Hi everyone, Just made an account because my tinnitus has made me reach breaking point. I would roughly estimate that I've had tinnitus for maybe 5 years? I'm 20 years old so this was when I was maybe 15/16. In that time it's been so slight that it's been practically a non-issue and I've not given it a great deal of thought. I recall going to the doctor about it at the time and being told that I had blocked Eustachian tubes although that did not sort out the ringing so I assume it must be noise-induced. I didn't really give much thought at all to my tinnitus until a few weeks ago when I came across an article about how increasing numbers of young people face hearing damage due to loud concerts, in-ear headphones etc. Recently my mental health hasn't been great - I've been suffering from anxiety and started having panic attacks a few months ago, suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, and have generally been feeling really low/paranoid/worrisome. Anyway, that article has sent me spiralling into a depressive state - I realise that may sound melodramatic but I tend to worry obsessively about things and I've been struggling quite a bit with this. My tinnitus is still at the same level it was 5 years ago and I only really notice it when it's very quiet or I'm trying to get to sleep at night. However, since I've been manically fixating on it over the past week or so it's definitely become more noticeable as opposed to something I was just able to tune out subconsciously e.g when going to bed. I must admit, in the past 5 years I have used my headphones a lot (not earbuds) but not at excessively loud volumes although I appreciate hearing damage can occur at even moderate volumes. Since coming to university two years ago I have been out to nightclubs where the noise level was probably quite damaging. Even though my tinnitus hasn't worsened I am still annoyed at myself and actually quite scared. I have ordered myself a pair of earplugs which I have been using to protect myself from any loud noise and unfortunately will probably have to forgo clubbing from now on which I'm pretty bummed about since I'm really into house and techno. Perhaps my biggest fear is that my tinnitus is going to worsen invariably or that I'll suffer hearing gradual hearing loss resulting in going deaf at 30. That would honestly be my worst nightmare. Truth be told, I've been having suicidal thoughts and working myself up into a frenzied state of panic. It's the horrible uncertainty, the 'what if?'. My mind keeps on torturing me with depressing scenarios entailing me being fully deaf 10 years from now, unable to hear my future children say 'i love you' etc. I'm aware on some level that that particular scenario is quite unlikely but it's not hard to get trapped in negative thought patterns like this. I've read so many depressing stories about people whose tinnitus has driven them insane on internet forums. I know that forums like these probably tend to be self-selecting since most people with slight tinnitus that doesn't bother them wouldn't think to post about it on the internet but still. I'm sorry for this mountain of text but I have spent tonight crying and feeling utterly miserable. I'm also moving to Berlin in two days for a university exchange and feel totally unable to cope with the additional stress of that. Do you reckon my fears are unfounded and that I should just continue life as normal (although avoiding loud noises ofc)? Does tinnitus generally stay consistent or get worse over time? Lastly, I know it's all individual, but surely my hearing will remain intact? I've probably lost some of the highest frequencies but surely I wouldn't go hard of hearing? I'm praying that if my tinnitus worsens dramatically in, say, 15 years time when I'm 35 there will be some form of effective mass-market treatment out there by then.