Tinnitus Can Go Away — A Lurker's Success Story

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by lilacbloom, Jul 7, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. lilacbloom

      lilacbloom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have been a lurker for some time, and promised myself I would ‘de-lurk’ and report if my T improved, so that I could provide another success story. I don’t pretend my story is representative, I don’t have any advice per se, since I did not try anything in particular to get rid of my T, and, last but not least, my T was not noise induced. But with all those caveats in mind, I think it is very important to hear that tinnitus CAN GO AWAY. Just like that.

      I am 38, and have never really been exposed to loud noise. My ears NEVER rang before, not even for a few seconds. I have never had ear problem before. I cherish silence, and it has been essential to both my work and my leisure.

      My first encounter with T occurred about three years ago. I used to wear ear plugs to sleep, and one evening, bam! There it was. A very high pitch sound in my left ear, which set me into complete panic mode straight away. This was a mild T: I could hear it only in silence. But it was enough to trigger a desperate search for causes and cure. Several visits to several ENTs were useless. My ears were normal, and I had no hearing loss. Nothing could explain it. Stress, maybe - the usual explanation when no other is available. I masked the sound at night, got on with my life, plagued with anxiety about the T, and then… One day, about 6 months after the initial onset, I carefully plugged my ears and all I could hear was pure, complete silence. The T was gone.

      Until about four months ago, out of the blue again, I heard the exact same high pitch sound again, same low volume, in my left ear, when I went to bed and put my ear plugs in. It triggered exactly the same panic as it did three years before. And then, after a few days of worrying whether it would ever go away, the unthinkable happened: it spectacularly worsened.

      I began to have a strange buzzing ‘sensation’ which initially seemed to me to come from outside. Then I realized I could hear a very high pitch hissing sound when I put some ear plugs in - that was the weird ‘sensation’ I could feel all day, and which intensified. I could hear it over everything. Then I realized that I also had another, third sound in my left ear - a kind of distant fire alarm. And then there was the fourth sound, which would come and go from the left to the right ear, something akin to small electrical shocks. And there was also another high pitch, irregular pulsative sound, in both ear. It was just hell. And then, it got even worse: about 4 weeks after the onset of T, I suddenly developed hyper acusis. The sound of my own children’s voice was painful to me.

      I had a complete nervous breakdown - I was besides myself with fear and anger. There was no identifiable cause to all this, which drove me even madder. I have two small children and a husband who I love immensely, and yet I very seriously thought about ending it all, I could not see a way through. Because of course, I immediately assumed that all those sounds were here to stay forever, that I would not be able to live like this, that it was the absolute worst thing that could have ever happened to me.

      I saw several ENTs to no avail - my ears are perfect, so is my hearing. No TMJ was detected either. I was prescribed Gingko Biloba, CBT sessions, sound therapy, antidepressants, steroids. I was just paralyzed by the fear that anything could make the T worse (that's what spending too much time on the internet does to you), and so, I did not dare trying any of the above mentioned. So, I did NOTHING, except taking anxiolytic meds to sleep. And constantly putting the radio on in every room I was. I did not change my diet, or any of my habits, and I worried like mad. Thought it was game over. The only thing I did was, well, to get on with my life - I carried on, and cried, and thought it was the end. I remember giving his bootle to my then 4 month old son, hearing all those screaming sounds in my ears, thinking it would never, ever go away, that I was doomed, full stop.

      There were some really bad days, and some slightly better ones. The whole thing was constantly fluctuating: some days, the volume would lower a bit, and then it would go up again. Some days one sound would go, and then come back the next. When I had a ‘good’ day (and the brackets are important, it was not that good, but still better that the bad days), I could feel my spirits going up immediately, and being more positive was just so much easier… And then I was hit by a bad day again and would fall into complete despair.

      For about 2 months, I survived like this. Taking every day at a time because I was forced to, being miserable, listening to the maddening sounds every single evening, struggling to fall asleep, increasing the amount of pills I took to finally sleep, worrying crazy about the future.

      And then, guess what. Very, very progressively, things started to simply get better, on their own.

      The hyper acusis just went away as it came, suddenly. The various sounds of T did not disappear, but they began to face away - it certainly did not happen overnight, some days were still bad, but a lot of my days were clearly better. Some rare days were even good. Just, well, normal days. Nights were a different issue, the sounds were more present than during the day, but overall, things really got better.

      It reached a stage where I could ignore T all day, and I mean not thinking about it at all, except from time to time during the day when I said to myself silly things like: ‘oh, I have T, how terrible. Weird I haven’t thought of that for the last couple of hours, where is it?’.

      And so it went like this for the last few weeks: a very slow but very clear improvement, which I did nothing to bring about. Trust me, I did not consciously start thinking ‘positively’ about anything. The volume of the T simply decreased dramatically, AND my perception of T changed too, without me thinking consciously about it.

