My Positive Story and Insights to Habituation

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by OneTimePoster, May 18, 2017.

    1. OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      It has been almost two years since I plunged into the dark pit of tinnitus despair. The road to recovery was a long one, but on it I found the growth that I needed in my life. In my moments of desperation I would often read success stories to help me find the belief that I could get through this. Now that I'm sure that I am, I want to share my experience with the people that find themselves on the same path.

      I decided to write down my whole story seperately, for those interested, further down below. First I want to share the most important experiences, insights and lessons I've learned. Of course everyone's situation is unique and I don't have all the answers, but I hope and think that these can help you to find what you need. The first thing I want to say, is something I couldn't imagine myself ever saying for a good 1,5 year. And that is that although my tinnitus despair was so bad that I was SURE I couldn't survive with it, now, 2 years later I really don't care about it anymore. I'm rarely aware of it, and when I am, it's just a natural part of my body. This is what they call habituation, which became my holy grail after 6 months of trying about everything to find a cure. Only now that I'm there, I truely believe that it exists. I can now say that even if there was a cure, I probably wouldn't take it because I would be afraid I'd do something negative to the natural state of my body or something.


      Looking back on this long and difficult period in my life, I want to tell you that no matter how hopeless you might feel, you can emerge from this a better person then before. The dark times are ok. The fear is ok. The suffering is ok. Every second onward brings you closer to where you want to go. Everytime you are able to chose to be positive in the face of adversity, be compassionate to yourself and try to move towards want in your life, will make you stronger and stronger to take on the challenges on the way. This dark pit of despair is not only negative, but also the perfect opportunity to improve every part of your life that isn't working for you. When feeling like you lost it all, the things that always stopped you from changing certain parts of your life don't hold as much power anymore. In the beginning you are so consumed with tinnitus that this is impossible, but after some time you will be able to find the space to start working on these other parts in your life. At first it will be difficult, and you won't feel able to do anything, but soon the moments will appear in which you can. This is something that can grow together with finding bits of positivity, in a really non-linear way, just like the process of habituation that continues in your subconscious.

      I believe that suffering from tinnitus is part of an inflamed nervous system. Just like when you are really stressed and tired, and you rage at any little sound that disturbs you or any small thing that goes wrong. They all seem extremely loud, irritating and annoying and only negative thoughts arise in your mind. I think that this is the true problem behind the tinnitus that paints it in the image of a monster. It is also something that needs it's time and doesn't diminish in a linear way over time, but with many relapses, negative thoughts and doubts along the way. I remember times of doubting that habituation was real even after 1,5 years. I remember negative thoughts like thinking that during the times I wasn't aware of my tinnitus I was STILL subconsciously bothered by it. I remember relapsing into hopelessness and thinking all my improvement was just me lying to myself. And I remember thinking that all of this was sabotaging my only possibility to ever getting my life back. Despite all of that, I always tried to find the positives, at times completely unsuccessful, but I could eventually always find the strength to try again.

      Now that I really do have my life back, and a life that is so much better then before, I can tell you that all of these things are ok and part of the process. Try to be compassionate to yourself, and try to seek out people that care about you. Emotions are very draining, but they offer a strong way to recover from the stress you are going through. I remember the point where I just didn't care anymore and cried in front of my friends. I never did that, and it felt vurnerable (and at first even embarassing), but I truly believe that strong men (and women) are the ones that can embrace this vulnerability and allow these emotions with their loved ones. At fist this completely drained me, but afterwards I noticed how much of a relief it gave me.

      What I believe about tinnitus is that everyone is able to hear it (I know this can be controversial, I'm just talking about what I believe). Many people say they can hear it and I think the ones that say they don't just can't "find" the sound (hearing damage probably makes this a lot easier by the way). Like when you hear something far away, and ask a friend if he hears it too. Maybe he doesn't and then after an hour he suddenly "finds" the sound and says "yeah now I hear it too". Because the hearing nerves are always active, true silence can't exist for the living, but the brain can ignore the stuff that is unimportant. The problem is that tinnitus has become a threat, something important that needs to be zoomed into and monitored, and it takes a while to teach the brain that it's something unimportant that it can ignore.

