SSHL and Tinnitus Update — I Have Habituated

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by IreneW, Jan 9, 2018.

    1. IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      It’s been 2 years and 3 months since that terrible day that I lost my hearing suddenly in my left ear. Although I can relate to so many of these stories being posted I have to say I am in a better place. I am not going to lie and say it was easy because it was far from that but I do want to tell you that you will habituate.

      My hearing loss improved, I gained about 60% hearing back, but have zero high frequency hearing in left ear. I am grateful for the hearing I do have left. I would say that from the initial SSHL it took a period of several months to regain some hearing.

      As for my Tinnitus, well it’s still ringing loud as ever but I have habituated.

      For me, it took me getting on an antidepressant two months in, so please do not be ashamed, embarrassed or consider yourself weak for going that route. You would be surprised at how many people have Tinnitus but don’t talk about it.

      I was at my husband’s Christmas party last month and the wife of my husband’s coworker was sitting across from me. We got to talking and it turns out she has super loud Tinnitus with no hearing loss and also vertigo.

      This gave me a platform for me to discuss what I had been through and to have someone that could relate. I honestly don’t know where I would be had I not gotten on medications and found this support group.

      I know the struggle, I have been there but one thing you never want to do is lose hope. As I sit here and post this update I feel truly blessed and proud that I overcame that terrible time in my life. Love and hugs to all , Irene
       
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    2. Scared111

      Scared111 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Has your tinnitus changed at all since the beginning? How do you handle sleep? Do you get spikes still? Thanks !
      Congrats on feeling better!
       
    3. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      Thank you for posting! I had sudden hearing loss, too. It’s a reassuring to hear from someone who has experienced it.
       
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    4. Bishop

      Bishop Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but I think it was a reaction to Medication
      Hi Irene:
      It's great to hear how you've habituated over your Tinnitus. Habituation is a real thing, and I too have habituated over my Tinnitus. I first heard my Tinnitus 2 years ago, I remember the details like it was yesterday. I woke up one morning and was doing my normal routine of making breakfast and getting ready to go to the gym, and out of the blue, I heard a loud shrieking whistle. Honestly, I thought it was the TV doing an Emergency Broadcasting Test, but when I turned off the TV, I then thought the fire alarm was going off outside somewhere. It didn't take me long to realize the ringing sound was actually coming from inside my head. Honestly, I was scared almost immediately because I've never experienced this before. I began searching the internet under "Ringing in the ears" and was even more frightened when I read what condition I had and how there was no cure. I was in a minor state of panic, but I tried to keep it together and tell myself once I see my doctor she'd be able to cure me. Now remember all of these thoughts and emotional rollercoaster happened only after one hour of having Tinnitus. And trust me, I'm a pretty positive and up beat person with no history of depression or mental issues. Honestly, I thought nothing could effect me. And no matter what happened I could beat it no problem. Boy, was I wrong.

      Well, I couldn't sleep. Stopped going to gym, so I began to lose muscle mass ( I'm in pretty good shape by the way), All I did was focus all of my time and effort in concentrating on my Tinnitus and how to cure it. I began taking different vitamins, seeing Chinese herb doctors, Acupuncture, Hearing Aids, Did MRI's , Massages, etc. etc.. I must have spent thousands of dollars on trying to cure my Tinnitus. All I did was talk about my Tinnitus to my girlfriend and friends, and after awhile I could tell they were getting pretty tired of me talking about it. I mean , I don't blame them, if someone kept talking to me about something everymoment of the day, I would get pretty irritated also.

      Then I kept reading about Habituation, and I thought there is no way I'm going to habituate. My Tinnitus is different than everyone else, and I'm that one person that wont be able to habituate. I was sure of it. But I told myself what have I got to lose, I mean I'm already at the lowest point of my life. How much worse can it get, right? So I began waking up each morning and looking in the mirror and telling myself "I'm not going to let my Tinnitus take control of my life, I'm going to take control of it. My tinnitus is just an irritating sound that cant hurt me in anyway. It's not important enough for me to give it any attention." I kept telling myself I wasn't going to try to cure my Tinnitus, I was going to live with it and make it a normal part of me. I wasn't going to fight it anymore. Of course, at first it was only words or positive thoughts in my head, that really wasn't working. But I told myself I need to stop wanting instant gratification, eventually my reaction and focus to my Tinnitus will go away with time and positive thinking.