      I read several times on this forum that the brain ‘toughens up’ to the noise and does not react in the long term as it initially does, with utter panic. As I was reading this in the middle of my own panic, it made sense theoretically but I thought this would not happen to me. My T was so, so different from everyone else’s - so I firmly believed... a cognitive bias that Dr Nagler emphasises on occasion, but one which I found so very true!

      4 months after the initial attack, whenever I hear those noises, and I still do occasionally, I do not consider them as the end of my life anymore, as I did when I first heard them. In fact, contrary to my belief, I can live with some noise. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately. Yes, it is beyond annoying, especially at night when I want to go to sleep. Yes, there were times, and maybe still will be times in the future, when I fall apart and think this is awful. But now, I know I can live with this, and still enjoy myself on numerous occasions.

      Today, I have a completely normal life - for the excellent reason that during the day, I cannot hear any of the sounds anymore, including the hissing. At night it is a bit more 'vocal', but it has been better and better too - the other sounds are virtually gone. There are days when I have hours of complete, pure silence. Just like now. I put my fingers in my ears, and there it is. Silence. And there it was earlier today, as I was giving my now 7 months old son his last bottle of the day. In fact, there it has been for the entire day today, and there it was yesterday as well. I am confident I will hear again tomorrow.

      Here is what I ‘learnt’ from the past few months:

      - T is a very peculiar ailment in that it almost inevitably triggers the worst catastrophic thinking at first. Don’t beat yourself too much if you cannot think positively in the first stage, it is such a challenge. T really, really sucks, and tests you to the limit in a way no other ‘benign’ ailment does.

      - This forum helped me, because I did read some real positive stories. I did try to focus on Dr Nagel’s posts, which I found very ‘down to earth’ and full of common sense, always a good voice when you are beside yourself with fear. But, and that is a big but, this forum also worried me beyond belief, and clearly fed my catastrophic thinking. Only 330 success stories I would think, out of thousands of posts. Oh my god, that means T usually stays forever for most, and of course it will for me, how on earth can I go on, ect, etc…

      - I know that everyone’s T is indeed different: different sounds, different volumes, and different perceptions account for the fact that each T is truly unique. However, I think that, if anything, my story might be representative of those from the famous ‘silent’ majority (no pun intended…) referred to in this forum and elsewhere when it comes to T. Those millions of people who maybe have discovered this forum when T struck, lurked around for a while, and then left, without a trace, either because their T went away, or because they found a way to live with it. It is VERY true that as soon as T improves (let alone disappear), you stop checking T related websites and fora, and move along with your life. You just don’t feel like talking about it again, at all. There might even be a hint of superstition in the matter: as I am typing this, I wonder whether tomorrow, I will be hit by a massive spike simply because I think of T right now, writing this. And, boy, am I a rationalist in every other areas of my life… Anyway. I could have written a success story three years ago on this site, and I did not. Now I do. Count this one for two :)

      - Even if today, my T is really a very very faint version of what it was 4 months ago, I started to feel better some weeks ago, when it was still rather active... After the first two months, I would say I was not suicidal anymore. Life was not exactly super easy, but clearly, I found myself thinking at times that I could actually live with that level of noise - a complete, radical U-turn for someone like me who cherished silence so much.

      - Which leads me to my most important point: before the T started this March, I thought having it was just the worst possible thing that could happen to me, and that I would not be able to survive it. The first mild T I experienced three years ago terrified me, and often, when I had a health issue, or indeed any problem, I used to go through it thinking ‘well, it could be worse. I could have T!’. And that thought comforted me and helped me to soldier on. Here I am writing a post in the success stories section, one which essentially says: the ‘worst’ happened to me (believe me, it was bad when it all started, and stayed that way for a while). And I went through it. And I, however reluctantly, adapted to things I was certain in my deepest heart I would never, ever adapt to. It was hell, I felt miserable, but I went through it, against my firmest beliefs.

      - So, to all newbies who check this site when they are so, so panicked, hang in there, really: it CAN go away. Actually, statistically, it probably will for you. Do get some help from doctors, get sleeping pills if you need to, try whatever feels right for you. Even if the T stays, you will feel better, and you will adjust to things that seem impossible for you to accept just now - and that is totally normal at the stage you are in. Don’t trust what your brain tells you at the height of despair: it’s lying. Do trust that your brain is still the most wonderful thing on earth nonetheless, as it will adjust to your new situation with time.

      - And to all members of this forum who are less lucky than I am and who still battle raging T (a few pseudos come to my mind, I feel like I ‘know’ some of you people!), I feel at the same time deeply, deeply sorry that you have to face this battle, and truly admirative of the fact that you keep going, however hard it may be, and help others on the way.

      To new and ‘veteran’ T sufferers, I wish you the very best of luck, and to the many lurkers around here, do come back and let people know when it gets better!
       
