Suicidal Because Noise from rTMS (140 dB!) Massively Worsened My Tinnitus and Caused Hearing Loss

Discussion in 'Support' started by JoeBattams, Apr 15, 2022.

    1. JoeBattams
      No Mood

      JoeBattams Member

      Location:
      Northampton- UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/ Noise Induced
      Hi all,

      I've been a member of Tinnitus Talk for a while, but don't think I've really posted much before.

      I've had tinnitus since I was 16 (I'm 38 now) and though it was a big deal back then, it has always been quite mild, and to be honest I've just got used to the whistling/hissing over the years and would probably have actually missed it if it were gone.

      I've always spent an INSANE amount of effort in looking after my hearing - wearing earplugs near anything noisy and even musician's earplugs for long car journeys etc - I've always been quite obsessive.

      However, I have also suffered from anxiety and depression my entire adult life and am on the highest dosage of two ADs. Things became unbearable due to work about 9 months ago and I was signed off sick for the first time in my life. Time went by and mutually agreed that the best route forward was redeployment. I have been signed off since July last year.

      In January 2022 the therapist I was speaking to at the time suggested rTMS for anxiety and depression, as Northampton is one of the very few places in the UK to offer it on the NHS - I was speaking to the psychiatrist the next day, and mentioned it to him - he referred me and I had a first appointment within a week. Which is very fast for the NHS - suspiciously so. Because of the speed involved, I'd only done a little bit of research on it - I knew it was very loud and so was incredibly concerned about doing the treatment. However, the staff there assured me it would be fine and the nurse looking after my care said she'd had a patient with tinnitus before, with no adverse effects.

      My family were also pressuring me into doing it, and I pretty much felt obliged to give it a try. I was suffering suicidal ideation at this point also, so although concerned about hearing, felt obligated to my family to try and improve depression etc. THIS WAS BY FAR THE WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE.

      I went to the first appointment full of fear, but the nurses were reassuring and fitted me into the chair, hooked me up to the electromagnet etc. 50 minutes later, I was done (I'd bought the best SNR earplugs I could find) - my hearing was dulled immediately after, but I put this down to pushing the earplugs in so far etc - I'm not sure why - this should have been an early warning sign.

      Anyway, I proceeded to have 10 more treatments with them increasing the 'dosage' each day, until they reached maximum. Up to this point I'd been thinking 'ok this is quite loud now, but am feeling a little better in myself'. Some evenings my left ear (above which the electromagnet was placed) would 'buzz' when people spoke to me, again, I put this down to earwax or something. Another stupid warning sign I should have paid attention to. On day 10, I got home and BAM I experienced a horrific new tinnitus noise extremely loudly. I was really concerned, but over that weekend felt my mood was quite good despite this. I stupidly went back and expressed my concerns to the rTMS nurses, who turned it down a bit, but I stupidly carried on for 3 more treatments before I thought 'ok, this is really quite concerning'. I stopped the treatments after 13.

      I left things for a week hoping they'd improve, and I noticed that my hearing on the left was 'off' when listening to audiobooks - which is my only comfort and main hobby these days. I went to A&E on the Friday - they had never heard of rTMS but gave me a moderate course of steroids because I was so persistent. It was too late.

      It is now 3 months later, and I have done a TON of research on rTMS - the coil 'click' can reach up to 140 dB (!!!), and I'd found a Facebook support group with tons of people complaining of tinnitus and hearing loss after rTMS (in the United States). I've read so many research papers, and hearing concerns are always mentioned. Especially the fact that earplugs do not obviously protect against another source of the noise - bone conduction (the coil is placed directly on your head).

      I've been to see an audiologist (at an optician's), and now have confirmed hearing loss in my left ear at higher frequencies. I know myself this is true, as I now have trouble making out distant speak clearly in my left ear - the new noise is a ringing about 4 kHz, and audiobooks with headphones just sound like they are mostly coming 'from the right'.

      This is coupled with an insane new tinnitus which is extremely loud in my left ear.

