Staying Home to Recover from Reactive Tinnitus — Not Sure If I’m Doing the Right Thing

Discussion in 'Support' started by starrynights, Oct 10, 2020.

    1. starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      It's been practically a month since my spike and since then I have been doing my best to rest and stay at home. I want to know how much longer I should stay at home so that my ears can recover much better? Every time I go outside even if it's briefly to go to the nearby supermarket my tinnitus spikes despite wearing some form of hearing protection. There are also frequent and constant loud noises where I live so for the mean time I am just going to continue to stay home. To put it into perspective, it is not uncommon to hear 2-3 ambulances every hour or so, it's a very loud city. Every time I go out even with earplugs I find that I put myself at risk of worsening my tinnitus.

      How long should I expect to wait to recover from reactive tinnitus? It's so hard to live like this, I have had to halt my entire life and feel like a burden to my family. I know there is no quick solution to this but I just want to know if I am doing the right thing by staying home all the time. I don’t know if just completely stopping my life is doing me any well either since my tinnitus is what occupies my mind for most of the day.

      I’m really hoping that the reactiveness goes away, I feel that it will ultimately keep giving me spikes until it leads to a permanent one.
       
    2. Orions Pain
      Sad

      Orions Pain Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Wondering the same. My ears feel super fragile and right now staying home makes sense to me to let them rest. I’m also not someone who believes that being overly cautious makes you more sensitive. I look at it this way, a calm environment won’t make me worse, but a loud one will certainly cause spikes, so the choice is obvious to me.

      I think while COVID-19 is happening and life has slowed down a bit, we have an opportunity to take things easy and should take advantage of it!
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      Did the reactivity go away or improve at all? I'm 4 weeks in and dealing with the same thing and have only left my place for food while wearing protection. The reactivity prevents me from watching TV and I struggle with a hot room because even the fan sets it off. It's always there, as crickets, hissing, and sometimes ringing, but it's much milder if I refrain from sound.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      I have tinnitus in both ears but my right ear (which was exposed to the sound) is still painful a month later.

      Regarding the reactivity, did yours get better since you posted this?
       
    5. Robster
      Irritated

      Robster Member

      Location:
      South Gloucestershire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma - MRI
      I'm in the same boat. My tinnitus reacts to sound, but in particular the TV really seems to irritate it.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      How have you been handling it? And no noticeable improvement since January? Are you trying to slowly increase your tolerance to sound by purposely exposing to low level sounds, or just avoiding completely? I'm avoiding. The fan is a problem though because I'm in Thailand and it gets very hot. I've had a milder week and realized it's because it cooled off and I didn't use the fan much.
       
    7. Orions Pain
      Sad

      Orions Pain Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I am sorry about the ear pain.
      Unfortunately mine did not get better.
       
    8. Robster
      Irritated

      Robster Member

      Location:
      South Gloucestershire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma - MRI
      The hyperacusis (sound sensitivity) has got better, but the tinnitus still gets louder when exposed to sound. Not handling it great to be honest.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      So sorry :(
       
    10. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      Have you been avoiding sounds for the most part or trying to gradually reintroduce them with increasing volumes? I wish we knew how to go about this in terms of recovering.
       
    11. Travis Henry
      Cynical

      Travis Henry Member

      Location:
      Dallas,TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me
      I'm in hell with reactive tinnitus since April of this year. Please tell me y'all got better.
       
    12. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @Travis Henry, I've had reactive tinnitus and sound sensitivity for more than 2.5 years. Yes, it does get better for many - but not without overcoming many obstacles along the path...
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Hug Hug x 2
    13. Travis Henry
      Cynical

      Travis Henry Member

      Location:
      Dallas,TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me
      How did you get better? I could use some coaching on what to do with my symptoms and causes. Protect in home or not. Tinnitus is now so loud that it scares me if I stay in earplugs too long and earmuffs hurt my jaw.

