Tinnitus for 30 Years — Recently Noticing It More (Unexpected Sound Exposures / Emotional Stress)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Tom Okay, Aug 24, 2022.

    1. Tom Okay
      Wishful

      Tom Okay Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Copenhagen, Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably loud sounds, aging and too much stressing out
      Hello everyone, my name is Thomas. I guess I have been living with tinnitus since I was around 18 years old when I noticed it first. That's for 30 years now.

      I think my tinnitus was caused by loud sound exposures during concerts and playing with fireworks (two things I really loved when I was a child/young boy).

      In the beginning, I was very worried and sad, of course, but over the years I have been able to not let it have too much of my attention. Only once have I gone to a doctor with my tinnitus (which was as a young man). The doctor, my general practitioner, checked my ears visually and told me to not worry about it. So that's what I have been trying to do. Fortunately, at the same time, I started (on my own research) to wear ear plugs at concerts and when playing music. I think the doctor should at least have recommended that. My tinnitus has been quite unchanged over the years.

      BUT now, I have begun to worry again. Since two weeks ago, I have started to notice the tinnitus every day. Two months, during summer vacation, I /did/ have a couple of unexpected loud sound exposures beyond my control but I have also been under large emotional stress for many months, so I'm not sure if the increase in my tinnitus is caused by one or the other or both (I think the latter is most probably).

      Also since two weeks ago, my right ear seems quite suddenly to feel "clogged", like putting a cup over the ear. I'm afraid that it is hearing loss related since I do not have symptoms of infections.

      I have an ear doctor's appointment in one month (beginning of October 2022).

      I am happy to have found this forum (and the Tinnitus Talk Podcast) to help me feel not so alone with my worries.

      Anyways, I just wanted to say hello and write my story with tinnitus down. I don't think I need recommendations and advice from the forum at this moment.
       
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    2. Hazel
      Dreaming

      Hazel Director Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one-sided hearing loss (of unknown origin)
      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for sharing your story with this community! It is unfortunately a typical story we've heard many times before. The good news is that your symptoms are likely to settle down again with time; I hope that will be the case for you :)

      It's great to hear that this forum has been able to provide some solace to you. That's what it's all about and we put our hearts and souls into this. And a big thank you for becoming a benefactor as well!

      :thankyousign:
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Tom Okay
      Wishful

      Tom Okay Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Copenhagen, Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably loud sounds, aging and too much stressing out
      Update since the other day:

      After some days of poor sleep and constant worrying, I called my ear doctor's office and explained (well, I broke down on the phone, to be honest) and they said I couldn't go on like that for a whole month until my appointment and offered an examination already today.

      So I went and had a good talk and examination from the ear doctor. The hearing test came out fine (normal hearing)... I was so worried that I am losing hearing on my right ear because it still feels somewhat "dampened". The doctor also checked visually my ear and checked my jaws by simple manipulation. Nothing abnormal.

      Then we talked about my work and life situation and that the increased stress that I am experiencing at the moment could of course be a factor. The loud sounds that I experienced two months ago, of course also -- but the doctor questioned this because I didn't notice increased tinnitus until now.

      Today, I'm still experiencing the same louder tinnitus as yesterday but I feel a more relaxed about it. I also got contact information on local tinnitus support groups and also a quite well-written information sheet (which more or less repeats what I already have gathered myself).

      One useful advice that the doctor gave me was to try not to start long trains of thought of worry when I notice the tinnitus. So, now, I'm going to talk a walk outside and enjoy the late summer weather (my tinnitus is quieter outside) and maybe I'll buy an ice cream.
       
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    4. 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 Thomas, I meant to comment earlier on your initial post. There are a couple parallels with what you're going through and what I've been going through.

      One, I have had low level tinnitus for years in both ears, nothing that bothered me much. In my case, I think it was due to having gradual hearing loss over the years.

      Second, I had a sudden onset of rather intrusive tinnitus 4 months ago (in my right ear only). It wasn't due to a virus or noise trauma. Just prior to this onset, I was experiencing months of work and non-work stress.

      I think stress was a major factor for me. I had other factors too, like the pre-existing tinnitus, bad forward-head posture, poor diet, poor sleep hygiene, sleep apnea, childhood trauma, and more. But the stress was the tipping factor.

