It's Crazy — You CAN Learn to Accept the Ringing

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Sam P, Jan 15, 2018.

    1. Sam P

      Sam P Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I'm writing this because not enough people seem to write about their positive stories on this forum. When you first get here it seems like most people have bad experiences. Here is my experience with tinnitus. (Spoiler alert - despite my original anxiety/fear/confusion it all turned out OK once I started taking the right steps).

      In September last year, I went to an extremely loud concert - around my 60th of the year. Two days later, I noticed my ears were still ringing loudly, even as I stood on a noisy main street in central London. As a musician, I was aware of tinnitus and how it can become permanent, so I started to get worried. I've played the drums and guitar in rock bands for years, and I've never worn any kind of ear protection.

      The noise was very loud and wouldn't stop. I read posts on this forum and how many people struggle their whole lives to deal with this. I got scared that I would have to live with this anxiety forever, never experience the joy of silence ever again, and that I would have to give up music forever. I wore earplugs one night in an attempt to get to sleep, and I ended up giving myself an ear infection that went on for 5 weeks (only use CLEAN earplugs) and made my tinnitus worse.

      Then, I learned through my research at sites like that there were some 'treatments' that can help - the different methods of retraining therapy. I learned that these noises are natural and that it was possible to live with them. I started the process of training myself to accept the ringing in my head, to accept that this noise doesn't have any impact on my life other than what I make of it. I also started using sound enrichment for sleep and work (check out the website I mentioned for info on all those things).

      It took a while, but I taught myself to accept the noise as a part of my life. I no longer care about the ringing. It's a strange feeling. In my first month, I couldn't imagine living with this. I felt like I HAD to get rid of this somehow, looking into treatments and refusing to accept it. Now, after actively teaching myself that it is Ok, I can hear the noise but it doesn't affect me. I'm back to my old self again, only with a slightly different soundtrack now.

      One of the strangest experiences I had was after a party a few days ago. It was quite loud, I even played live music and danced all night with no ear protection. I got the expected much louder ringing that night, but it didn't bother me. The craziest thing was the next night. For whatever reason, I had a night of almost ZERO ringing. I couldn't believe it.

      As I sat there in silence for the first time in 4 months, I realized something. The silence wasn't how I remembered it. I thought I would feel a huge rush of relief the moment I got my beloved silence back, but I didn't. Instead, I found myself feeling just as I did with the ringing, maybe even a little less comfortable. I looked back, and when I really thought about it, I never used to sit down and think to myself "Wow, I love how silent it is right now" - I would probably have just been worrying about something else. The silence was overrated, and I knew I could live without it.

      The day after that, the ringing came back. But I wasn't disappointed or annoyed at all (it was almost a relief to be back to 'normal', I must have trained myself well!). I've learned through this experience that something like a sound in my head doesn't control my thoughts. I do. It wasn't the sound that was causing me pain, it was my reaction to it. I'm taking this as a lesson for other areas of my life now, too. I'm going to protect my ears much more carefully from now on, but I'm not going to change my love of live music. I know that means I'll be dealing with tinnitus my whole life, but that thought doesn't bother me anymore. That's what this post is about.

      If you're still struggling with the anxiety and stress of tinnitus, you can learn to accept it, but you need to be smart and proactive about it. Browsing horror stories in these forums and constantly monitoring changes in your tinnitus won't help you much. I followed the advice on and it worked for me by myself, but I was ready to get professional help if that didn't work.

      Once I stopped the cycle of anxiety and worrying over my tinnitus, and started the cycle of acceptance, my life took a change. I can tell you sitting here with a high pitch ringing in my ear that you can learn to deal with it. Good luck!
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    2. IvanRus

      IvanRus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Do you have only one ear ringing? No hearing loss, did you make an audiogram? Are you used to just a few months? It is amazing?
    3. David G
      Movie buff

      David G Member

      Thank you for this encouraging post! I'm almost 10 months in with a aural hiss, I only hear it in quiet places but it's more and more no longer bothering me. I am having a bad day today but I'm positive I'll have more good days.

      I've read other stories were people no longer notice it anymore, and that's where I want to be.
    4. JaimeNZ

      JaimeNZ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Great post! I developed at in my early twenties, but managed to habituated it. Until a few days ago I'd forgotten I'd had it - I'd not experienced noticeable T for six years. Unfortunately I've had an unexpected set back but it's good to be reminded of these positive stories. My husband also has T and it doesn't bother him at all, never has. You're right, it's all about perception.
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    5. AUTHOR
      Sam P

      Sam P Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Both ears ringing. No audiogram and I don't think I have hearing loss (although I've never checked). Yes I'm used to it after only a few months. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "It is amazing?" - It's certainly not amazing but it doesn't bother me. I've just seen a few posts on this forum where people are panicking that their tinnitus will never go away. I wrote this to suggest a better way is to just stop worrying if its there or not and start accepting it :)
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    6. Chris Holland
      Movie buff

      Chris Holland Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      @Sam P

      It's actually the only way ...
      William Shatner (from Star Trek) said this:

      ''He, too, has tinnitus, and he joked that he never hears it unless he talks about it, and of course now he talks about it 12 hours a day. Dr. Jasterboff talks a lot about the "cycle of fear," with the fear increasing, like chronic pain. In turn, it increases the awareness sensitivity to the sound, so it sounds like it is getting louder. After three months of hearing a sound that was somewhat louder than my tinnitus, I began to lose my fear of it, and I realized that I wasn't going to go down. I realized that I could still sleep that was another big thing: "will I be able to sleep, will I be able to perform my work?" I began to understand that I would be able to go on and the habituation techniques helped considerably. When I put the aids aside, I gradually became accustomed to the condition over the years. Initially, on that test they give you where it says what percentage does tinnitus affect you, I put down 95 percent it's my whole life. It was at the time, and now it is negligible, I don't hear it unless I'm talking about it.''

      So first comes acceptation, then comes habituation and perhaps after that comes fading of perception, this has happened to a lot of people I spoke to who have tinnitus.

      I would be careful not to damage your hearing though brother, going to clubs without ear protection just seems like tempting faith a bit ...
    7. threefirefour
      Peeping tom

      threefirefour Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      140dB B R U H moment
      I'd beg to differ...
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    8. fishbone

      fishbone Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud noise and very bad sickness
      Positivity can go a long way. Kudos to you, for finding your joy even with tinnitus so quick :)

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