      In my experience I believe that the tinnitus was part of a bigger picture. Like a symbol of every part in my life where I was stuck. It seemed my life was over, but in reality it gave me the possibility to really begin living. I hope you too can find this path within the suffering and that it leads you to what you want, including not to be bothered by tinnitus anymore. These are the things that helped me the most:

      - Be patient with yourself, specially in the beginning. Don't kick yourself when you just can't get yourself up. It's ok that you sometimes want to give up. It's ok when you just can't take it anymore. It's ok to feel hopeless. It's ok to feel fear. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time and seek out the things that support you in this difficult time.

      - Try to prevent self isolation. Seek out the people that you love and ask for help. Allow emotions to come out, they are powerful healers. Your bonds with these loved one will only get much stronger because of it. Let go of any expectations of yourself in these connections, just allow yourself to feel. Animals too are great company, they are the masters of being in the current moment and they give a lot of love by just being who they are and just being with you. I felt like they understood me on a deeper level.

      - Find positivity in reading success stories. TRT texts are helpful too. Try to reframe your thoughts about tinnitus in a positive way if possible (at some point it will become possible). I sometimes, for example, heard the tinnitus and thought to myself: this was always there, it just used to be in the background outside my focus. I also thought to myself, it's a harmless, natural sound. The only reason I'm bothered by it is because somehow my brain gave it the meaning of a threat. I'm now in the process of teaching my brain it's harmless so it can ignore it as something unimportant again. With finding the positive I would also advice to try to avoid the negatives from the outside world. Other people are sometimes clueless and (unintentionally) mean, other tinnitus sufferers are sometimes communicating in their own panic and despair. Information on the internet is mostly wrong or outdated according to my audiologist, and way too negative. All these negative bits will just tell your brain again that it's correct in thinking the tinnitus is a threat. Don't believe them.

      - Do the medical examinations and tests you need to check that there is nothing physically wrong that they can find. Then stop that path and go for habituation. I completely burned myself out trying pretty much everything. Put myself in a large debt too. I even tried stuff I knew were just scams. Try not to let your panic become destructive like that.

      - Find help for habituation. I found a TRT based therapy. It also incoporated audiology, CBT and mindfulness. I learned to listen to my tinnitus, and allow all negative feelings and thought to be there. Very difficult at fist, but it greatly helps for habituation. Soon I would never mask it, and when I got bothered by the tinnitus again, I would try to just allow it, listen to it, and allow any thought or feeling that arises to be there. I also did a CBT therapy afterwards. This greatly helped me to challenge my thoughts and become aware of how wrong they could often be. I believe that TRT, CBT and mindfulness as an addition, are the best tools to help you on the road to habituation.

      - Focus health on the anti-inflammatory. I went on a diet recommended by a natural doctor. With no sugar and other sweeteners taste enhancers like msg, caffeine, no gluten, no soy. Also relatively low in carbs. That means many vegetables, and higher amounts of healthy fats like nuts, avocados and coconutoil. I also got my blood checked and supplemented vitamin D and B12 because they were pretty low. I also took a curcumine, pycnogenol, probiotics, omega3 oil and magnesium supplement. This was very hard in the beginning, but at some point I got used to it and now it's normal. And I feel much healthier, more energized and calmer with it.

      - Try to find a way to keep doing, or start, physical exercise. If needed get help for that. Start as easy as needed, then build it up slowly. This is also one of the things that will improve your ability to cope with the stress.

      - Have the knowledge that depression and anxiety can play mind games with you. It will feel like the better moments never really existed and you just lied to yourself. It will feel like it will never end. It wil feel hopeless. It wil feel like you aren't strong enough. And it will show everything in a negative light and only allow negative thoughts. KNOW how this works, and ride out these moments as best you can, they WILL end. Reach out for support in this. The panic attacks I had ended when I was so done with everything that in feeling the panic I just said to the panic: "whatever... give me everything you got, just kill me if you can". While the fear still lingered on, I found that this completely diminished the panic attack.

      - Find your spirituality. A higher purpose in life can move your focus away from yourself a little, being aware of the things that are more important for you then your own life can give a new perspective. A pitfall here is that you can feel hopeless in doing anything because of your current situation. You can overcome that by doing something really easy and small and then realize that despite your difficult situation, you are still doing something for the things you care about. Be careful not to force yourself though, your own wellbeing must come first because this will decide how much you are able do for whatever you care about.

