My Road to Habituation — Tinnitus from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL)

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by gettingbetter, Apr 20, 2021.

    1. gettingbetter

      gettingbetter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
      Hey everyone, long time lurker here, but after feeling pretty good about my tinnitus for a last little while, decided to make an account to post this. A little over a year ago now I suffered sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear, which led to constant tinnitus. I remember trying to find information and asking my doctors about how long it would take to habituate, but it was hard to find much useful information. Obviously my experience is just my experience and won’t necessarily be the same as somebody else’s, but I thought I’d share my timeline towards habituation as one example of how habituation went for one guy, in case anybody else looks for this kind of information

      Day one: Slight loss of hearing in left ear, with loud high-pitched tinnitus. I assume it’s earwax or something, book an appointment with my GP the next week, who sees nothing wrong and sends me on to an ENT doctor.

      Week three: Haven’t been able to read, sleep, or concentrate at all. Very tired every day. Can’t even bear watching TV because I can’t stop focusing on the ringing. Spend all day every day playing video games because it’s the only thing that somewhat stops me from thinking about it. But I haven’t been overly worried or depressed because I still have hope that it’ll get better. Finally get into an ENT in week 3, who prescribes me Prednisolone but tells me it might not get better.

      Months 2 – 4: Very depressed. I’ve given up much hope that it’s going to get better, and the ringing is still as loud and annoying as it’s ever been. I drop out of courses for the term on medical grounds. Have a breakdown one night when I call my parents and cry for two hours straight. Can’t imagine living like this for the rest of my life and sometimes wish life would just end. Start to be able to sleep a bit better by playing a very loud cricket/bird/wind YouTube video at night to mask the tinnitus.

      Months 5 – 9: I start to notice slight improvement. If I’m surrounded by other ambient noise (e.g. outside on a windy day, or outside with bird sounds, or in a coffee shop), I can go up to an hour or two without thinking about the tinnitus, even though it’s the same loudness/pitch as ever. The YouTube video I’ve been using to mask the tinnitus becomes more annoying than the tinnitus itself, so I switch to listening to wind/storm/rain sounds during the night. I start to think that maybe I can live with this one day. I start watching TV again.

      Month 10: The storm sounds I’ve been using to sleep become more annoying than the tinnitus, so I switch to plain old white noise. I find that I’m able to read/study again if I play white noise in the background. Sometimes the tinnitus still gets too annoying/I start to fixate on it and I have to stop, but sometimes I can read or study for up to two hours at a time without thinking about the tinnitus.

      Month 12: I start to read and study without white noise in the background, and can go most of the day without noticing the tinnitus. When I do notice it, I don’t feel anxious or depressed any more. If I could snap my fingers and make it go away I would, but I’m also fine coexisting with it.

      Month 14: Where I’m at today. I’ve started to lower the volume of my white noise lower and lower at night, and I think I might one day be able to sleep again without any white noise at all in the background. I guess I’ll see! I’m not depressed any more, and I only get anxious once or twice a month when the tinnitus gets louder for anywhere from a couple hours to a few days (or I just fixate on it more, I can’t really tell). The tone or loudness hasn’t really changed at all, and I can still hear it as I type this, but it’s just kinda become a part of me now, and it doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

      It’s a longer post that I meant to write out, but I hope it can help someone out or give a bit of hope!
       
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    2. Sayeed

      Sayeed Member Benefactor

      Location:
      miami fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      This is great to hear. As a new tinnitus suffer this gives me hope. I wish you well on your journey and continued improvement. Definitely gives me hope.
       
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    3. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Can you post your audiogram (blank out any personal info)?
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      gettingbetter

      gettingbetter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
      Unfortunately I no longer have my original audiogram taken three weeks after my tinnitus started. My ENT just marked Xs on the audiogram with his pen and I've long since lost it.

      But I had this one taken by an audiologist six months after my tinnitus started. Most of the original hearing loss has recovered, except above 8000 Hz. Tinnitus has always been the same though.

      Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 02.04.29.png
       
    5. L34

      L34 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, but little dip at 7000 Hz
      Thank you for your great post.

      It is very impressive, that you actually can hear the tinnitus a lot of the day, but you don't think about it... if I am understanding you correct? :)

      So it is still not masked by the tv, but you don't "hear" it anymore?

      Thanks...
       
    6. Meowmeowmeow

      Meowmeowmeow Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Do you remember how much of a dip you had on your original audiogram?

      I was told I have mild hearing loss in my left ear and moderately severe in my right. But I don’t feel my hearing would be too bad if this high pitched ringing went away. I will have a second opinion with a different audiologist but that’s still a month away
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      gettingbetter

      gettingbetter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
      Ya it's still as loud as it has ever been, but it just doesn't really bother me anymore. I notice it maybe a few times a day if I'm in a quiet room or think about it for some reason, but I just don't really feel anxious about it any more, and I'm not nearly as annoyed by it. I grew up in a house next to train tracks and the same sort of thing happened. The trains were always the same loudness, but after a few years I never noticed them going by unless a friend or someone came by and pointed it out to me.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      gettingbetter

      gettingbetter Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
      This sounds kind of similar to me. I didn't even really notice my hearing loss unless someone was talking to me from the bad side. It just kind of felt a little bit fuzzy, definitely nothing I couldn't live with. My hearing loss was pretty mild though, down in the 30-40 dB range from 2000 Hz onward. Lower than that was normal. Of course the hearing mostly recovered and the thing that was really bothering me, the tinnitus, didn't ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
       
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