New and Stressed with Tinnitus — READ THIS FIRST

Discussion in 'Support' started by Sound Wave, Mar 16, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Many discussion forums have 'sticky' discussion threads that are always on the top and considered the most useful for new members and top discussion topics. I haven't seen one here and I propose we create one with this topic - what to do in the very first days when you experience tinnitus. I wish I had seen one when I got it. :)

      Ok, here's my advice and contribution. Two of the most important things in my opinion:

      1. You MUST relax your body and mind
      2. You MUST be able to sleep


      First about relaxing your body and mind. This is of course easier said than done, but it is crucial so that your brain doesn't 'learn' to fear the T sound. For many T causes extreme stress both mentally and physically in the beginning. Your brain interprets T sound as a threat and your body goes into a primitive fight-or-flight state. The physical symptoms of this are for example a high heart rate, increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the blood, high blood pressure and many other negative effects. Here are two articles about fight-or-flight response (1 and 2).

      So how to force your body to relax, when you are all paniced up and scared? This is of course totally subjective and we are all different and I hope people will share their best tips, tricks and experiences here. For me, the best help was deep and slow breathing exercises with a normal sports heart rate monitor. My heart rate was about 100 all the time for the first weeks and I of course felt awful. It was an eye opening moment for me, when I started to observe my heart rate when breathing in and out. It changed A LOT depending on how I breathed in and out. The usual method is to breath in slow and from the belly / diaphgram and then breath out even slower and longer. Do NOT breath in fast and long! I quickly found out how I can lower my heart rate with the right breathing and it really calmed my body down for the first time. This is in a way a form of biofeedback, where you learn how to control your body.

      The second thing is about being able to sleep. If you are badly sleep deprived, everything will more or less fall into pieces. Sleep deprivation causes havoc to our body and mind in various ways and it almost always makes the T worse -> more stress -> harder to sleep -> the viscious cycle is ready. So you must be able to sleep. Period.

      So how to be able to sleep when you are stressed and T screeches in your ear. This is easier to solve in my opinion. Two best advices here are 1) sleep medication and 2) background sounds. These are widely discussed here in these forums so I won't go deep into these in this post. For me the best aid was Imovane to help me to sleep. When I woke up around 3-4 am, I took another one. I've tried others but this is the best for me. L-Tryptofan also seems to help me. The best background noise for me is the sound of rain fall. I use an iOS app called SimplyRain at the moment.

      So, lets see if this proposition of a sticky thread like this is liked. Question also to the moderators, that can you create a sticky thread with this discussion forum software? Hope this helps! :)
       
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    2. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Ok, so I just found out that sticky threads exist here as well. My bad, sorry. :) The open question remains, that should this topic be one as well...
       
    3. Atlantis

      Atlantis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      Ok Sound Wave,
      I am in my second month of hearing loss (six weeks) and T in my left ear. Mine started out of the blue for no apparent reason around Feb. 14, 2014. All the things you said are true. It has been pure hell for me. I am 62 years of age and didn't even know you could get a virus in your ear that could cause damage. My ENT did all the test, including the MRI to rule out a tumor. He suggest that a virus got in my ear and damaged it. I had four steroid injections (one each week) in my ear. I got about 3 maybe 4 hours without T the morning after the first injection. It was like heaven. I knew what " The Sound of Silence" actually meant. No more relief came after the next three injections. My ENT said I had, Sudden Sensory Deprivation, or something like that resulting in hearing loss and the T. As you stated, my blood pressure shot up and coping with the agitation, poor sleep patterns etc. I was already taking meds to control my blood pressure. I have Googled and read a lot on the subject of T and it sounds like if I can't get used to (habituated to) my T, I could end up in a bad way. You know when you Google, "My Tinnitus is beginning to make me think of suicide", and you find several other individuals feeling the same way. This is very bad. My doctor gave me Ativan to help me relieve the anxiety and sleep. It really doesn't work that well, even when taken with Tylenol PM. Some nights the fan is on high. Sometimes, I can get by with medium. I tried a sound machine from Amazon and didn't like the sounds it made. That's it for now. Thank you for your input.
       
    4. MattK

      MattK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/13/2014
      Have you considered counseling/therapy? That's really what they are there for, to help us cope with our emotions. It is true that once major factors are ruled out, tinnitus just becomes a sound. And how you respond to that sound may be what the problem is. I would suggest perhaps checking into this. And of course, there are tinnitus treatments (note: treatments, not cures). I can't recommend one, because I haven't started one yet. But first thing's first, you need to get control of your emotions. And I think counseling can help.

      BTW, my tinnitus started on the evening of Feb 13, 2014, so we're very close to the same time. Mine also started for no apparent reason... however, the difference is that I don't have any hearing loss, and my ENT was clueless as to what could have happened. His answer was literally, "Some people just get it". I wanted to ask for my co-pay back.
       
