It's Been 2 Weeks. What Now?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Julie201408456, Sep 4, 2015.

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    1. Julie201408456
      Sunshine

      Julie201408456 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2015
      Hi everyone,
      I'm 17 and just enrolled into college, and I couldn't be any happier. Well... except for the phantom ringing in my head.

      My T started just after I finished my GCSE exams this year. Pretty sure caused by listening to loud music through earphones. I had this bad habit for a while so the T probably happened gradually without me noticing at first. When I stopped listening to music after a few days I barely noticed the T anymore. The next month (July) I spent with my grand parents, who live in a neighbourhood consisting of flats. There was just enough background noise there to mask my T completely 24/7 and I quickly forgot all about it.

      It was all good until 2 weeks ago I (stupidly) happened to listen to music again. Not as loud this time but apparently loud enough to bring the T back.
      Sometimes its a dull ringing sound, a lot like a school or fire bell from a distance. Other times it's a high pitched static noise always equally loud in both my ears. In the last few days every now and then my ears would hurt a little inside, almost as if then were trying to repair themselves? (maybe?). Also the left now seems louder, drowning out the right ear (although I still think that both are in fact ringing). Overall it's not very loud but very noticeable and difficult to mask - especially at night.

      For now I've been avoiding loud sounds as much as I can - not easy when around college, bus or main road. Also I've been trying to stay busy and ignore the T while remaining calm when I do hear it hoping that with time it will cure itself. So far it's still here.

      Next week I'm going to go to my GP about it and hopefully get a referral to a good ENT. I'm not sure how I'll react if they say that there's nothing that they can do to help or that I'll have to live with it forever. I know that I should be happy it's not worse but I would do ANYTHING to hear silence again.

      Do you think that it's still possible for it to heal itself?
      Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Sorry for the long post,
      Love Julie xx
       
    2. Xynic

      Xynic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      Yo Julie,

      It was better before, so it can be better again, right? What follows is general advice aside from that.

      I'm 30 and the first time I got tinnitus was just around your age (ignore what it says in my profile, it's complicated, hehe)! First of all let me offer you some consolation right here about your fear that it could stick around. It could (it mustn't, though), but trust me your life can be 100% as good as before you got it. I've had a really rich, interesting and amazing life with some great, great times so far, and rarely did I ever give any thought to my tinnitus once I got over the initial difficult time. You'll laugh, but I've dedicated my life to music! The tinnitus was absolutely no showstopper, and I know many other musicians with tinnitus. Fun fact: I've heard of one guy who could tune his guitar to it because it had such a perfect pitch. ;)

      Secondly, you should go get checked by an ENT alright and ASAP, do a hearing test. You really shouldn't crank up those earbuds or headphones, that can gradually cause hearing damage. Keep off the headphones for a while, and when you use them again, turn it down! Alright, maybe the train noise will be louder than the music, but the right solution is not cranking it up to drown out the train!

      Now, don't panic just because I say "ASAP" - it's just that in case you have acute hearing loss, they need to act quick. They usually prescribe cortisone over where I am, as infusions or pills, to increase circulation in the inner ear and thus aid the natural self-healing process. This is for acute hearing loss, though - here it's up to your judgment, it doesn't sound from your post like that's what you had. If you think it is, go ASAP, don't wait for next week!!

      It might be that your ears are particularly sensitive to noise. In this case, too, an ENT will have some advice.

      Psychologically, you have to experiment a bit. Soft music through the speakers normally should not negatively affect the tinnitus but rather mask it and drown it out. This helps - don't concentrate on the ringing! Obviously, if the opposite happens, leave it be, but I don't need to tell you that. The more you concentrate on it, the more audible it will be.

