My Analogy of Habituation

Discussion in 'Support' started by caffclifton, Oct 12, 2015.

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    1. caffclifton
      Supportive

      caffclifton Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Oxford, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/06/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis (Inner ear infection)
      Alot of people talk about Habituation and different people reach it in different ways. I was very lucky that it only took me a few months to habituate. I have shared my story on here but i have a little Analogy of what i feel Habituation is like. I have shared this with a few people and it seems to have really helped other so i hope it helps you too.

      I always think of my T like a pair of socks... I was going to suggest a bra or pants but that doesn't work for blokes so lets stick with socks. You don't think about your socks all day every day but do you? But they are a big part of your everyday life. You put them on in the morning, your brain registers the socks and is aware they are on you but then that's it... your brain doesn't think about your socks for the rest of the day until they come off at night. There may be the odd time where you notice them when you take your shoes on and off but other than that your socks are just a bit of background information in your mind your brain isn't thinking OH MY GOD SOCKS, SOCKS, SOCKS!!! You don't get anxious about your socks or stressed that you have socks, your brain simply registers the fact they are there then just simply ignores it. Weird analogy I know but that's the best way for me to describe how habituation worked for me, it was a change in mindset and trying as best as possible to get back to normal and give my brain other things to focus on.

      In my eyes Habituation is getting to the point where you may still hear your T from time to time and in the back of your mind you always know it's there but your brain doesn't register it as a threat so doesn't pay any attention to it and IT DOESN'T BOTHER YOU thats real habituation not the fact it "goes away" the fact that it's there and not bothering you.

      Thanks for listening to my strangeness! ;)
       
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    2. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Yes. Well said.
       
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    3. CarloZ

      CarloZ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      September 3, 2015
      Hope I get there soon. How loud was your T? What caused it?
       
    4. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      I worry about my socks all the time. After I wash them, why do I always have missing socks? Is it ok to wear two socks that are almost the same color but may not perfectly match? What if I get a hole in them in the middle of the day and my toe sticks out? Why do I always find 1 no show sock and one 1/4 crew sock?

      Seriously though, you put it very well....Habituation- a place you get to where your T doesn't bother you as much as it used to. It doesn't matter how you get there or when you get there, just that you get there some time when you are ready to.
       
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    5. suera

      suera Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2010
      When I have a blessed low T day this theory works, if I think about it it is there but it is easily put into the background. Unfortunately by day to day firedrill shrill screetching T this route doesn't work. I doubt a person would ever get used to and put into the background a firedrill permanently placed outside their head. I do believe a lot of habituation has to do with the loudness and shrillness. All T is not the same.
       
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    6. caffclifton
      Supportive

      caffclifton Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Oxford, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/06/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis (Inner ear infection)
      Hi @CarloZ, I dont really rate my T in "loudness" I used to but not anymore. I go by how Intrusive it is as i would say my T hasn't changed in pitch/volume since onset BUT its less intrusive now because my brain just doesn't bother to register it. It is however intrusive some of the time but i quickly ignore it after a while. My T onset was through a virus (Labyrinthitis) which damaged my inner ear and has also caused hearing loss. I hope that you Habituate soon and start to lived a joyful life once more. If you need to talk please feel free to contact me. :)

      Ha-Ha @erik :LOL: I know what you mean i'm forever misplacing socks im one of those people that can never wear an odd pair though. All my odds get thrown away.

      @suera Im sorry to hear that your T is very intrusive, ime was also to start off with. Now i have habituated its not like i actively think about my T sometimes i register it for a second then my brain is on to other things. Regardless of how loud/intrusive your T is day to day im sure that you will habituate fully to the sounds that you hear, it sounds like you're on the right track already as you can ignore it well some day. Good luck xx
       
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    7. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      But if your socks were screaming like a fog horn, you'd want them off yesterday.
       
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    8. suera

      suera Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2010
      Excellent Blujay!!! So true.
       
    9. caffclifton
      Supportive

      caffclifton Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Oxford, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/06/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis (Inner ear infection)
      Yes @Blujay you would but T screaming every day is not Habituation. This post is trying to explain what Habituations feels like to me
       
    10. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      I understand, and your attitude is great.
      My thinking is that socks are designed to be comfortable, so habituation doesn't take but a second. You might have to put a pebble in the sock (or a handful) for an analogy that equals the varieties of T. (Many sufferers feel that hearing professionals who use the ticking clock analogy don't understand the condition.)

