Why Does Tinnitus Bother Us?

Discussion in 'Support' started by meeruf, Sep 18, 2013.

tinnitus forum
    1. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      I just felt like getting some thoughts down on "paper". When I'm writing, I have to focus, and the ringing kind of goes into the background.

      I have been having tinnitus for three weeks now. I don't know if it's chronic yet. My doctor says it's not chronic before after one year. My hearing-loss has improved, but it's a far way to full recovery. So I'm not exactly very positive, but, that just my nature. I hope I am wrong this time too.

      This is a very devastating situation. The hardest one in my life yet. I have been to two different ENT's, and my family doctor several times. There is no reason for my hearing loss. I was just free-diving, bad luck, shit happens. Nothing to do about it. Before this, I have never been on any medication what-so-ever. I almost never had fever, no ear infections. Nothing. Just a mild tinnitus, a humming, everyone have that if they listen closely.

      Anyways, enough about me.

      Today I was thinking about something. Why does this sound bother us? Its just a sound, just like every other sound. Except you can't do anything about it. But actually, if you think about it, you can't do anything about other sounds either. If you are driving your car, you can't switch off the sounds around you. If you are out having fun, you can't tell everyone to shut up, you can't tell the DJ too turn of the music. And, if you go out of the nightclub, there is still sounds. And if go from the street, to your bedroom. There sure is some sounds in there too. You see what I mean? There is always sounds, there is never silence, unless you go out in space, actually, our ears hate silence, if you are in silence for a long time, your ears can get sick, and you can develop hyperacusis.

      I sat at the bus for 15 years to school. Everyday. There was always sounds around me. Humming, buzzing, people talking, people yelling, horns, bad brakes etc. It never bothered me. Never. Most of the time, I ignored it and did not even notice it. It was just sounds in the background, nothing more. Personally, I have never actually liked silence in the first place. I always liked to have at least some sound around me. Since the laptop era started, I always liked to have the laptop turned on because of the fan. I could, in the theory, been sitting in front of my laptop, with the fan on, for the rest of my life, and not get bothered by it. No matter how loud it is Weird? Yeah.

      So, since we always hear sounds, and none of them bother us to the point of depression, anxiety and desperation. How can we train our self to feel the same way about our tinnitus? No matter how loud it is. There has to be some way. Do we just have to decide it? Like a on/off switch? There is no connection between the tinnitus and your feelings. It's not like the ringing fabric some substance into your blood, that goes to your brain and make you depressive. It feels like that, but it is just an illusion, at best.

      I was doing a hearing test on my phone, actually, I have done it a million times now, just see if there is some improvement, while I pity myself. And every time I started the test, I was pissed because, cars had to drive in the street in front of my house just in the moment I took the test. (That was a long and heavy sentence). The point is, cars are driving there all the time. I only noticed it when I took the hearing test, because that destroyed the test-results pretty much. All other time my brain filtered it out to the point that I did not even hear it. Not even as a background sound.

      We can even take it further. You always feel different things. When you are walking, you can feel the ground hitting your feet. If you are lying in your bed, you feel the gravity. You can feel your heart beating, you can always taste something inside your mouth, you can always smell something and, you can always see. Even if you close your eyes, you can still see black/red-ish.

      So, my point is, we hear/feel what we focus on, and our brain is quite bad at multi-tasking when it comes to focus, at least we have some luck.

      So, I have two questions I want to discuss with you.

      1: How can we ignore our tinnitus to the point that we cannot hear it?..
      2: ..And when we hear it, how can we cut the link between our tinnitus and our feelings? To the point where we are just thinking: "Oh, that sound, uyeaah, just a sound. lol. who cares". If you know what I mean? :p

      I know this is a lot to read, but I had a lot of thoughts. Sorry if some words or phrases don't make sense. English is not my native language.

      Good luck to everyone, I wish everyone only the best.
       
      • Like Like x 5
    2. James White
      Anime

      James White Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Toulouse, France
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Maybe loud music. Not sure.
      I liked your post and basically, it's called TRT ! :)

      I, personally, am not that bothered by the sound of my tinnitus, it's annoying but it's OK.

      Though, the problem is, and this is why i'm on a forum like this one, i'm a musician and it messes with the way i hear music. I don't want to go to concerts any more because the sound is massively way too loud, i don't want to use valve amplifiers because they are very loud and piercing. I don't want the sound to get worse. That's why it's annoying. It's not only the sound but what's around it, what it means to you.

