My Tinnitus Success Story — 6 Months After Onset

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by NiftyNick, Aug 7, 2020.

    1. NiftyNick

      NiftyNick Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Feb 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Hey Everyone,

      I've been a long time lurker on this form and I have been able to receive some of the best and some of the worst advice that I ever received for my tinnitus. I'm at a point where I feel confident to post my success story. I felt like I was never going to get to this point, so it's with great pride and humility that I get to share my story. My tinnitus has decreased in volume and intensity - I'm able to hear silence for the majority of the day and when my tinnitus does act up it doesn't bug me.

      The onset - Tinnitus was always a fear of mine. I remember watching interview of William Shatner talking about tinnitus many years ago and it scared the shit out of me. After seeing that interview, I was mindful of protecting my ears at concerts and clubs. Unfortunately, my fear became a reality back in Feb 2020 when I slammed a cast iron mailbox in an archway. It was easily the loudest thing that I have ever experienced. I used to shoot shotguns, and the volume was comparable

      The tinnitus - At its worst the volume was 5-6/10. I could hear over the TV and outside but not in the shower or a loud environment.

      The despair - So I fully ended up losing my shit. I was overwhelmed with emotions convinced that my life was over. I cried more in February than I did the past 5 years. I was angry that a mailbox could ruin my life. It got so bad that I called the suicide hotline on Valentine's day with my GF (Super romantic, right?)

      The progress: Even though I felt that my options for tinnitus were limited - I was going to at least try my best. Here's what allowed me to Habituate and ultimately reduce the volume.
      1. Therapy - I was skeptical but it changed my life for the better. It allowed me to truly be vulnerable with someone. I was able to cry openly about my tinnitus and examine why I was reacting. I felt less alone and that I had someone in my corner. I got diagnosed with OCD which was something that I struggled with all my life, but didn't have the word for it. The tools for overcoming OCD map perfectly to habituation.

      2. Meditation - This was massive. A lot of people try mediation thinking it will cure them of tinnitus. If you enter the practice with that mindset you will be disappointed. I approached it with an open mind thinking at best it will allow me to habituate or at the very least it will get me away from endlessly reading horror stories on this forum. After meditating for a couple of weeks, I noticed that the ringing was less intrusive and quieter. There's a million reasons why this could have happened and I'm not interested in hearing your theories why.

      3. Philosophy - While I was exploring mediation and mindfulness, I decided to to search for truths to make meaning of my tinnitus and the state of the world. I found comfort in stoicism and Taoism which are a must for anyone dealing with tinnitus. I would recommend reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

      4. Staying Active - Hard to do during a pandemic but find a hobby. rekindle old friendships. Short and Sweet keep yourself busy
      Setbacks - I had my tinnitus spike on more than one occasion and it sucks. The volume would return to base line within a week, but it was always the scariest week of my life. The spike would come from something stupid like setting a bowl too hard on a table etc. I’m improving and the spikes are less frequent even after scary situations

      1. I was on a boat when a firework went off above us which was super loud (but my tinnitus didn't spike).

      2. I went for a walk and someone had a deer replacement machine that played high frequency tones to scare away deer. The frequency hurt my ears and scared the shit out of me but my tinnitus didn't spike or get loud.
      Forums - Only read the Success Stories. This forum can be amazing but sometimes also very toxic. I would always consider the source when taking advice. The amount of pseudoscience that gets thrown around here is significant. I'm a strong believer that everyone is their own expert on their own tinnitus. Don't let someone scare the shit out of you, because it's possible you're fighting two different battles, but only share the same symptom.

      Habituation/Silence - I started to notice real progress after 3 months. At almost 6 months I can still hear it if I search it out, but that's about it. Like I said, it will flair up a couple times throughout the day but it's a non issue. I believe the key to my success was that I gave up silence and focused solely on Habituation, which ironically is what brought me to silence.

      Resources that helped me:
      • Headspace - mediation app
      • CBT for Tinnitus Video - Bruce Hubbard
      • Stoicism
      • Taoism
      • Winner Winner x 5
      • Agree Agree x 2
    2. Lizards

      Lizards Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      When you say you have to "look for it" to hear it, does that mean you can exist comfortably in a quiet room? Because my problem is when I find myself in a largely quiet environment; I start to feel pressure in my head and the ringing gets louder.
      • Agree Agree x 3
    3. HarryLDN

      HarryLDN Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Glad you are doing better now. I had a similar noise induced onset, so I can totally relate to the despair and guilt. I have read that people who got tinnitus from sudden noise trauma are far more likely to recover than noise over long periods, so there's that! Being only 6 months in, you are doing very well.
      • Agree Agree x 2
      • Genius Genius x 1
    4. Vassili

      Vassili Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wonderful and positive thread. People need more good news on this forum. (y)
      • Agree Agree x 3
    5. KotaDomowa

      KotaDomowa Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Februar 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Out of curiosity, how is OCD overcome?

      How can you fight your own brain that has insisted on not forgetting a topic for a minute all day, for years? Whether you work, read, wherever you are, whatever you do.

      I have the impression that I might as well try to fight with my own leg or arm. There is no way to resist here.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    6. Tanni

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi Nick,

      Congratulations on your success with managing/recovering from this condition, and thank you for sharing your story on here for everyone to read. It has a lot of really useful advice for anyone new to tinnitus.
      I especially agree with the above paragraph, particularly the part in bold. Tinnitus has many different causes, so not all advice is applicable for everyone. So many new sufferers get very scared and panicked reading about the severe cases, believing that they will be the same. I strongly believe people should start with the success stories section, and give time/habituation a chance. If it doesn't work out, then come and have a look at the rest of the forum.
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. Adaś

      Adaś Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones, Stress, Rock concerts
      @NiftyNick Many thanks for sharing your story, as it is soo important to share positive content here on Tinnitus Talk, and kudos for managing this hellish condition. Stay strong and stay positive!
      • Like Like x 1
    8. John2020

      John2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise (flint knapping)
      I watched that video by Dr. Hubbard and this gave me great hope. I have stopped worrying about my tinnitus as I started just getting on with life, and only use sound therapy during intense spikes. I have been trying meditation but there is so much out there I don't know where to start. I am finding that I have phases now where I stop noticing my tinnitus, and just hope that the length of these periods increase - I guess stopping noticing that you've stopped noticing is habituation!

      It was very reassuring to read your post so I thank you for sharing it - it makes such a difference! Dr Hubbard's video made all the difference for my state of mind and he even replied to a question I had so he is a real star. Thanks again.
    9. DRobi

      DRobi Member

      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Great post indeed, thank you! I am only 2 weeks into this tinnitus journey, and see your point about all the pseudoscience and scary stories. I am at the point where I am still reading everything, and trying to learn all I can because tinnitus is a scary and freaky experience for sure. We definitely need way more success stories on this forum. It has been my experience on other health forums that once people get better they stop participating and just move on with their lives. Chances are, if you recovered from a health concern, you simply don't want to obsess about it anymore as it just stirs up bad memories. So what we see on these forums tends to be very much skewed to the negative side of things.
    10. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      I feel the same, ear plugs are also scary as hell due to this phenomena.
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1

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