The Magic of Habituation

Discussion in 'Support' started by JohnnyMx, Oct 28, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. JohnnyMx
      Sunshine

      JohnnyMx Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Apr/2013
      Today I was at my office, listening music while working, then suddenly a PC battery went off, and it started this particular beeeep sound that batteries produce when they lose power.

      First, as a typical T guy, I plugged my ears to confirm it was not a new Tinnitus sound, even when I'm not aware of new sounds anymore.

      I searched and found the battery in a closed office, so I couldn't turn it off. I came back to my office and started to work again, with my music on, I was so much concentrated... Then a couple of minutes after, I forget totally the sound, I was not aware of it, but as soon as I remembered it, i started to ear the battery again. In resume, I had habituated in minutes to the sound.

      I want to share this, because confirms one thing I've always believed... if you are aware of your Tinnitus, related with bad feelings, it will never go away.

      Clearly, the battery was not a menace to me, so my brain got habituated, sent the sound to the background, and also that the brain have this ability to habituate, as soon as you are not anxious about it.

      Regards for everyone!

      Keep fighting.
       
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    2. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      I know I will appear as a naysayer, but the magic of habitation is easy to take place in this situation, when the sound of the battery at your office was obvious for your brain (no reassurance needed) not a menace. Your brain knew 100000% that this will go away as soon as you leave the office, that your sleep for the following nights and thinking are not threatened.
      The success lied in this 100000% certainty that the brain had.

      When we live near an airport or near some railroad, we know for sure that the sound we hear will go away if we move or leave the house, which is a certain and relaxing thought, so again habituation can occur easily. (Not to mention that there are some people, if I am not the only one, who find the sound of trains and planes absolutely fascinating. What's fascinating about T?)

      When the sound we hear is in our head, and we cannot leave it for sure at the office, the brain cannot be certain that the sound won't bother us in the future. It can only hope for that.
      When we are certain of something, the brain doesn't waste another thought about it, gets relaxed.
      But when we are merely hoping for habituation, the brain is full of " what if"s questions, whether we are conscious of that or not, which is the opposite of certainty, which keeps our brain on its toes.

      What can convince an intelligent brain of the certainty of the occurrence of habituation? Nothing! Doctors can only try to reassure us (should tests confirm that) that the T sound is not life threatening, but not that is not a threat to our quality of sleep and life, in general.

      And, related to your story: you forgot about the battery sound with the music on and while being so concentrated on your work. When you were not so concentrated, you heard again the battery.
      Our brain cannot listen permanently to music nor be deeply concentrated on some work.

      If the sound of the battery was over 100 dB, no habituation could have taken place.
      In case of catastrophic T (cases that exist and are acknowledged by doctors) a discussion about habitation can't take place, otherwise it wouldn't be called catastrophic.

      My post is only for the people who didn't habituate in years to not blame themselves and not to be blamed by others. Cause that's not fair.
       
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    3. engapol

      engapol Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2015
      I have to agree with the post above. For example the noise of a plane's turbines on a flight don't bother people because they know that the noise isn't due to some disease and that it will go away as soon as they move away from it.

      In fact, one of the techniques I used when trying to habituate was to try attribute the ringing to something else, an internal debate of sorts to convince myself that there was nothing wrong with myself. When I was working at a computer I often tried to convince myself that it was the whirring of the electronics that was making the sound not my ears/brain and that sort of helped.
       
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    4. Sailboardman
      Frustrated

      Sailboardman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sensorineural hearing loss right ear.
      Agreed, your brain doesn't have to habituate to things you can easily change or remove. Like the refrigerator or AC running in the background scenarios. Your brain ignores these annoyances, because it's not a threat. It knows if it becomes to annoying, you'll just leave the room and it's gone. Tinnitus can't be walked away from and the brain knows it. It senses constant danger and fear. That's the damn viscous cycle of Tinnitus and a real problem to ignore, when it's intrusive and debilitating.

      It's apparent here on TT, the ones who can habituate, do and the ones who can't, don't. It's all about our character makeup and a truckload of emotional stuff.

      Being obsessive, controlling, meticulous and inpatient doesn't seem to pair well, with habituation. I know, I'm a poster boy for that character makeup.
       
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    5. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      @engapol
      I can see how that can work for limited periods of time, like when working at the computer. But when we are talking a walk in a garden? When we miss silence and we want to hear it?
       