      - Use the hardship you are going though anyway to make positive changes in your life. This is the time to turn things around. Remember to not force yourself too much though, because sometimes, and specially in the beginning, you might not be able to do anything. If there are problems in your life you can't change, then it's possible to change your reaction to them. Now is the time to put yourself on the first place in your life. You can turn this time into something positive for the rest of your life, try to find your courage and try to find the moments where you can make some positive changes. Everything is connected, everything you can move yourself to do will eventually build up the life you didn't know you were looking for.



      I wish you all well on this difficult journey, my heart goes out to you. I hope my something in my story helps you in finding the next step to where you want to go. I created an account just to post my story, I will try to check back sometime to see if there are any questions or reactions. Much respect to you who are struggeling, I wish you the best in your recovery. Below is my full story for those interested.






      The full story
      I got tinnitus on september 13 in 2015, laying in my bed about to go to sleep. At that time I started to quit caffeïne, because it made my anxious, tense then tired, aggressive and living in a rushed way where I was never really fully in the moment to enjoy the company of the people I care about. To help with the withdrawal symptoms I took vitamin b3 (niacin) which is a vasodilator and which then caused a hiss in my ears.

      History
      Before I tell the rest of my story I want to say a bit about my background in this area. I'm now 36 years old and I have had some experience with tinnitus before in my life. When I was about 19 I had a whistle in my ear after going out on a vacation. It stayed for about a week, I had no clue what it was but people told me it would go away on it's own and I believed that so it didn't even bother me much. Same story with having water in my ears as a child, it caused a deep hum a couple of times, but I never really cared because I "knew" it would go away on it's own. Later in my twenties I had the loud noise tinnitus again and read into it some more, I then became a lot more careful to avoid damage to my hearing. I also read some of the suicide stories and I think those stayed with my subconsciously. When I moved to living alone a new house when I was 32 I was much more aware of what I was hearing, a new empty house will have all kinds of sounds. I sometimes got worried if a sound I heard was tinnitus. At some point I got the deep hum in my ears again and got really nervous about it, I even didn't sleep for one night. It was easily masked and my doctor told me he saw liquid on my eardrum, so clearly it wasn't that serious. I also got the loud noise tinnitus again when I went out and the bartender turned up the volume just as I walked by one of the speakers. Again I got really worried and angry at myzelf for not being more careful. Both these noises disappeared again after 1 or 2 weeks, but it's clear that the dark stories I read about tinnitus changed my reaction to it into a very fearful one.

      Dark days
      On september 13 of 2015 the high hiss tone caused my to become instantly very worried. I don't think it was that loud, but I kept looking for it. The next days it didn't go away and I got more and more worried. I went to the doctor and then an ENT doctor hoping for a sollution, but they pretty much said it sometimes happens, we don't know why, nothing can be done, and had a please go we are busy vibe. I then started to fall more and more into a panic. I couldn't go to work anymore, the concentration to do it was gone. I isolated myself from everyone and spend the days alone in my house googling for sollutions, but the extremely dark stories I read made me more afraid then ever. The high hiss seemed to become louder and louder and I started to hear more sounds. At some point I wrote a description down for an appointment with an audiologist and counted 7 different sounds. In the morning I heard swooshing that seemed as loud asif I was standing in a very strong wind. I sometimes even got worried that the volume of my tinnitus could cause hearing damage. I could hear it in the shower, I could hear it driving my car. I created my own masking mix with crickets and rainfall, but soon I started to hear it through that too. Turning up the TV volume appeared to just turn up the tinnitus volume too. My days became a long ride through many panic attacks where sometimes my legs would even stop to carry me and I would fall down on the floor. I got a permanent neck pain and headache and just felt sick and broken all the time. In my darkest moments I was cleaning up my house as much as possible, so that my family would have an easier time with it when soon I would inevitably die from the stress. Death seemed the only way out, yet I never became suicidal, I just hoped it would happen.

      Searching
      After three months I think I tried every single therapy or snake oil that I could find which promised to help with tinnitus. I tried to go to work as much as possible, forcing myself in every way. At home I kept searching for new things to try and got into a serious debt. Some therapies, like acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, body stress release, mindfulness, a diet from a natural doctor, I already was a no-milk vegetarian (no gluten, many vegetables, no sugar, no additives specially msg, no caffeïne, swapping grains for lentils and beans as much as possible and supplements vitamin b12, vitamin d, magnesium, curcumine, pycnogenol, probiotics) did help a lot to feel calmer and more in control. Most of what I tried wasn't a waste of time, I learned a lot, it was just too much for me but I kept forcing everything. At home I started to just sit in a quiet room listening to my tinnitus, hoping I would eventually get used to it. I also forced myself to do a lot of workouts. I tried to do everything I could, and while most of the things I did were good, it was destroying me because it was just way too much. I knew it was too much, but it was the only way I had left.