      I went through a downward mental health spiral for the first couple of months since my onset. Once I started accepting what was happening and started addressing all the factors, things started to improve for me. I still have worse tinnitus, but it's no longer as bad as the initial onset, and I don't have the anxiety-ridden response to it like I did in the beginning.

      I agree with your doctor about avoiding trains of thought of worry and instead focus on positives. One thing I did in the beginning was to start a gratitude journal to get my mind to focus on positives.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Tom Okay
      Wishful

      Tom Okay Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Copenhagen, Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably loud sounds, aging and too much stressing out
      Thanks Joe! I appreciated very much reading about your experiences which sound similar to mine and it gives me hope that my tinnitus will also be easier to cope with for me. I must admit that the past weeks have been pretty rough here.

      It's surprising to me how much one's stress level can affect the body. Three years ago, I went through a similar very stressful time and I had very bad eczema on both my legs and couldn't sleep properly for a month. I never would have imagined that my tinnitus could also get suddenly this worse from stress.

      Again, thanks for your support, I will follow your example and try to avoid spiraling downward in the coming time. Today, I had a more peaceful and relaxing morning than the previous week's morning, so I am hopeful.
       
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    6. 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 Thomas, glad to have met you. It's good to see you focusing on the positives. It was pretty rough for me in the beginning, so I can imagine what you're dealing with right now.

      One thing I did was enroll in a CBT/DBT class. There I learned just how distorted my thoughts were. It also helped me approach kindness towards myself (rather than blame) and acceptance for what I'm dealing with now.

      Another thing was medication. I was never one to rely on medication, but I must admit that it helped stabilize my otherwise downward spiral of anxiety and depression. I don't think I want to be on meds in the long term, but they sure have helped me when I needed them.

      I agree with you about what stress can do to a person. Your eczema sounds unpleasant, glad you're past that. I've been trying to reduce as many stressors as I can identify. Trying to simplify my life and take each day as they come. I've gotten relatively good at meditating, which I feel has helped a great deal.

      Anyway keep us posted on how you're faring. One thing I always tell myself is progress isn't linear. Cheers!
       
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    7. Javimaltes
      Innocent

      Javimaltes Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No idea
      Hi, Joe!

      I'm glad to see that you feel better. I told you, with help from professionals in psychology, it is much easier to overcome.

      With best wishes,
      Javier
       
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    8. 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 there Javi! I am indeed feeling better. Still get annoyed on my bad days, but much less anxiety than before. You were correct sir. Cheers to you :D
       
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    9. Javimaltes
      Innocent

      Javimaltes Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No idea
      Yes, it is a process of several months. Now tinnitus normally does not irk me. I still hear it, but sometimes my brain forgets about the ringing. The people I personally know and that have also tinnitus only notice it when they are going to bed, their brains are distracted with life until that moment. So, habituation is something real but takes time.
       
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    10. 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
      Agreed, it's taking some time for me to habituate since mine fluctuates by the day.

      Yesterday was great, today sucks, haha :p
       
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    11. Johan82

      Johan82 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection or noise
      Will a tinnitus spike caused by stress or anxiety go down after you are calm again?

      Additionally, I wonder if stress makes your ears more vulnerable for hearing damage and tinnitus?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Tom Okay
      Wishful

      Tom Okay Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Copenhagen, Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably loud sounds, aging and too much stressing out
      Both good questions I'd like answered too :)

      My spike or increased tinnitus has not returned to the previous moderate level that I was used for many years. It's been a little over a month now with the increased levels and I have been trying to not stress out so much and I have been doing mild exercise and eating a little better. I still sleep pretty poorly which tells me that I'm only slowly habituating and de-stressing. So there's improvements to be made in the de-stressing department for me :)

      From what I understand, stress can trigger tinnitus whether it is caused by hearing loss or other reasons. This worries me because we all are in stressful situations from time to time. I don't know if hearing loss can be triggered by stress. It doesn't seem likely to me---but maybe someone on the forum knows more about this.
       
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    13. scotty03874

      scotty03874 Member

      Location:
      Boston / Miami Beach
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Slap to the ear / Leading to more issues after ear surgery
      Yes to all of the above.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Tom Okay
      Wishful

      Tom Okay Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Copenhagen, Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably loud sounds, aging and too much stressing out
      I guess I was wrong. Several sources online mention that stress can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss due to changes in blood flow caused by the stress response.
       
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