Travelling Asia with Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by emmy2405, Apr 23, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. emmy2405
      Snaphappy

      emmy2405 Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Genetic/Audio Damage
      Hi everyone!

      So, I came to this site about 6 weeks ago in desperation, to seek some advice on that dreaded ringing in my ears that we all know about. At the time, I was due to go travelling around Asia and teach english in Thailand. I thought I'd write this post for anyone out there who needs support and encouragement to get out in the world and accomplish their dreams. It is possible, and I want to share my experience.

      It all started by attending a heavy drum and bass night where I lived (that I never normally go to....). I remember noticing really loud buzzing in my ears when my head hit the pillow to pass out, but, I'd had this previously from a young age and thought nothing of it. The next day, it was still haunting me. I tried to put it to the back of my mind but the ringing was so loud, it became the only thing I could concentrate on. By day five, I was panicing and desperate for a solution. I found myself stuffing cotton wool in my ears on the way to work, thinking that the bus noises were making it louder. I stopped listening to my iPod completely and even wore earplugs when I plugged in the hair-dryer. It was a living nightmare.

      My boyfriend would comfort me as I cried and tried to explain what it was like to hear tinnitus inside my head. As much as it was appreciated to have someone listen, he couldn't understand. Because the people around couldn't sympathise, they would forget I was suffering with it fairly quickly, which was of course, natural and yet tragically depressing for me. I felt completely alone and in a pit of whirling misery with a high-pitched whistling sound for company.

      My mother suffers from Meniere's Disease and has had constant tinnitus since her 20's. She is also 65% deaf and has hearing aids. Because of this, she has always taught me to be conscious of loud noises and protecting my hearing and so I wore ear protection to concerts and in loud environments. It just so happens that the one night I relaxed about it and forgot my ear plugs, tinnitus caught me. It's hard to describe how much regret I have for not thinking of ear plugs that night. I can't even begin to say how angry and upset I am at myself for letting my guard down, or at all the other people I knew that went, that did not wake up with this horrible disease. I felt like a monster, green with envy at everyone who wasn't me.

      Two weeks went by and I slowly started to think that this ringing noise was never going away. Some would say I gave up hope too soon, but I found that the more time I spent wishing for it to disappear, the louder it became and the more it began to take over my life. I bargained with Tinnitus on a daily basis - "Please, go away. I'll do anything, anything at all. I'll never go to clubs or loud bars again. I won't wear headphones anymore." is just an example of what I thought upon waking up every day. Before I knew it, something just snapped inside my head and I realised that I was so fed up of being depressed that I just couldn't do it any longer. One morning I woke up and thought, "I need to get used to this noise and live my life. Time to deal with this." & so, that's what I did and still learning to do.

      Firstly, I invested in professional sound ear plugs which are something I would never live without. I wear them when I dry my hair and sometimes on transport. I keep my iPod volume on average level and give my ears regular breaks - I suggest a kindle, instead! I would make sure that I was constantly doing something with my time, whether that was planning my travel itinerary, doing extra things at work, going to the gym or watching tv series. I downloaded a masking sound app that I sometimes play when I want to go to sleep. I tried to make my life just that little bit easier now that I had a new, irritating friend to hang around with....

      Before long, my brain became accustomed to Tinnitus. It's hard to believe I have done it in such a short amount of time but it is getting easier and it IS an on-going process. Don't give up. Do think positive.

      It wasn't before long that I was sat at London Heathrow Airport about to board a plane to Vietnam with my boyfriend. I got emotional realising that I had already been on a journey the past few weeks previously, with myself. The learning to cope and realising that life goes on whether you're happy or not is the biggest bitch of it all. But, once you re-evaluate your goals, thoughts and what you're putting all your energy into - you do break free. I boarded that plane with a heavy heart and a free mind, knowing that a new adventure starts right there.

      I have now been travelling for just under three weeks all the way through Vietnam and it has been fantastic. I have heard my tinnitus about 10 times, mostly when I actually GO looking for it. Trekking along the Mekong Delta path, we passed some trees with very noisy 'Cacai' living inside the bark. The noise was so loud it was unbearable. Afterwards, my boyfriend said ' I was going to say to you afterwards, ' god, this is what Tinnitus must sound like! But I daren't in case it reminded you of it!' I am so absorbed with scenery from sleeper buses, that I don't feel the need to listen to my iPod or distract myself in other ways from the buzzzzzzzzzz shshhdhhdhddhhd whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz beeeeeeeeeeeeep noise in my head. The new smells and sounds of each place are a reality check, coming to an understanding that everyone is living life and getting on with it - which is what I need to do too. You can't rewind your life and you can't start over. But, you can heal and you will push through that boundary of despair. Of course, I have down days - everybody does. The hardest part is my mood swings - if I can hear the tinnitus, I become restless and irritated. Travelling is exciting yet exhausting and so plenty of sleep also aids the disease. I find that if I'm tired, my T will be very loud.

      In 10 days I will be in Thailand ready to start teaching primary children, English. I'm anxious and scared, but for the teaching and new surroundings - not my tinnitus!

