What Would You Like to Ask a Long-Term Sufferer of Severe Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Lynny, Jun 10, 2019.

    1. Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      Hi everyone,

      So this week I will be ‘interviewing’ someone who has suffered from severe tinnitus for quite some time, but has managed to find ways to deal with it. His tinnitus is above 80 dB , so indeed very severe (in my opinion).

      I was wondering if (beside the obvious ones) anyone had any questions they’d like for me to ask? I’m thinking of posting a bit of a transcript on here afterwards.

      Thanks in advance for suggestions!
       
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    2. annV
      Fine

      annV Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly hereditary
      This forum is full of long-term tinnitus sufferers.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      I realize that, but the difference to him is that he's actually out in the world and not on any forums because he is living his life regardless of tinnitus...
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      His tinnitus is comparable in pitch and loudness to that of Gaby Olthuis (whom he personally contacted before her death).
       
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    5. Autumnly
      Wishful

      Autumnly Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      July/August 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Just don't turn it into a "See, this person has severe tinnitus/hyperacusis and they're living a normal life, everyone can do it!"-story because if someone has severe tinnitus/pain-hyperacusis their life will be different. If it's severe, it's debilitating, however, everyone has their own limits.

      How bad is his hearing loss?
      How loud is his tinnitus?
      Does his tinnitus spike or is it stable?
      Can he tune out his tinnitus?
      Has his tinnitus ever gotten permanently worse?
      Does he have pain-hyperacusis, loudness- hyperacusis?
      How bad is his hyperacusis?

      Usually, the "they have severe tinnitus but are living a normal life"-stories have several things in common: stable tinnitus, no or only mild pain-hyperacusis, tinnitus doesn't seem to get worse, they can tune it out. While the tinnitus loudness might be considered severe, they still don't represent the worst cases but are sometimes being used to tell the "extremely severe" cases that they're just not trying hard enough.

      Nonetheless, happy to hear he can cope well!
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      Thanks for the heads up, Autumnly. I realize the risks of those stories as being demeaning or offensive to people with similarily debilitating tinnitus/hyperacusis but I still think it’s (very!) important to share positive stories of people living in comparable conditions.

      It’s a two-sided thing, I suppose. What can be perceived as inspirational for one can be demeaning to the other. I will keep that in mind! I hope you do understand my side of it as well and know my intentions are wellmeaning.
       
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    7. winstona
      Balanced

      winstona Member

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure and excessive ear irrigation
      I think most of us here are tired of hearing the “I have severe tinnitus and I can live with it why can’t you” kind of “success story”. The reason being that those stories don’t give us sufferers any hope of the condition ever improving, which is most of us who come to this forum want to hear in the first place.

      No one wants to find out that they have to live with this for the rest of their lives! Although it’s true for some people but it’s really a tough pill to swallow... especially when you are panicking about tinnitus in your first week!

      I think the type of success stories that tell people that tinnitus can fade are the better success stories and they’re the only kind of success stories that should be shared. But that’s just my opinion...
       
    8. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      What does it mean to say it's over 80 dB?

      I think it's common for 'severe' tinnitus to be both loud and extremely high pitched.

      Also, any ear pain makes everything worse. Not being able to sleep etc. That's severe.
       
    9. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      From my experience of 30 years my tinnitus hasn't gone away but I do habituate to it. Unfortunately I have spikes or relapses, I'm in one now. I am scared and waiting to habituate again. @winstona have you habituated?
       
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    10. winstona
      Balanced

      winstona Member

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure and excessive ear irrigation
      No I don’t think I have. But mine did fade a little. Although not as much as I would have liked.
       
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    11. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      I think we need to start with a definition of severe T. I dont think it is only based in how loud it is. Also, it severe T the same as intrusive T?
       
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    12. Tex

      Tex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      How does he or anybody else know his Tinnitus is "above 80 dB?" I go to one of the top ENT docs in Dallas annually. He made it clear from the start that it is a subjective condition and one's volume cannot be measured. He said Hyperacusis is the same. If you personally are overly sensitive to loud noise, you have Hyperacusis. At least that is what I was told.
       
    13. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      I'm happy to hear anyone share their experience and I can glean whatever bit of wisdom I can from it. I appreciate people who agree to be interviewed, and members of this forum who take the time to share what they've been through and what they've learned even though they don't have to.
       
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    14. Michael B
      Supportive

      Michael B Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Diego, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stupidity
      I'd like to know how he's managed to deal with it?
       
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    15. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      That doesn't bode well for the other ENTs then... because measuring tinnitus volume is regularly done at many audiologists around the world, and is a key measurement in many clinical trials related to tinnitus.
       
    16. PureNoise

      PureNoise Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yup! Even Neuromod's questionnaire asks you to put your tinnitus loudness match before booking an appointment. I am actually having my loudness pitch match done tomorrow. It's one of the first things done (usually after having tinnitus for 6 months) by a competent audiologist treating you for tinnitus.
       
    17. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I personally will always question (doubt) the oft quoted volume level of severe Tinnitus sufferers who say,
      “My Tinnitus is screamingly loud, but I just ignore it - and rarely think about it.”

      (‘Liar Liar - pants on fire’)
       
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    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      I understand your doubts but I guess you can’t (objectively) judge someone else’s personal experience? I mean, to call them liars because their experience differs from yours is a pretty harsh claim & somewhat insulting, no?
       
