What Is Silence Like? Please Describe It — I Can't Remember a Day Without My Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Brain Tumor Dave, Apr 21, 2021.

    1. Brain Tumor Dave
      Wishful

      Brain Tumor Dave Member

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      1972
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vestibular Schwannoma / Posterior Fossa Meningioma
      Tinnitus has been my co-pilot since 1974. Every day, 24/7. I can't remember a day without the screech.

      So I've always been curious; what IS silence like? I know tinnitus is new to many of the posters here.

      For those of you who know silence, can you describe it?

      When you're alone and have no external sounds as input, do you hear NOTHING?

      Surely you hear yourself breathing. Or maybe your heartbeat? Or maybe the blood circulating in your ears?

      I can't fathom a concept of actual silence. I have to think an absence of the sense of hearing ANYTHING would be unnerving. Is that the case?
       
    2. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      Good question. Prior to my hearing loss, I had excellent hearing so there was never a time where I did not hear something external. Though I recall reading a study that put people with perfect hearing and no tinnitus in soundproof spaces. They heard ringing in their ears and other odd noises.

      I am not sure that perfect silence actually exists. Perhaps instead of absolute silence, what tinnitus sufferers miss is peace.
       
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    3. KotaDomowa
      Dreaming

      KotaDomowa Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Februar 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Well. Imagine that you are entering a room that is not heard by outside sounds. You lie down, take out the book. And you don't need to monitor anything. Pay attention to nothing. Nothing to worry about. Nothing is overloading your stimulus system.
       
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    4. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I haven't heard absolute silence like prior to tinnitus in nearly 4 years. But about 2½ years ago I had a cold that somehow reduced my tinnitus 90% for a little while, and the best way I can describe hearing that "silence" is that it feels really light. Almost like you're floating, like a heavy weight has been put off your shoulders. It's wonderful. Of course you still hear the very faint sound of your breathing, but you easily hear past that.
       
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    5. Orions Pain
      Sad

      Orions Pain Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A series of unfortunate events
      It's kind of like chronic pain. When your body doesn't hurt, the thought of your body hurting doesn't even cross your mind. When you do have pain, it occupies your day and you're constantly aware of it, the pain in the moment, what you're gonna do to solve it, how much worse it's gonna get in the future.

      When you don't have tinnitus, you're not even paying attention to the silence, you're just blissfully unaware that something else could be filling in that space besides ambient noise. You simply exist in the moment and it's peaceful.
       
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    6. Gee82

      Gee82 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I remember how I enjoyed reading, relaxing or simply letting my thoughts wander in complete silence. How peacefully I was falling asleep and waking up in the morning. Silence felt like I had a life to live and to focus on; now tinnitus is invading my brain and making me unable to even think properly.
       
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    7. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      maxWdmc.jpg
       
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    8. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      That's not exactly how it was for me. Before tinnitus I enjoyed laying in bed or sitting around just listening to silence several times a week. It was my go-to timeout of full relaxation, when I felt myself too stimulated by noise/music.
       
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    9. Orions Pain
      Sad

      Orions Pain Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A series of unfortunate events
      This wasn’t to imply that silence can’t actively be sought out and enjoyed. I also loved just sitting in silence to relax or reading a book in a quiet area. OP asked what silence sounds like, and the best way (for me) to put that into words was just that it was a lack of the idea that your head could one day be filled with insane noises that you can’t escape.

      Life was full of those little moments where you could just exist in peace without the horrible noises in your head even when you weren’t seeking out silence for relaxation such as waiting in a doctors office, being in a dressing room, or waiting in a car. In those moments your mind was probably occupied with some other mundane thoughts. So that’s kinda what I meant of being blissfully unaware of silence.

      It’s difficult to put the meaning into words.
       
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    10. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      I really miss doing a rolling fall into bed and just breathing deeply. I think the epitome of my tinnitus experience is that has been stolen from me. I'm always just a *little* bit on edge, and I think a life like that represent a really significant departure from my old identity.
       
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    11. Lurius
      Wishful

      Lurius Member

      Location:
      Oslo, Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Valsalva maneuver
      As someone with autism and being a mostly introverted personality, I completely understand this. It was like that for me as well. Hearing silence was incredibly important to me. I needed some alone time every day, just to hear silence and be with myself. Now that it has been taken away from me, I'm not sure I will ever be myself again.
       
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    12. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I see what you mean. Yes, daydreaming was easier and more often occuring naturally, back when silence could be found. Nowadays I just start worrying and get more anxious, when I find myself in a silent environment.
       
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    13. Tanni
      Volatile

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      This is actually the perfect description of having tinnitus, for me.
       
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    14. DaveFromChicago

      DaveFromChicago Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headcold/Flu
      To GBB and Tanni:

      Very germane characterization of this condition.

      I compare this to the way that, during the summer, the A/C in your car will consume 25% of the car's total power.

      Tinnitus appropriates this percentage of your unselfconscious, confidentially directed regard for daily life. It is also similar, I imagine, to how the undermining, constantly painful awareness of having committed a disgraceful, unspeakable crime would have on your mental state.

      This occurred to me after considering Raskolnikov's unremittingly tortured state in Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment."
       
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    15. Bobb77
      Cynical

      Bobb77 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise drama and stress
      Silence is something that I won't ever face in my life again.

      Shower is the only 5 minutes of my day where the head sounds can't be stronger than the water noise. That is my silence.

      The rest is trying to be alive as long as my parents live. And then maybe there is a wonder that reduces my head fire somehow.
       
    16. Ehren M
      Nerdy

      Ehren M Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/24/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Silence... I don't think I really experienced much silence before tinnitus. Maybe this is an odd perspective, but since developing tinnitus I've actually noticed myself worrying far less about the innumerable little concerns that used to fill my day. "Monkey-mind" refers to the tendency of our minds to always wander from subject to subject and dwell on things that make us unhappy.

      I've been into meditation for a long time mainly to help quiet the busyness that usually consumed my thoughts. "Silence" before tinnitus was not exactly silence, since I was always concerned about something and was often stuck "in my head".

      Now whenever I am not consumed with work, I am often focused far more on tinnitus than any of the other issues I would be dwelling on. In that way, tinnitus has replaced what was previously a very busy mind.

      I oddly now find myself less concerned at the moment about the "little things" that used to plague me, perhaps because tinnitus provides sufficient fear for my mind to consume.

      I do think I would prefer to once again be consumed with thinking about the "little things" instead of this tinnitus-bully... and hopefully someday I have the chance to compare those concerns.
       
    17. Matchbox

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Bliss, worst part is I knew it was bliss and savoured it before tinnitus.

      Feels empty, hollow, and you can hear everything in a hyper... peaceful way (no aural fullness).

      No distortion, and my breathing through my nose being the loudest thing.

      I'd kill for dead quiet to just be static now, it was in the beginning... I didn't realize it until later that I could find peace in it.

      Then I got way worse so... yeah.
       
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