Is Total Masking Possible?

Discussion in 'Support' started by James P, Mar 22, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      My tinnitus is quiet, yet somewhat paradoxically I find it impossible to mask it for any extended period of time. I can find temporary relief with new sound mixes I haven't heard before, but after 15 minutes or so I totally understand the sound and can find the tinnitus sounds layered in it. At that point it's just as noticeable as if I was in silence.

      Every time I try to mask, I take it as a challenge to find my tinnitus in the mix. It's how I always treated sounds and music when relaxing, to analyze and break them down into their basic parts until I perfectly understood it. It was a fun game to me that I really enjoyed.

      I just want to be able to feel like normal again, but now I'm always aware of the flaws in my hearing and they have to be corrected. But it's impossible. It's all I think about and I don't want to think about it anymore.

      Not sure why I wrote this, maybe just to vent and share my experience. If anyone can suggest masking methods or had similar issues I'd appreciate hearing about it.
       
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    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      It is normal to have flaws.

      stephen nagler
       
    3. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      "Every time I try to mask, I take it as a challenge to find my tinnitus in the mix"

      If you want to habituate, you should NOT try to find your T. Ever. Never.
       
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    4. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      I find it so difficult not to. When relaxing I naturally search for threats. I see tinnitus as a threat still and it keeps bothering me. I haven't settled into a career I want yet and I'm worried it will prevent me from reaching the goals I had, which was a quiet desk job dealing with math.

      Problem is deep down I still want to be cured, even though I know it's not possible, and find it hard to accept habitation. I don't really know how I can change my thinking about this, I'm very stubborn about certain things and this is one of them.

      I understand, I have other minor flaws as well but they don't bother me at all. This is the first flaw that I find impossible to ignore. I used to find endless peace and satisfaction just lying in bed thinking, and did it for whole days sometimes. Thanks for helping and I'll try to keep that in mind whenever I dwell on it.
       
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    5. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      You have no major flaws? That's really awful. I feel bad for you. A person without major flaws sets an incredibly high standard to maintain.

      stephen nagler
       
    6. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      I feel for you @James P because I was / still am very much like you. The first 4-6 months were hell for me. After that I started to habituate and I am much better now, but I do still struggle and T bothers me most days.

      But I think you are on your way to habituation. The reason why I think so is that you say you see T as a threat. Not many T sufferers understand this, let alone how our brain and more specifically amylgada, react to threats. In a nutshell, our brain is one giant machine, that calculates risks ALL the time. Evolution plays a huge role in this. When the brain perceives a threat, it releases for example stress hormones called cortisols, which prepares us for fight or flight. This is the primary reason why us T sufferers absolutelly need to learn to perceive T as a non-threatening sound. Since you understand T is a threat to you, I think you are in a good shape to unlearn this. :)

      So how to do this then? Have you read the 'Back to silence' thread yet? If not, read it. My 'inner talk' for my T is this phrase: "Ok, I hear you T, but I don't give a FUCK!" :) Try to find your own inner talk. Oh and btw, you might want to read this book!

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/It-The-Ultimate-Spiritual-Way/dp/1848500130
       
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    7. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      I can't believe you were a doctor once.
       
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    8. Chelles
      Balanced

      Chelles Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      If you want to habituate you need to stop trying to listen to your t that's the whole point of masking it. Maybe try putting on a relaxing sound and keep yourself busy every time you try think of t distract yourself, it's a hard habit to break but not impossible.
       
    9. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      Yep I know it sure is hard to change my habits. I'm quite lazy and always avoided being busy, preferring to lounge about relaxing. Life has been so easy till now, didn't have a care in the world. Trying to stay busy isn't what I'm used to, but I'm thinking exercise and swimming would be a really good idea to start with.

      @Sound Wave yeah I did read the Back to Silence Thread. It was a good read, I do focus more on my emotions than description now. Honestly whatever sound it made I'd be upset about it, since I was used to hearing absolute nothing. Hard to change my perception because I did take quite a bit of pride in my hearing and enjoyed how well it worked, like a radar giving me a clear mental image of my surroundings. It was a constant source of peace and entertainment.
       
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    10. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      I know what you mean. I am also very good in hearing all sorts of things and my sense of smell is also VERY good. I suspect our kind of people are more prone to getting T.

      How about this kind of line of thought -> your body gave you T as a sign for you to find something to occupy yourself, to do with passion? :) I sometimes think back to the moment I got T as a crossroad. One path would have been my previous life without T but with the 'old me' and my old habits. The second path is life with T, but with the 'new me', who has had to learn all sorts of new things and readjust my life and priorities. You know what, even though I hate my T, I can not chose the first path without a doubt. Maybe not at all.
       
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    11. Steve H
      Creative

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      Hi @James P

      Maybe for you, the way that you analyse sounds, the best trick is to have a sound with plenty of layers. Something where you listen and have to work to pick out the patterns in the tones, which evolve over time, seems more appropriate.

      If you're listening to music there is always a repetition of theme so you can easily get used to it. What sort of things have you tried listening to so far without success?
       
