Tinnitus For My Birthday (Sorta)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by SunnyDay, Jun 16, 2015.

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    1. SunnyDay
      Hot

      SunnyDay Member

      Location:
      Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      About a week after my birthday this year, I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night with an extremely itchy ear. When I woke up the next morning, I could hear a high-pitched noise as if someone had left a TV or some kind of electrical equipment on. I didn't see a doctor until I'd heard the ringing for over a week, because I had been questioning myself. ("I know my ears tend to ring when it's quiet... Could it be possible I've always heard this noise? Why can't I go back to ignoring it like before? What's changed? Maybe it's stress.") I went to an Urgent Care clinic, and they told me there was nothing they could do because it was tinnitus. They also noted my blood pressure was a little high, and urged me to see my primary care physician. I couldn't get an appointment with him until a week later. He looked at my ears and told me that everything looked fine so it must be tinnitus. He said that while he could send me to an ENT, they'd just tell me, "Turn on the radio at night."

      The sound I hear is usually a steady, high-pitched tone which sometimes tends to waver in pitch in both ears. It actually dissipated at one point, and I went a week without hearing it. Then I went to the movies and it was back the next day. It's been four days at this point during this latest episode, so I'm waiting to see if it dissipates again.

      It's not clear what the cause was. I work in a library so it's not something work-related. I don't drink or smoke at all. I had been using earbuds more often, but when it started, I hadn't used them in a while. I feel like the fact that my ears were itching terribly has something to do with it, but the doctors don't seem to think it's related at all.

      I play a lot of games (PC and handheld consoles mostly and never at very high volume), and concentrating on those is usually enough to make me forget about the sound. Prior to having tinnitus, I would fall asleep listening to music, podcasts or while watching a movie, so it wasn't much of a problem working that into my routine.

      Now and then I get depressed and wonder why this is happening. I did some Googling and came across this site, so it's nice to know that I could still have a life. During those first two weeks though, I was so upset that I literally smacked myself in the head a few times because I wanted it to stop. I'd get depressed and wonder what's wrong with my brain. I felt like I was going crazy. I still feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, especially when I wake up in the middle of the night and hear it.

      There are some things I'm wondering and I hope I can get some tips here:

      Ear cleaning--are there dos/don'ts for tinnitus? I've been using Q-tips for years and maybe it's time to rethink that. Prior to having tinnitus, another doctor suggested I use Debrox. They used it on me at the clinic, but honestly I'm too afraid to do it myself.

      Ear protection--I don't like the thought of putting something in my ear. Would just carrying around a pair of earmuffs be okay? Any recommendations?

      CBT/Mindfulness--do I have to see a doctor in person for this? Any recommended readings?

      Thanks in advance!
       
    2. Tibberz
      Supportive

      Tibberz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      5 9mm Gunshots
      Q-Tips are a no no, big NONO. I would have an ENT clean the ears personally. CBT / Mindfulness is just teaching yourself how to ignore it. Ear protection is always a good idea when in loud areas, but earmuffs may be a bit tooo bulky to carry all the time.

      There are a few drugs in trial that are supposed to lower the volume of the ringing, will be a few years until any of them come out if successful. Already positive signs that they can work.

      Best thing to do currently is try your best not to give it too much attention, easiest way to do this is to keep yourself occupied. The less attention you give it, the less the brain will be worried about it and the volume will drop or at least seem to drop. That's pretty much what has happened for me. Past week I have had several long periods of time where it has seemed to be gone, but if I plug my ears or go looking for it it seems louder until i get preoccupied again.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Tibberz already give excellent advice. The only thing I can add is about CBT and mindfulness. You can do self-helped CBT by reading up as much as possible on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and cognitive distortions. Google thse terms and you will see load of information. It is important to understand how cognitive distortions (CD) play a huge part in the suffering of a new T sufferer because during this initial process when the mind is traumatized and freaked out by T, it is flooded with distorted thoughts about the future and about life. For example, one CD is 'Catastrophic Thinking'. When you think that T is a catastrophe and that the future is doomed, you tend to be trapped by Castatrophic Thinking. Another CD is 'All or Nothing Thinking', which tends to make people think that life is not worth enjoying unless T disappears from your life. If that doesn't happen, you tend to think life is over. Of course we know this is not true. There are much more to life than T. T is only a slice of life, as pretty Zoe Cartwright puts it. Zoe is inspiring because she doesn't just have T, she is completely deaf at young 15 and her T is totally unmaskable. We are a product of how we think. CD can ruin our mental health if not properly challenged and countered. If you wish to read up on Zoe's story, it is mentioned on the Positivity Thread (at the top of the main support forum), on page 14 & 15. It seems that your T may be not so bad, as you say your are already having days you don't hear it. So count that as a blessing. Be more positive and it can only help. If you want to know more about mindfulness, you can search youtube and you will find many videos explaining it and showing how to do it. Take care & God bless.
       
    4. James Brown
      Sporty

      James Brown Member

      Location:
      Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      09-1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposition
      Like others say, overprotective it's not good since you don't seem to have H. Anyway loud noises can increase the sound of T or do a serious damage to the cells. In my case a balloon who blew close to my ear, increased the sound of my T to levels hard to handle. So, my advice is. It can always get worse. A moment of reckless is a regret to all life.
       
    5. SunnyDay
      Hot

      SunnyDay Member

      Location:
      Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've been trying to break away from using q-tips because I actually did cause myself problems in using them.

      I guess I'll have to give ear plugs a try, but I really don't like the sensation of something in my ear that blocks out a lot of sound. When the doctors use their otoscopes in my ears, it's the worst feeling.

      I think I did go through some Catastrophic Thinking and All or Nothing Thinking. I certainly remember those thoughts crossing my mind more than once, and I remember trying to counteract those thoughts with positive ones.

      Yeah, I'm trying to figure out if I have some kind of threshold or a certain tolerance level so I can gauge how cautious I'll need to be. I've become more aware of significant noises that go on around me (my dad turning up the TV really loud so that he can hear, the construction going on around my workplace, etc.) so I might end up making some notes each day or something.
       
    6. James Brown
      Sporty

      James Brown Member

      Location:
      Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      09-1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposition
      When I say loud noises, I say sirens, alarms, fireworks, horns, plain reactors, and off course sound of speakers at concerts who are the cause of a lot of injuries you see on this board.
       

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