      Maybe if i weren't into music, i would be just mildly annoyed.
       
    3. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Meeruf,

      I liked your post, too. You're obviously a thinker, and when it comes to tinnitus, you can overthink it!

      In the early days of tinnitus, it's hard to separate your emotions from the noises in your head. The best things you can do right now are:

      1. Relax. Don't overthink the problem!
      2. Get some sleep. If either drugs or supplements will help you at this point, don't be afraid to use them.
      3. Distract yourself whenever possible, with things that you enjoy doing.
      4. Eat healthy foods; watch your diet for signs of foods or drinks that may exacerbate your tinnitus, and cut those foods/drinks from your diet.

      You'll find that, in time, your tinnitus will most likely calm down to a more manageable level. There is no magic pill that you can take to separate your emotions and fears from your tinnitus, but there is the a thing called "time"!

      If you do these things, you'll find more and more that the tinnitus fades into the background. It won't happen all at once, but it will happen!
       
      • Like Like x 2
    4. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      We are programmed to react to sounds, and if we dont know what it is, we get scared. I think.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Interesting and thoughtful start to the thread, meeruf. Thank you.

      I have lost my reaction to tinnitus, for probably 95% of time or so. This didn't happen overnight, but gradually over the years. It is there, I can hear it in many situations, but whenever I'm doing something meaningful or interesting, tinnitus goes in to the background and it is only that - background noise. It doesn't occupy my mind nor does it impair my concentration most of the time.

      I don't believe I can get to the point of not being able to hear it. I think many people who have habituated still hear the noise. In my book habituation is equivalent to losing interest in monitoring tinnitus and no longer being negatively affected by it.

      If I wasn't able to hear it at all, I'd call myself cured.

      You did have some interesting examples of how we are able to ignore the everyday noises. Actually my fridge keeps a noise that I'm completely unaware of unless I for some reason start to listen to it. Why can't the brain do this to tinnitus?

      I don't know why tinnitus is different. I am aware of it, but the negative reaction has more or less disappeared. I wish I could tune it out to the extent of that fridge noise or cars driving nearby the apartment.

      One significant part is that tinnitus is out of our control. And the nature and type of the noise is usually very unpleasant and alarming like.

      If you had no tinnitus, but were unwillingly forced to listen to high-pitched ringing (or any other tinnitus-type sound) day in, day out through external speakers 24/7, I'm sure it wouldn't be that easy to overcome or habituate to.
      On the contrary, if you moved to a new apartment where annoying noises could be heard or bought a computer that output high-frequency sound, you'd probably start to tune out the sounds sooner than in the previous scenario.

      http://tinnitus.org/tinnitus.html

      I guess I haven't reached the final stage of habituation yet since I can detect the signal very well - sometimes too well. But at the very least I'm in the "habituation of reaction" stage.

      I wonder how many chronic tinnitus sufferers habituate so well that they truly can't detect their tinnitus any longer?

      This is also interesting:
       
      • Like Like x 4
    6. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      T is like a fingerprint, meaning the effect and impact it has on us is individual and unique. Many times I can reflect on my volume, if my volume was lower I could definitively manage it better. Too me the volume of my T is of utmost importance to how I feel about it. Some lucky days I have these moments where I hear it going down somewhat, like its fading into the background, just for an hour or so. Those moments are bliss to me and I immediately feel powered by the mental rest it gives me, but sure as hell the volume returns to the raging mad level it's normally at and then it's back to being scared, exhausted, anxious, depressed etc. So, HOW can we get those perceptions evened out to one nice flat line where there's no feeling of hostility towards the unwanted noises? I think thats what TRT is supposed to be aiming at, although I've never been to any TRT course yet I've read about Jastreboff's theories of the plasticity of our brain and I'm positive about that. It must carry a lot of truth and it obviously helps a great deal of people. But to what extent we are bothered by T I think must be a very individual aspect. Of course it is, we are human beings and we are unique.

      To me my T is not comparable to any other environmental sound like the ones you mention because the T is inside me, its part of my brain, my ears and my physique. It's there the moment I open my eyes after a short period of sleep and it's there as a constant reminder of eternity and discomfort. Almost all other sounds I can either switch off, remove myself from or in other ways exclude from my life. T is not one of them and that is difficult to get to terms with. I'm sure it will get better and my brain will sooner or later get tired of focusing, of being scared, of being anxious etc. That's my hope for the future and a lot of people here on the forum has achieved that state.
       