      I can barely leave the house without feeling like I'm making it worse.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    14. MaxRabbit

      MaxRabbit Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Extreme Stress
      I have reactive tinnitus also but with many tones and sounds. Took time off work and I wear earplugs if I have to leave. I have to get a new muffler as my car is way too loud to drive as is.

      Does the noise in your head quieten in a quiet environment or stay the same?

      Best wishes!
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Max,

      If I am correct and you have noise induced tinnitus with hyperacusis, then you need to be careful when using earplugs, as you could make your symptoms worse. I advise against using foam earplugs as they can cause an occlusion effect. Noise reducing earplugs that have filters reduce external sound but won't block it out completely like foam types. However, they should not be overused. More about this is explained in my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It, on started threads.

      Michael.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    16. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      I can only speak for what have worked for me. I did wear protection from time to time, like musician earplugs, for the first 6-12 months. But only on the days I felt I needed it. Like when frying food, just to give an example. I made sure to get sound in though.

      If you overprotect, with your condition, your auditory system will become so hyper-sensitive that you will have a hard to cope with any sounds. In addition to more and more screaming tinnitus. Not to mention the immense fear of sounds your are building up.

      Like you put it yourself: "I can barely leave the house without feeling like I'm making it worse."

      Fear and anxiety makes it ten-folds worse...

      It's really hard to get better when there is a constant fear of worsening. For this part a skilled counsellor/therapist is recommended for close follow-up and guidance.

      Imo, for many cases with hyperacusis and the likes, there is more emotions and psychological aspects to it than many would think. It's important to work with this, in combination with gradual sound exposure. You need to find a place where you at one point can start to calm down your system, and be "friends" with sound again. Positive sound enrichment, in the sense of getting in some sound, at a low/ok level, that doesn't bother you too much.

      This process takes a lot of time and work though. There are no quick fixes to this unfortunately.
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Helpful Helpful x 2
    17. MaxRabbit

      MaxRabbit Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Extreme Stress
      Hi Michael. Thank you for the earplug advice! I just ordered Eargasm High Fidelity earplugs.

      Yes, I tried foam earplugs but the sucking feeling when removing was an issue and these had positive comments from people with hyperacusis and tinnitus.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    18. Samwise_The_Loud
      Cloud9

      Samwise_The_Loud Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress/Noise Exposure
      Hi Everyone,

      Thanks for the informative posts! I recently got Alpine PartyPlug Pro Ear Plugs), do you guys reckon they are okay?

      All the best,
      Sam
       
    19. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Pleased that I was able to help Max. When noise reducing earplugs are used correctly they can be very helpful but remember, one of the best ways to reduce oversensitivity to sound and treat tinnitus is with sound enrichment. Therefore, try not to become too dependent on earplugs or deliberately avoiding normal everyday sounds, as you could lower the loudness threshold of your auditory system which can make your ears more sensitive.

      Take your time and work towards being around normal everyday sound. Use sound enrichment at night, and I advise that you don't listen to audio through any type of headphones even at low volume.

      All the best,
      Michael
       
    20. MaxRabbit

      MaxRabbit Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Extreme Stress
      Also Michael or any one who knows...

      Does wearing these filter earplugs let you go into normal environments while blocking damage from sound exposure like Office Jobs (can i work with these in?), restaurants, parks, etc... or will I still be hurting my ears?

      I don't want to overprotect - got it. But right now I'm dysfunctional and homebound due the hyper sensitive ears and I want to the heal and recover if possible. I only wear earplugs at home for laundry (it's loud and in the kitchen) but cannot even grocery shop without my ears shooting up so it's all Amazon.

      Will these allow me to function in those places? All other times I'm letting my ears naturally adjust and hear sounds at home.

      Thanks for any feedback. Unsure where I should ask post specific questions like this in the forum. Any advice is great!
       
    21. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I believe you have noise induced tinnitus Max. If I am correct then you are in the very early stages. The tinnitus and hyperacusis (oversensitivity to sound) will fluctuate a lot but will settle down in time. This is a process and each person will experience it differently. The noise reducing earplugs will help but only by experimenting will you find what works for you and how you're able to manage when going into the places and environments mentioned.

