My Unexpected Battle with Tinnitus: A Journey of Discovery, Pain, and Perseverance

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by JasonIrving, Jun 15, 2023.

    1. JasonIrving

      JasonIrving Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aural acoustic trauma
      I remember the day distinctly when everything was going smoothly. Suddenly, a proposition was made to shoot a double-barrel shotgun at a target - just a single shot. Being inexperienced, I assumed that one shot without ear protection wouldn't make a big difference. I was dreadfully mistaken. The simultaneous firing of both barrels resulted in an enormous blast that left a ringing sensation in both ears. It lasted for a mere couple of seconds, or so it seemed.

      By evening, there was just a faint crackling sound in my left ear. The following morning was the same, so I didn't rush to seek help. Around then, I turned to Google, and that's when I first encountered the term 'tinnitus.' It's mind-boggling how I, a nearly 50-year-old PhD holder, was unaware of how intrusive and disturbing tinnitus could be.

      A few days later, on a business trip, it felt as though a window was always ajar in my left ear. I imagine this story sounds all too familiar to this forum, doesn't it? For the past seven months, I've been a silent observer here, caught in a spiral of depression and wondering how to live with this new reality.

      Over time, the nature of the tinnitus has morphed. Some nights I've been startled awake by a piercing noise. My audiologist confirmed a 20db reduction at 8Kz in my left ear on two separate occasions. This hints at significant damage to my hair cells, possibly even my auditory nerve, since the tinnitus intensifies when I move my jaw or neck.

      Sometimes, managing the anxiety that this condition induces requires a benzodiazepine prescribed by my GP. Other than that, it's just a matter of "learning to live with it." In seven months, the tinnitus has improved slightly, or perhaps I've merely become habituated to it - if that's even the right word. But waking up in the morning is the worst; lying in bed, listening, and wishing it would all fade away.

      As the day goes on, the symptoms seem to abate slightly. Perhaps it's my brain learning to cope better; I can't be certain. Nonetheless, it continues to occupy a considerable part of my consciousness daily, yet I must endure, for my family and my children. I continue to lurk on this forum, in search of hope. I hope that someday it will disappear, though I suspect most here are grappling with the same fears and challenges. Except, of course, for the kind benefactors. I firmly believe there are good-hearted souls who've overcome their battles and continue to linger here to lend support to others. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever fully recover from this shadowy place that's had a greater impact on my life than even a cancer I battled years ago. How is it that a hissing eeeeeee sound can thrust your life into chaos?

      I commit to returning with an update in six months to a year. Perhaps, by then, my narrative will be one of more hope and less despair.
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