      However, I do realize that you were approaching from another direction, using imagery to get where you wanted to be. Such thinking may account for your rapid habituation, and I certainly didn't mean to devalue it.
       
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    11. caffclifton
      Supportive

      caffclifton Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Oxford, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/06/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis (Inner ear infection)
      @Blujay I can see your point about the pebbles in the socks for the process of Habituating but for me now that I have habituated I do feel that my T is comfortable hence the sock analogy. I know everyone is different this is just my perception of it.

      It may give some people hope that they will feel 'normal' again
       
    12. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      I need to stop wearing barbed wire socks. :p
       
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    13. noisebox
      Loved

      noisebox Member

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      West End show. Came back 2015 vitamin D overdose prescribed
      I see your point. It is actually used in a firm of tinnitus CBT that I gave come across. I try very hard. But I have H right now do struggle with sound so can't drown out the T either. But oddly I have days where mine us quiet but high so it cuts through me, I find those days the hardest. I had habituated and rarely heard mine but various things led to a return of H the T. I long to get back to my old T. But until H goes it's hopeless.
       
    14. suera

      suera Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2010
      Really:) barbed wire with glass shards and a nice long nail right in the arch and heel! Yeah, habituation would come very slowly:woot:
       
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    15. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      This kind of comparison is damn strange. No wonder people think T is a walk in the park. Like getting used to socks?????? Come on!!!
       
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    16. Hunszi
      Alone

      Hunszi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Around 2007, I don`t really know, got worse in April 2015 after a party.
      @Telis

      Believe me habituation is ridiculously awesome. I was habituated for 7 years before my onset. If I think back it was a wonder...my T never, I`m mean seriously NEVER bothered me even tough I heard it, when I lay down to have a nap, when I turned off the music or when I was at the bathroom etc. I heard it every day, but when I started to doing something it just gone away, in a silent place as well...I just pray to be there again. I was so habituated that I lived a normal life, I don`t wore ear protections at all, that was a really bad idea...In those 7 years if I had a few bad days about my T, or someone tells me that my T could get worse, probably I wouldn`t be here now with a louder one...so believe me, habituation almost equal with a cure.

      I was the luckiest T "sufferer" I think that 0,1%. Immediately habituated...I don`t know the exact date when I got it, but now I`m truly falling into darkness.
       
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    17. PhilB

      PhilB Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Manchester, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      People with T are often told that they just need to wait for habituation to occur but habituation never happens to those who are consciously waiting to habituate. My analogy is that it is like waiting for a bus which is very late. Eventually, you might give up waiting for the bus and begin to walk. You can bet that the bus will then overtake you as you are walking. Habituation is like the bus which never comes until you stop waiting for it.
       
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    18. brody24

      brody24 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      Thats not what the analogy is. Its not about getting used to socks (which aren't intrusive or bothersome in the first place). Its that, once you are truly habituated, the T BECOMES nothing more than a pair of socks (i.e. a sensation that you "feel" all the time but are not really conscious of).
       
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    19. amandine

      amandine Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      july 2014
      Yes and it is a load of nonsense for those who have a loud high pitched siren in their head all the time. Everyone can habituate to a low non very intrusive T. Socks - reminds me of the analogy of sitting in a chair. No wonder the rest of the rest of the world says ''Oh you just have a little bit of Tinnitus''.
       
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    20. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      This analogy might work better with mild T. But many on this forum who claim habituation to the "sound" of severe T still seem very conscious of it, in order to prevent further damage. In contrast, they are not on constant guard, worrying that their socks might get worse.

      Many who come to this forum with a severe problem claim they earlier had 100 percent habituation to less severe T.

      So a better question might be, If "true habituation" is possible, is it wise? Is it wise to compare T to a comfortable pair of socks, when it could potentially be a bomb?
       