      Well believe it or not, after a few months of constant positive thinking and telling myself my Tinnitus is just a normal part of my life and nothing more than a sound. My mind began to actually believe it. I cant explain it. One morning I woke up and I felt less irritated and depressed about my Tinnitus. And as each week went by, I felt less and less irritated, till I started to actually stop thinking about my Tinnitus for long periods of time. I could still hear my Tinnitus, but it just stopped bothering me. Did it get softer? I don't think so, but of course if something becomes less irritating, then you focus on it less, and it feels like it's getting softer.

      This was a huge breakthrough with my Tinnitus. Once I began to stop caring about my Tinnitus, I stopped focusing on it, then I stopped hearing it, and then I began enjoying my life again, I began doing all of the things I loved to do. Working out at the gym, running, going out to bars, hanging out with my friends. Then my sleep got better also. I went from sleeping 2 to 3 hours, to 4 to 5 hours, then back to 8 to 10 hours. And all of this with the same loud Tinnitus that I had from the beginning.

      Your mind is a very powerful thing, and believe it or not, if you condition your mind and thoughts, you can do anything. Have you ever lived near a train track or highway? The first few weeks, it's hard to concentrate because all you hear is the traffic of cars all day and night. But after awhile your mind starts to get use to the sound of traffic. Then eventually you stop hearing the traffic noise all together. Did the traffic noise actually change? Of course not, but your mind slowly got use to it, and your reaction to the sound changed. Our senses adapt to our surroundings all the time. Tinnitus is just a new sound in our environment we need to adapt to. Once we adapt, our mind stops focusing and hearing it, and then guess what? We're habituated!

      Now since I fully habituated, my Tinnitus went up in volume ( I think) about 5 months ago. And guess what? I adapted to the new higher volume, and my mind just pushed it back into the back of my thoughts again.

      Of course, every one is different, but I know everyone can habituate. Look at you and me Irene. If we can do it then everyone else can.

      I hear my Tinnitus every day. just like I hear the wind and the cars driving by everyday. But just like all of the other sounds of my day, I just hear them and don't react to them. It's just another great day.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Scared111,

      Thank you , My sleep now is normal I can sleep 8 hrs no problem, I’m the beginning I had no sleep it seems that all I could do was think about the Tinnitus. It was a viscous circle, I honestly felt more relaxed at night and I hated mornings. Mornings at the time meant I would have all day to deal with the ringing where at night I could take Xanax to help relax. As for spikes I don’t have that , my T is for the most part the same volume LOUD. I do notice that there are times that it stops for 2-5 seconds and it starts back up. I also notice that it gets really low and then then it goes back to loud. There are also times that I hear almost like clicking or something and it makes me wonder if my ear drum is trying hard to pick up some sounds. I have gotten used to all the above . In the beginning when it first stopped for 2-5 seconds I was thrilled I thought I was cured. You know what is strange is when the ringing does stop even for couple of seconds, it’s a weird feeling , of almost being too quiet. Hang in there sweetie, I’m here for support. Irene
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Bishop,

      Thanks for your post, Reading it makes me think of all the similiar thoughts I was having. I completing agree your attitude has lots to do with it, you are much stronger than I. There is no way I could have done it without being on Meds and my faith. I was definitely at my lowest during this time , so much so that I had what I now know as a nervous breakdown. I hated for my family and sons to see me this way but I could not help it. I will tell anyone the worst thing you can do when you first experience T is dont google it!!! I made it worse when I read those words “no cure” and then all the dark stories about people that were living with it. I finally told my son to find me something positive and he found this forum. When you mentioned that all you did was talk about T, I did the same thing . My husband was so understanding there were days in the beginning I did not want him to leave me. He missed several days of work and would check on me constantly because I litterally thought I was going to die from the stress. I want to say Congrats on getting where you are now, what a great testimony and words of encouragement, thank you for sharing ! Hugs, Irene
       
