Tinnitus and Habituation — How Long Does It Take?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Jason E, Dec 9, 2018.

    1. Jason E

      Jason E Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to right ear
      Hi everyone,

      So I've now been with tinnitus for nearly 2 months, I recently went to an audiologist here in Melbourne, Australia, Dineen Westcott Moore, I had a visit with Myriam Westcott and she was extremely knowledgeable and professional.

      I was told to mask the sound etc, masking doesn't really seem to be helpful to me to much of a degree.

      I was given a DVD to watch and that DVD basically told me not to worry about the tinnitus as doing so will increase the central gain of the tinnitus. So I set out for the last week to try and really not care about the tinnitus, with great difficulty of course but I remained as positive as I could, then boom this morning major spike for no reason.

      How long does it take to habituate, it was delivered as if it's such a simple process and it will just stop bothering you, I just am struggling to fathom how at this point.
       
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    2. JohnAdams
      Blah

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      here
      Tinnitus Since:
      it started.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      hearing loss
      habituation is a stupid word. If t bothers you it will bother you. you have to be pretty uncaring to not have intrusive t bother you
       
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    3. Striveon

      Striveon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I agree, habituation is a stupid word. People without tinnitus will easily talk about "habituation" without knowing what it's like to have tinnitus.
       
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    4. Steve G

      Steve G Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      20th November 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to left ear
      Hi Jason,

      Sorry to hear you had a spike .

      Spikes will come and go, this is what makes habituation so hard. If habituation was so easy and we had no spikes most likely nobody would be on this site complaining abouth their tinnitus.

      Tinnitus is in your hands, no expert can predict habituation, it depends on the individual.


      Cheers

      Steve
       
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    5. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      For many (possibly the majority), T fades within the first year or two. When T is quiet enough, habituation is a reasonable thing to expect.

      I remember reading somewhere that habituation takes around 18 months. I believe this might be a reasonable time for people whose T is at a moderate volume level. In any case, there is no universal answer. Everything depends on your tolerance to noise, and the volume and pitch of your T.

      Have you experienced any fading over the past month? Those spikes are normal and can be ignored. What about the global lows and the average volume? Have they decreased, by any chance?
       
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    6. Fally

      Fally Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6 years
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      no sure
      I was actually considering flying down to see Myriam from Sydney but she sounds the same as the therapists in Sydney honestly. I kind of got the same speech, ignore it and go about your day. Which I did once unplugged went to walk ignored it, by the time I got home my ears had majorly spiked and now im wearing my earplugs 8 hours a day at work because im too scared to unplug them. Which before i never wore them at work. I work in a library for crying out loud. Then there like "oh maybe your ears are super sensitive and we now need to desensitize them ooops our mistake." Never been so frustrated in my entire life. I was close to a year of constant tinnitus that was stable now its all over the place. Should have waited a few more months before trying.

      Do it gradually and listen to YOUR BODY not what there telling you. I learnt it the hard way. Its honestly trial and error.
       
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    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996

      HI @Jason E

      You are in the very early stages of tinnitus and like many people new to this condition, will want to know how soon you will be able to get your life back on track and no longer be plagued with this anomaly. Contrary to some of the comments on this thread, please be assured that "habituation" is real but it takes time to acquire so one has to be patient. It also depends on a number of factors which will be explained in the post below.

      All the best
      Michael

      The habituation process.

      Habituation is frequently talked about in tinnitus forums and probably comes in at second place to the popular question: when will a cure be found? It seems some people have become quite taken with this word and believe it is the most important thing to strive for when dealing with this condition. Everyone wants to habituate as soon as possible and carry on living their life doing everything that they want to and putting tinnitus firmly behind them.

      I can honestly say that I see nothing wrong with that, but wanting something in the speed that we would like it isn’t always achievable, especially with something like tinnitus. A few people that have had tinnitus for a while, have contacted me to discuss just that. They have concerns about the length of time it’s taking to habituate. Similarly, I have heard from those new to this condition that want the habitation process to start as quickly as possible. Both groups tell me they are doing all the right things but it seems patience is giving way to despondency and despair and some are starting to believe habituation might never happen for them.

      It is of little comfort to these people when they hear family and friends say, tinnitus is just a minor irritant and something that can easily be ignored. Occasionally, it might be intrusive but this is never more than temporary and they are still able to carry on with their life unperturbed. I often sense the frustration a person is under when they are relaying this to me. Whether I’m talking to them on the telephone, private messenger or answering an email. It is then that I’m often asked: why is it that the habituation process doesn’t seem to be happening for them?

      Answering such a question isn’t easy because there is no single answer that I can provide but I will say this. Tinnitus is a common condition that comes in many forms and intensities and no two people experience it the same. It can be very troublesome especially in the early stages of onset, but gradually this gives way and the condition settles down and in time many manage to cope with it when it’s mild or moderate. Sometimes this may involve treatment via a hearing therapist or a person achieves this naturally without being referred to a clinic.