    5. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Great points mentioned by OP and others. I will add the following:
      1) Post in a tinnitus support board and let out all your fears and worries, including all the details of how your T started and how you cope so far. Letting out will lighten your burden of anxiety and panic.
      2) Try to learn and absorb in all the excellent suggestions from caring members who know what you are going through because they had gone through the sufferings themselves.
      3) Be sure to ask questions and interact with these caring members, by so doing you begin to build bond and trust in these members, and you also feel much better that there are actually people who understand what you are going through and you are not alone.
      4) As soon as you can, read up all the success stories you can find in this and other support boards. The more you read them, the more you can find hope as well as learn some excellent ideas or approaches which have helped people to get better. When there is hope for the future, your anxiety level about T will go down, and this allows you to manage your stress much better.
      5) Try to get masking going as soon as you can because this will reduce your anxiety level without having to face the dreaded ringing sound all the time. If you don't know how to get it set up, post on the board and there will be many members giving you concrete ideas how to get your masking going.
      6) If you are still very stressed, anxious, panicky or very depressed, make sure to consult your doctor for some medicines to help control your nerves & mood. That is what I had to do to get my situation in better control.
      7) Try to learn about alternative treatments or strategies which can help you, like TRT, CBT, food/diet intake, relaxation exercises etc. This is the next step. You need to find what can help you out there. You may have to try various alternatives to see what can help you. You need to be willing to be flexible and make adjustment but be determined in your effort.
      8) Get back to living. Give it time. Find a good strategies what suit you and your budget and give it time for the body to adjust to the new condition. Don't monitor T continually. Get busy with meaningful or interesting things such as learning new hobbies to distract from paying attention to T. Be ready for setbacks. Be patient with the habituation. Don't count the days and don't compare your progress with others. Doing so will increase your anxiety. If you know you are most likely going to be well like others in a few years, then why waste so much energy in worrying about what T will do each day. If you cease to fear T and cease to perceive it as a threat, it is just a matter of time you will get there on the other side.
       
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    6. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      ^ excellent additions!! :)
       
    7. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      THERE IS ANOTHER THING BLATANTLY MISSING HERE = AVOID AND PROTECT!!!

      Yeah, I know all the stuff about the psychology and even physiology of that. You know there was even a comment in a post the other day something like..... "I know I should not be afraid of going out and exposed to sound as apparently it will not make my tinnitus worse". Words to that effect. Plus I remember that inference in my early days of tinnitus and from 'experts' where supposedly the fear of more damage was "irrational" and so on. Maybe others have seen or heard of this fantasy too...and I don't want to search for it now, but wish I could quote what I saw on the board the other day as no-one shot it down.
      This is pure garbage! Yes some can get away with it, but you never know if and when it might suddenly go "tilt" again and you have a whole new higher volume level in your head.

      SO NEWBIES, LISTEN UP!...I don't want to rain on the parade but I can ASSURE you that your tinnitus CAN go up, just look at my history profile. And especially take note of adding drugs, meds, herbal remedies, whatever, to your activities mix. Check them out for thoroughly for any "hearing signature" as many, many common drugs can affect the nervous system and hearing.

      I am appalled at people who post and say they have tinnitus but still want to go to clubs, etc. with loud music without overkill hearing protection. They are nuts! Crazy! Insane! It is Russian Roulette and you may dodge the bullet, or you may not. My advice = don't do it! Not early on in the Tinnitus game for sure, and maybe not ever if you have trauma induced or ototoxic induced tinnitus. [Other types like 'circulatory', blood pressure, TMJ related, etc. Tinnitus are different].

      Once you learn more about your tinnitus, then for sure, lighten up and you need sound exposure...GRADUALLY! Time is the great healer and you may even get to a place where you can tolerate pretty amazingly loud sounds again...eventually. You will know when you get to that point. But it is highly unlikely to be at the start of your tinnitus.

      I'm sorry to say this, but I have a theory, based not just on myself, but quite a handful of people I know who have 'sound induced' tinnitus (including my dad, my brother, close friends, associates).
      IF you get it at all - versus the majority of people who just seem to go increasingly deaf and then get hearing aids as they get older (sigh! - 'lucky them' + easy fix)...you may have to be pro-active about avoiding loud sounds for life. And here I mean LOUD sounds...Fourth of July fireworks; heavy metal bands; insanely loud movie theaters; India (ha ha!); and so on. Just PROTECT in those situations, you don't have to avoid them altogether. Really it's no big deal. It becomes second nature. You can live a pretty darn normal life.

      Is it worth the risk of NOT doing so??? If you have any doubts, ask me!!! I DO NOT have a normal life...and healing slows as you get older. And yeah, two out of my FOUR increases in volume happened without me even knowing it was happening...Volume was not too bad, but exposure time was too long. Can you imagine how many times I think: "If only I had not..."

      Learn. Let time work for you. Protect...initially, and heal.

      Best, Zimichael
       
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    8. highpitched ring

      highpitched ring Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      To be honest, it doesn't really matter how many posts one reads saying it will get better, the hell a 'newbie' encounters is rarely lessened by advice. It is time and in my case prayer and also a one off taking of an illegal party drug ecstasy that turned my tinnitus around. Almost five weeks now and my volumes are so so much lower. And no sizzling!
       
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