Starting to Think My Tinnitus Is Mostly Psychosomatic?

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Ciaran88, Oct 1, 2017.

    1. nimx

      nimx Member

      Haven't read all of the replies.
      Just based on post title I would say, sure, most tinnitus are psychosomatic, which means neurologic, it is the same thing, just like anxiety , it is neurological in its manifestation with, most times, a strong psychological part in its causes.
      Your IBS example is spot on. But we could even better take in example headaches (all of them wether it is migraines, which is a specific subset, or common tension headache etc), all the most recent research point to a neurological disfunction often driven by a psychosomatic/emotional stressors cause. Sure there are exceptions, in fact headaches are divided in primary and secondary, the latter are from an underlying problem like physical trauma, neoplasia and so on, of course this secondary headaches are far more rare than primary ones, while primary ones are EXTREMELY common ( at least in it's sporadic form). I strongly believe it is the same for Tinnitus. And, just as tinnitus, headaches (the more it is mild the less symptoms you have) have a host of neurological symptoms i.e. aura, nevralgia, ear fullness, sensory sensitivity (lights, sounds, smell), muscle tension in neck/head, pain, nausea, head pressure. Sounds familiar ? Although many symptoms are different, some overlap with those that someone with tinnitus could experience, that is because headaches and tinnitus are "usually" a symptom of a neurological imbalance, and if it holds true for headaches I would guess that one of the major cause is an emotional dysfuncion (be careful, altought it is best described this way because it usually precede and creates the snowballing effect that gives rise to a variety of symptoms, it is absolutely neurological in its manifestation, I mean, it's a real biologic dysfunction. The good news is that unlike degenerative neurological conditions, emotional-neurological disturbances, even it's not easy at all, can be managed and are sometime reversible, specially if psychological issues play a big part in its aetiopathogenesis).
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ciaran88

      Ciaran88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      In all honesty, probably anxiety
      Yeah I am prone to lack of patience and I understand that with tinnitus/hyperacusis, actively seeking a "cure" usually has the reverse effect.

      But I've learnt now how potentially reversible my issues are and how closely tied they are to stress levels and my ability to remain distracted.

      I'm improving in a very non-linear way, some days are better than others, but the overall trend since changing my mindset and using the noise enrichment has gone from being "I really don't know if it's better or not" to 80-90% reduction in all symptoms and absolute absence of tinnitus in the quiet at almost all times - the only problem remaining is a bit of a hiss with provoking sounds, but that's getting better slowly.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ciaran88

      Ciaran88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      In all honesty, probably anxiety
      In fact no sooner had I spoke than today things are much worse again, but I am wondering if it’s not a coincidence that I’m super stressed and moving continents lol.

      I guess recovery isn’t linear and there’s a pretty obvious cause (stress/anxiety plus fatigue), so I’ll try not to let it get to me. At least I know how much better or can already be.
       
    4. Allen Y.

      Allen Y. Member

      Location:
      Cupertino
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      Ciaran88,

      I am 46 now, have had intrusive tinnitus started when 44.

      Thing is: if there is one thing I protect ever since I was young, it is my hearing. I have always protected my ears. I treasure my hearing. I don't go to concerts, and cover my ears when in loud spaces.

      Yet ... without reason ... T found me one night in June 2016. I don't take any medication... I don't even take Tylenol...

      My question for you: why and how do you distinguish that much between normal vs. abnormal audiograms?

      I have slight - moderate hearing loss in the upper frequencies (-25 - 30 db at 8000k). It's not "normal" for someone in their 40's but I believe normal for someone (at least males) in their 50's ...

      So do I have hearing-loss induced T ... or is it all just psychological fixation? Or is it really hearing-loss induced if I am in 40's but all just psychological fixation if I were in my 50's?

      To be honest, I think I have always sensed tinnitus ... since a child. I thought it was "sound of silence." But be that as it may, the T I have is qualitatively if not quantitatively different. It is loud. 70-80 dB in my estimation ... at 12-13kHz...
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ciaran88

      Ciaran88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      In all honesty, probably anxiety
      Hi Allen, sorry I am not expert enough to comment on your situation, all I know is that an ENT, a regular audiologist and a specialist in tinnitus and balance disorders all feel that my audiogram doesn’t significantly contribute to my tinnitus and certainly there was unlikely to have been any sudde change in my hearing on the day it appeared. The change was almost certainly in my perception.

      Whether that is the case for you I can’t say. We all have detectable hearing loss usually in the higher but frequencies as we age and that increases with time, when they say our audiogram are normal it just means that that loss is not outside of he tabdard deviation for people our age.