      I am absolutely devastated. EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, OF EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY I think how stupid I was just to have this treatment done to me without researching the risks more and just going ahead with it. It has been the biggest mistake of my life. I started a new job after 9 months sickness absence 3 weeks ago and just can't concentrate on it due to my new hearing problems. This 'treatment' for anxiety and depression has made me EXTREMELY suicidal. I now have absolutely no quality of life. My family are going through hell as I keep talking about ending it. Today, I was determined to do so, and could only think about killing myself - I have cried every day on the way to and from work, as I can't enjoy my beloved audiobooks any longer which made the commute bearable.

      Aside from not being able to concentrate at work, when I get home, I just sit in front of the fire, waiting for bed, hoping I'll die in the night. As I say, everything I used to enjoy has been taken from me. I have un-done a lifetime of looking after my hearing and ruined my life in the space of 2 weeks. I would give ANYTHING to go back and not have that treatment, absolutely ANYTHING. I'm at my wits' end and don't know what to do. The only way out as I see it at the moment is suicide - I can't imagine being able to enjoy anything in life ever again, I think back to January and before when I was severely depressed anyway and think how wonderful I had it then. I had things in life I could enjoy.

      After a lifetime of worrying about my hearing, I have destroyed it with that stupid decision, and cannot forgive myself. I don't know what to do. I've had some pretty shit moments in my life (redundancy 4 times, suicide of partner, crippling anxiety, still living at home with parents at 38 not being able to cope etc etc), but this takes the ticket.

      I have spoken to the GP who has referred me to the ENT dept, but the wait list is at least 6 months. I have made a private ENT appointment (which will cost me £200 that I cannot afford) for next Thursday, but am unsure what to ask, what they can possibly do?

      As I say, at the moment, the only things keeping me alive are the devastation I would do to my family if I were to end it, the fact I would leave my cat (my best friend), who has kidney failure without care and love, and the worry about going to hell.

      I just don't know what to do to cope, and would welcome any suggestions. I can't believe I have been so stupid and actually lost hearing in my left ear as well as giving myself this insane new unbearable tinnitus.

      I have lost my main comfort in audiobooks and cannot face anything - when I'm not working, I just lie on my bed, praying, beating myself up about doing rTMS and wishing I were dead. Every day I wake up and just cannot believe 'it happened'. I keep thinking about the damaged hair cells in my left ear and it makes me feel physically sick. This has been a lifelong fear for me, and I just can't believe it's happened - my tinnitus was always previously very manageable and I had no hearing loss. I don't want to face the next 40 years like this.

      I guess I'm hoping that someone will be able to give me some hope - I've resigned myself to the fact I'll now need to wear some kind of masker/hearing aid for the rest of my life (if they even work with higher frequencies?) - I just wondered what people's experiences of these were - were you able to get some of your 'old life' back?

      I'm sorry I've written so much rambling nonsense, I'm just pretty desperate right now and just wanted to ask advice. Thanks so much for reading.
       
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    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

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

      I am sorry to hear that you are going through a lot of difficulty at the moment with tinnitus. Try not to blame yourself for having the rTMS treatment, because I think you did the right thing in trying to help treat your depression.

      I hadn't heard of rTMS before but briefly researched it and learned it can be used to treat people with tinnitus. Please take a look at the British Tinnitus Association website. They say people that have had the treatment didn't notice any adverse effects in their tinnitus. This is not to say you weren't affected but don't give up because it's likely things will improve for you in time.

      If you want to see the private ENT doctor then do so, but you will get the best help and long term aftercare for tinnitus in the UK under the NHS. A six month wait is not unusual to be seen at an NHS ENT department. There are reasons for this which are explained in my post: Tinnitus, A Personal View, in the link below.

      You may find other information in the post helpful, so please read it when you can. Your doctor may fast-track you to ENT, so have another word with him/her about how you feel and the hearing loss that you are experiencing.

      When it's possible try listening to your audiobooks through small speakers and not use headphones, to avoid irritating your ears and the tinnitus.

      Hope you start to feel better soon.

      All the best,
      Michael

      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    3. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      Hi Joe,

      Really sorry to hear your story. I understand your feeling completely, but you’ll now just have to give it time. Hearing aids with maskers or without, can help in some cases. You may need to wear them for some time, but who knows how long. Also, even if you had to wear hearing aids for the rest of your life, what is actually so bad about it if they help? It’s like wearing glasses when your eyes are failing. I believe most people who wear glasses don’t dwell on it. Hearing aids just have some weird stigma about them.