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    21. suera

      suera Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2010
      This analogy is maddening to me. This person will be back when she gets truly debilitating T 24/7 shrill siren piercing tinnitus. The kind that nothing masks it. On the rare day once a year or so that I have low tinnitus, I could live with that so easily, I pray to just have that but I don't. To me low/mild T is like no T at all. Nobody could habituate the noise that is inside my head. A sound like that is meant to ALERT, PANIC, DANGER....it is not intended to get use to. A humming or slight buzzing does not get that same response that is why they use these piercing shrill sounds for alarms and such so they get your attention. When someone says they can put a fan on and not hear their T I imagine it would be very easy indeed to get used to. When you sit right over a jet engine and still can hear your T loud, clear and shrill....not so much. There are varying degrees of a headache, cold, etc. why do some act like all T is the same? And since it is NOT, don't assume it's as easy as putting on socks for all of us. Really silly, the socks with glass shards and barbed wire is a better analogy. Get used to that and then get back to me.
       
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    22. Zug

      Zug Member Benefactor

      @caffclifton appreciate your help! I'm trying to control my emotional reactions and get to the point you are. Thanks for your thoughts :beeranimation:
       
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    23. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      To all those who have criticized the original poster, @caffclifton, one way or another in relation to the habituation perspective and questioning the loudness of her tinnitus, I can say that I have seen her audiograms, and, consequently, I can testify that she most likely does have severe tinnitus (after having suffered severe unilateral hearing loss following an inner ear virus). I tend to very much agree that habituation is difficult with intrusive tinnitus (hence my strong preference for research), but every once in a while you meet a person like @caffclifton who has managed to overcome "the impossible" - and if you guys do not believe me, you can check out her Facebook page here:

      www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/my-first-year-with-hearing-loss-and-tinnitus-positive-story.9802

      Visiting Caff's FB-page reveals that she lives a life completely like she did before. In fact, that was the very reason, I asked to have her appointed as an ambassador of TinnitusTalk - a badge only a handful of members will be eligible for (out of the almost 10,000 members here on the forum).

      attheedgeofscience
      27/OCT/2015.
       
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    24. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      As someone with a history of sensory-fixation-anxiety problems other than tinnitus, I like the analogy.

      Analogies are not supposed to be perfect isomorphisms. No one is suggesting that constant high-pitched noise is literally the same as wearing socks.

      That said, everyone on this forum has (or has had) a severe aversive reaction to tinnitus. Many people never experience this -- I know a number of people who have had (in some cases very LOUD, high pitched) tinnitus for years or decades who never had to habituate because they never saw the sound as anything beyond ignorable excess sensory input in the first place.

      Likewise, there are people without tinnitus, who develop the same degree of distress about other sensory data.
      I think differences in people's perceptions and tolerance thresholds matter as much as the nature of the sound does. It's not just that all tinnitus is not the same, different people react to and tolerate things very differently. I know at least one person who seems to have tinnitus that's more severe than mine in terms of volume/pitch, who has always viewed it as a slight annoyance not worth thinking about. He didn't even know there was a name for it prior to conversations with me.

      Anyway, this thread looks much the same as other threads like this on here: a couple people post unassuming comments about how they respond to their tinnitus, and what has been helpful/useful to them, and then people jump down their throat and say "you don't understand my pain, this will never work for me, stop trying to tell me that my suffering isn't real!" And that would, like, be a reasonable thing to say, except that no one said your suffering wasn't real in the first place.

      Take another look at the first post in this thread:
      Nowhere in this post does it say "my tinnitus is as bad as yours, so you should live with it too", or "if this doesn't work for you, you're not trying hard enough".

      Geez. It's no wonder that we quickly run out of positive view points on here -- every time someone tries to express a happy story about coming to terms with this disorder, the neg squad jumps on them and tells them their idea is stupid and their viewpoint is misinformed.
       
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    25. caffclifton
      Supportive

      caffclifton Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Oxford, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/06/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis (Inner ear infection)
      I'm sorry my analogy has offended anyone. My T is far from mild mine is also like a jet engine, boiling kettle and screaming child all in one!

      I had suicidal thoughts the first few months of my T but have been lucky enough to Habituate to the sound. Don't get me wrong I still hear it but it doesn't bother me (only on the very odd occasion)

      Maybe one day when you Habituate you will understand my analogy. Until that point I feel it's unfair that you critazise the way I am feeling as its my personal perception of habituation. If you haven't reached that stage yet you can't possibly know what it feels like but I hope to god that everyone still suffering reaches some kind of peace soon

      Xx
       
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    26. Zug

      Zug Member Benefactor

      @caffclifton , Being a man of science myself, I can only comfort you with the words of the wise philosopher Taylor Swift: Haters Gonna Hate.