      Insight
      At about 3 months in I went to an audiologist for a therapy, based on TRT, to learn how to live with tinnitus. A multidisciplinary 3 times per week therapy. The concept of habituation was a new source of hope, and finally a direction in which to find much needed positivity. To that end I also created a collection of positive success stories from this website and others, the most positive ones to read in darker moments. In this period I also went to an ENT, Neurologist and had an MRI scan. I told myself that if nothing is found, I would stop the medical route and try to live healthy and go for habituation. Nothing was indeed found and two hearing tests showed my hearing was even better then average at my age. I also found out that for some reason my tinnitus seemed less loud in a fully sound proof room. When I googled this I found terrifying stories about reactive tinnitus and at that point decided to never again google anything related to tinnitus. When I started the TRT type of therapy I was told most information on tinnitus on the web is outdated or false. I also got information on what tinnitus actually is. How the hearing nerves are never inactive and the Heller & Bergman showed that most people can hear the sound from this in an ansolutely silent room. The sounds are just so unimportant that your brain would normally filter them away, like it does with a ticking clock. It's just that for me the sound became a threat which causes my subconscious to focus on it and make it even louder. My limbic system would then give my the sensations of stress which would in turn validate the threat and cause a vicious circle. The therapy was aimed to break that circle. I would stop masking at night and when I was bothered by the tinnitus (almost always still at this time) I would try to allow all negative thought, emotions and the tinnitus itself to be there. This was done with mindfulness type of excercises. It was hard (extremely so at the beginning), but it seemed to make tinnitus get less important bit by bit after a while. I learning to allow instead of fight.

      Change
      While I noticed that there were more periods of time in which I didn't hear the tinnitus, I also noticed that I was still depressed, very tense and anxious. Sometimes the physical stress related problems I developed seemed worse then the tinnitus. Much like the tinnitus, the symptoms of extreme tension, sick feeling, neck and back pain and headache, felt like a threat. So after the tinnitus therapy I started CBT based therapy. Again a multidisciplinary 3 times per week therapy. Here I was able to slowly get out of the tinnitus caused burnout I was in. Maybe I was getting into a burnout before the tinnitus already, and maybe the tinnitus anxiety is just another symptom. Now I sometimes remember moments from my youth, when I was crying, or when I was scared in a very silent place, in which I also heard a tinnitus sound. At the time I didn't really think about it, it was just normal. I'm very sure that the biggest problem of tinnitus is an automatic subconscious response that classifies it as a threat. As soon as you get that under control, it won't be as loud, you will notice it less and less, and it won't cause negative emotions.

      Emerging
      I never stopped trying to do the best things possible, despite that I forced too much on myself in the beginning, I eventually took a good look at every part of my life. I got into a habit of improving everything that was wrong. This is something I would never have done if it wasn't for the experience of tinnitus despair. It's also why, now that I'm habituated, I can actually be thankful for that one night that plunged me in to those many months of suffering. The road to habituation was a long one, and it had many relapses, moments of fear, doubt and hopelessness, but the process went on despite it all. I learned not to overanalyse everything anymore, it just doesn't work for some things. It's just something you need to let happen, experience and feel. I believe everything is connected and finding positive change anywhere will be a new step forward. You can't really track habituation, since it's there when your mind focusses on other, more important stuff. I do know that those moments became more and longer over a larger timespan. At some point I could look for my tinnitus, then quickly forget about it again, because it was just so important. I then realized that this is what habituation is. And it doesn't even feel like the ultimate relief I would dream about, when it's there it just feels normal.
       
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    2. john mccluskey

      john mccluskey Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/10.2013
      Thanks for a fantastic post . I still haven't habituated yet . Think I'm going through all the stages that you mention in your post . The difficult thing I find is my brain is still trying to find answers. Perfect example took mirtapine on Saturday night to get some sleep and woke up with a horrendous noise on Sunday morning. Didn't the take it on Sunday night and had a reasonably good day Took it again on Monday nightTuesday was bad . So I thought this is making it worse didn't take it last night was expecting to wake good this morning and boom 10/10 unmaskable noise . I guess it's just part of the process. But I will get better I'm sure of it just wish it would hurry up. Thanks again for your post .
       