      If yours is outside that standard deviation but only by a little, I don’t know the implications so I won’t pretend to comment but I hope you have spoken to an audiologist with a special interest that can reassure you one way or the other.

      Either way I can’t think of a reason not to recommend TRT to you. The stats speak for themselves, even in people with hearing loss it’s very effective. Regardless of the origin of our tinnitus (ranging from “normal in anyone” to “significant hearing loss”) it appears to be recommended and certainly there will always be a significant central auditory processing element that should be addressable with TRT.


      For myself, my symptoms had basically disappeared over the last week only to return with an absolute vengeance over the last 2 days. I also happen to be moving continent and the move has been very stressful and I am again losing my ability to stop thinking about and monitoring these sounds.

      But with an obvious increase in anxiety fitting chronologically with the worsening of symptoms I am just trying to reassure myself that it’s an inevitable dip on the never perfect road to recovery.

      I took 10 steps forward and about 8 steps back, it’s hard not to let that get me down but I suppose dwelling on it and benign pessimistic is a self fulfilling prophecy and I might as well assume that things can carry on getting a lot better as they were just a few days ago.
       
    6. Allen Y.

      Allen Y. Member

      Location:
      Cupertino
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      I have seen several ENT and audiologists. They don't think my T is caused by my hearing loss ... but only (I believe) because there are many others with much worse hearing loss than me without T.

      I don't like TRT only because I don't like to "trick" my mind. I don't like T ... no matter what others say...

      Strangely, my T follows a 2-2 cycle (2 day decent, 2 days bad). Some decent days are really truly decent - i.e. doesn't bother me at all ... But the bad days, I can hear it over the shower, hair dryer, anything I would typically subject my ears to.

      For me, I deal with T now with this perspective. T is hell, T is bad ... but even then, there are much worse things in life. I am not sure if Buddhism is "truth" - but Buddha definitely got it right in saying the universal problem we all humans share is "suffering."

      To that extent, T - and all our reactions to it - are a very human experience...
       
    7. Foncky
      Tired

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music. Balloon. Genes.
      I think you have no idea what you're talking about here. What is hearing loss ? As you put it, there is hearing loss or there isn't. Well... Your basic hearing test doesn't say that much about your hearing actually.
      We count enough people on this board who have a "perfect audiogram" and still struggle with intrusive T they can't mask. They struggle with tinnitus, not their brain.

      So please, don't tell people with loud, intrusive, horrible T that "it is all in the mind".
      You can do better as a doctor.

      2 weeks in and you already did all that, wrote all that. You're an anxious person, don't assume every one struggling with T is the same, hearing loss or not, ear disease or not.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ciaran88

      Ciaran88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      In all honesty, probably anxiety
      I made a point to constantly reiterate that I am not trying to make assumptions for others and I specifically said, again numerous times, that I am speaking to the people here who can relate to my situation, including the workup and the history of anxiety. If that's not you, please feel free to not consider my experiences relevant.

      Saying something is "all in the mind" is not the cop out you seem to think it is, "as a doctor" I am paid and trained to know that so you can keep your condescension to yourself. If you think the brain is just a bystander in the pathogenesis of conditions relating to the CNS then I think it's you that has no idea what he is talking about.

      And in relation to the hearing loss comment, clearly hearing loss is a normal part of human ageing and above a relatively young age we all exhibit some to greater and lesser extents, "no hearing loss" int hat sense means within the standard deviation. That is literally how audiologists define it, and I presume you know that too and are just trying to be difficult.


      At the end of the day, as has been said by others on this forum with relation specifically to anxiety related tinnitus/hyperacusis, it’s essential to quickly control your anxiety levels. That’s why education is the first part of TRT, and that’s why I thought I’d describe my own experiences here for people in the same boat.

      The same applies to all the other issues those of us who suffer from anxiety cause ourselves. The fact that it’s “all in our mind” doesn’t make painful IBS or cramping BFS or terrifying derealisation any less unpleasant, but it’s the downward spiral of health anxiety that causes them to worsen and persist. People like me tend to refuse to believe we don’t have some terrible progressive illness and insist on further and further investigations, all of which just makes the symptoms worse - that’s how my tinnitus/hyperacusis behaves, so I want other people in the same boat to break out of that downward spiral quicker than I did.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ciaran88

      Ciaran88 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      In all honesty, probably anxiety
      Just another quick update to say that I've now been one week without any symptoms, and have begun sleeping again without any pink noise and have had no recurrence.
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    10. hans01
      Artistic

      hans01 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress, hearing loss, sinus infections, ... ?
      Fantastic post Ciaran88, and the more I learn about my T and situation (+ I HAVE hearing loss on top of it) I come exactly to the same conclusion, for me it's a symptom of anxiety/stress and as we focus on it so much it becomes a threat. I actually have the same issue with other health issues and hence the reason I exactly think like you that the real reason behind the T is maybe not the T but why we worry about it, and why it is as if it's sounding harder at some moments and at other moments not that much. Thanks!
       
