Relapses / Spikes / Changing Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Dr. Bruce Hubbard (Psychologist, CBT)' started by Cassidy, Jul 11, 2014.

    1. Cassidy

      Cassidy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress Overdrive
      Dr. Hubbard,

      I read the bio section of your profile and have to say that it is very inspirational especially when you mention you were able to overcome disabling tinnitus which caused social withdrawal and get on with living your life to the fullest and establishing a successful career.

      I wanted to ask whether now, when you are habituated or tinnitus does not bother you anymore, you still experience relapses or spikes or changes in your tinnitus pitch/tone? Not obvious spikes like when you have a common cold or are stressed or shortly after exercise, but perhaps random ones which scare you? Or can you genuinely say that, no matter what change in tone or spike, you are no longer affected?

      Also out of curiosity, do you sleep with masking sounds or can you fall asleep in a quiet room now?

      Many thanks for your reply!
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    2. Dr. Hubbard

      Dr. Hubbard Member

      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Hi Cassidy,

      My tinnitus is pretty stable. There are minor fluctuctuations which, over the first year, would reignite my anxious thinking. In looking back, i now believe this was largely a result of my hypervigilence (excessive anxious attention) to tinnitus, which reinforced the subjective impression that the tinnitus was getting better or worse when in fact it was not. I needed to understand that there was a very restricted range of fluctuation in tone and volume outside of which the tinnitus did not stray. And that has persisted to this day.

      I do continue to experience every few days the auditory phenomenon called Transient Spontaneous Tinnitus (TST), in which a tone pops into one ear, accompanied by a sense of fullness and hearing loss, then fades within 10-20 seconds. I've always had these, but after my tinnitus, they began to trigger significant anxiety associated with the thought that they wouldn't go away and would become additional chronic tones. However, in nine years that has not happened and my brain has learned to dismiss these concerns when they occur.

      I can honestly say that at this point, even with minor fluctuations in sound, i do not experience any negative reactions to my tinnitus. It's just a meaningless, benign component of my sensory world that my brain tunes out 99% of the time.

      Regarding masking: About six months into my tinnitus, when I concluded that acceptance and exposure would hasten habituation, I stopped using all masks for sleep and concentration (e.g., writing).

      In my humble opinion, the best possible approach is to accept tinnitus -- stop fighting it, bracing against it, trying to avoid it -- and shift your attention back to the activities involved in living a full, meaningful life. It's a tough transition, and requires much patience, but you will habituate and move on!

      Best Wishes
      Dr Hubbard
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