What Is the Best Way to Habituate? Is Complete Habituation Possible?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Sironketchup, Apr 22, 2019.

    1. Sironketchup

      Sironketchup Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL / Stress
      Hey!

      I'm just over 5 months in and I'm still struggling. Especially with sleep and bad mood. And I still don't know why it happened, it might have been a stress / cold related nerve damage? My tinnitus is very high frequency electric noise in both ears / head.
      My girlfriend and my mother are trying to convince me to do some kind of therapy (TRT or going to a clinic for 1.5 months), but I'm actually not sure if that really helps.

      I have done a lot of research to understand how to deal with tinnitus and the only way to "cure" myself seems to be proper habituation (I also think that people who say it went away after 1 year or so probably habituated completely and if it stays, habituation is not complete.)

      I know habituation is a natural process, but can I do anything to help it?
      Is there advantage or TRT compared to just without? Any stats?

      I've found this study:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24463830

      It says that about 54% of people reach habituation of perception after TRT, so might it be worth a try?
      That would be very near to a cure, hm?

      I'm already doing CBT, but that was not so useful until today. I know more than my therapist.

      So what is my plan at the moment?
      1) I try to take some more time for myself and reduce my working hours a bit
      2) I try to do nothing as mentioned here: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/doing-nothing-worked-for-me.4778/
      -> I try to allow my tinnitus to be part of me
      3) as tinnitus seems to be correlated with anxiety and depression I'm trying to not be afraid of that noise, stay clam, and to have a positive mindset (still very hard!)

      Do you have ideas what I could do? I don't want to fail :D
      Do you think complete habituation to my type of tinnitus is possible?
      I mostly hear it when I don't move, especially if I lie down, or if I sit down.
      Everyday noises seem to mask it quite well, but wind and fans etc. seem to trigger it somehow.
      I can modulate it clearly with my jaw.
      At the moment I'm sitting at the PC with the window open and I'm hardly aware of the tinnitus!
      But when I lie down and watch TV or go to sleep, it's very loud.

      Could this be my "inner tone", it has been there all the time, but somehow my brain put it into consciousness?

      At the moment I'm sleeping with earplugs and get 3-5 hours of sleep. Could this be good or bad for habituation?

      When / how do I know I'm not failing in habituation?

      Tell me what you think please :)
      I might take a longer break from the forum soon as I will try not to focus on tinnitus that much.
       
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    2. Aaron44126
      Balanced

      Aaron44126 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Eustachian tube dysfunction (from infection / labyrinthitis)
      I'll say for me, it took five months before I began to feel that "complete" habitutation is possible. This was when I realized that I was able to go for big stretches of a day without "noticing" my tinnitus. It was a few more months before I began to feel like I was actually habituated.

      I think it is a matter of reframing your relationship with your tinnitus. Remember, habitutation doesn't mean that it goes away. If you can't hear the tinnitus sound anymore, you are not habituated; you are cured. It doesn't even mean that you stop noticing it, necessarily, though you should certainly notice it less. It is more about it becoming just a natural part of you, so you do not focus on it and are able to go about your business without it being brought to the forefront of your consciousness. This is only possible once the anxiety brought on by your tinnitus begins to go away.

      You will say, this is an unnartural noise, how could I possibly not notice it constantly? The best that I can suggest is pointing out that you habituate to other things every day without even realizing it. You don't constantly notice the feeling of socks on your feet, or the sound that your car engine is making after you've been driving for a long stretch. Your brain has limited attention capacity and will filter out things deemed unimportant, and your tinnitus doesn't fit into the "unimportant" category yet.

      In my case, when the tinnitus first came I went through what many other people do ... deep depresion, nights of bad sleep, constantly monitoring it, and scouring the Internet for answers. I thought that I would never be able to habituate. And yet I did. It took some time but the background noise became the "new normal" and basically I got tired of freaking out about it. So now, I do notice a few times every day but there isn't any negative feeling attached, and then when I get busy with whatever, it is just sitting there in the background and I do not even realize that it is present. (Just like the feeling of socks on my feet.) It wasn't a decision that I made, it just happened over time. I may have helped it along a bit by reading up on CBT techniques (with regards to OCD) to reduce my anxiety level but I think that time is basically the healer here.