      I guess I wanted to write this because Tinnitus caught me when I least expected it just before I was about to embark on a life-changing journey. I didn't think I could travel and I never wanted to 'cope' with it. Before I boarded that plane, I was miserable and depressed with what had happened, thinking that I would never be able to experience life to the full again. How very wrong I was. You can do this - you just have to want to. It's tiring being positive, but feeling negative is even more exhausting. Looking on the bright side is what brings you possibility and new beginnings. I never thought I would get to the place where I could do things and not hear an accompanied noise to go with it - but I'm getting there. The irony is that I can now hear my Tinnitus, which has yet to make an appearance in my head today until now. So, I guess this is a blog post for everyone to share that dreams are still possible and life can go on normally, with a few tweaks and adjustments for your comfort and pleasure!

      I am a keen photographer and have included some of my photographs - take a look at my blog to see what's happening if you wish! - http://www.emmavanlooy.com

      Take care everyone,
      Emmy x
       

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    2. Littlebailey

      Littlebailey Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      Fabulous post. Very happy for you. And impressed with how you've responded. Great work. Is your T fairly loud, if you don't mind my asking? If so, that makes it even more impressive.

      In any case, that's what you gotta do. Tune it out, treat it like it's normal, and just not care like it's not even there. This should be an encouraging story for everyone.
       
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    3. emmy2405
      Snaphappy

      emmy2405 Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Genetic/Audio Damage
      My Tinnitus was very loud to begin with and is of a very high frequency. But, as I've habituated it seems to have grown quieter. However I am unsure if it has grown quieter or I've just learnt to ignore it! ....I just spent a good minute listening for it - and it's most definitely loud!

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope this post helps everyone.
       
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    4. seal

      seal Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Love your post, I knew that it was a great idea to still do your Asia trip. Great pictures, I will check out your blog!
       
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    5. Suzie

      Suzie Member

      Location:
      Milton MA
      Tinnitus Since:
      april 2014
      Thanks for the encouragement...I am 3 weeks into it and I hope that i can habituate
       
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    6. jchinnis

      jchinnis Member

      Location:
      USA: Northern Virginia and Seattle area
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/1989
      Wonderful post and wonderful photographs!
       
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    7. iAzra
      Dreaming

      iAzra Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma, Stress, Nose hit
      Thank you for your post. i was just wondering if you wear ear plugs on plane and wile taking off and lending? Did flight impact your tinnitus? How do you cope of fear to have your hearing even further damaged? Sorry if this questions are too much, I just want to learn from people who sound happy again.. Thank you!
       
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    8. emmy2405
      Snaphappy

      emmy2405 Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Genetic/Audio Damage
      Hi iAzra!

      The flight was 14 hours and it did make my Tinnitus louder, but it calmed down after a day on the ground again. I have ear plugs and wear them if I go to bars or clubs, even loud restaurants. It REALLY helps! At the weekend we went spontaneously went to a club at a beach a few hours away, and i forgot my ear plugs! I was panicking and so I went into the toilets and stuffed toilet roll in my ears just because I knew I couldn't bare it if the tinnitus got louder - luckily we weren't there for long enough to have a spike. Note to self - carry ear plugs everywhere!

      The fear of my tinnitus getting louder never goes away, it is always there. But nowadays I rarely think about it. I'm so busy, that I don't have time to sit around and wonder about the 'what ifs' in the future - there's nothing we can do about that. Enjoy life for the now and get by each day knowing you're doing the best you can and what you're capable of. Take it step by step. Help yourself by carrying around ear plugs all the time so that if you ever get in a situation where things get loud, you can secure your worries and know you're protecting your hearing!

      I hope this helps somewhat, feel free to private message me if you need to talk!
       
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    9. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids
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    10. washashore
      Fine

      washashore Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Massachusetts
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Great post @emmy2405. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!
       
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    11. ErikaD

      ErikaD Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/2015
      Thank you so much for your story. This forum has helped me a lot to learn to cope with it as well after going to a loud concert a week ago. It made me so sad because I am a singer in a band and I thought "oh great, now the music I create won't sound the same." It really affected me this past week and I've been really down about it, but now after much research on tinnitus, which I had never heard of before this, has helped me to understand this problem. Your post most definitely helped me to realize that life doesn't stop because of one bad occurrence, but we have to learn to choose happiness in all occasions and from what I read, your tinnitus has made you an even more proactive person in all aspects of your life, even if the original reason for it was to not think about the tinnitus. I have more to say on this, but really thank you:)
       
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    12. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Awesome post and great story of living your life regardless of your T. Kind of remind me of my last 2 trips, one of which was to Asia too. The ringing was very loud on the plane enough to hear it over the jet noise. But the heck with T. I had a great time there. Hope you continue to improve and have a wonderful time in your Asia adventure. God bless.
       
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    13. newarrior

      newarrior Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/1996
      I got Asia a lot and want to move there..Even with the best, highest protection ear plugs I have experienced addtional hearing loss and worsening tinnitus :-(
       
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