      It is really a matter of being patient and slowly allowing your ears to heal and try not to become too dependent on using earplugs. Please print and read my articles in the links that I have given and those on my started threads. By taking your time to absorb the information you will understand what you are dealing with.

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      My personal experience with severe hyperacusis is that it morphs and changes into other hearing problems. So in the long run (years down the road) for me there has been a trade-off: less hyperacusis traded for more hearing loss and more tinnitus.

      This is very individual, so your experience may be different. I think you are doing the right thing, especially when wearing hearing protection at all times when you are outside home. As you very accurately described it, there will be unexpected very loud sounds, like ambulances, the speakers a the supermarket etc. These are very loud sound delivered through speakers of a very bad quality... so very damaging sounds.

      Get earmuffs and use them, and see if you are more comfortable using earplugs, earmuffs or both. Try to spend time outside home WITHOUT hearing protection but only at safe places (forest, quiet beach, a large park etc); if there is loud sound you can always cover your ears and you should be ok, provided the sound source is not close by.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    23. Travis Henry
      Cynical

      Travis Henry Member

      Location:
      Dallas,TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me
      Stay home and protect as much as possible in any loud situation for as long as possible to allow healing. Any sound that bothers you, protect from it. Don't be like me and make yourself worse with loud noise exposures. Even with earplugs you'll still get damaged.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    24. MaxRabbit

      MaxRabbit Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Extreme Stress
      Hello Michael and Travis. Even at home the ears respond to everything... I only protect from the laundry and vacuum. The rest is low volume (it's just me) in the house. I have a yard I use to adjust with birds/crickets, neighbors with a dog (LOUD BARK dog - luckily he barks only a few times a day - sometimes none) and all surrounding sound to adjust to but not overdo it or use protection. I think any more protection at home and the ears just get worse... They don't seem to be healing at all, even just being home with the noise I said... It's been a month, I only started getting sleep the last 4 nights (takes forever and I usually wake up every 2 hours) and taking supplements. I don't think I'll get any healing started until the stress reduces. I wake up in a sweat and racing heart. I am wondering if there is a low dose (5 mg) anti-anxiety pill I can take. I wish I had taken anti-anxiety before... I WOULD NOT BE IN THIS HELL IF I HAD TAKEN CARE OF MYSELF. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES BEFORE OTHERS OR YOU WILL GET WORN OUT AND HURT YOURSELF.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Hug Hug x 1
    25. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @MaxRabbit.

      I know the difficulties that you are going through, having been there myself. This is the reason I suggested that you print and read my articles so you understand what you are dealing with. The early stages of tinnitus can be traumatic and when it's accompanied with hyperacusis more so. Talk to your family doctor and explain how you feel. You probably need some medication to help reduce stress and anxiety.

      If you can manage it, try and go out for a walk each day to get some fresh air and wear your earplugs. This can be 15 minutes to start with and see how you get on. Slowly increase the duration but don't push yourself too hard. It takes time for the tinnitus to improve and settle down but it will so keep strong.

      Talk to your doctor.

      All the best,
      Michael
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    26. Anter35

      Anter35 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I used white noise that closely matched my tinnitus. On my phone and white noise machines in my house.

      It got progressively less loud as time went on. They say 6 months is the time to habituate. One year later I barely hear it and when I do it’s very low compared to what it was. And it doesn’t bother me anymore. I still use white noise but that’s kind of like a safety thing like a blanket or pacifier.

      When I first got it, I was devastated. It was so loud. I didn’t think I could live with it. I thought my life was over. Now it’s nothing. It’s like not even a problem anymore.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    27. MaxRabbit

      MaxRabbit Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Extreme Stress
      EarPlug Update: I was hopeful about the filter earplugs helping me get out to the store, back to work, etc. I had to remove them after 10 minutes as they spiked my reactive squeals. It was quite depressing and took a few hours for the ears to calm. I think it could be that they sit very snug/deep in the ear and my ears might just be too sensitive. For now, I'll have to keep wearing the foam earplugs (I place them very gently and a bit loose) and see what the doctor recommends after my visit in a few weeks.

