Please Provide Perspective on Tinnitus Spiking Easily — Pivotal Job Decision

Discussion in 'Support' started by GBB, Jan 17, 2021.

    1. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Hi,

      I'm about 6 months in and find that on many days I can suppress my tinnitus beneath catastrophic levels by periodic use of Xanax / Kava Kava - I've been doing this for months and it seems "sustainable". I am now back at work remotely, however, even at 6 months, things like driving for 30 minutes or someone dropping a heavy object in a closed room are enough to spike me for a few days or a week back to truly terrible levels where I find it hard just to exist. Music will also do this to a certain extent depending on how beat up I already am and the volume level/duration.

      I would say in controlled conditions, I have come down from suicide levels of tinnitus to very uncomfortable, but I can keep going, and I've overall gained a sense of some tenacity, if nothing else.

      I have a pretty big decision to make in the next week about whether I accept or turn down, literally, the job I want most in the world. It's a lot of money and a less than 1% acceptance rate - it's literally what Harvard Business School students chase after - I'm not trying to brag at all, just trying to provide context. Although it would be tough to work long hours with my tinnitus as is, I think I could do it by pushing myself harder than I ever have, and in controlled conditions, I think I could succeed. This means a lot more to me than money; it's about accomplishing a goal I've chased for a long time. However, if my tinnitus never spikes any less easily, and I'm not more durable, I think it would be a losing proposition, as when COVID-19 is over this job will mean traveling weekly. If I spike as easily in 6 more months as I do now, I'm guaranteed to have to resign. Currently, I have little or no pain hyperacusis, to provide more context.

      I'm looking for perspective from people who have/had tinnitus that easily spikes high and how that trait has evolved over time. If it seems like for most their sensitivity goes down, and if I can expect that might happen to me, I'd be more willing to push myself.

      If for most people they never spike any less easily in reaction to noise, I'll probably turn the job down. It's literally the biggest decision of my life so I'm just looking for data in the experience of others, which I know in this situation is almost impossible.

      So to summarize, gun to my head, can I expect on average that for people whose tinnitus spikes easily, that that trait gets somewhat better over time e.g. harder to spike, spikes to less levels, spikes are shorter? No pressure, just the trajectory of my life on the line.

      I probably cannot manage to revive this opportunity or seize a similar other if I pass now.

      I'm already on Keppra for those who would suggest that.

      Also, I am aware I make the final decision and bear the risk - please just answer candidly and I will make a decision of my own volition.

      Thanks all!
       
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    2. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud live music show
      Can you delay your start date by a year, e.g. join with next year's "class", if it's that kind of situation?

      If not, I would recommend you go for it. If you don't, you'll always wonder what if.

      If you take the job and have to resign, are there serious negative ramifications of that (more serious than just turning it down right now)?
       
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    3. twa
      Busy

      twa Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      We know that tinnitus has an anxiety/stress component, as many of us were under tremendous stress when our tinnitus began or worsened. Are you willing to trade a worsened condition or your overall health for this new position? Twenty years down the road what would you advise your younger self? I have asked myself these questions this week. I would have told my younger self to take better care of my health, working long hours and gaining career success will not be worth it in the long run.

      Best to you,
      twa
       
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    4. Croaker
      Haunting

      Croaker Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019 T, 04/2020 H
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones/Car Alarm/Immune Response?
      MBB consulting, I assume. It’s a harsh lifestyle even with healthy ears. I couldn’t take that risk, one flight/road trip could put you right back where you started, or worse. I’m sorry, I know what it feels like to lose everything to this group of conditions.
       
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    5. musicblue

      musicblue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I would keep your current job and accept this new job and also tell them briefly your difficulties currently. The firm knowing this, in the next 6 months, they may even be able to find you a quieter temporary position as a back up and at least your be within the firm. Worst case you have to decline the job in another 5 months time, but you have given yourself another 5 months of healing time and still have your current job.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Unfortunately I can’t defer. I guess worst case is I’m job searching with a bad medical situation.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Ya I’m pretty torn. I just wish I knew what the future had in store for me...

      Prior to my last acoustic insult 5 days ago I was feeling pretty good and now I’m shit again.
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Thanks - if I knew I’d gradually get better I’d insist to myself to do it. If I knew I’d get worse I wouldn’t. The challenge is in having no good data with which to decide.
       
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    9. buttercake

      buttercake Guest

      When are you supposed to begin this job? Tomorrow? Turn it down. In six months? Accept it and possibly turn it down later on if things do not improve considerably.
       