    3. Jewon

      Jewon Member

      Location:
      OC, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Lovely post. Gives me hope that if it doesn't resolve and leave that at least I'll eventually get to where you are.
       
    4. DoubleD

      DoubleD Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for the very detailed post. You're Tinnitus experience seems very similar to mine. It's been about 15 months/ I am about 90 percent back to normal. The Tinnitus is still there. Because I'm habituated, it seems to be not as loud. Like you said " I just don't care about it anymore". It just doesn't bother me. Like you, I believe it's tied into the nervous system. When I'm stressed at work, it gets louder. Later it calms down and softens. People, hang in there. Don't let the Tinnitus beat you. I was on the brink of ending it all. If it weren't for my family, I would of did it. I'm so glad now that I didn't do it. Have hope. Tinnitus talk / Success stories kept me going. I owe a lot to the people on here that gave me hope. It turned out just as they said it would. Thank you for this great post!
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you all. Every second brings you closer to the place where me and DoubleD finally arrived. Everyone is different, but if you try to do the best for yourself, you will get there.

      The thing with habituation is that you want it so bad that you are looking for it. But it's not happening in the space where you are looking, it's hapening outside of your focus. When you feel negative about your tinnitus, the negative thoughts feel so damn true. It feels like you were bothered by it continuously, even though there were moments where you weren't aware of it at all. Those damn mind-games are tough.

      And during the moments you weren't aware of the tinnitus, you aren't aware of how good you are doing because that is exactly what habituation is, a subconscious shift in focus of awareness. Your brain is tuned to other more important stuff. You CAN however look back on the long run and see specific situations in which you are now doing much better then a while earlier. This is how you can sometimes notice the improvement to habituation that is so hard to see.

      One more thing I want to share is that in the last months, I have noticed a couple of moments where I was reminded about tinnitus and then couldn't find my tinnitus at all. The thing is that it's not that important anymore, so I would just go on with my life. I believe that losing the tinnitus sound may be the last stage of habituation. It's become so unimportant that the brain not only ignores it, but actually start to lose it completely. That would be the full cure that has become unimportant along the way. Habituation feels like the holy grail in the beginning, but just feels normal when it's actually there.
       
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    6. Brendy

      Brendy Member

      Location:
      Cape Town South Africa
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud noise
      OneTimePoster, thank you very much for your post. I was at an extreme low, when I came across your post, which provided me with the encouragement and direction that I needed.

      About two months ago I was drilling some holes in the wall, without wearing any ear protection which left me with Tinnitus (I am having a hard time forgiving myself for this). I have been running from pillar to post, trying all sorts of remedies and medication, in search of some accidental cure. We have been blessed with our 3rd child who is one month old and I have been desperately trying to get myself fixed in order to be there for the kids.

      To cut a long story short I have noticed that there has been some improvement, and some nights I am able to sleep without any white noise or meds and there are days where I am so busy that I even forget about the Tinnitus and then it hits me when I go to bed.

      I am praying for a miracle in the form of healing or habituation. I will definitely refocus my energy and allow myself moments to be down and out.

      Many Thanks

      B

      This is my first post on TT
       
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    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for letting me know Brendy!

      You could have your hearing examined to check if you really do have permanent damage. The awareness of tinnitus could well just be caused by your fear of the temporary tinnitus after drilling the holes. In that case it might help with forgiving yourself and moving on from that. In my case I was sure it was caused by the vasodilation effects of the vitamin b3 and I had a hard time forgiving myself for taking such high dose. But a doctor I went to explained that vasodilation is always temporary and nothing was physically wrong because of that. After hearing that I could let those thoughts go much easier.

      I don't have children myself, for I did have loved ones depending on me (at least I felt they did). When I was at my lowest points, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to help them if something would happen. These thoughts put even more pressure on me, I HAD to get better FAST. I hope you don't fall into the same trap. Being patient and kind to yourself and putting yourself on the first place right now is the best thing you can do for yourself, and consequently also for your children.
       
    8. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      @OneTimePoster

      Three things that you mentioned always need to be done:
      1. Focus health on the anti-inflammatory.
      2. Tinnitus is part of inflamed nervous system.
      3. surround yourself with people who understand your condition.

      Things that I did to habituate the first time when I had severe tinnitus:
      1. Detox your body with bathing by adding some natural spring water.
      2. improve circulation - have your saturated oxygen tested by that little finger clip that the nurse places on your index finger before taking your blood pressure.

