Three Years Later, I'm Doing So Much Better — Tinnitus Does Not Distress Me Anymore

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Hotspur2931, Feb 5, 2022.

    1. IntotheBlue03

      IntotheBlue03 Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cervical/TBD
      Head tinnitus would mean you hear the tinnitus more in your head than one ear or the other. I ask because, if I recall correctly, I think the Schulman protocol is suppose to be more effective for that type of tinnitus? Sorry it’s not giving you relief.
       
    2. bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi Lizzy,

      Why do you feel not masking was a bad idea for you? I find it annoying at night while sleeping. It seems to disturb my sleep.

      You sound very positive!
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Hotspur2931

      Hotspur2931 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cold/flu
      Hi there!

      Sorry for the slow reply! I don't come here anymore, since I'm doing so much better, but I try to check this post from time to time.

      If you can sleep okay without masking, then I say stick with what you're doing.

      The reason I say not masking was a bad decision for me is I think it prolonged my suffering unnecessarily. I had very bad insomnia and I would spend a lot of time lying awake listening to the tinnitus, and going out of my mind.

      For me - once I figured out the right way to mask - it took the edge off of the tinnitus and made me less panicky. When I wasn't masking I would enter my bedroom in the evenings and the quiet would hit me, and the tinnitus would hit me, and I would get super anxious, and basically it made my bedroom an unsafe space. Once I started playing rain sounds from a sound machine 24/7, I would enter the room and hear the rain sounds and it kind of reassured me that I was safe and wouldn't be left alone with the tinnitus. Hope that makes sense!

      A few things that helped me with masking, in case you decide to explore that route:

      1) It's worth getting a sound machine. I have an Oasis, that plays a range of different natural sounds like rain, birdsong, rivers and so on. The sound fills the room better than a phone does - it's more ambient - and you can just leave it playing all the time rather than fiddling with tracks on your phone (which just draws your attention to the whole thing).

      2) I do also use my phone as backup, either for nights when I'm spiking and the Oasis isn't quite enough, or for when I'm in a different room or house. I have an app called Atmosphere, where you can pick your own sound mixes.

      3) The thing I had to learn is that you probably won't find a form of masking that completely eliminates the sound of your tinnitus, and that's okay! Every now and then I would find a sound that covered it up perfectly, but eventually the tinnitus would break through and make me more miserable than before. The purpose of sound enrichment is to distract your brain, not to hide the tinnitus completely. On bad days I would play the sound machine, AND sounds on my phone, AND music, and the combination of sounds kind of jumbled my brain enough that I didn't have to focus on the tinnitus as much.

      4) It's worth experimenting to find the masking sound that works for you. I went through so many until I got one that worked. Generally, sounds that closely mimic the sound of your tinnitus can work better at covering it up, but they are also more annoying! So it's about finding a balance. For me sounds like rain, crickets, or a crackling fire are close enough to take the edge off, without being unpleasant. More warm, bland sounds like quiet music or wind don't help at all, and just provide a background for the tinnitus to show up more clearly. At the other extreme, things like white noise/brown noise/pink noise are the best at covering the tinnitus, but they can be very annoying. I'll use those sounds only if I'm having a very bad day and I just want anything to distract from the tinnitus, even if it's horrible!

      5) It can take a while to get used to having background noise on all the time. The point is though, it's easier to get used to that than the tinnitus! I'm so used to the sound machine now that I forget it's there. It's just part of my normal soundscape. It runs even when I'm out of the house on holiday or something, because I forget to switch it off lol. But yeah at first I really really resented having to have background noise on all the time!

      Hope that helps. I'm happy to answer any more questions :)
       
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    4. bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I am able to sleep without masking. Seems it is at a bearable level. I get spikes often and at 2 months am learning the triggers to avoid. I'm confident it will go away or lessen. I feel allergies are a big cause of my issues. Pollen is very high where I live.

      Best wishes.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    5. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @billie48, I hope you are well, Billie. Think of you often.
       
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      • Hug Hug x 1
    6. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Thank you. Yes I am doing well even after losing hearing on my left ear. Life goes on and I accept the new challenge of hearing impairment. I may apply for a cochlear implant to help restore some hearing. Thank you for your kindness.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    7. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Needed to hear this as every time I’m making good progress I just stumble and worsen. Now instead of blocking it out I focus on the screeching madness.
       
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    8. Brian5

      Brian5 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      COVID-19 Booster
      I’m in month 4 and it’s destroyed my life.