    7. Bishop

      Bishop Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but I think it was a reaction to Medication
      Hi Irene:
      I totally agree about first impressions when you first get your Tinnitus. If someone would've told me, "Hey don't worry buddy, at first it's very irritating but eventually you will get over it and after awhile you wont even think or hear it anymore." I think my mind and attitude would've reacted in a totally different way. Honestly, I don't think I would've had any of the issues I had in those first few months of Tinnitus, if I was given more positive and encouraging news. When I went to see my doctor the first week, she told me, "Oh yes, you have Tinnitus, you'll just have to live with it." She just shrugged it off as if it wasn't a big deal. Of course when she told me that I just had to live with it, I was like, "What? you've got to be kidding". Looking back, what she should have said was, "Don't worry, this is just Tinnitus. Your reactions are perfectly normal, but don't worry, you will begin to adapt to this, and eventually you wont notice it, and soon after you wont be hearing it either. Your life will soon be back to normal, so don't panic and be confident that you will be back to your normal self soon". Now if my doctor told me that during my first week, I think I would've walked out of her office with a great attitude, and would've probably habituated in a week or so.

      And that's why I tell all of the newbies out there........Don't worry.....you will get over this. Tinnitus is just a sound. It's irritating at first, but your mind will eventually get used to it. Tinnitus doesn't deserve your attention or focus. Believe it or not, your mind will eventually stop thinking so much about it. And eventually it will actually stop hearing it. It's amazing how strong your mind is.

      For example, last summer I went to visit some friends in the South, and at night there were so many crickets, and all I could hear were those crickets chirping all night long. The first few nights I couldn't sleep at all, but after a week, I began to hear the crickets less and less, and soon I was sleeping like a baby. The crickets were still there, chirping as loud as usual. But my brain had just gotten use to them. I stopped thinking of them as being a threat or irritating, and just accepted them as a normal sound and a normal part of my environment. Soon I couldn't hear the crickets at all. Like I said, the brain is a very powerful muscle.

      Your mind can adapt to your senses very easily if you let them. Another example is smokers. If you go into a house of someone that smokes, do you notice how it smells like an ash tray. But the smoker who lives there doesn't even smell the smoke or notice it at all. Once again the mind adapts to the senses environment, and makes this a new normal for the individual. So much that your mind doesn't even notice it anymore.

      That's what happens to your Tinnitus. Once you make it your new normal, and stop reacting to it in a negative way, then your mind begins to slowly adapt, and eventually, miraculously you truly stop hearing it as much and as loud.

      We have a Tinnitus support group where I live. We have about 4 people in the group. But all 4 of us have habituated. We get together now, not to talk so much about Tinnitus, but more just to hang out and catch up on each others lives. Since now we are close friends. But we do talk about how those first months were the worst, and how all it took was a change in the way we think about our Tinnitus and changing our attitude about it that made the difference. Trust me......we were all at that point where we thought our lives were over. We were depressed and had no hope. But changing our thought process and constantly actively minimizing our Tinnitus making it and thinking it as a normal insignificant part of our life made a huge difference.

      Of course, just thinking positive thoughts isn't the only thing that helps you habituate. Getting back to your normal routine, being healthy, exercise, keeping busy, all of those things helps as well. But the first step is accepting your Tinnitus as a normal part of your life, and making it so insignificant that you stop thinking or focusing on it anymore. Once you truly believe that, your life will begin to get back to normal. What a great feeling that is!!!

      Have a great week!!
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Bishop,
      I can so relate to what the Dr said to you . I too heard those same words, it’s Tinnitus there is no cure you are going to have to learn to live with it. There was no compassion whatsoever. Glad you too are able to share positive words with others.
       
    9. Scared111

      Scared111 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      you still take xanax to sleep? everyday?
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      No I don’t take anything to sleep, I haven’t taken a Xanax in 2 years . I only took it in the beginning
       
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Being able to move forward with tinnitus and get a long with one's life, it certainly helps to have a positive attitude and I firmly believe in this. However, tinnitus is not as simple as you imply although it is true, many people find it irritating at first and habituation, often occurs within six months to a year sometimes longer after onset. Please don't think this is the case for everyone.