      One step at a time. Your auditory system and brain got a punch and you need to recover from it. Don’t think too much about the future, just cope day by day for now.
       
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    4. nogg
      Angry

      nogg Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1984
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Computer noise
      Unfortunately, so much of the healthcare profession is clueless about tinnitus, and that includes ENTs, GPs and sadly even audiologists. Still, there are some who do get it, at least to a degree. Often though, they see mild cases, perhaps have some success with them, and then think that their treatment applies to everyone. When someone with a more difficult case comes along their treatments produce either no results or just makes things worse. Some professionals do understand, but unfortunately they are not many and are hard to find. Many others think they understand but don't.

      You are in a tough situation now, but that might not last. Often, a year on does bring positive changes, and it can be just a matter of sticking it out for now. In the immediate timeframe, I would try some serious mediation to help calm your mind and reduce your stress. The more we focus on the tinnitus the worse it can feel. If you can tolerate being outside, try doing some exercise: walking or even jogging. Either can be very therapeutic.

      Given that the tinnitus exacerbation is accompanied by hearing loss, you might find some benefit with hearing aids. At least 20% of tinnitus sufferers really do find them useful, and most come with a 30-day trial period. If they don't work, you can just return them.

      Finally, TRT is a method of habituating to the tinnitus by disrupting the connection between the sound and the anxiety that it causes. In the UK, I understand the NHS is well equipped to work with that, so you should make use of it.
       
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    5. Jerad

      Jerad Member

      Location:
      Ohio; United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication ototoxicity
      I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you. A lot of what you say resonates with me—the deep regrets and the how am I going to live with this for 40 more years. I’m in a similar situation.

      Since you’re in the acute stage of this tinnitus worsening, have you considered trying Prednisone? It’s a steroid that a lot of people on Tinnitus Talk report (and studies confirm) has the chance of helping restore hearing loss or reduce tinnitus if taken quickly after onset. Not sure how you respond to medications. Some people report Prednisone helps a lot and others say it makes them worse. So research and consider that carefully.

      How long has it been now since it worsened?
       
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    6. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Nicotinamide Riboside, HBOT (Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy) and LDN (Low-Dose Naltrexone).
       
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    7. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      - Calm down
      - Go on holiday somewhere quiet
      - Give it time
      - Eat healthy
      - Do exercise
      - Try to be active, do things that keep you entertained
      - If you live in a noisy place, move to a quiet place
      - Listen to soothing music at a low volume. Do not concentrate or focus on the "quality" of the sound, since you say you hear worse now, just have the music on and try to relax...
      The highlighted bit does not really mean anything unless you are more specific. I mean, if you have a drop in your audiogram at 8 kHz that's really not important. Of course you will perceive sounds a bit different, but you will be able to function fine, understand people etc.

      Also, try not to use headphones. Use speakers to listen to everything, including your cellphone. If your hearing is messed up you do not want sound delivered right into your ears through headphones.
       
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    8. CC_16

      CC_16 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Upper respiratory infection
      Is your tinnitus in the left or right ear?

      Did rTMS help with your depression?
       
    9. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      I mean, if I had documented hearing loss I'd be on steroids right away and demanding injections.

      Steroids made me worse but overall losing hearing and having it replaced with garbage is the larger evil.

      I would recommend against HBOT as well. Very risky.
       
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    10. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      @JoeBattams, life's not over but you have a tough road ahead. Do anything you can to cope, time will be the best healer. We are here for you brother, don't give up.
       
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    11. Franci003

      Franci003 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      We live in the same town! I know it's scary right now, just try to take it easy, baby steps. One day at a time... Things will improve but slowly. Just get lots and lots of rest for now, try your best to distract and also look into some emotional support and therapy too. You're going to get through this.
       
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    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      JoeBattams
      No Mood

      JoeBattams Member

      Location:
      Northampton- UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/ Noise Induced
      Thanks everyone for your kind replies, sorry for the delay in replying - to be honest I've been too exhausted, I've just been going over and over it, thinking of ways to end it, then thinking of impact it would have on family, it's awful.

      I can't believe after I've spent my entire life looking after my hearing that I let this happen - I hate myself so much and just want my hearing back.