      3. **** take on a non stressful hobby or non noise included project - like building a collection of sport cards by using Ebay. There's all sort of inexpensive item collecting.
      ****This is called the satisfaction factor which promotes a healthy and positive mind.

      One reason why those in the military respond to HBOT better is that their bodies contain more harmful chemicals than from someone living in a pollution free small town.
      Get a 3D scan of your of your ears, jaw, mouth and neck and find out problems before habituation.
      Never bend your neck at the dentist while sitting in the chair. Have them place a pillow under your head.
      Rest your jaw by closing your mouth when possible. Wear ear protection at the dentist.

      When using ear protection never remove the protection when you are still in a heavy noise environment.
      Drink plenty of fluids such as vitamin water with no salt or sugar. Proper diet.
      Do not do heavy lifting.


      There's many more things that you can do. Many here have some great ideas.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Greg Sacramento

      Thanks for your input. I'm not sure what you ment by the natural spring water, would you just add a couple liters to your bath or something? I did by the way do extremely hot baths (with dead sea salt) and sauna's because I noticed that the heat would force my stress-tensed muscles to relax.

      Also why no heavy lifting? I think you're talking about something else, but weight training was part of my physical training that made me feel much stronger and able to take on my challenges.

      Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is something I always wanted to try, I'm a bit worried of negative effects it could have though...
       
    10. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      Weight lifting is fine for those that understand proper techniques. It's not the weight lifting per itself, it's about proper posture when lifting. Proper shoulder and neck positioning is almost always done correctly by weight lifters.

      I read that dead sea salt is good. I just use a couple of gallons of spring water with the rest being tap water.


      I once managed the operational factors for a hospital medical center which included a hyperbaric oxygen therapy unit. Stupid me did not know that it could be used for onset tinnitus treatment. After retirement due to tinnitus and hyperacusis I called the HBOT unit and they said - Greg - we're sorry, but we don't let those with tinnitus use this treatment. They said we doubt that it would help and as being under Federal and State Joint Commissions - you know ( meaning me) about thousands of regulations, but I guess this one - is one that you are not aware of.
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
    12. Marie79

      Marie79 Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2/1/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      How long would you say it took for you
      to habituate
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Marie79 It's hard to say exactly, because it happens outside of noticing, but it was about 1 year and 7 months or so. Then I noticed that I had not been paying attention to tinnitus anymore of days at a time, and when I tried to listen for it I really had to try to find it when there were other sounds around (where first I could easily hear it in the shower). It just seemed really in the background and unimportant. It's kind of weird since I know I still had bad moments after 1,5 years where I doubted habituation. The tired or inflamed nervous system will play those tricks in your brain I think. Habituation happens outside of what you notice, it will just get more and more easy in more and more situations to just focus on something else and everytime he tinnitus becomes less important and starts to fade away to the background untill you just start to loose it there.

      I just noticed that even when I talk about it, or when I'm posting here, I don't notice tinnitus. It's because I really need to put in some effort to find it now. I really would not have believed this to be possible, even a short time ago. We can overcome much more then we think.
       
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    14. Pierre Boulle

      Pierre Boulle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1 year
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Your story is very similar to mine. It took me about 6 months to habituate. The things that helped me get there are:
      - music therapy (sound must always be a bit lower than your tinnitus)
      - active social life.
      - brisk walking for one hour everyday (reduces stress and take your mind of the tinnitus, produces endorphins that helps you reduce anxiety).
      - masking sound that really help you habituate to your tinnitus (the sound must not cover your tinnitus, it must be slightly lower than your tinnitus.) I use sounds from mynoise.net (its free). THAT really helped me in the habituation process.
      Now my tinnitus is not gone BUT I hardly notice it and sometimes I don't even hear it. sometimes it comes back a bit loud when I am tired or stressed but I can now listen to it and then forget when I want. I have a normal life.

