Mind Over Tinnitus (It Seems to Work, So Far!)

Discussion in 'Support' started by NocturnalDerek, Nov 6, 2013.

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    1. NocturnalDerek

      NocturnalDerek Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Lifetime?
      Hey guys. I just recently found that I have tinnitus, after years of "not hearing it." Since I started realizing it, about 2 weeks ago, it's all I could hear. In dead silence, the sounds can get up there to piercing levels, although in truth, they are really a little bit under the volume of a normal conversation. Years of loud music in the car, the club, and in the studio were apparently taking their toll. I still don't know how I could possibly just realize it all at once, but it was after a friend mentioned that he had it, and that prompted me to listen for it in my own ears. I completely regret that day. I work from home in an office that happens to also be a project studio treated to absorb as much sound as possible, so even with music playing, the lack of ambient sounds made the T very distinct and noticeable, and life suddenly seemed like a living hell while in here.

      Anyway, I have found a way, for me at least, that I can achieve great relief, at least temporarily. On about the 5th day after I realized I had T, I was lying in bed, completely consumed by this multiple ringing in my ears, regretting how everything I read basically said "deal with it" and I'd have to just listen to this for the rest of my life. Music is basically my life and I'm very analytical about sounds, so trying to simply forget this sound was something that I knew I would probably never be able to do because the more you try, the more you think about it! I decided to at least try to fight it head-on, and just stare the sound down into submission, as I'm sure everyone here has tried at one (or many) points. Sounds far-fetched and simplistic, but what had I to lose?

      Everybody has their own sound or combination of sounds, and my two primary ones are a high-pitched whine that sounds like an old CRT TV set, in the middle of my head, very high at about 18,000Khz; and the MOST annoying one, around 15,000Khz, which is much louder and obtrusive to me. As I laid there, I concentrated on this latter tone, and tried to see if I could "grab ahold" of it with my mind, and manipulate it in any way to try and control it. After a couple of minutes, I found that I was able to alter this tone's volume and tone a bit (not its pitch though). I would turn my head, move my jaw, move my eyes up and down, and just try anything, but what seemed to work best was just pure concentration. At first, I was able to get it to sound a tiny bit louder, and that made me happy because I knew if I could make it louder, I'd be able to find a way mentally to make it quieter. I mentally envisioned an EQ (equalizer), and this tone was on one of the bands. And in my mind, I kept pushing the fader down. I imagined that the fader had resistance on it and was pushing itself back up, but I had to keep pushing it down. I don't know if this makes any sense, but as this visual struggle happened in my head, the tone itself started to fluctuate in volume.

      Within about 15 minutes of concentration, I was able to get this particular tone down to almost inaudible levels, even while I was in a silent room. I'd say about 95% gone. The other sounds from my T were still there, especially that high-pitched TV whine. I eventually trained myself to be able to attenuate that sound briefly, but it is much harder to do for some reason, and it comes back more quickly.

      This does take a lot of concentration. At first, I would have to stop everything I was doing, close my eyes, and imagine my EQ, to force the sound back down into submission. It would take about a minute to do, and it actually would stay away for a couple of minutes, which is like an eternity for relief from this anyway. Once I'd forget about it, and then think about the T again, the sound would be right back where it started.

      After practicing basically all day every day (it's been about two weeks), I've gotten to the point to where I can suppress my main tone more quickly and keep it there longer, and without quite as much concentration. The ultimate goal will be to hopefully train my brain to pass it completely to my subconscious which will act as a notch filter, to basically make my hearing "colorblind" to the sound without thinking about it so constantly. So far I am not there yet, but the periods that I can go in between deliberately forcing the sound away are slowly getting longer. Sometimes during the day, it even kicks in by itself. I doubt that it's a real physical happening, but I feel like I can actually feel a muscle deep inside my ear, doing something to make this happen. Even when the sound would have been masked by other sounds, like when I'm washing my hands, I can still feel that weird "muscle" in my ear, confirming that it's doing its job, and when I turn the water off, the sound really is still not there.