      Hope you are well and as always thank you for being active on the forum and offering help!
       
    28. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Sorry to hear the earplugs weren't suitable for you Max. A while back I bought a pair online to replace a set that I bought from the BTA (British Tinnitus Association) as I had mislaid them. Although I can use the new earplugs they aren't ideal, as they are too large and uncomfortable.

      I eventually found the BTA earplugs which are a good fit and reduce external sound by 18 decibels. You could try custom moulded noise reducing earplugs. Some people use these but keep in mind not to overuse them as you risk lowering the loudness threshold of your auditory system and make your ears more sensitive to sound.

      If you intend to use foam earplugs, you need to be especially careful, as they can block out external sound much more than noise reducing earplugs that have built-in filters and allow some sound through, which can help to desensitize the auditory system.

      Foam earplugs can cause an occlusion effect. If they are overused, there is a risk of the tinnitus becoming more intrusive, because the brain is able to focus more on the tinnitus without any external sound filtering into the ear canal.

      Michael
       
    29. JLH

      JLH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi Michael,

      I've had tinnitus for ~5-6 months now (ringing in both ears and low frequency rumble/hum in left ear) and I have been increasingly isolating myself to avoid even moderately loud environments. Over the last couple of months, I have found my sensitivity to noise increase significantly (i.e. I could barely tolerate the noise from a recent outdoor family gathering and had pretty significant pain in my left (humming) ear for the next day and a half). I've been struggling to decide whether to continue isolating to give my ears a chance to potentially heal (not always possible with work and other commitments) vs. continuing to expose myself to louder (but still safe) environments to try to desensitize myself to sound. I do wonder whether my association of sound with anxiety and pain is exasperating the problem. It is hard though not to feel the pain and assume more damage is being done to the ear.

      In terms of medication, recommendations are all over the place on this forum and I have been trying to leave this as a last resort. I know though if I can improve my reaction to the ringing/rumbling, I could be in a much better mental state but that has been difficult to achieve I've seen you recommend St. John's Wort before - would that be a good place to start? Obviously medication doesn't improve the noise of tinnitus but have you found it can improve people's reaction to it in a way that they can more easily habituate?

      Appreciate any insights.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    30. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi JLH,

      Although it reads on your profile cause of tinnitus unknown, in most cases something is responsible for it. The most common cause is exposure to loud sounds. Typically, it is listening to audio through headphones, earbuds, headsets, AirPods, noise cancelling or bone conduction headphones without realising it. Other types of exposure to loud noise can cause it too.
      For the moment I will assume your tinnitus is noise induced and therefore, it's not a good idea to be isolating yourself from normal everyday sounds, as this can result in the auditory system becoming more sensitive as you have found.
      Tinnitus can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in the early stages and this needs to be managed, otherwise coping with it can be difficult. Stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus makes stress worse so it can become a vicious cycle. Some people try to push through this, preferring not to take medication but usually this isn't a good idea, because tinnitus is an integral part of our mental and emotional wellbeing and is quite capable of wearing down a person's resolve. St John's Wort is used to help control mild to moderate stress and takes time to work. Prescription antidepressant usually act quicker and are more effective at controlling a person's moods so they don't become too down by tinnitus and hyperacusis.
      You are quite right, medication won't stop tinnitus but it can help to control it by acting as a safety net so you don't become too down. The less stressed a person is will have a positive impact on the tinnitus, by making one's perception of the noise less.

      Please go to my started threads and print the articles mentioned below. Take your time and read them without skimming, this way you will absorb and retrain the information better than reading on your phone or computer screen.

      Tinnitus, A Personal View, The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus, Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Hyperacusis, As I See It, New to Tinnitus, What to Do?

      All the best,
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
Loading...

Share This Page