Need to Know How to Support Family Member with Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by MyUncle, Feb 21, 2019.

    1. MyUncle

      MyUncle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      My uncle had tinnitus since 1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Do not know
      My uncle has had tinnitus and extreme sound sensitivity since 1995, and recently it's gotten even worse. I'm very scared for him because he is clinically depressed and refuses professional help of any kind, and won't even attend his cardiology appointments because the sound of riding in the car makes him worse. The car is very quiet but somehow it bothers him. I don't know what to do as he has talked about suicide.

      He relies on me to grocery shop for him, and never wants me to leave home otherwise. He trusts no one but me, but I need my life too. I need to be able to leave home other than once per week on Saturdays as I've told him I must do for my own mental health. I don't know what to do to help him - he feels alone, and in my own way I am too. None of my family will step in to watch him if I need to get out, and what friends of his that care (very, very few) that came by to see him, were asked to leave and not return by him. I don't know what to do. Can I help him feel better? For not only his sake, but mine too.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. HanaK
      Stressed

      HanaK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NIHL, ETD, TMJ?
      I'm sorry to hear that about your uncle, but it's great that you're there to help him. I think you should guide him in the path of realizing that although those sounds are bothersome, most of them are not that harmful. As a matter of fact, anxiety and fear of those sounds make tinnitus louder in some cases. The human ear isn't as fragile as we think. Damaged ears are more prone to damage, but there's a fine line between amount of damage a motorcycle revving by can cause vs. a plate hitting a sink. You should recommend him to wear earplugs or earmuffs when riding in the car, or going to the grocery store. He should also fix his diet and lifestyle if he hasn't already. (eating healthier, no alcohol, no smoking, no caffeine, exercising, getting sunlight, etc) Staying at home will only make him more depressed. Maybe start by taking a walk around the neighborhood and get accustomed to everyday noise, while having earmuffs on hand incase of motorcycles passing by. As for sound sensitivity, just try to be gentle at home with cutlery and drawers. And in public, wear earplugs to take the edge off of harsh and sudden sounds.

      As for him wanting you to be there, I think he needs to find a hobby that can help him occupy his time such as reading, watching TV shows, drawing, meditating, etc. You need to let him know that although you do want to be there for him and hate seeing him depressed, you need to live your own life too. As for his depression, you should urge him to get at least one therapy session, just to see how it goes. If that doesn't work, buy some books for him to read! Buddhism books and self-help books definitely help with depression a bit.

      I stayed at home for months because of my hearing loss and tinnitus. It only made me more depressed and I even developed severe OCD as a result. However, I learned to accept that every day noise isn't as damaging as I think it is, and even if it may spike my tinnitus, then so be it. We can't live life in hiding. To make up for it, I try to live as healthily as possible by eating a lot of foods that may help with tinnitus and protect my hearing. I also am aware of my surroundings. I move away from the source of loud noise if possible or run into the store before the employees put away the loud shopping carts. I don't stay in the kitchen when my mom is putting away dishes, and when I drive I try to drive slower and go carefully over bumps as to avoid excess noise exposure.

      As for my depression due to hearing loss, I read some buddhism books that really put everything into perspective. My hearing loss came as a result of harmful habits that I've been doing. Those habits fueled my "suffering" and made me suffer more. In my case, those habits were listening to loud music, skipping meals, and sleeping late. Now that I realize what was fueling my suffering, I stopped those habits and as a result, my hearing and tinnitus somewhat improved. (not sure if psychologically or physically, but it helped!) There are lines in the book "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh that really struck me. It reads "Don't be imprisoned by your suffering" ... "Don't ignore your suffering, but don't forget to enjoy the wonders of life, for your sake and for the benefit of many beings" Although I have hearing loss and tinnitus at a mere age of 22, these lines made me realize that "you know what, I'm not going to let this make me throw the rest of my life down the drain. I'm not going to be scared of going here and there because of it." I'm not ignoring my "suffering" as I still try to eat, sleep, and avoid loud noises/places that may harm my ears when possible, but I don't skip out on living my life because of it. I still go to the grocery store if I need to, I'm just more careful with my surroundings. I still play with my nieces and nephews, but keep my distance so they aren't screaming near my ears. I still go to family parties, but take "noise breaks" every 20 minutes or so in a quiet room.

      I'm not sure if this helps, but I hope so! I wish you and your uncle all the best. I hope he rediscovers his life and continues to move forward despite the tinnitus/sound sensitivity, so he doesn't have to rely on you so much. You're a great person for being there for your uncle. He's lucky to have such a great family member. :LOL:
       
      Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyUncle

      MyUncle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      My uncle had tinnitus since 1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Do not know
      Thank you for the thoughtful reply. A lot of those things make good senses, but after I suggested, he just declined to participate. He has wore ear plugs and big headphones for years but he says so I sounds still bother him - line riding in a vehicle.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      He should go see a mental health professional to help him deal with the anxiety, stress and depression surrounding tinnitus.
       
    5. SugarMagnolia
      Jaded

      SugarMagnolia Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      This sounds like more than you can handle on your own. A mental health professional is probably needed. There are mental health professionals who will come to your home if you cannot go to their office. I suggest you look into it. I have had home visits myself and it was very helpful for me.
       
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    6. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery
      How old is your uncle @MyUncle?

      This is way too much for you to take on by yourself. So you are with him 24/7 everyday except Saturdays?

      Can you call his cardio doctor and explain this situation? He should not miss cardio appointments. Maybe the doctor's office can give you some sort of direction or who to ask for help.

      This is what you can start doing to help him. It is hard not to enable someone but sometimes you have to stand up and be proactive. You started by asking your question here!!
       
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    7. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Sometimes people with depression or PTSD will benefit from loneliness or depressive episode of isolation by having a pet such as a dog. The pet keeps them busy and by showing affection they learn to care and express themselves more, even if it is talking to the dog. Perhaps with a pet, he will have less emotional dependency on you and you can get out more. Perhaps ask him if he loves dog or cat, and if he does, then just buy one as a surprise birthday gift for him.
       
    8. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      Does he experience noises sounding extremely loud or does he experience noise induced pain, or both?


      Overall no real medical help can be given due to the fact that TRT and habituation are his only options, you could try do it yourself sound therapy with pink noise.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyUncle

      MyUncle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      My uncle had tinnitus since 1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Do not know
      I apologize for all the typing errors above, as I was on my phone and I can't type well on that screen - the keyboard is tiny. Thank you all for the support and advice. Sadly, he has refused any, and all professional help thus far that he needs very much. I have not looked into any that make house calls, as I wasn't aware that was a thing -- I hope he complies, but I doubt he will. As for pets, he pretty much doesn't like animals, but I think for most people, it would benefit them, but I know he hates pets. He is 64 years old, so he really needs to see his heart doctor. I guess I need to call them myself and explain. On top of all this he is physically disabled and even has a hard time getting up and down, so I know all that has added to his stress levels. I guess my biggest hope right now is the house-call psychiatrist.
       
    10. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery
      Okay and thanks for more information. The best way to start to address your uncle's condition is to call his heart doctor's office and explain your concerns and ask for suggestions. I am hoping they can give you the right direction to start getting him help.

      I am so sorry you are shouldering this all by yourself.
       

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