One Year Tinnitus Anniversary — Life Is Normal

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by pef, Mar 16, 2014.

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    1. pef

      pef Member

      Georgia, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 16, 2014 is my one year anniversary with tinnitus. My tinnitus started with acoustic trauma – a .357 Magnum gunshot without hearing protection. I barely perceived the gunshot – all I heard was a muffled “whooomf!” There was no pain, only immediate deafness and silence. As my hearing slowly returned my ears started to ring. A tone of about 10.5 kHz in my left ear with some odd beat frequency and a 6 kHz-ish – 8 kHz-ish square-ish wave in my right ear.

      My right ear would “warble” to the touch; I recall taking a bike ride the next day after the gunshot, and as the wind blew in my ear I heard a loud “warbling” sound. Sounds above even a moderate volume seemed distorted, especially in my right ear, which was directly exposed to the gunshot. The world sounded as though sounds were made from a blown speaker. In crowds, when people spoke, I could not understand them, even though I know I could hear what they were saying. It was as if their voices were being scrambled. Both of my ears felt as though the were “full” of something – a cotton-like phantom medium that seemed to distort higher frequencies. Over the first month the "distortion level" seemed to increasing upward, and I can hear normal levels of volume without that "blown speaker" effect. The first week all of this did not bother me. I slept fine. Only when I realized my tinnitus might be permanent did I become concerned. I started reading up on tinnitus and acoustic trauma. From my symptoms, and from what I read, I realized there was a very high likelihood this would be permanent.

      I could barely sleep. I would wake up ever hour or two, and my left ear seemed to be screaming at 10.5 kHz. I saw a specialist, he put me on prednisone, but the steroid did not seem to help. After about 10 days I developed hyperacusis. The sound inside a shower was painful. I took to wearing earplugs when I showered. Cars passing in the street when I walked to lunch seemed to be excessively loud. Now, not only was I dealing with tinnitus, I was dealing with actual physical pain. A mere two weeks after my acoustic trauma, I was a walking zombie. I knew, however, I couldn’t live in such a state of misery. I joined another tinnitus support forum and made a conscious choice to get better. I discovered two brothers, my dad, and a co-worker each had tinnitus. They all have it at various levels, brought on over time (unlike the binary switch I experienced), and they all say the same thing "I don't think about it much, sometimes I notice it, and most of the time I just ignore it."

      I thought about the positives in my life – my kids, my wife. I thought of people who live with life threatening illnesses or major physical disabilities and carry on. I stopped using a masker and learned how to sleep in silence. I realized that when I was working I could go hours without thinking about my tinnitus.

      By six weeks I think I turned the corner. The tinnitus had settled to steady state, the mid frequency hum in my right ear and the high frequency hiss in my left. I had given up hope that it would go away, which helped me to accept it. I could have the tinnitus inside my head without any real impact in my life. My hearing, except for my tinnitus, is pretty much back to normal; however, often high frequencies will sound very irritating. So be it.

      Most of the time my tinnitus is not too loud; it’s a “background noise” that is there if I listen for it. However, there are times when it seems to be quite loud – every once in a while I can actually hear it when I am driving my car. Weariness and stress cause my tinnitus to seem much louder than when I am relaxed and calm. And frequently my tinnitus just seems to increase for no reason, and then it seems to die off to its background level as time goes on. Again, so be it.

      An odd thing happened about two months ago – my T was waking me up 90 minutes after I feel asleep. Like clockwork; I kid you not. I would wake up and hear the tinnitus in my left ear screaming in the silence. I would then fall back asleep in about 10 – 20 minutes. I started focusing on this, looking at the clock as I grew tired, and looking at it when I woke up. After a week of this I realized I was focusing on this way to much, and I was making the condition worse. So I literally decided to stop caring about it. After about three or four days I started sleeping through the night again. That’s been my only temporary setback with my tinnitus.

      Why am I writing this? Because when I first had difficulty with my tinnitus I thought my quality of life was permanently ruined. I never thought I would be able to read a book in silence, or just sit in a quiet room and relax. I thought the next forty years I have left (hopefully) were going to be one long masking session. I was so wrong, and I realized that early from other people with tinnitus and my own efforts.

      Have patience, let your mind adjust to the sound, and try not to think negative thoughts. I quite honestly willed myself to be positive and focus on positive things in my life. As my hearing recovered and the hyperacusis abated, things began to return to normal.

      Force yourself to be positive. Focus on the good things in your life. Trust in time.
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    2. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Thank you for this. How long did the hyperacusis last? Mine is acute, it's been getting worse for about 1-2 years and I'm falling into this trap of projecting ahead into the future that it will never go. I know this is negative thinking but the symptoms are so bad I can hardly hold conversations with people without pain and at least major discomfort; it's completely changed me as a person.
    3. pef

      pef Member

      Georgia, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mine was short lived, about three weeks for the real pain, and then several weeks for "minor pains" before it went away. Sorry to hear about your hyperacusis....hope the docs can help you out some how....

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