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Living with Tinnitus. Learn to heal yourself through Habituation

Updated on February 22, 2015

don't be scurred

my story of tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

After attending a very very loud show one evening on halloween I had an intense ringing in my ears that I had never before experienced. As a musician this shook me up as before when I had attended live shows I had never heard ringing before. I merely felt like I could not hear well for a few hours and then things came back to normal. My hearing is excellent by the way still. After this show however, my ears rang for the next 2 weeks.. I was really scared because I did not think it would go away. I kept focusing on it not realizing I was making it worse and it got louder and louder. I stopped listening to music and wore an ear plug in the ear that was ringing (I only used one ear plug that night). I began to get depressed since I did not work on music and kept hoping the ringing would go away sleeping a lot. I even paid a visit to a local audiologist to check out my ears and he also prescribed me some medicine which did nothing that I could tell at the time. I was administered a hearing test and was told I had excellent hearing. They told me the ringing in my ears was a bad side effect from hearing music far too loud..

All I could do at this point was focus on the ringing in my ears and I did not realize I was amplifying the sound in my head my mind.. I did a lot of reading on tinnitus on the internet doing countless google searches on the topic only to find websites trying to sell me a mixture of vitamins that would supposedly stop the ringing in the ears. I did not buy any of these as they all looked like a gimmick. I can't say for sure if they work since I have not tried, but after doing more research on a cure I read that studies have shown a combination of Vitamins A, C, E, B12, and Magnesium would help to reduce the ringing (if i can find this article again I will post here later). These vitamins also help to make your ears stronger supposedly and can allow you to listen to music louder. I started taking these vitamins for about six months and then stopped. I am not sure if they helped, but they might have a bit.

My advice on how to make the ringing go away

I prayed to God asking that he please make the tinnitus go away and it did! Thank you God!

I found one website that actually helped me a great deal with my ringing in the ear. On this website I found much much useful information. To summarize, it changed my outlook on tinnitus and since my tinnitus has gone away for the most part. The website explains how everyone actually has some ringing in their ears but they do not even notice it!. It is natural to hear some ringing/buzzing/hissing and if you focus on it you will open up filters that cause you to perceive it louder than it actually is! I was focusing on my tinnitus so much that if i laid my head on a pillow the sound would amplify so loud it felt like there was a knife in my ear. The sound would start low and then gradually get louder and louder. I also started hearing it with the radio on and such. The website explains how to habituate, in other words learn to block it out and not hear it. This does not mean you should not protect your hearing and avoid extremely loud sounds, but it shows how to heal yourself of tinnitus. Visit the British Tinnitus Association.

Habituation

Here is an excerpt from the British Tinnitus Association on Habituation.. Please read this..

Habituation Therapy for Tinnitus

It has long been known that the brain has a natural tendency to habituate to sounds which are continuous and non- significant. Examples from most people’s everyday experience are the humming of a refrigerator, the rumble of distant traffic or the whirring of a computer. Although people with normal hearing are able to hear these sounds easily if they attend to them, most of the time the brain filters them out and there is no conscious perception of them. Even quite loud sounds such as passing trains may be filtered out by a person who is very used to them.

It is possible for the brain to habituate to tinnitus too, and indeed in most people who have tinnitus this happens naturally over time. The brain gets so used to the tinnitus being there that it hardly perceives it at all unless something brings it to the person’s attention or the environment is unusually quiet.

However, there are a number of possible barriers to habituation. If the tinnitus is perceived as threatening in some way or if it associated with negative thoughts or feelings (such as anxiety, depression or irritation) the process of habituation is hindered.

Habituation therapy is a generic term for any type of intervention which has habituation to tinnitus as its goal. Various techniques such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation training can be used to remove barriers to habituation and encourage the process to happen. Sound therapy- use of pleasant or neutral sounds to divert attention away from tinnitus- often plays a part as well. The goal is not to abolish the tinnitus (this isn’t usually possible) but to enable the person to cope with it more successfully.

Currently, most tinnitus clinics in the UK offer some form of habituation therapy. For more information contact the BTA freephone helpline on 0800 018 0527 or online at www.tinnitus.org.uk.



[Written May 2010 by Lucy Handscomb, Hearing Therapist at St Mary’s Hospital, London and member of the BTA’s Professional Advisers’ Committee (PAC)]



Conclusion

To end this article.. if you have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) try to not focus on it and it will go away on it's own. Take care of your hearing and wear ear plugs at concerts (you can actually hear the music better believe it or not) - do not worry about what others think of you by wearing ear plugs when they get home they will also know why you wore yours.

Stress can amplify your ringing in the ears as well. So know that at these times you may hear ringing but it will go away. There have been months when I have not heard any ringing and sometimes I hear it because I am actually trying to hear it..

