My Success Story: Habituation *Is* Real

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Oreilles, Mar 10, 2021.

    1. Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Dear fellow ringers.

      My tinnitus started in 2015. I went through the all too common period of deep anguish, leading to a relatively severe anxiety crisis and depression (for which I got treated). I had it all: the constant ringing, sensitivity to noise, the hyper attention, the feeling of despair... even went to suicidal ideation. I purchased every gimmick to try to mask it. Got better, then had one relapse that was also pretty bad. Then habituation happened. In a very few shot weeks I went from bedridden to living again. My tinnitus is *exactly* the same, it has not disappeared, nor diminished. It's 24/7. It is relatively loud, I couldn't find something that could cover it. But I dont' really seem to care anymore. Tinnitus is not more annoying that the floaters in my eyes, or the weight of my clothes...

      I don't write that to brag or 'rub it' in anyone's face, but to tell you that *yes*, habitation is a thing. Yes, it is indeed very possible, and actually virtually certain, to lead a perfectly normal and happy life again. I was at the bottom of the anxiety well, and that's what I actually treated. When I took care of the anxiety, habituation just happened. The thing that helped me the most was to force myself to lead a normal life as much as possible, and then things got better and better by the day. Force yourself to talk to your spouse, to play with your kids, to go to work, to walk the dog, fold the laundry etc. some kind of ad hoc behavioral therapy I suppose. Before long, you will get better: 2 minutes, then 15 minutes, one hour, and then all the time.

      So hang in there my friends. My tinnitus-induced anxiety was the worst that happened to me, frankly (and my wife and I are both cancer survivors). But the actual tinnitus is *nothing*, just a paper tiger. When the anxiety is under control, tinnitus appears for what it is: a ghost. Noisy, but harmless.
       
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    2. AliasM
      Depressed

      AliasM Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ? Autoimmune, daily headaches, Ibuprofin, BP meds, Virus?
      Thank you for sharing. Just for clarity, are you saying that habituation only took you a few weeks?
       
    3. Steph1710
      Old hag

      Steph1710 Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/04/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Antibiotics - I think
      Hi @Oreilles :)

      The above is exactly how I got to habituation.

      After a few devastating weeks, when my tinnitus first began, I decided that I wasn’t, despite the ringing, going to let life pass me by.

      I carried on exactly as normal (but with ear protection). I went for walks, I swam in the river and sea, I went rowing, to BBQs — all my usual activities.

      It was unbelievably hard at first; trying to adjust to life with a constant sound blasting away in my ears/head. But as the months rolled by, I did actually become less and less aware of the sound/s.

      Fast forward almost a year, and I can sit in a silent room perfectly fine, without noticing the sound for ages. It’s only when I remember I even have tinnitus, that I’m suddenly aware of it again. And when I do hear it, I no longer have an emotional response to it. It’s just there.

      So, habitation can/does happen. Though I fully believe, that like you, my whole experience has been easier, because I decided to carry on as normal. I was determined not to let it take my life away.

      That’s why when people first come to this forum for help, I encourage them to carry on as normal — though obviously use protection, no music through headphones, earbuds, and to stay away from very noisy places. The absolute worst thing you can do it dwell on it. Yes it sh*t. Yes we would prefer it not to be there at all. But we have no other choice right now. So we must learn to live with it. Not fight against it, or let it rob us of our joy.

      Thanks for sharing your story. <3
       
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    4. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      Thank you for the amazing story. Is there anything particular that you did to battle the anxiety? And how long into the tinnitus did you notice the habituation start?

      That's very brave — respect. I'm still struggling after almost 10 months. But my obsessive nature just wouldn't let me go off the tinnitus... I'm desperately looking at the calendar and thinking, last time this year life was so good. And then all the horror unfolded...

      I truly believe in the possibility of habituation. Just always think, given the severity of the tinnitus is the same, why some people habituate and some just keep suffering badly for years. That scares me. Let alone all the suicide stories.

      I'm terrified that I may not habituate and just keep suffering...
       
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    5. convolution

      convolution Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden - Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      26/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      White Noise from Headphones (likely)
      Thanks for sharing. I needed to read something like this, today.
       