      Regarding sleep, I do still sleep with sound. I recommend finding some background noise rather than sleeping with earplugs, I think that is a more healthy long-term solution (both for your ears physically and also for promoting habituation). Open a window, run a fan, or find some sound to listen to. I used a mixed of sounds in the TTSoft "White Noise" app for a while (crickets and running water if I recall), and now I just listen to brown noise when I sleep. I use a sound headband. I've been able to decrease the volume over time, now I have it set at just about the lowest audible setting, just to have something to listen to other than the tinnitus noise which is pretty distracting for sleep.

      You'll know you are succeeding in habituation when you are able to go for stretches of time without thinking about your tinnitus or having it be a bother to you. There's no quick fix to it. You can help it along with CBT or positive thinking but it will take time to achieve regardless. Good luck.
       
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    3. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery
      @Sironketchup try not to think about that term habituation now. It is too soon for you.

      I don't use that particular term. For me it took a lot of time and it had to come naturally without trying if that makes sense.

      Sort of like when you cannot remember a certain actors name. You think and think. Then when you are preoccupied with something else and that is not in your brain the name just pops into your head.

      I found when I stopped trying which took a LONG time it was a gradual process.
       
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    4. Ervin64

      Ervin64 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Antibiotic
      First step towards habituation according to my experiance would be to live as healty lifestyle as possible. Internal change in your brain is hard to achive if there is no external change. In other words, if you drink alcohol stop it, if you smoke stop it, if you take any drugs or other stimulans such as coffee stop it, if you hang out with negative people dont do it any more, if you eat unhealy food stop it, etc..

      In this way your overall health will improve and your brain will recieve some dfferent (positive) external impulses. If you already live healty life style than you may try some easy meditation to calm your brain down.

      If you try this for one day it will not have long lasting affect, but if you actualy start living like this all the time, then your mindset will change and tinnitus sound will not be percieved as enemy anymore it will just be there with "new you" and wont disturbe you at all.

      Habituation may also come naturaly after some time beacause people change over time, but because you asked how can you actively help in this process now, I gave you above suggestions (which people generaly dont like to follow because it is not easy at beginning).
       
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    5. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      You have received some great advice, @Sironketchup. Taking a break from the forum can be positive, especially if it is causing you to dwell too much on the tinnitus. Thankfully, it will still be here for you if you find that you need support and encouragement.
       
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    6. fishbone
      Shitfaced

      fishbone Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1988
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud noise and very bad sickness
      There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to habituation. It's a slow daily progress that eventually can gain traction over time. Acceptance is a huge component of being able to habituate.

      Having the proper mindset is crucial for possibly getting to the point of habituation. Even after 31 of years of this venom I still feel that I am at 85% to 90% habituation, it takes work and dedication to remain positive when tinnitus changes our lives.

      Its a day by day ordeal. Gaining strength day by day, to face the noise and moving forward in our lives. When I first got tinnitus i'd talk it out with those people that truly cared about me and my purpose in life. I avoided negative people and tried to build a support system. This is very important.
       
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    7. david c

      david c Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2012
      For me the two things that really aided habituation were time and avoiding loud noise exposure as much as possible. I guess it took me at least a year and a half to really habituate and avoiding loud noise exposure was crucial during this period as anything which made the tinnitus worse also made it harder to habituate to.

      TRT is essentially CBT with a sound therapy component so if you are not finding CBT that helpful you may not find TRT that helpful either but it might be worth trying.
       
    8. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      I have to admit that for some unknown reason, the word habituation, has never felt right to me, personally. I say that I have come to a place of acceptance. There will always be those days when I struggle to accept it all, just like when you say it can be a "back and forth thing."
       
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    9. OnceUponaTime
      Busy

      OnceUponaTime Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/11
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I hate it...but what else can we call it???
       
    10. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      Well, I have a few names that I would like to call it, but...;)
       
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    11. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I agree.

      I think it's being used to mean different things: it is often used as a "success story", when the person has habituated to the point that T goes in the background and doesn't bother him/her anymore. I know these kinds of cases exist: my neighbor is one of them; when I told him I had T, he told me "yeah me too", and I asked him "can you hear it right now?" which had him pause for a few seconds to "try to find it". So yes, he habituated, but if he has to look for it to find it, I'd say it's a fairly "friendly" T. Good for him.