      Desperate to find a happy medium. I’m 57 years old with chronic pain. Tinnitus follows my every step. I can’t seem to ignore it.

      Really desperate for positive feedback. It’s driving me into a deep depression. Currently suffering from insomnia. Would love to hear positive support.

      Brian
       
    9. Joe Cuber
      Curious

      Joe Cuber Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gradual hearing loss + a huge amount of stress
      Hey @Brian5 - I wanted to say I'm new to tinnitus too--I'm 2½ months in. My life too was instantly disrupted. I took short term disability from work because I couldn't concentrate. I too spiraled into depression and high anxiety. I got help in the form of medication from a psychiatrist, which is helping with my anxiety and depression and also my insomnia. I think it's really important to stabilize depression, anxiety, and sleep. Are you on any medication to help? I'm sending you positive vibes. You're not alone. I share a similar experience.
       
    10. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      4 months is very early days. Most people need at least 1.5 to 2 years to start improving. So, you need to hang in there.
       
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    11. Brian5

      Brian5 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      COVID-19 Booster
      Thank you for the reply.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Hotspur2931

      Hotspur2931 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cold/flu
      Hi Brian,

      I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering so much. I've been exactly there and I know what it's like. The truth is that one day you will look back on this time and you won't be able to wrap your head around how you got so low because of tinnitus. You're in survival mode right now and that's ok. Please just get through the next hour, the next day, whatever. Do that over and over and over. And one day I promise you'll find yourself getting through the weeks and then the months, and then one day you'll be like me looking back three years and thinking "huh, what even was the big deal?"

      It sounds crazy but I promise it's possible, and it will happen for you too.

      Insomnia is the WORST, and that's what made me not want to be alive anymore, around the 5-8 month mark. I have chronic pain too, but nothing brought me as low as those months of loud screeching and no sleep. But I got through it, and you will too, and now it seems like a bad dream.

      Getting your life back after tinnitus is a gradual process, with lots of tiny breakthroughs and realisations along the way. It doesn't happen overnight. But at each stage there are things you can do to support yourself and keep moving in the right direction.

      Right now you sound pretty desperate, and that's when you need to reach out for help. At one point I was seeing multiple people a week - therapist one day, massage another day, acupuncture another day. It's not so much that these things fix the problem, as that when you're in such a desperate state you need to be reminded that you're not alone, and you need little checkpoints, things to look forward to throughout your week. Massage is good because it takes you out of your head and into your body a little bit.

      I also took a LOT of hot baths and cold showers. The strong temperatures release endorphins, calm down your mind a bit, and ground you into your body. It won't fix anything, but it will take the edge off a little bit, and at this stage every little helps.

      Exercise is also good, if your chronic pain allows. Anything to get the happy hormones pumping.

      Also please reach out to friends or family if you can. Tell them what's going on, and get people to keep you company. Sometimes I just wanted to push everyone away and stay in my misery, but a bit of light socialising can help bring you back into the real world and raise your mood.

      Distraction is good, and I know you'll be thinking "but I can't distract myself for the rest of my life", but trust me you won't have to. Back when things were bad my main way to distract myself was cooking with the radio on loud, the outside doors open, and sometimes some white noise playing as well. I needed the activity, smells and sounds all going on at once, just to keep the panic at bay.

      If you need to rest and can't distract yourself with activity, try LOTS of sounds. So open the window, put some music on or a podcast, AND play some type of white noise or nature sounds. I know it's exhausting when you just want silence, but I found that it was a whole lot better than just listening to the tinnitus and panicking. Even visual distraction can help. If you have a garden or a balcony maybe get some colourful flowers. Or whatever it is that you're into. I know it sounds trite but it's really about giving your brain something, anything else to engage with that isn't the tinnitus. Little by little it does help, I promise.

      I also played a LOT of games on my phone. It was easy enough that I could manage it even when in distress, but engaging enough to stop me spiralling. I wasn't able to read or even watch TV, so I just played these games over and over, for hours.

      These days, if my tinnitus bothers me (which is rare) I can distract myself with a book, or a bit of background noise on my phone, or even just thinking about something else.

      You've got this, Brian. There are millions of us who have been exactly where you are and come out the other side. You will get your life back. For now, just concentrate on getting through the days. That's all you can do at the moment. As they say, "the only way through is through".

      I'm happy to answer any questions or offer any more encouragement if I can!

      All my love,
      Lizzy
      xxx
       
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