Is This Called Habituation?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Ricky81, Aug 19, 2014.

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    1. Ricky81
      Worried

      Ricky81 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 14, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Assault/Contusion/Ear Infection
      Hi all,

      This is my 6th week with T in both ears. The first 30 days were miserable. I could not sleep all nite, even with masking sounds. Melatonin didn't help either. The only time T bothers me is at night and when I have noise cancelling head phones.

      However I started taking NAC pills on week 5 and starting week 6 I have been able to sleep much much better.

      I have noticed my T is less aggressive in my left ear and I'm kinda getting used to it at night too.
      Its hard to take my mind off T at night since its there 24/7 but I do feel much better than few weeks ago.

      Is this called Habituation?
       
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    2. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      Ricky81
      Glad to hear you are finally getting some sleep (it is critical to us folks with T); however, that is not entirely what is meant when we refer to habituation.

      Simply stated, habituation is achieved when you no longer have a significant and negative emotional reaction to your T; it is no longer a cause for anxiety.

      It doesn't mean you no longer notice your T nor does it mean that your T doesn't bother you at times; it just means that your reaction to it is minimal. Just like @I who love music has stated many time 'gauge your reaction to your T, not the loudness of your T'. For example, my T was going strong when I woke up this morning but I can't even bring myself to react to it (negative or positive); whereas a year ago it would have been a source of extraordinary anxiety -- an anxiety that, unfortunately, reciprocates and causes the T to increase (ugh!). I like to think that I have the same emotional reaction to my T that I have about that stupid lump of grass in the cracks of my driveway that I can't get rid (you get the idea). It goes in the 'whatever' bucket; but getting to that point was a long process.

      Habituation is a very personal journey; we all go at different paces and, unlike heaven, there are various paths you can take -- but the goal is the same (and it is a worthy goal). Had someone told me about habituation in my early days of T I would have had a hard time believing I could ever achieve it (hope notwithstanding); but trust me, habituation will be your reality (as it is mine) but it can be a long journey. My T is cranking today (right now); but I just don't care -- and it stops me from nothing I want to do (I don't even blink an eye). It may be very difficult for you to believe right now but you will get there too (much hope for you).

      Hope this helps

      Until then...prayers!!

      Mark
       
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    3. russiancarl

      russiancarl Member

      So if this isn't habituation what exactly is it?

      I have kind of the same experience. After a while I notice my tinnitus less and less. Like the most annoying tones have disappeared for now and it's not as loud.

      When I do notice it is it quieter and slightly annoying but not as bad as before.

      Is this just the tinnitus objectively changing or is it a subjective change induced by my mind as it "habituates" to tinnitus?

      Is habituation ONLY not reacting to it emotionally, or does it also include your tinnitus possibly fading into the background more and more?
       
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    4. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Habituation is when you don't pay attention to T high or low, when you don't care what it does and you go about living your life as you please, when for long stretches of time you are not even aware of the sound even if it is there, when you don't need any drug or masking to go to sleep because you are so used to the sound that it doesn't bother you anymore. In any case, habituation requires time. It will happen slowly for most people if they don't perceive T as a threat any more. So the main thing is not to worry or monitor T. Let T be, let the rest of your life be.
       
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    5. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      russiancarl
      Yes, what you have just stated is maybe not total habituation but it is substantial and in the right direction.

      Since your auditory system is tightly integrated with your limbic system (your emotional seed) then the less you react to it the less 'power' and focus your T is given; therefore it objectively sounds smaller and less annoying. In the same way your T spiraled up (you heard a strange noise, had a strong emotional reaction to it therefore your brain focused on it and amplified the it); your T can spiral down (by removing the strong emotional reaction and, therefore, your brain doesn't focus on it and amplify it).