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    19. valeri

      valeri Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2011
      I don’t need to ask him anything, I’m living IT!

      I only keep asking God... why????
       
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    20. Jazzer

      Jazzer Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I personally do not believe that ‘their’ severity is such as they claim.

      The bit underneath is a school child’s expression when he questions another’s dodgy claims.
      (Fairly obviously said in fun - those pants not being ‘on fire’ of course.)
       
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    21. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      1
      Tinnitus Since:
      1900
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Well, the volume can be subjectively measured, and you can hazard a guess at an objective measurement by taking the perceived volume and subtracting from it whatever hearing loss is present at that frequency. An obvious problem with this approach is that people with tinnitus tend to have damage in the same frequency range as their tinnitus. (This approach is what the UMich trials did to attempt to map actual volume changes in addition to THI changes).

      The reason it's a key measurement in clinical trials is that it provides some kind of measurable outcome besides self-reported THI scores.

      An additional issue is that we're pretty sure, from imaging studies, that tinnitus volume and tinnitus distress are modulated by different (though obviously connected) brain regions. We don't have a way to objectively assess distress, and ultimately distress is a better indicator of quality of life, than volume is.
       
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    22. Tom Cnyc

      Tom Cnyc Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Warehouse event after years of enjoying music.
      I was going to say something similar. Nobody really has 80 dB tinnitus. I think the studies they did years back showed the most severe tinnitus to be like, 15 dB.

      That said - if the person has 65 dB of hearing loss at that frequency - it FEELS like 80 dB, because it can't be masked until that level.
       
    23. Tex

      Tex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      That is about like the chart for pain level. Hospital rooms have a chart on the wall for you to give your care provider "your perceived" pain level. So in your on mind you can hurt as badly as you want. Because in your mind you may be thinking, "I'm in pain. I'm at that level 10. Give me something to relieve it -- dammit!"

      So you are at your ENT. You are suffering with this Hell we live with. So now you give your ENT "your perceived" Tinnitus volume level because in your mind your telling him, "this shit is loud!!! I need some relieve -- dammit!!!"

      The actual volume level is presently impossible to measure.
       
    24. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      That is true, but in practice, we don't need a strict objective measurement: a subjective proxy is perfectly usable, for 2 reasons:
      1. the subjective measurement is done "by comparison" to reference levels, and humans are notoriously bad at estimating absolute values, but really good at comparing 2 stimuli, which means the subjective level will be fairly accurate
      2. what matters at the end of the day is the perception of the patient: I don't care that a super-accurate objective measurement samples my brain and tells me "it's 10 dB" if I perceive it at the same level as a 90 dB sound by comparison. Perception is reality (cue in some dialog from The Matrix). For a treatment to be successful, I only care about my change in perception: if the doctor tells me it has reduced my objective measurement by half, but I perceive no change in volume, I don't call that a success.
      I don't think one is a better indicator than the other: I have loud T and it impacts my quality of life, however I am no longer distressed by it. Many people with disabilities have obvious degradations to their quality of life, but they aren't necessarily distressed by it: the distress can be managed with the passing of time and mental work (like CBT, for example). It is orthogonal to qualify of life, in my opinion.
       
    25. COYS
      Alone

      COYS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Shock
      How do topics like this always end up in a contest of who has got it severe and who hasn’t :confused:
       
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    26. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      1
      Tinnitus Since:
      1900
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Well, I will just have to strongly disagree with you on that, speaking only for myself.

      Tinnitus is a quality of life hit.

      Being in a distress state for any reason is a quality of life hit.

      The combination of both of these things, for me, is very much a 1 + 1 = 3 situation. Since I have no real control over the tinnitus but some significant degree of control over the distress, "3 - 1 = 1". That's why I think distress is ultimately a better indicator.

      Speaking more generally, I find the idea that being in a distress state or not being "orthogonal" to quality of life is very strange. Like, if someone has a severe anxiety disorder with no comorbid factors, their entire problem is distress. Are you suggesting that such a person has the same quality of life they would if they didn't have a severe anxiety disorder?
       
    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      Yes, obviously, but it seems your point remains. What makes you so sure they are incorrect about the severity of their t? (I’m not necessarily disagreeing by the way, just wondering)
       
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Lynny

      Lynny Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly stress
      It really wasn’t my intention to start such an argument! I honestly just want to create something that might give people a bit of hope, the way similar success stories gave me hope in the beginning. I owe a lot to those stories!
       
    29. COYS
      Alone

      COYS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Shock
      @Lynny completely agree. The initial stages of tinnitus are terrifying I found myself re reading success stories as they have me hope.
       
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    30. Autumnly
      Wishful

      Autumnly Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      July/August 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Because many severe sufferers that are limited in their lives by their tinnitus have been told stories of other people who supposedly have severe tinnitus but are living a completely normal life. And I agree with Jazzer that those stories don't represent what severe tinnitus means. For me, severe tinnitus will have a noticeably negative impact on someone's life.

      The only people I've heard who claim to have severe, loud tinnitus while being able to live a completely normal life are the ones that say they can tune it out and this is usually not the type of tinnitus long-term severe sufferers are talking about, they can't tune it out for most of the time.

      For me as a severe sufferer, being told yet again that others with the "same condition" are coping better isn't inspiring or motivating, and seeing severe sufferers being used as inspiration for people new to tinnitus doesn't feel good either.

      It just makes tinnitus look like a non-issue even if it's "severe".
       
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