These Words May Help...

Discussion in 'Support' started by Beth, Jan 24, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Beth
      Inspired

      Beth Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      quite a while...
      I'm writing all this stuff on the off chance that it may help just one person, in which case it will have been worth the time. A lot of what is coming in this post is from books, online t websites and people I have talked to about t. Some of it is my personal experience or views but when I was really suffering I used to 'collect' phrases and quotes from books etc that I knew would help so I hope they help someone else. You may not agree because everyone is different but this is what helped me;

      'Remember that if you have tinnitus you are just hearing the normal electrical impulses within your nervous system that have always been there but you are now aware of due to high levels of stress and anxiety. It is this amplification of a PERFECTLY NORMAL naturally occurring process that you must accept and not react to so that your brain will learn to perceive it as the perfectly normal safe sound that it is and will start to filter it out (however loud it is) and it will no longer be heard. You must convince yourself that it is Ok to hear it and never judge good or bad days by the volume and awareness because a good day is one where you are very aware of it but you do not react not one where you don't hear it.'

      'How you think about tinnitus is the most important aspect in your recovery and the link between having this symptom and feeling bad is NOT inevitable. The outlook is very good; the vast majority of people get to the point where even though for some, the tinnitus is still there it no longer plays a prominant part in their life and they are mostly unaware of it. The persistance of t is dependent on one thing only; the aversive conditioned response but this response can be retrained and the problem solved. You cannot just think that you will stop responding because it happens at a subconcious level but bit by bit, you can, by not reacting to the sound (however bad you feel) train your subconcious that it is not to be feared and the removal of the reaction will always produce the removal of the perception. In a way it is good if you can still hear the t and not react because complete removal of the signal often leads people to worry about its return so the best position to aim for is occassional awareness with absolutely no concern or reaction and everyone can do this with the right mental approach.'

      'Tinnitus is often just a barometer of your emotional state so as you get more anxious and threatened by the events in your life, it appears louder. Try to remember that the point of habituation is not, 'Can I hear it?' but, 'Do I react badly to it?' If you are sitting there waiting for it to go you will be sitting there for a long time. While ever you are waiting for relief in the form of drugs or a cure, you are focused on it and the increased focus just gives you increased volume and therefore increased anxiety about the condition. Never forget that the main object is to retrain the conditioned aversive response and you cannot do this by reacting badly to it. There is no doubt that this is incredibly difficult to do at first but if you gradually increase the time that you can calmly listen to it without reacting, you will gradually block first your fear of the noise and the fight and flight feelings will diminish then the perception of the sound itself will weaken. Most people get to the stage where the sound does not bother them at all even before it goes and that is what to aim for. You will be struggling for a long time if the only outcome you can accept is complete silence because it does not exist for anyone.'

      'For the vast majority of people with tinnitus the sound itself is not the problem but a phobic anxiety state probably rooted in past experiences. It is your reaction to the sound and your state of mind that make it louder. This is a concept that some people do not accept yet most tinnitus sufferers cope better on days when they are busy and doing something enjoyable yet days at home doing nothing can be very difficult because the sound is at the forefront of the mind and it is the emotional response alone that dictates the severity of the tinnitus and decides whether it continues or habituates. It's all about accepting the noise and not continually monitoring it. It is essential to understand that the 'music of the brain' is perfectly harmless. Once habituation of reaction is achieved, habituation of perception always follows but it is no good thinking, 'I've not reacted to it for a whole day and I can still hear it!' because that means you are still reacting to it. Over time, gradually increase the time you remain calm when it is at its worse and you are then retraining your brain to turn down the filters which allw you to hear the sound. It always works but be patient. Retraining is slow when a strong phobic reaction has been present but it can always be done.'

      'With tinntus, certain structures in the brain have been trained to react very strongly to what is a perfectly harmless signal. Even when you are convinced at a cognitive level that the t is harmless, the reactions will remain for some time so that is why it is necessary to retrain these conections between t and the limbic/emotional system so that automatic reactions of the central nervous system (fight or flight) are abolished. This is done in small steps by reducing your reaction and the time a person has had tinnitus and the volume are of no consequence. This proccess can be applied to everyone regardless of the cause or length of time a person has had this symptom.'