      Thanks for your suggestions - I think it is now too late though for any kind of drugs? The last 'treatment' of the awful rTMS was 23rd February - as I say, I went to A&E/ ED a week later and begged for steroids - they only gave me a moderate dose though (40 mg for 5 days of Prednisone) - I think it was too little too late.

      I can't believe I've gotten myself into this situation. Just as bad as the tinnitus is, the hearing loss - voices in my left ear sound 'muffled', as I say when wearing earphones, it sounds like things are coming from the right. If I adjust the balance between left and right, the best way to describe it is that my left ear sounds 'low definition', whereas my right has the crisp 'high definition' characteristics of voice. I can't understand the same speech in my left ear as my right.

      I have ruined my life, I will never ever get over this.

      Thanks so much all for your thoughts and wishes.
       
      • Hug Hug x 9
    13. bobvann
      Badass

      bobvann Member

      Location:
      Inside the vortex
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud shit
      An audiologist I saw 2 weeks ago recommended I look into rTMS. It sounded sketchy from the get go!
       
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    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I know how you feel for I have been there @JoeBattams. The thing to try and do now is look to the future and not dwell on what has already taken place because you can't change it. You will put more pressure on yourself and that isn't good for the tinnitus.

      When you are seen at ENT and had all the relevant tests, it is likely you will then be referred to Audiology regarding your hearing loss and for tinnitus management with an audiologist. If you need hearing aid(s) I'm sure you will be advised and appropriate devices issued. There are various treatments for tinnitus and hyperacusis under the NHS, and I believe you will be advised of what is available at your hospital, so please do not despair.

      Talk to your doctor about how you feel as I've previously mentioned who may try to get you seen at ENT sooner.
      I don't believe it's too late. Understandably you're going through a difficult time at the moment but hopefully things will improve with time. It is important not to blame yourself as you did nothing wrong.

      Take care,
      Michael
       
    15. SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      Hey @JoeBattams, I am so sorry that you are going through this.

      My heart goes out to you. I have had this feeling you are describing - the regret of making the "wrong" choice and paying for it with my health. It is devastating.

      However, I truly believe the body has the ability to heal. Even when things seem bleak. This is not your fault. If you would have been able to predict this, of course you would have made a different choice. But that is not how life works.

      Remember, absolutely nothing in this life is permanent, and our bodies (and minds) are always trying to find a way to heal. It starts with your mind. You must believe you can heal. It's ok to feel down sometimes, but every day, set aside some time to retrain your mind to BELIEVE that you can and will heal.

      I was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder quite young. I was told it was chronic and progressive and it was very frightening. I refused to accept this was my fate, so I started getting really into metaphysical healing. And in time, with much effort, my blood counts normalized. My doctor was shocked and impressed, and I am now a case my doctors watch and take note of.

      I did so many things to heal. And you can too.

      A book that helped me a lot is called "Scientific Healing Affirmations" by Paramahansa Yogananda. My aunt sent it to me in the early days after my diagnosis, and it was really nice. Maybe check it out and see if it resonates with you.
       
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    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      JoeBattams
      No Mood

      JoeBattams Member

      Location:
      Northampton- UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/ Noise Induced
      Thanks Michael. Do you mean regarding drugs? I'm really worried now I may have missed the 'window.'
       
    17. LAnative
      Fine

      LAnative Member Benefactor

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunshot
      Hi Joe,

      You have a lot of natural recovery coming. Do your best to get some sunlight, exercise, and socialization.

      When this condition is bothering me, I like to use the mantra "It's not bothering me."

      Me continually telling myself "it's not bothering me" is working pretty well for me. It helps me not focus on the annoyance and rather focus on what I am doing in my life.

      You'll be good.
       
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    18. blamingeverything

      blamingeverything Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      high frequency hearing loss
      I think he means TRT, hearing aids/maskers, which you absolutely should try.
       
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    19. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I went through four difficult years habituating to tinnitus for the second time Joe. Please click on the link below and read my post: My Experience with Tinnitus.

      Depending on what is available at the hospital you attend, treatments such as TRT, CBT, mindfulness, counselling, sound therapy using white noise generators. These can be fitted into hearing aids. Medications including Clonazepam. One or a combination of these treatments can help you to habituate again.

      Try to focus on the positive things in your life. I know this is difficult right now but to help you get there, please go to my started threads and print the posts mentioned below and read them when you're able to.

      Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset, The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus.