    6. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      My character makeup is not suited for habituation either.
      I was a perfectionist, I had a rich inner life to which I had to say good bye. The biggest loss, IMO.
      Before T I liked to sit in silence and pay attention to what idea/memory came to my mind, which was a precious indicator to me regarding what is it that I have to fix, so it doesn't bother me anymore, or, if the memory that came to my mind was pleasant, to go in that direction, cause that touched my soul.
      Not that I was introverted, but my inner life was a huge, important part of my life. Since I lost it, I feel like I lost many steps on the scale of evolution. What remained of me, compared to what I was.....
      I feel like I suffered a lobotomy.

      My inner life became an "eeeeeeeeeee...".
      Not very much for a human being, I would say.
       
    7. Aussie Lea
      Dramaqueen

      Aussie Lea Member

      Location:
      Melbourne Yarra Valley
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/09/2013
      @Dana, @Telis, and a few other people here are currently ruining all habituation threads here. I wish you would be quiet. Allow people to have hope!
       
    8. Fungus
      Dreaming

      Fungus Member

      Location:
      Wild, Wet and Wooly Wales
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus?
      I'm not one to 'get used to', always one to 'get rid of ' tinnitus, loved the 'sound of silence', but I am coping with loud tinnitus pretty well after a year (having been to the darkest places I have ever been at the start of the year).
      Just this morning, I had the oddest thing happen. I always wake ridiculously early....today well before 4:00 a.m. What to do?....can't go back to sleep, the place is very quiet (I live in the country),everyone else asleep.
      So...I noticed that it was windy outside, and the autumn leaves were regularly rustling on the wind. I decided to try one of the 'sound' techniques I had been taught.....concentrate on the tinnitus, switch concentration to the rustling leaves, concentrate on the tinnitus etc. After a little while I really didn't know if I could hear the tinnitus. Was this masking? Well no....because the wind and leaf rustling was intermittent, whereas my tinnitus is 24/7.
      Whatever, it may be a technique that is helpful to some folk i.e that of alternately concentrating on two sounds....one sound the tinnitus, the other an environmental sound that will continue for some time.
      I know it is really only the brain being unable to truly concentrate on more than one thing at a time, but may ease the passage into habituation.

      Fungus.
       
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    9. engapol

      engapol Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2015
      The only time I really miss absolute silence is when I'm trying to go to sleep. The rest of the time, it doesn't really bother me. Think about it, even in a garden you can have the wind/binds etc..., all of which are noisy but they are pleasant noises. I've sort of accepted that I won't hear silence ever again so I don't seek it anymore, which makes it easier.
       
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    10. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Well, sure -- and this is why most habituation therapies are geared towards teaching the brain that tinnitus isn't threatening. It's impossible to ignore a threatening stimulus for purely evolutionary reasons.

      I find T, and all perceptual phenomena, fascinating. I've had a lot of insight into myself and the basic nature of experiential reality as a result of this condition. Yes, I would probably happily trade most of that for silence, but that's sort of beside the point -- I would also trade my motorcycle for a million dollars, but that's not a thing.

      So what? So-called 'catastrophic T' afflicts a tiny minority of sufferers. Why do we have to constantly frame every discussion about habituation as if it was addressing such people?

      Yet again: poster has an insight about habituation and their tinnitus, tries to share it on tinnitus forum, gets decried as an unhelpful lunatic by an unhappy minority.

      Yup. I never miss 'silence', because I believe in no such thing -- I've never heard 'silence' and I've never seen 'perfect darkness', there are always internal sounds, and when I close my eyes in a black room, my vision swirls with neon phosphene lights which arouse the subconscious and become vague pictures, glimpses into constantly changing internal landscapes. So, what I "miss" is being able to perceive the very quiet, very constant sounds of the world at a louder volume than my own internal high-frequency oscillations... but I miss any number of things, loss is the nature of memory.
       
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    11. noisebox
      Loved

      noisebox Member

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      West End show. Came back 2015 vitamin D overdose prescribed
      I agree, I am habituated to my bedside clock on many nights. I bought it to distract me from t and all that happens I stop hearing the blooming clock. I have habituated to many noises over time but T sadly not, maybe because it is inside my head and also makes me tired, just like a headache and I cant habituate the headaches either.
       
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    12. noisebox
      Loved

      noisebox Member

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      West End show. Came back 2015 vitamin D overdose prescribed
      I have also tried a trick in bed, I try to concentrate only on my T and as soon as I do my mind wonders off, I bring it back and concentrate again, off my mind goes again. It seems in bed at least I cannot hold concentration on my T.
       