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    10. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I was where you are. Offered a job at a 20 billion plus company. I knew I could handle the position but what about my tinnitus. My enjoyment of the job outlasted my fear of tinnitus. I was an employee at this company for 23 years. Stay strong and go for it!
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      I have to make a decision by this Friday. Start date would be February 5th. Travel would likely resume in June.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Thanks man - I'm definitely considering it. Good to hear you were able to do the job you wanted : )
       
    13. Dolgoruki

      Dolgoruki Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss
      I am in a fast-forwarded position relative to yours: I accepted that super stressful, high-paying and highly gratifying job around a year ago but I am currently wondering how long I will be able to keep it.

      My tinnitus started 6 months ago during a period of extremely high stress at work. I have blamed my job for its sudden onset, but obviously I don't know for sure since a lot was going on at that time. Since then there have been moments I said to myself: "That's it! You're reaching another breaking point and gotta stop before that happens. You're going to send a resignation letter first thing in the morning and take some time off to heal." I even had recurring dreams of a female figure who keeps telling me "your tinnitus will be cured once you leave your job". Then on good tinnitus days I'm glad I didn't leave my job.

      I eventually decided I'll stick with it at least until after the pandemic is under control and I got vaccinated, and revisit this decision at a later time. In the meantime, I'll try and be more self-aware and cognizant of how precarious my mental health is right now and proceed with caution.

      My recommendation for you would be to go for it but be ready to pull the plug if it's too much stress. Worst case scenario, you can always leave in a few months but still have added another line to your resume. There are ways to explain why you left so early that do not require you disclosing your health condition and will not warn off other employers.

      Best of luck!
       
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    14. Amaranta
      Dramaqueen

      Amaranta Member

      Location:
      Spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My tinnitus does not spike easily, but I am going to give you my opinion anyways.

      You are saying you could do your dream job at least until June... and maybe then your tinnitus will not be as bad, or you find you can take on projects that does not require to travel (no idea if this is possible), or COVID-19 stays longer than that, many things can happen... Worst case scenario is, you must travel but your tinnitus does not allow it, so you resign... You would have to find another job that suits you better. I would consider this possibility and see how problematic it could be for you to find another good job, keeping in mind you would still be in the 1%... meaning that you are highly valued by demanding companies, or so it seems!

      Hope you can understand my point despite my English.
       
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    15. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      In all honesty, I would take the job. Life doesn't stop because we have tinnitus and/or other health conditions, so don't let it hold you back or you may regret it forever. What is the inherent risk with this job that is putting you off? I can imagine it would be no different than returning to real-life, so to speak. If the job involved going to loud raves every week then I'd advise against it, but a business type job should be fine.

      I think the main problem you have is that your head is not straight yet, and you're not mentally prepared to return to reality, but at some point, you will have to. You may even find that having new motivations and goals to spur you on may actually improve your current circumstances. There is nothing worse than isolating yourself, with no daily routine, when you have tinnitus, as it can quickly consume you.

      Only you know if you are ready for this, and I highly doubt that anything you read here will sway your decision. Subconsciously, your mind was made up the moment you made this thread. Deep down you know the answer.

      A friend once told me this as a way to help make important decisions, and I really like it: flip a coin and pick an outcome for each side that decides your fate. When you see the result, be honest, and ask yourself if the outcome disappoints you or not. Then you will know what you really want.

      Whatever you decide, good luck!
       
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    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Thanks - to clarify I am currently working full time but I don't have to leave my house. Driving right now even with protection results in massive tinnitus spikes. If I could take this job and not leave my house I would do so, but it will require driving and flying weekly by about June. Therefore I'm trying to determine whether it is realistic to expect an increase in my durability e.g. spike less.
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      I appreciate it, I am certainly still deliberating!
       
    18. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      @GBB I don't know how useful this is but I will say that when I moved from the city to the country and radically cut my noise intake, my noise tolerance seemed to grow all on its own. My first year here I was still using silicone plugs for driving a lot of the time; now I only do that occasionally and basically only if I'm driving studded tires at highway speeds.

      Being on daily Klonopin + Gabapentin now makes anything I have to say a little dubious, but I do remember some real obvious stuff, like when I lived outside DC our espresso machine was too loud for me and I kept earmuffs near it. I had stopped doing that within a year of of moving out of the city (and I didn't go on Klonopin until the third year we were here).

      Anecdotally I've noticed a lot of businesses that were all in office whose "reopen" plan includes some amount of a permanently remote workforce. So, you might be able to weasel your way into a fully remote gig of some kind; clearly this has tremendous advantages for people with our problems.
       
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    19. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      There is a grey area with spikes. Do you have hyperacusis/noxacusis?

      If you only have tinnitus then there is a good chance that your spikes may be driven by anxiety/stress. Please don't discount this as me being condescending, I also get bad spikes to this day, and I have noticed a strong correlation between my levels of stress and how loud I perceive my tinnitus. This would include any activity that you feel is a risk to your ears. Over time you can program a conditioned physiological response.