      Take care,
      Michael.

      My Experience with Tinnitus | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    20. blamingeverything

      blamingeverything Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      high frequency hearing loss
      Hope you’re doing ok, Joe.
       
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    21. Hottopic29

      Hottopic29 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Niagara falls
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Zithromycin acoustic trauma 2022
      Hi Deb, have you tried Nicotinamide Riboside? I'm almost 3 months into noise traumaand might try it.
       
    22. Daniel Lion
      Ape-like

      Daniel Lion Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      SE Asia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise trauma, hearing loss
      Hi @JoeBattams, my heart goes out to you.

      Healthy diet, salmon, garlic, ginger, vegetables and fruit. Perhaps supplements like Magnesium, Turmeric, NAC if you can afford them. Diet alone is fine.

      Exercise.

      I would give your ears a rest, up to you.

      Hugs from friends or family and rest.

      My intuition, gut instinct, tells me you will rise from the ashes of despair and will feel better again.

      Take care, we are pulling for you and praying for your recovery. You have not missed the "window"!

      Daniel
       
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    23. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Yes I have. I use it prophylactically. Can't say it backed my tinnitus off. Definitely think it's worth a try though.
       
    24. pleasejuststop
      Suicidal

      pleasejuststop Member

      Location:
      Ny
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      I’m so sorry. I can understand why you are feeling suicidal and unable to enjoy life after this. Has your tinnitus level stayed there same since the acoustic trauma?

      My tinnitus has become so much louder from preventable things too, and I also have gone over the incidents over and over and wished I could go back in time. But it’s not like you could’ve known what would happen.

      I also get nauseous thinking about the damaged hair cells in my ears, after each acoustic trauma. It’s a disgusting horrifying feeling to imagine it. I recently had an additional acoustic trauma and I can’t stop replaying it in my head and thinking of the damage, because I hear how loud it’s gotten and I feel the pain in my ears after it, my hearing dulled. I feel so trapped, scared. I can’t even block it out or ignore it.

      And it’s so heartbreaking the way tinnitus takes our hobbies away, social life, any bit of joy and calm out of life. I am also suicidal, and my poor family having to be stressed as well because of me. What you are feeling is normal in this situation, but don’t blame yourself.
       
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    25. Frayact

      Frayact Member

      Location:
      Greensboro, NC
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      The irony of the human body. Long before I acquired tinnitus in 1996, I was Mr. Health. In 1989, when I was 28, I started working out regularly and eating a healthier diet. I've never smoked, done drugs, or been a drinker. I've taken a multi-vitamin for years. Done all the "right" things. But none of this has had any impact on my mental health or the noises in my head. I still have major depression and anxiety. I've tried many different antidepressants (just started a new one about four weeks ago) and have been in therapy.

      Now, at 61, I don't go to the gym as often, as I have very little motivation. My job keeps me moving a lot, so at least I burn calories every day. But my recent tinnitus relapse on March 27 has sucked the life out of me. If this new AD doesn't kick in soon, I'll be back to square one. Last night was one of the worst nights I've had in a long time. The humming in my head was so loud it woke me up around 6am. Imagine trying to sleep on a helicopter. That's what it's like these days. I live alone - no kids, no wife - so I have to deal with this solo. In a way, that's for the best. I'd hate to drag another person into my misery on a daily basis. And I've read about marriages that have crumbled because of one partner's tinnitus.

      Sorry for the doom and gloom. But today was not a good one. I just hope the old me comes back soon.
       
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    26. Daniel Lion
      Ape-like

      Daniel Lion Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      SE Asia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise trauma, hearing loss
      Praying for you buddy! Hang in there.

      Daniel
       
    27. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I'm praying for you right now xxx
       
    28. PeteJ
      Aggressive

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      That treatment made me think of ECT. It should be illegal.

      Wish you could sue them, OP.

      I hope things improve, somehow.
       
    29. TomBradyGOAT

      TomBradyGOAT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who knows
      To suffer with depression and anxiety and then to have this happen. Stop beating yourself up over this. I have also seen on non tinnitus forums, people doing TMS, saying they got tinnitus. A lot of people have reported it.

      Isn't 140 dB worse then an MRI?
       
    30. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member

      Location:
      Russia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Sounds like good advice for mild/moderate/stable tinnitus.
       
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