      Note that I am only talking about one of my tones. I am able to suppress most of the other tones as well, but some of the higher ones are harder. And doing the real ultimate goal of suppressing multiple ones at once takes a lot more concentration. It's like plugging a leaky bucket with one finger, and another leak springs. But once or twice, I have gotten so frustrated and determined that I laid there in bed and after maybe a half-hour, was actually able to suppress almost all of the tones at once, to near silence, or as close as I can ever remember having. Since I had been gradually worsening my T for perhaps dozens of years without even knowing it, this silence felt even more silent than I had known before I realized I had T. In fact, I thought I had psyched myself into being slightly deaf or something, and that's why I couldn't hear these sounds anymore! But a quick rustle of the sheets proved that I was still hearing quiet, white-noise sounds quite well. The feeling of deafness was there ostensibly because a tone that I normally hear all the time was just not there anymore. It felt like a tank had been removed from my chest, and I took the deepest breath I think I ever took. Each night when I lie in bed, I do use the fan sometimes because it helps, but I also try to actively concentrate on squelching every tone down, and by the time I do, I'm usually asleep!

      I don't know if my story will help anybody here, or if one like it was told before. I'm sure I'm nowhere near the worst sufferer of this, I don't seem to have any actual hearing loss (yet to see a doc about this), and I'm fortunate to have somehow lived almost to my 40's before even realizing I had tinnitus (and not super-human hearing for electrostatic electricity). I just wanted to give a little bit of hope to any who have not yet truly tried a mind-over-matter strategy that didn't include masking or trying to forget the problem. If your brain can identify a sound, it can be trained to ignore it. And it seems to be able to filter the sound out intelligently and leave others intact, as opposed to just attenuating a whole frequency band of what you actually hear.

      I would make this post longer, but again I humbly admit that I am a "new" sufferer of this who doesn't have all the answers, and just wanted to lend my story for support. Heck, as I type this I still hear my TV whine tone, which is being particularly stubborn right now. I in no way wish to offend the many people here who are dealing with worse cases, for much longer than mine. I'd be more than happy to share and learn from you guys, mind tricks for suppressing these sounds: All the other techniques out there (music just under volume of T, etc) seem to support and work well with the one I am writing about!

      Thank you for listening,
      Derek
       
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    2. Meestijn
      Balanced

      Meestijn Member Benefactor

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      Hi Derek,

      "Welcome" on board.

      Hopefully you succeed in your strategy. Keep us updated!
      I for sure will try your method too.

      Your story looks so similar to mine as well your age and the things you did what probably caused your ringing. Realizing that I might already have T for years without being bothered/hearing it (electrostatic electricity, that is why I call my unwanted buddy Electric Storm!). I always thought that that was real silence! But due to a recent event (2 months ago, my consciousness has been triggered or it had finally became that worse that I (or better my faulty brains) no longer could let it linger in the background).

      The strange thing with mine T seems that when it is quite my T can be quite as well. Waking up in the morning the last 3 days without almost no T, however, during the day the T becomes more and more present again. Furthermore when it is noisy some of the T sounds become more noisy too (and may hold on some time afterwards).

      I also had one high pitch tone at 4kHz in my left ear and that one seems to be vanished or disappeared to the background (again). Even when trying to search for it it becomes more and more difficult to bring it to the foreground (I'm not trying too hard anyway!). Not knowing whether this is because of the use of Audio Notch music or natural recovery or even already a kind of habituation (why should you care most would probably say!). Currently I also trying the ACRN self guide (http://generalfuzz.net/acrn/) to target some other tones.

      Again good luck and may you succeed in killing the annoying sounds!
       
    3. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Hi Derek,

      Interesting method. I usually just add a bit chorus to mine to take some edge off. Only joking. I am sure you will reach your habituated state again shortly. All the best.
       

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