they continue to hear it as much as they always did? Could it be loudness or could it be other factors. IMO nobody knows.

      In the end it isn't awareness that matters it's how you react to your tinnitus and if you don't react to it then you are habituated.
       
    14. Kathi
      Balanced

      Kathi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NJ/USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/30/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HFHL and stress
      Thanks @Magpie but this post is six months old. I'm doing better now and I am not reacting to my noise anymore. I'm just living my life with as few accommodations to T as possible. I tend to forget my T when I'm doing something but when I do hear it, it no longer scares or bothers me.
       

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