    13. joseph Ghass
      Angelic

      joseph Ghass Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2015
      Again, you can't habituate to loud sounds. As T starts to fade habitation starts.
       
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    14. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      This probably isn't just in bed, and it's also probably not unique to your T :D This is sort of what meditation is at a base level -- you fix your attention on something (your breath, counting to 10, a mental image of a tibetan alphabet character -- whatever), and then your attention invariably wanders. At some point you realize it's wandered, and you refocus it. At some point your attention invariably wanders. At some point you realize it's wandered, and...

      People with lots of meditative experience generally report a sort of progression: first, you get better at noticing that your attention has wandered more quickly, and can thus refocus more quickly. I have experienced this. Then, you gradually get better at staying focused (buddhism calls this focus Ekaggatā, or "one-pointedness") for longer periods of time. (I may have experienced this, but fairly fleetingly).

      People with years of seriously dedicated practice often report... other experiences. The ability to maintain Ekaggatā for long periods of time; the ability to sit in meditation for hours; the eventual emergence of Samādhi states, enlightenment. I wouldn't know anything about that; I thought I experienced it once but it turned out that I'd just taken a number of extremely potent psilocybin mushrooms.

      Anyway -- you're on to something significant here. I have read a number of accounts over the years of people fundamentally redefining their relationship with tinnitus (or even changing its nature) through dedicated practices that basically amount to doing the same thing you do in bed, while sitting upright in meditation, for a period of time every day. For instance, there is this anecdote: http://www.mindovermenieres.com/a-new-approach-for-treating-tinnitus/
       
    15. brody24

      brody24 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2002
      This isn't at all true. Many people with loud T eventually habituate to it. Habituation doesn't literally mean that it gets quieter. Its a two step process. First, the body/mind stops assigning a negative emotional reaction to it (i.e, the mind stops perceiving the sound as an urgent threat). And when that happens, you become less conscious of it even though it is still there just the same as before. Many people will habituate even to loud T, and even when it literally always stays the same volume.
       
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    16. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      @linearb
      Regarding post #10
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-magic-of-habituation.11736/#post-144932

      Let me remind you:
      You intentionally "didn't see" this essential phrase in the end of my message, message which, not being addressed to you, kinda leaves you out from commenting it, also.

      I agree with the above quote 100%. T in conjunction with bad feelings about it makes it much harder to make it go away (habituate with it, to the point of not hearing it)

      But I wanted to complete the original post, to improve it, to make sure that it is NOT interpreted as a scolding directed to people who just can't NOT have bad feelings (for various reasons). Example : "You still have negative feelings related to hearing your tinnitus? Bad boy! See? That's why your T is not going away, it's only your fault!"

      I agree with the above quote also 100%, from experience.
      I just didn't want the people who still feel menaced, in spite of their doctors saying to them it is not a menace "to their lives", to feel bad, as for some people T remains a menace not to their lives, but to their dear live styles.

      From what I know, when something stated doesn't apply to everybody, it's better that thing to be mentioned.
      My post, I considered, was a necessary PRELIMINARY to a discussion about habituation. Unfortunately people preferred to pick at me, trying to say that I say that habituation is not possible. What a lie! I didn't say that!

      You see, my allegedly "decrying the the OP as a lunatic" is nothing but your own lunacy, and your blinded by malice analysis of my post is so wrong that it made me laugh, so the "unhappy minority" had a break.

      Again, I didn't frame this discussion as it was addressing "such people", but did quite the opposite, I drew attention on the fact that the original message is NOT for everybody, and did that for the sake of ACCURACY.
      READ AGAIN MY LAST PHRASE OF MY POST THAT YOU COMMENT ABOUT, will you? My post is only for the people who were left out, not for all the readers of the thread!!!!!!!!
      I wanted to INCREASE the precision of the original post, reminding that some people are off the target.

      As for the *so-called "catastrophic T" * of "such people" , may I remind you that THE DOCTORS and RESEARCHERS have introduced the term "catastrophic T", so you are practically mocking them!

      It is obvious in the context I put the question, that I meant "what''s fascinating about HEARING T", not what's fascinating about T emergence phenomenon.
      But you commented
      Just another deliberate "misunderstanding".

      My post was just a PRELIMINARY so the people who didn't reach habituation don't feel bad. I see that you, for example, expect them to shut up, as if they don't exist. Very nice!
       
    17. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Hi @Dana

      I can see that my post really offended you, and re-reading it, I can see why. So, I sincerely apologize for being too vitriolic/extreme/black-and-white. I don't have an axe to grind with you, and I wish you (and everyone else) all the best in dealing with this shitty condition.