      When you can't drown it out, what you can try is not to perceive it as a threat. This is a somewhat tricky one, but trust me it's possible. The main reason we easily perceive tinnitus as a threat is because it's usually high-pitched, and we are sort of hardwired to perceive sounds in that frequency area as alarming. Possibly because babies' cries lie somewhere in that area, too - interesting tidbit here. But nothing is really really hardwired in us, change is always possible. Are you generally a nervous or depressed person? If so, it's important to know that calm has a positive effect on tinnitus, or, more accurately, anxiety has a negative effect. I know this seems like a circle - tinnitus causes anxiety, and anxiety causes tinnitus? Try to think of it like this - tinnitus needn't actually cause anxiety. Perhaps try to not perceive it as something external to yourself and hostile.

      Gingko helps some. This is something you should be able to just get over the counter, it's herbal and also helps blood circulation in the head/inner ears along.

      And oh, yes, as said it is absolutely still possible for it to heal itself. Act on it reasonably, but relax about it!

      Last bit of advice: don't Google. Dr Google's answer is always, invariably, that you're going to die, no matter that you're an entirely healthy young woman. It's a known effect. :)
       
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    3. Julie201408456
      Sunshine

      Julie201408456 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2015
      Thank you so much Xynic for this optimistic and informed response xx
      I have yet to convince my parents that I'm not making this up and the support was well needed, so thanks again.

      Problem is I can't afford a private ENT and the ones in hospital require a GP referral. The kicker... GP appointments usually are booked for 2-4 weeks later (unless its a fever or something like that). Even though I stressed the receptionists that this could be potentially v serious I'm lucky that I got mine for next week.

      I suppose I could get used to this T if it stays. Habituate if that's the right word. By far I'm not the only one!

      It seems that the only good thing that comes out of this whole experience is that at least it gave me a goal. To finish my science A levels, go uni and then help them find a cure for this. Unless of course they find one before I get that far.
       
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    4. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Welcome. You should be just fine. Young people can adapt better than older folks. Your T sounds like not the catastrophic type with goes 7/24 high pitch and loud. When you say 'hard to mask' at sleep time, does it mean you don't have adequate masking or that your T loudness is too much? Try this TT link for the audio player which should have some nice sounds. You can also get a sound machine or sound pillow for sleep time.
       
    5. Xynic

      Xynic Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      Julie,

      I know the parents issue! Mine were unaware of the fact tinnitus exists (thankfully, though), so they were like, hey just sleep over it. Not the worst bit of advice, actually, but they could have taken me to a doctor sooner. Then again, I guess they actually did a good job by not panicking, so it's all fair. Years later my Dad once asked me: "Hey, remember that ringing you got in your ears after that concert? Did it go away?" - "Nah, it stuck around." - "Wow!" - "Eh, whatever." And that was that. If your parents don't believe you though, feel free to show them my post. :D

      What was worse was that the ENT I went to back then was entirely unable to explain to me what the hell tinnitus actually was. I felt lost in the dark and totally mortified! I wish someone had told me back then I was making myself crazy over absolutely nothing.

      Here in Germany, even if you don't have a referral, you can go to a hospital, but perhaps in England you can tell them that you'll get it later? I find it hard to believe that with really urgent cases they would turn you down. But as I said, it doesn't sound like you got acute hearing loss or anything (you'd probably know, unless you're totally numb), so after 2 weeks of tinnitus not linked to acute hearing loss the couple of days won't make a world of difference. It'll either go away or it won't then.

      Habituation is the word, yeah. At some point it's kind of like the fridge in your kitchen - you never consciously hear it, though you do perceive it.

      Here's some more food for thought in case you care and it helps: for quite a while, I was actually quite thankful to have gotten tinnitus! Now that's twisted, but it sort of taught me to hear more consciously (or so I believe(d)), thus becoming a better producer and listener later on. That's just me though. Also for quite a while, I actually found the sound of my tinnitus at night soothing! I got so used to it it was like "that good old sound". OK, that's really not everyone perhaps, but just to show you anything is really possible. And this is coming from a depressed and anxious person. I'm sure you're better than that. ;)
       
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