If you are a musician, be smart about your volume levels but keep doing what you do. Many opera singers and pianists also have tinnitus.. it's really no big deal. What really matters is how well you can still hear.. If you have tinnitus or not if you can still hear music well your fine. If you are older and can not hear as well as you used to do not worry either.. this is normal and you can preserve what you still have.

God Bless..

Comments

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    • profile image

      GrKow 

      4 years ago

      The following article introduced me to the term NATURAL HABITUATION.

      Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments

      It is the most comprehensive material I have encountered since 2012 when a hum in my left ear was noticed. Researching the term "natural habituation" brought me to this HUB page authored by kickinit.

      In August of 2012 (18 months ago) I noticed an intermittent, low frequency hum in my left ear. I was so intent on locating the external source it did not initially dawn on me the hum was only in one ear. For someone who finds background noise annoying (crickets, barking dogs, etc) it was a nightmarish ordeal. During the first week I was using a white noise generator as a sleep aid and then discovered my tinnitus was categorized as SOAE, aka spontaneous otoacoustic emission. Tinnitus due to SOAE can be measured by sensitive instruments whereas the majority of tinnitus patients have "noise" which only they can detect. It is estimated less than five percent of tinnitus cases involve SOAE.

      A few articles I came across in 2012 indicated aspirin might serve a beneficial purpose and I found 40mg/day was a sufficient dose. Unfortunately, the onset of the hum was noticed a few weeks ago and it has been necessary to increase the dose to 80mg/day, which is still modest by most standards. The recent need to increase the dose motivated me to revisit the issue. I will refrain from dwelling on this topic beyond the information provided regarding my experience since the article mentioned can do so in a more comprehensive matter. The excerpts below may be of some interest to those exploring this topic. My problem ( SOAE noise) is categorized as objective tinnitus.

      -- 40% of patients cannot identify any cause associated with tinnitus onset

      -- Tinnitus does not represent a disease itself but instead is a symptom of a variety of underlying diseases.

      -- Spontaneous remission by natural habituation is experienced by more than three-quarters of sufferers.

      -- Noise-induced tinnitus can be acute or chronic. Acute tinnitus can last from a few minutes to a few weeks after noise exposure

      -- if the first perception of tinnitus induces high levels of annoyance or anxiety by association with unpleasant stimuli or with periods of stress and anxiety, tinnitus might lead to high levels of annoyance or anxiety.

      -- Tinnitus is generally divided into two categories: objective and subjective. Objective tinnitus is defined as tinnitus that is audible to another person as a sound emanating from the ear canal, whereas subjective tinnitus is audible only to the patient and is usually considered to be devoid of an acoustic etiology and associated movements in the cochlear partition or cochlear fluids.

      -- Tinnitus due to SOAEs can be diminished by aspirin

    • profile image

      Jarrod 

      4 years ago

      I've had it for 10 years and I'm still not used to it, some time I feel like take a drill to my head to get it stop. The worst thing of it is not hearing my love ones haft of the time.

    • profile image

      AndyCF**kedMyEars 

      4 years ago

      Hey man, I think there's a lot of truth in this article and also a lot of hope. I've had tinnitus for the past two months. I was seriously depressed for the first two weeks and thought I'd never live a normal life, and constantly obsessed over "perfect silence".

      Now two months down the line I'm fine and it doesn't bother me. The only time it's annoying is when I'm going to sleep, because in trying to think about nothing I instantly switch to thinking about the ringing, although I never slept well anyway. It's amazing just how much conciousness plays a factor.

      My advice to anyone would be not to go scouring google; it's full of anger and pessimism and you're not going to find anything useful. I suffered the most when I was unsure of whether it was permanent or not. When I became pretty aware it was permanent I actually felt a lot better; I could accept it and move on.

      Anyway, this isn't my blog, it's yours, so I'll stop here. But if you're in the position I was two months ago, chill. It's really not that bad. If it's not permanent then that's great. If it is permanent, you get used to it. Give it a month or two and you won't even notice it's there.

    • WaleedZ profile image

      WaleedZ 

      7 years ago from Konoha ;)

      Your story is so similar to mine. The main problem for me is that no one knew what I was going through. God bless all tinnitus patients.

    • profile image

      John 

      7 years ago

      I suffered with ears ringing for a long time now problably thanks to to a lot of rock concert events during my young days. I spent ages looking out on the net to get advice and I discovered lots some great some not too wonderful. I made a decision to build myself a blog to hold my findings just for myself personally but I have to say it is now very popular.

      I reckon that you will find quite a few tinnitus suffferes out there. In case you have time perhaps you could pay us a visit and let me know what you think.

      Thanks

      John

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