    11. hans01
      Artistic

      hans01 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress, hearing loss, sinus infections, ... ?
      And I'd like to thank you Ciaran88 for the very good examples you give!

      While I have been a musician since my 12 years (and of course I've been exposed to loud noises in the past), I always wondered why my colleagues musicians didn't had or much less T as I do while they were doing many more gigs in a year. Sure T seems to come from different sources but if you look here most of the people on this forum have anxiety issues or some form of depression.
      I also had bowel issues since my birth (almost died from dehydration the first months of my life) and have had food allergies, nose infections, and tons of anxiety most of my life which has become worse since a violent street agression when I was 16, since that day my anxiety went up to a hard to live with level but I never took medicines, just used sport and music to cope with it.
      Now the strange thing about My T's, I developed T only when I was 31 years old and I already had some form of ear damage before that day. But it didn't began because of a loud concert, no it started when I decided to work as a freelance artist/designer, I had tons of stress, few sleep, and tons of anxiety not having enough money to live from, THAT was imho the real onset of my T not the gigs, at least that's what I think, but I managed to live with it for years until two years ago I had a burnout from overwork and that caused me new T's on top of the old one, so again major stress and anxiety and few sleep.
      Right after the burnout I developed sleep apnea, yet another issue that seems to modulate depending on my stress situations.

      My T can scream so hard I can hear it at moderate concerts but Saturday eve we went to a restaurant with my wife and I had been taking Bacopa Moneri in the morning for my anxiety and felt really relaxed and good that eve, and guess what, my T was very mild actually the noise in the restaurant covered the T sound not the usual other way around. So there must be something else going on, I think it's because we're freaking vigilant and have fear it will become louder, so I fully agree it's more a psychological issue then a real ear problem.

      peace, Hans
       
    12. sam90

      sam90 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Combination of Acoustic Trauma, Stress, Anxiety
      Hi Ciaran88

      I specifically made an account on here because I saw so much of myself in your experience. I am struggling with anxiety and depression for quite a while now. Depression is on and off, but my anxiety goes on for years. In the last two years or so (probably longer) I would obsess and get anxious over being ill, be it my mental health or physical symptoms.

      My tinnitus started after a loud party, though. Thing is, it didn't appear the same day or even the day after, it only appeared three days later. I now think there could be an acoustic trauma to some degree, but that my tinnitus is mostly psychosomatic. I was anxious over getting tinnitus the two days after the concert and was listening if one was there. In hindsight I think this was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, this was in a rather stressful period of my life, as these were the final days of completing my thesis. I ended up in a downward spiral regarding my tinnitus.

      I went to an ENT right away. The test, although I don't think it was an extended one, showed no hearing loss whatsoever. Even slightly better hearing in my left ear, where I have the tinnitus. He told me that it is most likely due to stress and it should go away on its own. I was so relieved at that point that I completely forgot my tinnitus within about a month. This was a gradual non-linear process though.

      After that, I couldn't hear my tinnitus at all, even in quiet environments and at night. I just forgot about it and therefore I never listened for it. But one day I suddenly thought to myself that I didn't hear my tinnitus for a long time. And because of my history with anxiety and obsessing over my health, of course I started listening for it and got really anxious over it. This was even worse than the first time, because surely it should have disappeared by now?

      This got me in an even worse downward spiral for about three months and it got unbearable for a few weeks. Over the last one or two weeks I started improving again. Right now I have to take baby steps. I hear it every day for the last 3.5 months, but some days I can forget about it and not hear it for a few hours, even in reasonably quiet environments. On very good days there are moments where I can think about it, but still not hear it, because I manage to not listen for it.

      Because of my history with anxiety and obsessing over symptoms, and because I couldn't hear it for a few weeks I think that my tinnitus is mostly psychosomatic. I hope that with time I will get to the point again where I can't hear it for entire weeks or even longer. Right now I have to take it day by day. Some days I get anxious over it no matter what I consciously tell myself, but they seem to get less frequent very slowly. But as with yourself, the progress isn't linear.