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    6. brownbear

      brownbear Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden sensorineural hearing loss ? cochlear hydrops
      @Oreilles, thank you for your positive post. It is getting towards 5 years for me now and I am following a similar trajectory. I haven't achieved a huge amount as far as awareness of my tinnitus but almost all the time it means very little to me now. A couple of times a day it gives me a little shudder of frustration but I take a deep breath and move on. It is still crazy loud but I don't have much either positive or negative to say about it anymore.
       
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    7. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      That's great news, brownbear. Your description of your reaction to it is very similar to my own experience.
       
    8. T Toledo OH

      T Toledo OH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/26/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud noise and earbuds
      So how long did it take for you to habituate?
       
    9. brownbear

      brownbear Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden sensorineural hearing loss ? cochlear hydrops
      Hi @Ed209, glad to hear you are doing well. Great stuff. Thanks for all your support over the years.

      Best wishes mate.
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      No it took much longer indeed, but the "getting better and better" phase happened in a few weeks. But I think that it is because of the ground work I did before in addressing the anxiety.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I eventually decided to go see a doctor who, seeing that my anxiety was getting out of control, referred me to a psychiatrist. I was afraid at first and concerned to see a psychiatrist, but I had no other options left. Turns out that was indeed exactly what I needed. With proposer medication, the anxiety got better, and from then, things went up at a rate of knots.
       
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    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      It took some time before the anxiety got better, like a couple of months (maybe a bit less) after I started to see the psychiatrist who treated me for the anxiety with SSRIs and a short course of benzodiazepines. But then, when the meds hit, things went very well very quickly, in like 2 weeks, maybe 3, it went quite fast. I just stopped freaking out about the tinnitus, it just happened kind of 'naturally' without me even thinking about it, after the anxiety got better.
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      That's awesome :) We beat the beast :) And everyone can, and will. Believe me, if I did it, *everyone* can and will do it too.
       
    14. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      @Oreilles, @Ed209, @brownbear, I really admire your ability to achieve habituation.

      I've read you guys have it severe and multitonal, just like me. Yet I'm still in the grieving and crying stage (although I've passed the suicide stage) even after almost 10 months.

      I've been reading @Ed209 and @brownbear's posts many times, especially in the darkest days. You guys are very motivating. I so much hope to get to the same level one day, it's just like an unimaginable dream right now. I just can't let go grieving and mourning the past life. I must seriously revisit CBT I guess. Just got a new job and my concentration is still mainly on the screeching in my ear. It seems impossible to distract myself even if I really have to...
       
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    15. KMc24

      KMc24 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I'm 3 years in this month and that's how my habituation developed. I remember I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning unable to sleep in. In that moment I started to just let it go. I'm at the point where I can go quite awhile without noticing my tinnitus. Then just a shift in thought will bring it to my attention. I no longer feel devastated when that happens. I just hear it, and move on. Also, I no longer actively listen to my tinnitus. I don't try to pick out the different tones, or fluctuations.
       
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    16. Shelly75

      Shelly75 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20/07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      How long did it take until you got to that point where you could let it go?
       
    17. twa
      Fine

      twa Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      Has your tinnitus gotten better or quieter over time? Do you have hyperacusis?
       
    18. T Toledo OH

      T Toledo OH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/26/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud noise and earbuds
      I am one year in. When did you reach the point where it was no longer a big factor in your life?
       
    19. Bluemoon

      Bluemoon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5 years ago
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis
      Hi @brownbear, when you spoke of awareness, did you mean you are still very aware of tinnitus but it doesn't bother you much now?
       
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    20. brownbear

      brownbear Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden sensorineural hearing loss ? cochlear hydrops
      @Bluemoon, I am able to go many hours without noticing it and even slight distraction makes me unaware of it but I still have plenty of time when I am fully aware of it but it doesn't really bother me that much now. There are still some bad times though. In my experience it is probably a mistake to think of habituation as a point where it is no longer a big factor in your life @T Toledo OH. For me it has been more a gradual process of ups and downs where the downs get shorter. Progress is still punctuated by some brief periods of distress. I think I would be doing even better by now if my tinnitus hadn't been gradually worsening over the last few years too.
       