      'It is very reassuring to know that even though a person may always have tinnitus, they do not need to suffer from it, in fact they do not even need to hear it. Most people habituate over time by the effort of not reacting to it and this produces changes in the part of the brain concerned with suppressing or amplifying the signal. It may be obvious but obsessing over a sound is not the right way if you are trying to get your brain to ignore it. Anger and anxiety just draw attention to it and make it appear louder as your stress levels rise. Don't let this condition alter anything you do in life. Obviously take care with loud noise (as all people should) but try to live your life as if it is not there and this will aid natural habituation. Habituation of reaction is the primary goal and once that is even partially achieved, habituation of perception will automatically follow. Do not suppress the tinnitus sound as habituation cannot occurr when the signal cannot be heard. It would be impossible to get over a phobia of spiders without facing the object of your fear and gradually feeling more at ease with it and this is the way to go with tinnitus. Don't focus on it but more importantly don't try to get away from it as you cannot habituate something that is not there! The best situation to be in is one where you hear the signal but remain calm and keep your reactions to a minimum. Even if this can only be done for 5 minutes this is a step in the right direction. Be kind to yourself and do whatever you can.'

      'Everone hears tinnitus if placed in a soundproof room and most people can hear it if they go into a quiet room and listen for a few minutes but generally their brains filter out the sound but people who are anxious or of a very sensitive nature usually suffer from hypersensitivity so become more prone to hearing the noise and anxious people find it difficult to ignore this noise. People with anxiety or who are under a lot of stress are much more likely to hear the noise and then cannot stop thinking about it which in turn always makes it appear louder than it would do for someone without anxiety. Bear in mind that in very intensive tests that there is absolutely no difference in the volume or pitch in people who experience tinnitus and people who suffer from it. The auditory system is not responsible for your distress but the limbic/central nervous system is. Tinnitus patients in a trial were given anti anxiety drugs and all without exception experienced much less anxiety from the noise and 80% felt they were 'cured' completely yet they still heard the tinnitus at the same volume. This proves that tinnitus is not an ear problem but a brain problem and the problem went when the anxiety went yet the volume remained the same. The only way to deal with it is to alter our reaction to it by dealing with stress and anxiety and learning he real meaning of this perfectly harmless music of the brain.'

      Well, I really hope this helps someone and I know some folks will agree and some disagree and there is a lot of repetition but that just means a lot of experts or people who have got over it, feel the same. It helped me to read such things and gave me hope that I would feel better able to cope. We all need hope; especially the newcomers. Hugs to all, Beth.
       
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    2. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      thank you
       
    3. Neenie
      Depressed

      Neenie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      Thank you!! I'm going to print this out and re-read it every day :)
       
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    4. pef

      pef Member

      Location:
      Georgia, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      3/16/2013
      Those words are consistent with my journey from acquiring tinnitus and through the initial despondency that followed. I cannot say I am fully "habituated," but most of the time it is a non-factor. In the early stages, once I realized I had gone 15 or 20 minutes without noticing it, combined with focusing on the positive things in my life, my anxieties rapidly diminished.
       
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    5. Beth
      Inspired

      Beth Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      quite a while...
      :):)
      Hi Neenie,

      I did exactly the same. I used to trawl the tinnitus websites for success stories and read them over and over again and they really helped when I was feeling despondant.

      One of the biggest steps forward for me was when I said to a therapist that I'd had quite a good day because I'd only been about 20% aware and he said, 'That is NOT a good day; you've been given a day off and I hope you appreciate that but being unaware because you're busy does not help you move forward with habituation. A good day or one where you are making some real progress is one where you hear it a lot and don't react, then you know you are making progress.' I used to think I was only doing well when I couldn't hear it but over time realized that it is OK to hear it, in fact it is necessary because the fundamental principal of habituation is to neutralize the emotion you attach to it and habituation means eliminating your reaction not the perception.