      I do have another appointment with an ENT who also specializes in tinnitus. I will have another hearing test there, so I hope I'll have some closure on that front. But the thing is, I think I won't notice when the tinnitus is gone. It will just disappear because I forget about it, I can't measure its loudness to check if it's getting better, because I need to stop listening to it. This turns out to be really hard for me.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    13. TommyB

      TommyB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi there I've read all your posts and your experiences and your symptoms are more or less exactly the same as to what I have been suffering , my T started with a mild bout of tonsillitis about 5 weeks ago , I was extremely stressed at the time from work and lack of sleep and other issues in my life at the time , also had stupid anxiety resulting from convincing myself my tonsillitis was tonsil cancer , I was beating myself further and further into the ground with worry until one day after a mild panic attack I heard a ringing in my ears very faint which disappeared again only to return a few hours later accompanied by a nasty tension headache but this time it was loud and scared me to death with worry , I obsessed with this new noise and it's never left me since that day , it's ten times louder when I get worked up and stressed over it especially when trying to sleep , I'm convinced my high anxiety has caused my hearing to be super sensitive the mild rustle of a crisp bag is enough to make me sweat at times , now if I take all concentration away from my T it's usuallly unnoticed , but focussing my mind elsewhere 24/7 is at the moment proving impossible , at times my ears feel full and even ache slightly from the battering of noise vibrating inside my head, i have no hearing loss or other symptom to suggest any other cause for my T , I truly believe I created this myself and caused all my own problems with stress and anxiety and obsessing with these new noises in my head
       
    14. Gabri
      Jaded

      Gabri Member

      Location:
      Bucharest, Romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress, emotional trauma
      Dude, my story is like 99% similar to yours. I even have benign fasciculations syndrome and eye floaters. My MRI and audio test is fine.

      Tinnitus was just a faint noise in the beginning. I overfocused and reacted with negative emotion and panicked after I read what it was and it might not go away. Soon, it became much louder. I am now struggling to follow same path as you did. Your story gives me some hope. I never thought of this ever in my life, probably I always had some T ignored by my brain. I so regret I made it stronger and made my brain focus on it and search for it, I am sure I made it worse because I did not ignore it when I was supposed to.

      I also related to @TommyB story. Also had stress related to health issues when I noticed T for first time. I just hope the damage I made is reversible.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    15. Gabri
      Jaded

      Gabri Member

      Location:
      Bucharest, Romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress, emotional trauma
      Any updates on your progress?
       
    16. Alex delfont

      Alex delfont Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi,

      Thanks to the OP for this, it's interesting. I've had tinnitus for a couple of years only in my right ear, which seems to be triggered by noise, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep etc.

      This started after I developed a chronic voice/throat problem almost 3 years ago, I could barely talk, was in immense pain and have spend 90% of the last three years in silence. It's been rough.

      Anyway, the most relief I had from my throat issues was after finding out about something called TMS, and Dr John Sarno.

      Its a psychosomatic approach to chronic issues, and it was discovered by Sarno having been a doctor for 40 years. He is the most down to earth pragmatic man, no air fairy stuff!

      I know a lot of tinnitus is caused by hearing damage, but I do believe in many cases including mine it can be psychosomatic.

      I thought it may be an avenue people here might like to explore. I reccomend his book The Mind Body Prescription.

      Read some of the Amazon reviews. There's also a TMS forum which was a huge support to me and you'll find endless success stories for all manner of chronic problems. It really opened my mind up, but it's not a quick fix for most, although some do get cured just from understanding the concept.

      I hope it's helpful so someone :)

      Also interested to hear how the OP is doing now?
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. Don Tinny

      Don Tinny Member

      Location:
      Argentina
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017 (worsening)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert with ear plugs
      Haha. Sometimes I try to think this: "Maybe that concert generated in me an extreme anxiety about my pre-existing tinnitus and my mind took it to an extreme level". But unfortunately I have some symptoms of hyperacusis and I hear stronger old sounds of my tinnitus, which I could only hear before covering my ears.
      Generally, in these cases of high frequency hearing loss or hidden hearing loss, audiologists tell us that we have good hearing and that it is normal for a person living in a city to have some degree of hearing loss at a certain age. They do not seem to care too much about the level of tinnitus we have
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      Headaches with having tinnitus are often associated to physical conditions that associate to tinnitus. Here's a short list, but there's over 6500 tinnitus physical conditions that associate to headaches and the majority are not emotional dysfunctions.
      https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php
       
    19. nimx

      nimx Member

      Seems like an old post to rescue.
      I was in fact talking about primary headaches being caused by emotional/neurological dysfunction. I do see that in the link you posted they say the exact same thing and they are quite common indeed.
      There is the obvious possibility that other more severe causes can give raise to a headache or tinnitus. No doubt about it.
       

Share This Page

Loading...