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    12. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      White noise pink noise brown noise violet noise alone worked for a bit at first but not anymore. Some youtube video's that have layers changing dynamically throughout worked well the first time or two; I can't find the videos atm because I'm at work still, but they were posted in the support forum here. I grew bored of the sound after a couple repeats and ended up searching and finding the subtle tinnitus layer.

      I used the sound mixer on ATA website too and found that throwing crickets spring peepers and some water effects in hid it pretty well, the sound gets a little annoying after awhile though. I've also gotta be careful with some masking because even if it hides tinnitus sometimes it highlights minor hearing damage.

      I haven't tried much music because there's breaks between songs that will always put a spotlight on it.

      @Sound Wave Yeah I think that's how I'll have to deal with it at some point. By finding some new interests that I can occupy my mind with and push out the bad thoughts. For now I just want to know I can find relief when I need it.

      I really enjoy my sense of smell too. It's not well refined but smells do evoke emotions and memories inside me.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I was indeed a doctor once, and I still am. A very good one.

      We are all flawed, Jakob. Yes, even you. Any person who believes that he or she is not flawed needs to do some real soul-searching.

      You cannot imagine how many times I hear the words, "Things were perfect in my life before tinnitus," or "I had no real problems before tinnitus." Overcoming that fantasy can often be the first step to overcoming tinnitus.

      stephen nagler
       
    14. Carlos1

      Carlos1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Boston
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Root Canal
      Dr Nagler I sure your a very good doctor and as I've seen here you've helped many people that being said sometimes your words show very little compassion.
       
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    15. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I think the theory is that sometimes people need to be smacked in the face just as much as they need to be hugged. I'm sort of neutral as to whether or not this is true.
       
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    16. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)

      Yes I do fully believe my life was great before tinnitus. I don't know how to break that thinking but I really did feel great all the time. Just endless content, and any unfilled desires seemed easily achievable. I thought life was as perfect as it could be, it was modest but I wanted nothing more. Had no burdens or worries. This is the first problem I cannot fix in a way I'm happy with. So it requires me to change to accept it.

      Looking at learning mindfulness meditation in therapy, I don't know anything about it but has it been useful for other people suffering?

      I do appreciate the blunt approach too, I need to challenge my thinking and change it to something I can accept and feel comfortable with. No sugarcoating and getting to the facts. Compassion feels good when I need to cry and vent but afterwards nothing's really changed. Really, balance is good. Sometimes you need one thing and sometimes the other.

      I know you do care because otherwise you wouldn't be here offering so much help and advice.
       
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    17. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      It's a flaw in my writing style. I have an incredible amount of material to impart, and very often my mind gets in front of my heart.

      But, Carlos, nobody who looks me in the eye would ever miss the compassion, compassion that literally compels me to post on tinnitus boards year in and year out for the sole purpose of helping others who now suffer as much as I used to suffer.

      stephen nagler
       
    18. NiNyu

      NiNyu Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      29/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma? stress?
      That's so me! James, we a lot in common. ~hug
      My nephew used to sneak up on me and I could always point out where exactly he was. With closed eyes I could hear people breathe in adjacent rooms. Now I can't tell if it's a train or plane outside my apartment.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    19. Carlos1

      Carlos1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Boston
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Root Canal
      Dr Nagler I then take back my words and thank you again for being here and dedicating your time to us that suffer with T. I know you've helped many people. Hope all is well with you.

      God bless
       
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    20. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      Agreed, you feel a lot of the same things I do. It's nice not to be alone.

      I remember on a really quiet day with no wind hearing my laptop adapter across my bedroom from me, didn't know those made a sound before. Usually just kept track of where my family was in the house though.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    21. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      James, do you have a significant other? Or a child? If not, how about getting one of those? :) I recently got my first child and T went all-time-low after that for about a month. It's been creeping up again, but still the little fellow at least keeps me busy and happy! :)
       
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    22. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      @Sound Wave Nope just live with parents. I planned on working on it, but I was lazy.

      Being honest, I never had a relationship and am still virgin. Sex drive was never a problem, I masturbated like 20 times a week till T started. Now its like 4, cant get in the mood. Combination of shyness, skinny and below average looks held me back. Hitting the gym regularly and eating better would probably fix that, so i rarely worried and procrastinated. Goofing off felt good enough and I liked having no responsibility.

      I stopped thinking about finding a relationship since i didnt get one when i had a stable mental state, it would be a lot harder now. I don't want to burden anyone with my current problems either. If i managed to build the willpower to get back to the gym maybe i could build enough self confidence to achieve it, but sexual desires fell behind my desire for peace of mind.
       
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    23. NiNyu

      NiNyu Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      29/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma? stress?
      @Sound Wave , you mean one of those little sh*tting machines? You gotta be kidding us. They cry all the time! No way now!