      Looking back I believe that I have identified the reasons why we suffer from tinnitus.
      - The tinnitus is not the problem the problem is our perception of it. Trust me: it is totally harmless but if you fear it IT gets LOUD and stays.
      - That fear has triggered your brain to see it as a threat now you have to convince and train your brain that it is not. That is the whole point of habituation...stop that fear. It can take some time but time is on your side...you will get used to that permanent sound and it gets better as you stop fearing.
      DO NOT LISTEN OR TRY LISTENING TO IT. stop checking every now and then if it is there. that is your first challenge...masking sounds helped me...brisk walking too. Find activities that distract your brain and make you focus on something else than your tinnitus.
      - Things I also noticed: Tinnitus will not prevent you from sleeping because tinnitus does not occur when you sleep...you just can't hear it. its your fear of not being able to sleep that prevents you from sleeping. Break that loop!!! About coffee: I am a coffee drinker. But read so many posts in so many forums about avoiding caffeine so I stopped coffee and I was like...yes it is helping. In fact it was the ACT of stopping the coffee that reassured me and helped my tinnitus go down. I know that because I read later about a research proving that coffee did not worsen tinnitus. So I started drinking again...guess what...my tinnitus did not get worse at all actually it got better because it boosted my confidence in what I was doing...less fear tinnitus went down. It all comes down to your worries and fear really. If you do not fear your tinnitus will not go away but you will ignore it and your brain will cut that sound off just like when you are in a pub and you hear everybody chatting...after a few seconds your brain cuts the sound off or puts it in background noise and you focus only on the conversation you are having with your friends. You brain does it constantly it is trained to do so...you just have to tap into that...so help it by stopping the fear.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Pierre Boulle Well put! A lot of dark stories keep flooding the internet coming from people in their panic, these tell the brain to view tinnitus as a threat. Stories like yours do the opposide and help people to habituation.

      About what you said about caffeïne: I think it's something that increases the inflammation of the nervous system which can make you more sensitive to all kinds of stimuli (like tinnitus). If your nervous system is normal and calm, you can probably handle a cup of coffee just fine. I had this experience with sugar. I took on a pretty restrictive diet, and when I cheated on it with sugar it immediately made me feel extreme anxiety and despair, which in turn made de experience the tinnitus louder and that would last for days. The little bit of extra inflammation of the sugar was enough to do that because my sensitivity was already extremely high from the tinnitus despair. Now when I eat something that contains sugar (which I rarely do because in this period I became somewhat of a health nut) it doesn't really do much anymore because it's just the tiny bit of stress on the body from what you eat.
       
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    16. Brendy

      Brendy Member

      Location:
      Cape Town South Africa
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud noise
      @OneTimePoster and @Pierre Boulle all I can say is thank you. I believe I have Noise Induced Tinnitus due to exposure to a hammer drill without wearing any ear protection. It happened just under 2 months ago (two weeks before our 3 child was due.) It has been a nightmare trying to keep it together for my kids and wife and deal with this at the same time. I can truly say that these forums and your posts have been a true source of encouragement and hope.
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Brendy Remember to write your own story here when the time is there ;)
       
    18. Brendy

      Brendy Member

      Location:
      Cape Town South Africa
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud noise
      @OneTimePoster I have started working on it. Will hopefully post in the next couple of days.
       
    19. John Meyers
      Artistic

      John Meyers Member

      Location:
      Chicago, IL
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Just One (1) Loud Rock Concert!
      I agree Greg. -- Detox, eat healthy (no salt or artificial sugars), exercise, and find a hobby (gardening is one that I do more when I'm not busy with other stuff).

      My T is spiking right now but only because I let my guard down this weekend with eating bad. -- It will get better.. :)
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Brendy Great that you are so far already!

      @John Meyers I noticed that I don't even notice spikes anymore, and if I do I don't really care. For example when I've been on a long trip in the car and enter a silent environment, I sometimes notice that I can hear more of the tinnitus. But because it has become so unimportant I quickly loose the sound again alltogether. I know I was in this situation a couple of days ago, but I can't remember being aware of tinnitus, but I'm sure it must've been a situation in which it spiked.

      I think it's good to manage your health and such in relationship to tinnitus, but there is a pitfall. If you do this out of fear for tinnitus, it will just create more stress then that which is removed by being healthy. The sole reason should be your health, not the fear for tinnitus. Anything you do, or don't do out of fear for tinnitus will tell your brain that the tinnitus is a threat which slows habituation.
       
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    21. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      To @OneTimePoster - Thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth accounting of all the trials and tribulations you suffered with tinnitus and then ultimately to find your way out into the light... victorious and strong. No doubt this will serve to encourage those members who are filled with hopelessness and despair. You have proven there is hope but we must persevere. You are admirable and have done a great service by sharing your story.