      Tinnitus can be a seriously debilitating condition when it is severe and intrusive and can affect some peoples daily life considerably. It is not often talked about but sadly it is a fact.

      Michael
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Michael,
      True, I didn’t leave my home and didn’t want to leave my Home at onset. I wasn’t eating only drinking water. I lost 20lbs in two months, I seriously was making plans for my husband so he would be prepared to live without me because I seriously felt like I was going to die from the stress. It does depend on the person and how strong they are mentally, I’m not that. It broke me for sure but after several months and a few panic attacks in between I finally was able to reach the point that my brain did not focus on the sound and I was able to tune it out. Even now 2 yrs later if I have a day that I’m stressed and My T seems louder I try to keep those words that heartless ENT told me “there is no cure , you just have to deal with it” out of my thoughts.

      Irene
       
    13. Bishop

      Bishop Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but I think it was a reaction to Medication
      Oh yes, Tinnitus was the hardest thing I've had to deal with in my life. I was spiraling down hill in just the first few weeks. And it took me about 6 months to really start to feel like I was making any progress. I tried everything you can imagine to try and beat this thing. After the first week of not sleeping at all, I resorted to medications (Ambien, Etc.) and they actually did help a bit, but I knew the longer I used medications the more dependent I would get on them, and if and when I did decide to ween off them, it would be worse. So after a few weeks of meds, I stopped them completely. It was scary because I knew I would struggle, but honestly it was the best thing I could've done. So I focused completely on handling my mental stress and depression by using Sound Therapy , TRT and CBT. Once I re-trained my thought patterns towards my Tinnitus, the doors opened and began to get better by leaps and bounds.

      Now I don't know how bad or worse my Tinnitus is compared to others, but I can say that I felt I had the worse symptoms of Tinnitus in the world. it was loud and very intrusive. And I know that I was in a very dark place during those first months of Tinnitus. But now I'm happy and back to enjoying life again. Which is why Tinnitus people need to know that they're therapies and methods you can use to bring you out of your despair. And they're not just my opinions but actual proven fact. Of course, not everyone is the same and there may be a small percentage that can't habituate, but the odds are you will habituate.

      I'm a coach for a young boys football team, and when we are losing in the final minutes of the game, I don't look at them and say "Okay boys, we're losing pretty bad, and the chances of us winning this game are pretty slim to none. But if we try this play we may be able to win. But that's a one in a million chance, so expect to lose" That's a guarantee recipe for disaster. Instead I look at my team, and enthusiastically tell them, " Listen guys, we are going to win this game. And the play we're running is going to work. You're champions and we will win. But you gotta believe you can win, and trust me we will win. Now let's implement the plan and win this game".

      That's the approach I took with my Tinnitus. It wasn't easy, and I had to keep motivating myself over and over again. But it did work and I did habituate and win over my Tinnitus. You'll always have a better chance to succeed in life if you feel the "Glass is half full" than if you feel the "Glass is half empty". The more you keep telling yourself something over and over again, the more your mind will believe it, and then it will become a reality.

      I know it's tough, because I've been there and I've gone through the pain and struggles we've all experienced. My Tinnitus was very intrusive and loud, so I know the struggles. But if I can overcome my Tinnitus, then others should know they can overcome theirs also.
       
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    14. Nanny chocolate

      Nanny chocolate Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Devon
      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unbelievable caused by audiologist!
      Bishop, thank you. I’m not a newbie as I’ve had T for more than 20 years. It’s now become atrociously loud, gone to other ear and is impossible to refocus just now. Your words are a great comfort to someone who just wants to give up. Yes, I am depressed and T thrives on that. Eve
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      IreneW

      IreneW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Thank you Bishop, love your positive attitude . The reality is most us here on this forum have at some point or another fine through the first initial reactions to the onset of T. The support we have for each other here is like no other. This success stories on this forum helped me tremendously and gave me hope. This is what i wish for anyone who is a newbie to T. I will continue to offer support to anyone that just wants reassurance they can ge through this. Thanks for sharing your story.
       

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