      • Like Like x 6
    7. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      That's well put. I can relate to that statement. That's why I think it's difficult to filter out, because the character of the entire symptom is so dramatic.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Danny
      Fine

      Danny Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Near Toronto Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Don't be afraid , it can't hurt you it's only a noise.....yea I know it sucks real bad but still it's only a noise and can't hurt you..:(
       
    9. Leah

      Leah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chardon, Ohio USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      I have always been sensitive to sounds, clocks ticking, vibrations and I pray this ends.
      So to say it is only a sound hmmmm
       
    10. Amelia
      Daring

      Amelia Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      I agree with Per,
      I'm only a few weeks into T but the thing that gets me is I can move away from every other noise. Every other noise can eventually stop.

      T never does.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Leah

      Leah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chardon, Ohio USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Wow that is a fabulous explanation.
       
    12. Bells

      Bells Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2013
      I don't know how the brain ignores a sound. I know it can ignore a vision. Example, there is a spot in my eye that I can't see out of. Like a big permanent floater but black and almost dead center. I remember when I first saw this thing. It was scary, I didn't know why this happened or if it would get worse, and I would just see this spot, wherever my eyes moved it went. Years later I still see it, but my brain does not "register" it most of the time. When I pay attention to it, it's just something there, not something wrong. I can't explain how this process occurred, it was automatic.

      Now I think tinnitus is a lot harder, because of how tied sound and emotion are, how distressing sounds you can't escape are (especially when you just want to sleep!) It impacts all of us with different severity. But I think this process can happen for sounds too. I like to think so.
       
    13. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      1: How can we ignore our tinnitus to the point that we cannot hear it?.. You can't. You are not consciously able to do this. If it happens, it happens without you knowing it.

      2: ..And when we hear it, how can we cut the link between our tinnitus and our feelings? To the point where we are just thinking: "Oh, that sound, uyeaah, just a sound. lol. who cares". If you know what I mean? :p This ultimately happens with time. Your brain adapts, you adapt. As Markku said, over time the sound becomes unimportant. You may still hear the sound but it doesn't impact you in a negative way. You don't freak out, you don't panic, it doesn't give you anxiety. I am at that stage now. I can hear it and I am fine with it. I can function normally just like it wasn't there. I am not sure what point this happened, it just did. Habituation just happens. You don't really control it. When you are ready for it, it will occur on its own.
       
      • Like Like x 5
    14. aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Yes, and it only occurs after you' ve been through all stages: anxiety, desperation, depression..sometimes insanity! And then, when you feel you can't take it no more, habituation happens! You know what they say...the darkest hour is just before the dawn!
       
      • Like Like x 2
    15. Jade
      Lucky

      Jade Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sunshine Coast, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/07/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Genetics, Beats by Dre, Work
      @meeruf

      Totally adore your post, no other words just adore :)
      Made my day everything about it!
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    16. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      That's very nice to hear!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Hi James, your situation sounds quite similar to mine, except that my T still bothers me a lot. The final straw for getting my T was playing with self oscillating delay effect through guitar amp I think.. I've been to some band rehearsals with earplugs since onset, but you're right, the fear of making it worse is always present. That haven't happened though.

      OTOH some fellow musicians have had T for many years and they just keep on gigging without ear protection without it going worse. Beats me.

      -j
       
    18. jes
      Familiar

      jes Member Benefactor

      Location:
      copenhagen denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2012
      Wel i have learned to love my t so much,i am not sure i would give it up for a cure.
      Especialy in the evening it hits the volume button,while i drink my camomille,or when the devils orkester
      play tonky tonky at 2 oclock in the night extream loud.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Well it's an interesting aspect to that ironic post (If I understood you right) cause imagine if the brain started to make friends with the noise or even loved it, that is exactly what hypnosis does to some people that suffer from phobias and all sorts of compulsory disorders. Like in one of those hypnosis shows on TV where people are in a trans and are absolutely 100% positive they have a better physique than a professional bodybuilder. They even start comparing muscles size and take off the shirt. It's kinda fun to watch but behind lies an interesting effect on the human brain, I know that many have quit smoking during a series of hypnosis treatments. There must be someone out there that have tried hypnosis to get to be positive about T. Please fill inn if you read this. I'm willing to give it a shot.
       

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