      It should be noted that tinnitus can be a complex condition, depending on how loud and intrusive it is for the individual? So what I’ve just outlined won’t apply to everyone. There are other factors that also come into play. A person’s make-up or rather their outlook on life. Whether they are positive or negative thinking can help or delay the habitation process. In addition to this, stress and anxiety are often associated with tinnitus and a person might be taking medication such as an antidepressant to help cope with it. There are a myriad of scenarios that I could relay to you on how tinnitus can affect someone’s quality of life, their well-being and the habituation process. For now I will say this:

      When a person habituates to tinnitus it means they are able cope with it but this doesn’t mean they will never hear it. Although some people habituate to a level where the tinnitus is rarely heard or stays at a very low level. Whether the tinnitus is silent for periods of time or remains low, mild, moderate or is occasionally intrusive, it doesn’t really matter, because it all means the same thing. When habituation is reached a person will know, because whatever the level it will not bother you. However, like everything there are exceptions and tinnitus is no different. I believe there are some limitations to habituation. As I have previously said the condition comes in many forms and intensities. Some people have variable tinnitus that can fluctuate from silent, mild, moderate and severe. When it is loud and intrusive (severe) and this level is sustained for long periods it can become very debilitating and a person might have to take medication to cope with it, which is usually supplied by their doctor. This level of sustained intrusiveness shouldn’t be confused with a tinnitus spike, which usually returns to baseline within a short period of time.

      I want to say that I believe habituation is achievable for most people with time. In some instances a person might need the professional help of a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist, as there are a variety of treatment options available to help one in the habituation process. One should also try to be realistic. There are some people that will accept nothing less than a complete cure from their tinnitus and this is unfortunate, because they could waste a lot of time being miserable.

      I have corresponded with people that have said, their tinnitus is very low and is only heard occasionally or in a quiet room, at night for instance. Yet these people are not satisfied because they want a complete cure and will deliberately seek out quiet surroundings to monitor their tinnitus, checking to see if it has increased or not. It’s as if they have become obsessed with this condition and to the point where is starts to affect their relationship with those that are close to them, and I don’t think this is healthy.

      In summing up I want to say one last thing. Those that are having treatment with a Hearing Therapist, Audiologist, or finding that their tinnitus is becoming less intrusive and they are in the habituation process. Try not to read negative posts or associate with negative thinking people who are not in the same place that you are, as their beliefs can prevent your advancement, if you are not careful.

      I wish you well
      Michael

      PS: further reading on habituation:
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/answers-to-hyperacusis-and-habituation.12058/
       
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    8. dougwarby

      dougwarby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi, I live in Melbourne too, had tinnnitus one ear for 3 weeks, has fluctuated but today is a bad day, feeling upset by it
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jason E

      Jason E Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to right ear
      No fading in the past month, it's been the same since it happened unfortunately, but today seems a lot louder and higher pitched, very brain piercing. My tinnitus is one constant 13,500 Hz tone + mixed electrical signal tones right side of head.
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jason E

      Jason E Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to right ear
      Myriam is great but yeah unfortunately you will just hear the same, try and ignore it because focusing on it will make it worse, it's a real shitty thing to hear, almost as bad as the tinnitus itself lol.

      Our lives just become one of trying to somehow live with a sound in our heads that no one else can possibly understand but us. It's quite a bleak feeling.
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jason E

      Jason E Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to right ear
      Hey Doug,

      Really sorry to hear you've been struck by tinnitus, mine is also one ear, right side very high pitched, I understand how upsetting it can be too, feels very tough when you can't run from it, it's just there with you all the time.
       
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    12. coffee_girl
      Innocent

      coffee_girl Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      All my life, but got worse 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced / Concert
      Habituation happens naturally depending on the person, for me it took around 6 months. My brain just got tired of being tired pretty much and it kinda forced itself to think about other things. That doesn't mean you won't have really difficult days though, i think that part will stay with you for the rest of your life.
       
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    13. dougwarby

      dougwarby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      sounds very similar to mine, the trap I am finding is the more anxious and distressed I am with it, the worse it gets, especially if I can't sleep well. There are a lot of reassuring and helpful posts on this site which help but my advice, stay away from the horror stores, I read a number of them and felt much worse. At this early stage, my conclusion is that it is not really the T that is the problem but our reaction to it emotionally, that can be tough to struggle with but it gives me some hope, good luck with your personal situation
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jason E

      Jason E Member

      Location:
      Melbourne
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to right ear
      Thank you for sharing your experience, i think I must conclude this is a journey and I'm just going to have to have patience.
       
    15. Fally

      Fally Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6 years
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      no sure
      I keep getting told sound is safe and the noise wont hurt you. All I wanted to do was scream at the therapist. I even said to her "explain to me how its safe after taking your advice and things got worse." That was when she realised she had screwed up majorly and had to be careful.