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    21. Bluemoon

      Bluemoon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5 years ago
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis
      Thanks for getting back to me @brownbear, regarding your explanation of tinnitus and habituation it has helped a lot.. I'm still very aware of mine after five years. It's hard for me not to be aware of anything, it's part of my personality. Hopefully I'll get there one day!
       
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    22. brownbear

      brownbear Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden sensorineural hearing loss ? cochlear hydrops
      @Bluemoon, one of the biggest breakthroughs I had was when I stopped measuring my success by how much I was aware of my tinnitus. It allowed me to stop blaming myself for still focusing on it and I found it easier to just let it be there, without judgement or analysis. Not sure if that makes sense. You can't force yourself to not be aware of something. Just allow it to be there and see what happens.
       
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    23. Lurius
      Wishful

      Lurius Member

      Location:
      Oslo, Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Valsalva maneuver
      I'm often unsure if I have habituation or not. 1.5 years ago I would hear the tinnitus and at all times feel extremely distressed. That doesn't happen much anymore, although I still have bad days when it bothers me. It has more to do with spikes and the future outlook now.

      Most of the time I hear the tinnitus, I don't react emotionally at all. I register what I'm hearing, I'm unable to "not hear it", I always know its there. Sometimes when I get really immersed in my video games, my mind wanders so much that I don't keep tabs on it, but again, this depends on volume. Nights are a different chapter entirely, trying to sleep without proper peace and quiet is a nightmare. It really bothers me at night and in the morning.

      I can't let go of the idea that I will have silence again sometime, I'm unable to accept that it may be for life. I don't even want to think about that. I don't want to have that idea presented to me.

      This doesn't sound like someone who is habituated to me. But what do you think?
       
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    24. brownbear

      brownbear Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden sensorineural hearing loss ? cochlear hydrops
      It seems perfectly reasonable to me to still want to have silence. I guess it’s only a problem if that desire keeps you stuck in a state of unhappiness.
       
    25. Bluemoon

      Bluemoon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5 years ago
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Labyrinthitis
      I do let it be @brownbear but, like Lurius, I'm unable as yet to not hear it.
       
    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      You will make it brother, you will. I am married to my high school sweetheart, father of 3, and I still was contemplating the worst. I know - we all do - what you are going through. There is no shame, that's a normal reaction. You will make it, the worst is behind you. CBT worked for me, if it doesn't work for you, you will find what does.
       
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    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Exactly.
       
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Oreilles

      Oreilles Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      It seems to me that you are on the path of success. Habituation does happen relatively quickly (3 weeks for me) but only if there has been a critical mass of work, efforts, time, tears, etc. beforehand. From what I read. you are 90% there. Welcome to the promised land brother. Whatever you have done, keep on doing it. It works for you.
       
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    29. Steph1710
      Old hag

      Steph1710 Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/04/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Antibiotics - I think
      You’re exactly right! You just have to accept that it is there. So glad you’ve reached that point :)

      It does start off little by little. First you realise you haven’t noticed it for 10 minutes. Then the minutes somehow turn into hours, and so on.

      Yes! Totally do not keep trying to measure any changes. It doesn’t help. It won’t help. For months, I was obsessed with plugging my ears to hear if the sound was different - which of course, it never was.
      These sorts of habits are unhealthy, and make it harder to habituate. As soon as I stopped doing this, I started forgetting about my tinnitus.

      Sometimes, I still can be a bit annoyed by the sound, but not overly. Right now I’m experiencing a spike which means I can hear my tinnitus over lots of things, Including the tv. But whatever I guess! Like I said before, absolutely nothing I can do about it.

      The “no longer feeling devastated by it”, is a massive turning point. And like you, that’s where I am at. As I mentioned above, I’m experiencing a spike at the moment, but the increase in sound doesn’t devastate me now, like it would have, six months ago.

      X
       
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    30. KMc24

      KMc24 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I'd say approximately 2 years or so. My tinnitus has very slowly decreased in intensity. I don't know if it's because of healing, habituation, or a combination of both.
       
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