      If you have hyperacusis then it becomes more complicated, as there are various types with different symptoms. There is a growing amount of evidence that suggests the pain threshold is lowered - in those who have noxacusis - because of a physical trauma that damaged the inner ear. We all have a pain threshold, for normal people it starts around 120 dBA, but for people with noxacusis it can be felt at 60 dBA.

      You know your symptoms better than anyone here, so you need to check your gut, as you know if you're ready for this or not. If it's too much too soon, then don't pressure yourself to do it. Your physical and mental health should always rank above wealth.
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Thanks - I do have mild pain hyperacusis which also spikes when I drive - it's not psychosomatic or anything - it's a real hellish spike, hence my hesitation. I'll make a decision in the end.
       
    21. Diesel

      Diesel Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      1-2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      20+ Years of Live Music, Motorcycles, and Power Tools
      I think you've answered your own question. I have been in a similar situation; recently took a promotion given my tinnitus + hyperacusis situation; it meant significantly more money, more responsibility for projects, initiatives, and people, etc.

      I decided, fuck it, I'll do it and see what happens.

      What I have learned to do, is keep going at the job as long as I can handle the bullshit that comes along with tinnitus + hyperacusis. Every morning, I ask myself, "Is it so bad that I can't get through today?" , or throughout the day, "Is it so bad that I can't get through this meeting, email, etc." ... almost always, the answer ends up being NO. And when the the answer is, "Maybe not".. I just think, "Fuck it, I'll get through today, because usually tomorrow will be a little better." So, I keep going as long as I can handle it. It turns out I can handle a lot of really fucking annoying tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      The best advice for you is to be overly prepared. For example, If you're traveling create a "Shitty tinnitus" pack for all the necessities you need to get through your tinnitus. Multiple types of ear plugs (foam, filtered, etc), Melatonin, your supplements of choice, and something to distract you... a good book maybe.

      The above is what I have done to make it though; If I can do it, so can you.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      I really appreciate it! That's encouraging. Props to you for making it through.
       
    23. AfroSnowman
      Balanced

      AfroSnowman Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Nonnatural energy source
      @GBB I think you have to assume that habituation will be in your future. Let’s say within the next 12 months because that is the most likely scenario. If this is a unique opportunity and you think there is any reasonable chance you can keep going through the pain while you progressively become more habituated I say go for it.

      That being said for me it was about a year in before I nervously started to lean into advancement again taking a moderately high stress and high profile position. I still have spikes but I can cope with them better now. Some days are hard but demands also help distract from tinnitus.

      Ultimately we all need to find ways to move on, being stuck in the disabled phase is not a great place to be. That being said I don’t know whether I would have been able to push through at the 5 month mark. Good luck.
       
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    24. Aaron91
      Gloomy

      Aaron91 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/headphones/concerts - Hyperacusis from motorbike
      Disclaimer: this is probably not the kind of post you want to read, but seeing as you've had more encouraging stories above I felt compelled to balance the debate here by sharing mine.

      I write the below as someone who has had severe tinnitus and hyperacusis (now moderate), and as someone who landed their dream job at the early age of 25 and lost it (as well as a potential promotion) at 28 due to these debilitating conditions.

      If you want the TLDR, here it is: no job, or amount of money, is worth one's health. Period. If you don't have your health, you can't do/enjoy your job, or the money that it provides you. I suspect you may agree with this (at least to some extent), but if I've understood correctly, I think the question you're asking here is whether the risk of the condition worsening is worth it, because clearly you are aware that there is a risk of that happening.

      What I find most alarming and worrying about your post is that you've stated you already have mild hyperacusis. Take that as a warning sign, because if you were already suicidal from tinnitus, I can tell you that severe hyperacusis will make that dilemma a very easy choice - personally speaking, I came very close to pulling the trigger, and a quick search through this subforum will reveal many others who also said they were thinking of doing the same and then never posted again. If you are scared, you should be. This condition, at its worst, is catastrophic.

      Seeing as you're looking for more data, here's mine. I got tinnitus 13 years ago and generally dealt with it ok, despite it being pretty loud at times. I had many spikes but they would often calm down, despite me doing stupid things, such as going to concerts without earplugs etc. About 18 months ago, I started to notice a very mild sensitivity to sound settling in (such as banging cutlery or screeching tube trains). A year later, my catastrophic hyperacusis would arrive. I took sick leave, withdrew my interest in a promotion opportunity and I'm now on an indefinite, unpaid sabbatical. I don't see myself returning any time soon.