      Ive had it six years and I will tell you two years there i forgot about it and got on with my life. Then it got worse a year ago and then again a few months ago. It just sucks because I felt like i was doing so well, now im trying to do CTB and sound therapy to help so we will see what happens hopefully i can go back to how I was but I know I can not rush it because its not worth it.
       
    16. Anselmo

      Anselmo Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Miami, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/14
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin
      @Jason E: Habituation will never happen for you. You must wait for a cure. Until then you will be miserable.
       
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    17. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      took me about 6 months. even though my tinnitus has worsened, it still doesn't bother me. Everyone timeline is different and not everyone habituates. It depends on ones brain.
       
    18. Gman

      Gman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Earwax, ototoxic earwax drops, neck, chiari, noise, life.
      It’s sad to hear experts say to not worry about it and just go about your usual life.
      Going about life like others without T won’t stop it from getting worse. Duh. You can be as relaxed and chilled as anything but it won’t stop it spiking.

      Worrying about it won’t turn up the central gain unless you get extremely anxious about it or have panic attacks. Then it would only be temporary. But ignoring it might make it permanently worse because you become complacent.

      Calm non emotional vigilance is necessary.
       
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    19. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Unfortunately these so called "experts" are nothing of the sort. Indeed, they may well be expert physicians in ENT: Ear, Noise , Throat, and know about their anatomy. How to treat these organs medically or surgically. Tinnitus and hyperacusis are a different kettle of fish. Most of these "experts" in ENT have never experienced tinnitus or hyperacusis and therefore, know nothing about these conditions other than what their tinnitus patients tell them.

      Michael
       
    20. Gman

      Gman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Earwax, ototoxic earwax drops, neck, chiari, noise, life.
      Dineen Westcott Moore are audiologists and published experts on ASD/TTTS. It’s sad to know they dish out this kind of advice.
       
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    21. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      These medical professionals my well be experts in their field but most have never experienced tinnitus or hyperacusis. If they have experienced tinnitus (which I doubt) it will be nowhere to the degree or severity that most people experience that visit tinnitus forums. Therefore, I stand by my statement: Most of these physicians, medical professionals that work in ENT know very little about tinnitus and hyperacusis outside of what their tinnitus patients tell them.

      My consultant is an Audiovestibular physician whom I have immense respect for and have a very good rapport with. She told me I know more about tinnitus than her. I was taken aback by this comment and asked her to explain. She replied: "I have never experienced tinnitus".

      Michael
       
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    22. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      What about the people who can't/couldn't habituate (e.g., Gaby Olthuis)?
       
    23. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Striveon - those who love to promote the ‘habituation’ banner do not have severe Tinnitus.
      If they say they have - do not believe them.
      They are clueless.
      They may have mild Tinnitus - but that is all.

      I had mild “T” for over 20 years - no problem.
      It didn’t bother me.
      Four years ago it became severe and intrusive.
      It has remained so.
      I have learnt to live with it.
      That is not habituation.
       
      Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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    24. Bam

      Bam Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neck/stress
      I have habituated!!

      By that I mean I am alive. I don’t bother my doctor anymore. I don’t take AD’s or benzos and i am able to just about function vaguely normally. So statistically I am another tinnitus recovery. And I managed that in just one year! My doctor probably tells new sufferers about how amazing my recovery is and tells them not to worry as they will habituate too within a year. Just like me!

      Do you see what I’m getting at?! And why the habituation myth exists?!

      The truth of course is we are far from okay. We have just given up on doctors and finding help and just plug away in this neverending loop of permanent misery, torture and frustration.

      Until ‘depression’ kills us. And it’s always depression because between you and me depression is easier for the general public to digest......More palatable than non stop noise torture.
       
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    25. attheedgeofscience
      No Mood

      attheedgeofscience Member Mighty Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      Ahh yes... habituation... Yes, yes... habituation – the Holy Grail marking the end of the pilgrim journey of tinnitus sufferers.

      It's fascinating how you can dispense so much "advice" on something you have yet to experience for yourself. To be more correct: you don't even know what habituation actually means! You seem to equate it to "surviving" as opposed to living a meaningful life. Of course, "surviving" is not that hard when you are medically retired, don't have to work for a living, and can rely on an endless prescription of clonazepam to take the edge off. Agree...?
       
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    26. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      “Zakly So Bam.”
       
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    27. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      @Bill Bauer I didn't say everyone habituates, I said "not everyone habituates."

      Gaby Olthuis's story has had a profound effect on me and am fully aware not everyone habituates and one of the main reasons why I said not everyone habituates.
       
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    28. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Sorry about misreading your post! I really thought that you wrote "everyone habituates".
       
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    29. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      That's a difficult question to answer, do you have hyperacusis as well?
       
    30. Redocooked
      Insomnious

      Redocooked Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Work related Trama/stress
      I wonder if the fact of the matter is that noone really habituates and just simply gives up wasting money on fruitless investments while trying not to let anyone worry about their suffering.
       
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