      Then there are the other cases that I would, like you, qualify as acceptance. I'm in that boat: my T still sucks every second of the day, but I've accepted it as part of my life and I have to deal with it. I often say that I'm "habituated to the suckiness". It's not a success story for me because of the severe degradation of my quality of life that comes with such "habituation state".
       
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    12. Lilah
      Bashful

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Most of my life is in a quiet environment so I'm constantly reminded. I work in a shared cubicle space so it's usually quiet. I live alone so there are not many distractions. Since it is high pitch, I can hear it over music too. I just bought a TV so hope it will distract my mind to think on other stuff like the news, etc. Even when I'm outside and if I don't hear it, I can "feel" because there is some movement sensation in my ears. In the beginning I thought life was over, but I'm more positive now. I still can't believe I have tinnitus so have not fully accepted it. For me, habituation would mean being able to sleep without meds and not being sad about it. No one should have to sleep using meds.
       
    13. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      That is an interesting way of putting it, GregCA. I think I would have to say that I "reluctantly accept the tinnitus." Still, after all this time, I can't believe that this has happened to me.
       
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    14. Igormanicus

      Igormanicus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      O5/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mirtazapine 15 mg
      Anyone habituated to the point tinnitus isn’t ruining their life?
       
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    15. Luman
      Spaced

      Luman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brooklyn
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Intermittent Tinnitus probably noise induced
      I'm happy to say that after a very bad time for about a year and a half after getting tinnitus, my life is in no way being ruined by it. Sometimes hours go by, and I don't even think about it, and when I do, it's just annoying, not a source of extreme stress anymore.
       
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    16. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I agree with Luman. But beware it takes time. Unfortunately in my 30 years I have had several spikes. Usually after an extreme stress period. Ex. illness in the family. Work stress has never caused a spike. I do not expose myself to load noises even if someone says go wear your ear plugs. Not that important. I recently had an illness in the family and went through extreme stress. I should know better but human nature.

      So now I'm in a relapse. I will habituate again! I do have one question for someone around my age (70) as one gets older do the relapses below harder to deal with?

      G-D bless and pray for cures not bombs!
       
    17. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I believe TRT has proven to be a scam (JMA) I found through the years CBT helps to habituate. Pray for a good treatment and cure. It sounds like you have a support system that helps!
       
    18. JohnFox

      JohnFox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown. Sudden loss of 100% hearing R ear with Tinnitus
      How bout calling it.....#@%#$%&%$#@#!!!!! ...or......%%#$&%@#$#!!!
       
    19. JohnFox

      JohnFox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown. Sudden loss of 100% hearing R ear with Tinnitus
      Im still pretty new to this scourge in my head, (only about four months), but it did not take me too long to face the music and tell myself that I simply don't have a choice. "I guess this noise in my head is here to stay, so life as I knew it is not going to be the same going forward." I'm not a young person and have already gone thru an assortment of trials in my life, so maybe I am better equipped than some to handle this and remain positive, but anyway, it is not ruining my life. I still find much enjoyment in life. Yes, this is a real suffering, but thru acceptance, sometimes sufferings can have a silver lining and often cause us to really (maybe for the first time) consider the deeper things in life and help us to make a real life change moving forward, for the better. Don't get me wrong, if I could, I would cast this menace off in a heartbeat and never look back. Never the less, I also look at this as an opportunity (is that a too positive word?) to better my life in different ways. Just maybe I'll be able to look back in a few years and realize that if not for this uninvited guest (noise in me head....this suffering), I would not have taken the time to become enlightened concerning this or that issue and would not have made those positive improvements/adjustments in my overall well being. The struggle continues, but so does my quest for more positive meaning and purpose in my life. I have no doubt that this attitude will assist me in reaching what many refer to as habituation. Bring it on...
       
    20. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @JohnFox you have a great attitude. But you always keep talking about your age as if life is over for you? Not sure about your age but I am 70 1/2 years old and still hoping to be here when they have better treatments and maybe a cure. At this age if things go silent I'm probably going to have a heart attack :rockingbanana:
       

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