      From reading your posts, it sounds to me that your ears are in a similar place to where mine were 18 months ago. With that in mind, and if I had a time machine that would let me go back in time 18 months, I would have quit my job and hobbies and found something a lot more quiet in order to protect my ears from further damage. I therefore have the following questions for you:
      1. Will your job involve frequent phone or video calls, or frequent exposure to other sounds - industrial, musical or otherwise?
      2. Will you be travelling a lot for work?
      3. Is the job likely to be extremely demanding and stressful, to the point that it will negatively impact your ability to maintain your overall health (i.e. sleep well, rest, exercise etc.)?
      4. Will your job demand you attending noisy or loud environments, such as conferences, bars/clubs or busy restaurants?
      5. Do you need a drug to cope with your current symptoms?
      If you have answered yes to any of the above, I can say that the chances are that your condition will only worsen. How bad it gets and how long it takes to reach an unbearable level of course are open questions. Keprra/Kava aren't healing you, they're merely disguising your symptoms. Can you cope without it? If so, then only the first four questions apply.

      I'll finish with this: I used to romanticise and glorify my job. It was very prestigious, and afforded me a level of respect I never previously had and opened many doors. And yet in that moment, when I was ready to pull the trigger, none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered at that point were my loved ones, and I knew I would be hurting them deeply if I followed through. Why then take the risk and put one's self in that situation?

      For what it's worth, I have spent the last few months teaching myself new skills, albeit using captions on YouTube to do so, in order to pivot myself and find an alternative career path in the future. It isn't the life I planned or hoped for. In fact, this whole thing has been a huge fucking curveball - 10 years of my career and education gone in an instant, just like that. But sometimes in life we are dealt a 7-2 and are already pot-committed, so we have to try to play the hand as best as we can.

      EDIT: I also encourage you to factor in how others may be affected if your condition were to worsen. Play out the scenario in your head. What decisions would you take, and how would those decisions affect others?
       
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    25. DRobi

      DRobi Member

      Location:
      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Presbycusis
      There is a whole school of thought that the best way to deal with tinnitus is through habituation. The proponents of habituation say that one should live their life as if they did not have tinnitus; give it no attention or significance, push it into the background and move on. In the early months of tinnitus distress, this is really hard, and losing the fear of tinnitus of course takes time. But the vast majority of tinnitus sufferers eventually do habituate, at least to some extent. If you believe in habituation, then the clear answer is to take that job and tell your tinnitus to shove it. You may find that the demands of the new job will take your focus away from your tinnitus, and that your habituation is actually accelerated.

      Life is short and if this job is truly your "dream job" then I think you should go for it.

      If you find that you just can't handle the stress and your tinnitus/hyperacusis become worse, well then you can always quit. But why not give it a shot.
       
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    26. Sevv

      Sevv Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12.04.2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      This was a very insightful and helpful post. Thanks a lot for sharing your view. It helped me to plan about a decision that I may have to make this year.
       
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    27. Josh1994

      Josh1994 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - started after a period of balance issues
      Don’t let tinnitus stand in the way of your dream job! I know it’s hard at the moment, but give it time and you will habituate!

      I was in a similar position to you 2 years ago. Brilliant job opportunity vs being able to sustain the job while struggling with my tinnitus on a daily basis. I’m a building surveyor and the thought of having to visit loud and noisy construction sites nearly stopped me from accepting the job. However I thought to myself, I’ve spent 5+ years at university and endless amounts of money to get to this position, I can’t let my tinnitus take this opportunity away from me.

      I took the job and haven’t looked back since.
       
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    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Lol - the answer is yes to all 5 of your questions. I appreciate you balancing the perspective.

      EDIT:
      Also my response did nothing to address your situation - I'm really sorry this has happened to you. I hope we all can recover to a state of normalcy, with time or medical assistance.
       
    29. DavidTyl

      DavidTyl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      GBB, sorry to say it, but I don't think you're ready yet to take this job. It seems to me you already have a full time job just trying to stay afloat with this horrendous problem.

      Also, this problem will keep hitting away at you, day after day, with some days being worse than others. So think how you will feel on day 9 of the job, or day 38, when things may get bad with you tinnitus and work - you will have to keep going and going with no respite from work. They won't really understand what you are going through even if you wrote a book on the subject.

      Are you ready for that? There will be no recovery days the following day, you will need to keep going.

      And the travel. If you are getting spikes with earmuffs on for short drives, how do you think you will deal with meetings, travel, team building exercises?

      Based on your current status, you will likely suffer more setbacks and worsening of damage and just not be yourself.

      You are trying to fit a circle into a square right now. You need to think of your health for however long it takes.

      David
       
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    30. Poseidon65

      Poseidon65 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud live music show
      I think it’s fair to say that many posters in this thread (myself included) have little experience with hyperacusis and how bad it can be.

      With tinnitus, one can just have mental fortitude, press forward, mask, etc. and be kind of okay. But it sounds like hyperacusis is a different ballgame.
       
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