      @James P , you are totally right finding a lover is all about the mindset. Self-confidence is key. Creativity is cruical. And of course you must be capable to shine and entertain, charm those around you. Being scrawny isn't a bad thing at all more important is fashion.
      Alas, now with T it's a whole different game. The peace of mind is shattered.. sure sex is nice but not the most enjoyable part of life. There's much, much more to explore.. though since T it all ain't fun anymore for me. It seems no matter what you do the ears are involved. It's just a too powerful a sense as to be ignored. And in my case, how can I ignore something screaming louder than trains in my ear 24/7 without a break and knowing that it will NEVER stop until I DIE?
       
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    24. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      @NiNyu Yep fashion was a big part of it too, I pretty much ignored that entirely. I didn't put much effort into it. Love wasn't necessary for my happiness. More something that would be nice if it happened, but I didn't need it.
      I'm trying to repress and forget my memories of how I used to be, and move forward. But I can't do that, because I don't look forward to anything in life. Each day feels like an eternity. I can't imagine what would bring me satisfaction and relief now.
      All my previous interests seem hollow and pointless now. I just can't escape the reality of my situation. I used to lose myself in fantasies when listening to music, reading books, watching movies and playing video games. Now I feel constantly distracted and brought back to Earth by this relentless noise. I feel trapped in a cage.
      Work is actually torture, I have to wear ear protection most of the day because I'm working near a noisy machine, so the noise in my head is amplified the entire time.
      My social life has suffered, it's hard to interact and discuss things with friends and strangers when I feel so depressed. I don't keep up with my hobbies anymore so I find I have nothing to say.
      I had a moment earlier today were I actually felt fine for a few minutes, like I had overcome this. I pretended life was always like this and nothing was wrong. It gives me a little bit of hope to cling to.
       
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    25. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      "I had a moment earlier today were I actually felt fine for a few minutes, like I had overcome this." - This is how habituation starts. These moments come more often and they last longer. Pro tip - when you get these moments, dive deep into them and cherish them purposelly, be and feel grateful. This is how you 'teach' your brain into the right direction.

      Another piece of advice is to start exploring what you would like to do with your life. The key is to TRY new things and in general expose yourself to new things and serendipity - the moment when something unexpected sparks a new idea in your mind. Force yourself out, sign up to new classes of all sorts of things etc. Especially craftmanship / DIY hobbies are good, because when you work with your hands, it stimulates the brain in a very positive way and keeps your mind of T.

      James, why not also get good quality ear protectors that isolate noise, but which you can also use to listen to music / masking sounds?

      @NiNyu, yes, I do mean babies. :) They are amazing, wonderful and so what if they cry occasionally. Ear plugs are invented. :) I had no idea how amazing it is to have a child and see how one grows.
       
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    26. NiNyu

      NiNyu Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      29/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma? stress?
      I think James did exactly that plenty of times prior to T.^^ Sorry, I couldn't help it.

      @Sound Wave , maybe in another life where my mind isn't debilitated.


      Only one thing could bring satisfaction and relief now. Only one thing..
      Same here! I could occupy myself for hours, days.. so many things to explore and learn. Now all is disrupted by the noise. This noise kills my concentration completely and it hurts.
      I can't work ATM. No way.
       
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    27. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      Definitely true, I actually did just that for almost an entire year after my undergraduate. It just felt so good, like endless satisfaction. I did start looking for a job and making some new friends to spend time with afterwards because it wasn't possible to do it forever, although it gave me the desire to make a lot of money and retire early.

      I really don't want to work at all now, but doing nothing doesn't feel good either so I do it anyway. Plus my parents would kill me if I didn't. So every day I struggle, forcing myself, and fighting back tears throughout the day. I'm not sure if people at work notice or not, nobody's said anything to me. At least not after the time I broke down and bawled my eyes out in front of them just before Christmas.

      There's really no desire in me to work, it seems entirely pointless since money has absolutely no value to me and I never liked my job anyway. Saved up plenty of cash to last a few years anyway.

      On a positive note, I've watched some anime and YouTube over the past two days and so far it's worked for taking my mind off things for a bit.
       
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    28. @James P I totally understand what you are experiencing when you say that everyday you struggle, forcing yourself, and fighting back tears throughout the day. That is how it was for me at work too. It is tough to keep going with noise in your head. Finding good distractions help me too. @NiNyu Yes the noise kills concentration. That's for sure. I am not able to work yet either. But keep searching for something that will help you. I know it is out there for you. Don't give up!
       
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    29. James P

      James P Member

      Location:
      Halifax, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma (Club)
      @svintegrity I've got an evaluation appointment at a local mental health place Friday. It was going to be last Wednesday but we had a huge snowstorm that day. I'm hoping they have some ideas for relief. I also know I really should start exercising again as I'm sure it would help, but I don't know how I'll go about that yet.

      I'm grateful for your experience and advice, knowing someone else has gone through a similar journey is comforting. I wish you a smooth recovery as well.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    30. @James P Remember not to "should" on yourself. Starting back into exercising will come when you are ready. You will know. I hope you get some ideas for relief on Friday. That is not long off now. Please keep us posted.
       
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