      Once you have learned to accept it, it will diminish. Changing your attitude to this problem means it will no longer be a problem. When you begin to habituate you will have longer and longer periods of time when you're not aware. The brain is learning to filter out the signal but at first cannot sustain it continuously so the original signal strength will reappear for a while. When this happens you may feel it is a set back and think you are hearing it louder but you are not.......it just seems worse because of the contrast when you've had a quiet period. Don't worry, let your brain get on with doing the job and all will be well. Not reacting to it actually produces changes in the brain so if you increase the amount of time you can remain calm, even by 5 minutes, you are making improvements. In avoiding the sound by covering it up with other sounds or doing anything to 'get away from it' you are not giving yourself the opportunity to let your anxiety subside in its presence and allow your subconcious to unlearn the fear response.

      You will get there; you've got the will power and the right attitude. Take care.
       
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    6. clare hart

      clare hart Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Thank you Beth for this thread and your very useful research and great compilation of it. I am sure that finding such a statement so well put together will help more than one person.

      This morning I came across this webpage which I found very helpful in putting words to the sounds of tinnitus. It is useful, not only for myself, but in demonstrating to others what I am experiencing. Courtesy of Jack Vernon, PhD, on the American Tinnitus Association website.

      Here's another from Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit.

      And I so agree, coming to acceptance of our T is the first step to healing. Just like any 12 step program outlines, acceptance is the first step.
       
    7. Neenie
      Depressed

      Neenie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      Thank you so much for your well read advice. I, along with everyone else here, greatly appreciates it. My heart always beats really fast during the day when I hear my tinnitus and I totally start sweating out of nowhere. I'm clearly in fight-or-flight but can't seem to get myself out of it until I listen to my mp3 player with some rain on it, which partially helps, but still not really. I guess I need to try a little harder to keep calm. It's so hard to calm yourself down when you're so nervous! I feel like I'm gonna puke all the time. You know that feeling you have before an exam? That's what I feel.....oh wait...I do have an exam on tuesday, haha, maybe that's why, lol
       
    8. Penelope33
      Torn

      Penelope33 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2013
      I've also felt really sick when I hear the noise, have retched etc... It's the fear. Do you hear yours all the time over every day background noise? If you don't then hopefully you get some rest bite until you're in quiet. I found that actually sitting in silence and listening to it for st least 10 mins a day has helped me fight the fear even just a tiny bit .
       
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    9. kenji

      kenji Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      a cure would be preferred ...though I'm at complete ease ...thank you
       
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    10. Neenie
      Depressed

      Neenie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      Yer, I hear mine all the time even with background noise. The only time I don't hear it is in the shower, or when I'm outside and it's really windy. It gets worse as the day progresses and by the time its bedtime its so loud that I can't think of anything else. But still, I'm going to re-read this thread over and over until I get it. Or I'll keep going until I succeed. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!
       
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    11. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Beth, that is one of the best posts I have read since getting tinnitus and I have read thousands, you explained habituation perfectly, thank you.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    12. kenji

      kenji Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      easier said than done ...my ringing is high pitched ...though at this time its bothersome ...and habituate doesn't seem that easy ...im so unfortunate as this moment ...others say they have tinnitus but at what level
       
    13. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
      Remember neenie

      t is a symptom. Not a disease

      mwah
       
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    14. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Very informative post and lots of great advice. Thank you Beth for sharing with us. I wished I could have this type of information during my early days. Would have saved a lot of unnecessary suffering.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    15. Beth
      Inspired

      Beth Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      quite a while...
      Mick1987 and billie48, you're very welcome. I have lots of info and most is quite repetative but helpful so if there's anything else I can help with regarding coping/habituation, please ask, I will always help if I can. X
       
    16. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Thank you Beth for the kind offer to help. I was in a mess a few years back. But now I am back to normal living an enjoyable productive life. I can say that I have learned through the years most of the information provided and I apply them here and there to help me towards my habituation. But you sure do a good job of compiling them together in one thread. That will be very helpful to newer T sufferers and may speed up their recovery. Thanks a lot.
       
    17. Neenie
      Depressed

      Neenie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2013
      bump
       

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