      • Like Like x 5
      • Winner Winner x 3
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Path Maker

      Path Maker Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Amen. :)

      Thanks for taking the time and care to write your beautiful post!
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. Neil23

      Neil23 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for sharing
       
    4. Julien87
      Balanced

      Julien87 Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud sound (concert)
      Thank you lilac, interesting story.
      All the best to you!
       
    5. ACG

      ACG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 10, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but it started after an ear canal infection.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to post this! My T started 4 weeks ago after an ear infection in my left ear, which has been problematic for the past 10 years. I've had conductive hearing loss in that ear due to a cholesteatoma removal, but never T, until recently when I got an ear infection.

      Thanks to you and everyone else who posts, even though it's true that thinking about the T or focusing too much causes spikes. My family is always telling me "Get off the TT board!" but they're not here right now (heh) and I'm sneaking a peak at the Success Story sections, which thus far has only helped lessen the stress. The success stories are very motivating and yours was no exception.

      One question for you. Did you take the Gingko you were presribed? I read @Boy Helios post today about Gingkold and just spent an hour walking from store to store asking health section clerks if they'd hear of it. Nobody had it, but I haven't tried Whole Foods yet so that's my next stop. Still, not sure if it's worth the money and I don't want to go crazy with the supplements since I'm already taking B-Complex (the one that says "stress formula) and it seems to be helping.

      I'm still intrigued by the Gingko. I do have Raynaud's in the winter, and Gingko is supposed to help Raynaud's. Maybe there's a connection between Tinnitus and Raynaud's?
       
    6. lilacbloom

      lilacbloom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @ACG, very sorry you are going through this. I know how addictive this forum can be, especially at the beginning... I found that reading the success stories was always uplifting though, so n shame in that!
      I did not try the Ginko. I did research the literature on T extensively, and I remember reading that for some people, Ginko seemed to have a positive effect, and none at all for others. I don't think it can harm you to try it. Sometimes it can be helpful just to 'do' something. You should do what feels right for you - whether it is nothing at all, or trying different supplements, meds, seeing a psych, whatever... If my T had persisted I think I would have given sound therapy a try, but that's just me.
      I forgot to add to my dreadfully long post that when I told people around me about my T, I learnt that my grand mother had it for a while, and then it simply went away. Likewise, my GP had it for three weeks, and then it went away on its own. So, another two success stories to add to the list.
      By the way, no T spike in sight so far, a great night without sleeping pills for the first time in 4 months, and this morning: silence, silence, silence. It IS totally gone!
      Don't give up hope, and you are still very, very early on. This is a long and tough journey, but you will go through it.
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    7. ACG

      ACG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 10, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but it started after an ear canal infection.
      Thanks so much! And that sounds like good advice on the gingko. If I take it, I'll only take a small amount. Searching for the special German kind has given me kind of a mission.

      Also, thanks for throwing in the part about our grandmother and your GP. And I'm glad you are getting some sleep!!!
       
    8. Tom Cnyc

      Tom Cnyc Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Warehouse event after years of enjoying music.
      the ginkgo is on Amazon.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. ACG

      ACG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 10, 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure, but it started after an ear canal infection.
      Thanks Tom! I found it on-line, but I was going to see if I could find it quickly here in the city. No luck. Guess I'll order it off Amazon. I'm still a little scared to take it because of fears it might make it worse.
       
    10. lilacbloom

      lilacbloom Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @ACG I too was petrified just thinking about the potential T related side effects of pretty much everything I was prescribed. For what it's worth, I actually think that Ginko is really safe - some say it is no better than a placebo, (and therefore equally harmless), but others reported some clear improvement and attributed it to Ginko, so it may be worth a try. The only reason why I did not take it myself was that I thought it would not help me, not because it would increase my T. Good luck with whatever you try and have hope.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. TMLB

      TMLB Member Benefactor

      Location:
      British Columbia, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown.
      Thank you so much for your post. As I was reading it, I saw so much of myself and my experience with T.

      I've had T for about 3 years now and like so many for the first months was devastated by it to the point where I could barely function. The only relief I somewhat found when it initially 'hit' was to sit by a creek that runs by our home.

      Now 3 years in, I can't say that I have days without hearing the T, it's a matter of degrees. But the times when it's just annoying versus causing anxiety are increasing.

      The one area I'll continue to work on is to stop comparing my current experience with others near and dear to me that also have T but have the ability to ignore it and it does not negatively impact their lives in any way.

      I'll take away from your post the need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to continue with life. Reading your words has provided a much needed positive outlook for today (it's one of those high T days).

      Many thanks,
       
      • Like Like x 2
    12. Nadm

      Nadm Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20/03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      It's like I'm reading my own story :)
      I'm also afraid to take medications or vitamins, because I think it can worsen it.

      Thank you for sharing this story! Hopeful!
       

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