      I raise a glass (of peach Snapple) toasting to your success and here's wishing you a happy and peaceful life.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Bobbie7 Thank you, that made my day! :)
       
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    23. maestromusica
      Batty

      maestromusica Member

      Location:
      Edinburgh
      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Club
      Most underrated success story ever.

      Great post :)
       
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    24. Dmitriy
      Relaxed

      Dmitriy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunshot Exposure
      Thanks for the post. I am glad this site has this type of forum for people with success stories. Typically, forums have posts by desperate people looking for help, and this makes it even worse. I've had my T only for about 2 weeks, still very positive that it may go away as ENT does not see anything wrong with ears and Audiologist found no hearing loss. However, so far T has fluctuated from not bothersome or really loud at nights. I feel scared and anxious, but I am also taking steps to monitor it, take log of food/activities/mood. I am also under a lot of stress right now from work, and I always internalize my stress which I am sure causes T to spike. I take long walks to help with that.
       
    25. Salih

      Salih Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/07/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Thank you. I promise you today that i will be where you are now one day and I will have my life back 100% like it was before this, actually scrap that. My life will be way better than it ever was.
       
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    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Fantastic! I wish you all the best on this journey, I know that you will get there.
       
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    27. Hopeful333

      Hopeful333 Member

      Location:
      Colorado
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear washer and Ciprofloxacin Otic antibiotic ear drops
      OneTimePoster, how are you now?

      Did you have problems sleeping or have insomnia with your tinnitus and/or anxiety? IF so, what did you do to get a good night's sleep?
       
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I am very well, in fact even better then when I wrote this story. I pretty much never think about tinnitus anymore, even staring at the wall seems more important.

      I only had real sleeping problems to the extend that I would wake up really early and couldn't get back to sleep anymore because of the stress caused by my reaction to the tinnitus. In the evening I didn't have that problem because I would be so completely broken down that I would pass out automatically. In the beginning I did use masking sounds in my bedroom, a custom mix of crickets, water and low frequency noices. When I was past the panic fase, I decided to stop all masking, which I think helps habituation a lot. I would lie in bed, trying to allow every thought and feeling as something positive, something needed, something my brain conjures to heal. Even if it's panic, fear, despair, or thoughts about your life being over, it's not fair, I will never get used to this, or whatever comes up. It's all there for a reason. I know it's not easy and it's ok to get fed up, discouraged or frustrated by this but I would eventually fall asleep with this (a little like mindfulness meditation) practice. In the meanwhile habituation slowly continues on.
       
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    29. daiso

      daiso Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      OCt 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @OneTimePoster Thanks for sharing your story. Now that you are habituated, does your T actually reduced in loudness and become not bothering, or you still hear it but find it not emotionally bothering? If your T is still there, do you hear it during your downtime, such as trying to read a book or watch TV? If I keep myself busy, I can easily ignore my T and sometimes even not hear it. But problem is it's impossible to keep myself busy every waking minute. When I need to rest, it is very hard to tune out the T. I'm curious as to how you handle downtime.
       
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    30. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      OneTimePoster

      OneTimePoster Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13 september 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I know for sure that it was way louder in the beginning, specially in the panic phase the first 3 months or so. I was actually afraid that the loudness would cause hearing damage. After a while I started noticing that not only my emotional reaction decreased, but it was actually less loud and it seemed way more in the background and way less intrusive. This process went on so slow that I never really noticed it, untill I started to remember how it was in the beginning.

      My advice would be to not keep yourself busy to avoid hearing the tinnitus, because this way of thinking tells your brain that it is actually something negative or even a threat. Whenever you hear it, you are habituating to it. Try to trust your body in what it is doing, tro to let it happen, try to allow it, even if you really don't want to hear it.

      At some point, again without me noticing, I didn't always hear it anymore in downtime. I would be cleaning up, lie on my bed a while to rest in a silent room, and then continue cleaning after which I'd suddenly notice that I never even heard the tinnitus. Now I even got to a stage where I can be in a silent room, and something remembers me about tinnitus and I start "looking" for it, but can't find it immediately. And when I find the sound it really sounds so normal, so natural, so unimportant, that it's hard to keep it within my consciousness. There is just no reason since it has no negative meaning anymore.

      Sounds like you're habituation process it's on it's way, in my opinion the most important part is to try to NOT avoid tinnitus, or associated negative emotions and thoughts, but allow it as a positive process. This is not easy, and it's ok to fail at it as often as you have to, but if you keep trying it will get you to where you want to be.
       
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