Question About Severe Intrusive Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (MD)' started by Mpt, Apr 30, 2014.

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    1. Mpt

      Mpt Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Dr Nagler,
      I know this is sort of a strange last question to ask, but here goes: you often use the term "severe intrusive tinnitus", and I was just wondering if you could define that term. I feel like my actual noise puts me in a class below yourself and some other sufferers on the board who have loud tinnitus, but still with a noise that is louder than most tinnitus sufferers. I don't know if my volume has decreased or I have habituated somewhat, but I find that during the day my tinnitus (on most days) isn't bothering me as much as it once did. In fact, a lot of the time in an office environment with ambient sounds (air conditioning, etc) I don't really hear it too much whereas a few months ago I definitely heard it all the time over even loud noises. I'm only three months in, so perhaps my brain is still working this thing out. I'm going to cut back on my time spent on this board, (only checking in once a week or so for the forseeable future, because there are people here who I've never met, but who I genuinely care about and I'd like to see how they are doing). Frankly, I'm not suffering to the same extent that I was, and I think checking the board and constantly thinking about tinnitus is probably counter-productive for me at this point-- with that said I'd like to thank you for answering my questions for these last few months and if anyone I have conversed with reads this post, thank you as well---it has meant more to me than you could ever know.
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    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member Clinician Benefactor

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Matt, you ask a very good question and also bring up an important point, namely that we often use terms on sites such as this one without defining precisely what we mean. Tinnitus is confusing enough as it is - why unnecessarily make it worse?

      OK, to the best of my knowledge "severe intrusive tinnitus" is not strictly a medical term. So here's how I personally look at it; others may see it differently.

      Tinnitus becomes intrusive when not only do you have tinnitus, but your tinnitus also has you. In other words, tinnitus is intrusive when you find yourself making compromises in your life and lifestyle to accommodate your tinnitus.

      If intrusive, your tinnitus can be mildly intrusive, moderately intrusive, or severely intrusive - depending exclusively on the degree to which your tinnitus affects your life. You can have relatively soft tinnitus that is severely intrusive, you can have relatively loud tinnitus that is mildly intrusive, and you can have just about every combination and permutation under the sun. Most importantly, severely intrusive tinnitus can become mildly intrusive tinnitus or even non-intrusive tinnitus without any change in the tinnitus sound itself. Why? Because while loudness matters, the primary determinant of tinnitus severity is reaction. And you can do something about reaction!

      Hope this helps more than confuses.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
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