      Will your T ever completely go away or will they ever find a cure -- I have no idea (so many different causes, and T is so complex). But if you get to the point where you don't react to it and it no longer annoys you, what do you care? You are habituated; it becomes a non-topic. Soon you will no longer even look for it (although I make that mistake now and then -- ooops).

      Sounds like you are on the right road; awesome!!

      Mark
       
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    6. russiancarl

      russiancarl Member

      @Mark McDill Thanks for the insight. I was starting to think I was crazy as my definition of habituation doesn't seem to be like others. Like it seems like the volume goes down at times and I can't even make it come back. Maybe my T is just fluctuating a ton. But I also put a lot of it into like you say becoming more positive.

      I had that ENT appointment to go to TRT for the first time 1.5 weeks ago and even the days leading up to it my ear was feeling way better. And the doctor even commented without me prompting that it's common for patients tinnitus to improve just on the expectation of getting help or making that appointment.

      Since then it's been largely manageable. Still nowhere near my old baseline and today was particularly rough but... it's just so weird.

      If my T is low I don't even worry about it. When it's loud I still do but not to the same extent as before. But then it comes back to - is my T lower now because even when it's loud I don't worry about it? Who knows but whatever helps, right?
       
    7. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
      russiancarl
      Wow! My T does the same exact thing; sometimes it is so low it is none existent and I could do nothing to 'make it appear'. No amount of ruminating or concentration can make it come back. The opposite is true when it turns on; I will be in oblivion about it and suddenly there it is (undeniable). To me, this indicates the primary cause is something very physical (extending out to the chemical/biological); what that is and why it works the way it does is a total mystery (to me). I've tried to nail down some consistencies but have come up with very little.

      Although this experience is very puzzling, I really don't think it has to do with habituation (directly); I believe habituation to simply be the measurement of how much it does/doesn't bother me when it is cranking -- and, yes, to some degree how much of my thought life it consumes. If those two components are minimal then I'd say a person is habituated; and that I am just the 'curious type' (why does it work that way?).

      However, from a different point of view, if I'm going through stress and anxiety in my life (don't we all) then my T definitely reflects (that). Right now I'm going through the joys of getting 3x 'twenty-somethings' through college; the finances are a nightmare in and of themselves, breaking reality to your child is another stress filled roller coaster all together (gee, I love being the bad guy -- not). Don't get me wrong, they are great kids -- it's just life.

      Nonetheless, my T has only cranked up a little bit (no worries here).

      I figure as long as we are managing our T and it is not managing us; we're good.

      Mark
       
    8. russiancarl

      russiancarl Member

      @Mark McDill Wow finally someone else who is experiencing what I am. It's so strange and yeah I feel like it has something to do with my body chemistry more than my mind. Or I mean something physical not just mental... I don't think I'm explaining it well... it feels like my brain is just undergoing a lot of changes dealing with the ringing and maybe this is why we perceive some quieter days. I don't know.

      I will say that yesterday my T was getting worse, today it is kinda loud again though I'm not letting it bother me nearly as much. Not to say I like it by any means... heck no... but it's not creating that fight or flight response in me before where I would panic and the anxiety would ruin me. It definitely sucks but I am trying to stay positive and playing music louder than normal and just hope that it will go down again. So I guess that's some step towards habituation, right? Though I'm sure I'll be reduced to goo if it keeps this up or gets louder tomorrow :/

      Gahhh 3 months of this rollercoaster I'd just love it to go back to the way it was last week. Barely there, still slightly annoying, but not nearly as annoying as it was at it's loudest and still not as quiet as it used to be.

      Oh well, I have some hope that I can get some relief in the future. I went to a TMJD specialist the other week and was told I definitely have it though it may not be causing my tinnitus. Seems odd that it would be as I've had low level tinnitus for 14 - 15 years that amped up 3 months ago after I took some medicine. But yeah, who knows, maybe my jaw got worse and the ear did too... I'd be a fool not to try it though and it definitely helps to have some *hope*. Good bye $2000 tho -_-
       

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