      Always share whatever you can to help us. Keep posting!
       
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    27. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I think something that we need to keep in mind -- people with very, very, very severe, intolerable tinnitus, who are still functionally disabled by it after having it for years, represent a very small minority of the total population of people with tinnitus.

      That doesn't mean they're not real, and that their suffering isn't very real, and I feel terrible for anyone in that situation. Put differently -- I still suffer significantly from my tinnitus after having it for a long time, and as a result of that I think I'm in the minority, and I still don't think my tinnitus is anywhere near as bad as the absolute worst-case scenario.

      So, this is just very difficult. People with catastrophic tinnitus don't have many outlets for it, in general society doesn't understand how horrible this condition can be, and so I do think this forum needs to be a safe place for people who are in that worst-case-scenario to try to find some comfort.

      On the other hand -- worst case scenarios, inherently, do not apply to 99% of people. This is a very public space, and it's likely to be one of the first places people end up after googling "my ears are ringing". So, if the dialog on here is disproportionately controlled by people in that 1%, then this ends up doing a disservice to the average sufferer who is trying to learn more about their condition.

      Most people who get tinnitus come to terms with it, and over a period of months to a couple years, reach a place where they don't think about it very much. This isn't just my opinion; it's supported by every large-sample longitudinal study I have ever seen on the subject. So, the thing which meets the needs of the average sufferer the best, is to be told gently "this is unpleasant, and it may not go away, but your life isn't over, it's going to be okay, and you'll be able to resume a normal life which isn't run by your condition". On the other hand, those words can sound really hollow to someone who isn't average, who is a very severe case.

      I almost wonder if we should have a separate forum for very severe cases, or something. The reason this comes to mind, is that another forum I am active on has done something similar, to great effect. In that case, it's a forum for people withdrawing from benzodiazepines. Most people who come of benzos recover more or less completely in 6-18 months, but a minority of people continue to suffer terribly for a long time. So, what this other forum has done, is create a separate space for these "protracted" sufferers to communicate with each other, outside of the main forum. This provides them a place to get support, and also prevents new users who are experiencing the average benzo withdrawal symptoms, from getting overly distraught by that content.

      I totally get that some people have much worse tinnitus than I do. I don't doubt that. And, I totally get that if you have a horrible chronic problem that ruins your day to day life, it's pretty hard to be upbeat about anything. However, if the purpose of this forum is to provide a balanced, reasonable community, I think it's toxic to constantly have such overt negativity in all the main threads.
       
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    28. Joshua

      Joshua Member

      Location:
      Washington, DC
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who knows?
      Agree with @Zug . This gives me something to look forward to, whether it happens sooner or later.
       
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    29. brody24

      brody24 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      I find it disconcerting that, on these forums, when someone shares a story of habituation and success, they are often derided as having T that must not have been severe in the first place. This is a loaded response that raises a number of negative implications:

      1. It implies that only those with mild T can habituate, which we know isn't true. Not saying everyone can habituate (and the worse the T is, the harder it can be), but there are absolutely instances on here and beyond of people with very severe T regaining a sense of normalcy and stability in their lives. To say that only those with mild T habituate is to spit in the face of many people who have managed to conquer the seemingly impossible over the years.

      2. It discourages users from posting stories of success and hope. Many people who are trapped and stuck in the dark, who have hit rock bottom, want to see some shred of positivity and hope and a reason to believe that they have a future ahead of them that isn't all negative. Most people who claw their way out of horrible tinnitus reaction loop don't come to a site like this anymore (because the last thing you want to do is talk or think about T anymore). So when someone does the courtesy of coming back on here to share some hope, we should encourage, rather than discourage that. For many who are at rock bottom, seeing a story of positivity and success can make all the difference.

      3. It creates a culture of negativity and hostility on a forum that should be a place of support.
       
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    30. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      It will be nice (one day) to see some kind of proof of this, until then there will always be people (especially those of which T has taken everything) that are skeptical or flat out don't believe it. Until there is real proof, this debate will go on in the tinnitus comunity forever.
       

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