      But, where is this example from? I don't see anyone in any of these threads actually saying such a thing... and in my own posts I have tried to be very clear that this isn't one-size-fits-all and that what helps one person isn't going to help another.
      I absolutely do not doubt the existence of extremely severe tinnitus which can't be addressed by normal means. If my phrasing implied otherwise, then I apologize.

      Well, for one thing, it wasn't obvious to me, and for another, to me these things are more or less the same, but we don't have to agree about that.
      I don't expect anyone to shut up, and, really, I was not responding to you or anyone else specifically, as much as speaking to a general theme. I've been reading these threads for a long time, and this same basic rift occurs in every single thread about habituation. I find that distressing.

      I completely agree with you that a couple of my posts here are worded needlessly strong, and I apologize for that. Sometimes it is difficult for me to communicate lucidly about things which I have a strong emotional stake in.
       
    18. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
    19. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Yup, this why I don't post here very often anymore, if you suffer and are not doing well, people want to throw you aside and tell you to shut up. This is the one and only place (here at TT) that I talk about My condition and I get told to be quiet. As if this condition isn't isolating enough, you come to your safe place where you feel you can talk and you get shut down because you can't habituate.
       
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    20. Aussie Lea
      Dramaqueen

      Aussie Lea Member

      Location:
      Melbourne Yarra Valley
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/09/2013
      Yes, make it about yourself like you always do.

      If you don't see how you are bringing newbies down by ruining more than a few habituation threads by making those success stories appear like they don't have it bad if they were able to habituate, I feel sorry for you.

      Be happy for others success, don't bring them down or minimise their success!

      Why don't you create a thread for "severe tinnitus that can't be habituated to" and stay there instead of mocking others' success?
       
    21. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      @Dana let mild folks have their little parade of success, dont ruin it. You need to start your own doom and gloom thread.
       
    22. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I haven't mocked anyone's success. And I said I was happy for the poster in a earlier post. What are you going on about here? Are you trying to bait me into a stupid argument or something? I'm not biting. I'm entitled to give my opinions here, I don't have to go and stay in another thread just because I have a different opinion than you do.
       
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    23. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I don't think anyone should shut up.

      I don't think anyone should be belittled, or mocked, or made upset by what gets posted here. As much as I dislike "hugboxes" in general, chronic pain forums should have a little bit of a hugbox vibe.

      But, maybe a tinnitus FAQ is, overall, more useful than a forum. I have no idea. It does seem like we have this same conversation over and over again.
       
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    24. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      Yeah, if you could also come with some prove that I crushed anybody's hope for habituation, "in all the threads", your accusation would mean something, but until then it doesn't.
      As for your wish that i stay quiet, I wish you would do the same, cause it's more honorable to stay quiet than to throw the false accusations you are throwing at me (and i see that not only to me)
       
    25. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      @dan
      Similar to @Aussie Lea, I don't know what you are talking about when you say that I ruin anybody's little parade of success. Could you give an example, come with some prove?

      About my alleged need to start my own doom and gloom thread, shall I understand that you don't want to host my posts in the "doom and gloom thread" you are the author of, in which you were claiming you have the worst T on this forum?
      How selfish of you!
       
    26. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Umm, I wasnt even attacking you? I was trying to help you.
       
    27. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      @dan
      Well, you left to be understood that I have the slightest intention to ruin anybody's parade, and that's a bit of an attack in my book.
      As for starting my own thread of doom and gloom, it would be doomed to stay in the shadow of "the thread of the member with the worst T on this forum (that would be you)", so you kinda ruined that for me or anybody else, thank you very much.
       
    28. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Wha
      Why did I ruin it? I never to have yet started my own doom and gloom post yet, so you have no competition at this point...but if and when I do, I will blows yours (and anybody elses) out of the water. Lol.
       
    29. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      @Aussie Lea
      Oh, so those were the "bases" of your accusations, I understand now.
      You claim that newbies were "brought down" by an alleged statement that they were able to habituate only because they didn't have it bad.

      If they were able to get to ignore a constant sound in their head, small, medium or loud, 24/7, they will not have a problem in ignoring what anybody wrote once on a forum.
      Get real!
       
    30. Dana
      Chicken

      Dana Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not known, too many possible causes
      I couldn't help noticing too how in many threads, where we should have been on the same side, the conversation degenerated into a fight. It's ridiculous!
      Can we be called adults? Where are we here, in kindergarten?
       

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