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Tinnitus Sufferers Experience with Ringing in the Ears

Updated on February 28, 2018
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok is skilled at studying what doctors don't always share. His articles are based on his own experience and his systematic research.

Little is known about this tinnitus. Many doctors claim to understand it, and in my experience they just end up wasting everyone's time.

I have had my share of craziness with going to doctors who aren't honest about their limited knowledge. They all told me they can help me stop the ringing, but none ever succeeded at it.

Although this may not be true for all doctors, I have found a pattern among those who were recommended to me. I find this is not beneficial to patients suffering from tinnitus and just makes things more frustrating.

This article is simply an essay of my thoughts about the issue as well as an explanation of how I'm dealing with it. The purpose is to share with you ideas that may help you live with it.


How I Learned to Deal With My Tinnitus

My tinnitus started in 2005 and at first I could not deal with it. I thought to myself "How can I go on with this constant ringing?"

When I first realized that I no longer had any quiet times, it freaked me out and I couldn't imagine how I could live with it.

I never found a cure. I tried all sorts of remedies sold on the market. I even had kept a journal of foods I ate to see if there was a common thread between what I ate and the loudness of my tinnitus, possibly a food allergy. Every time I thought I found something, it failed the test at another time.

As I mentioned earlier, I found that focusing my mind on anything helps me live with the tinnitus. It really does not bother me any more. I hear it all the time, but I live with it.

We Do Get Used To It

After a year or so, it had become second nature for me and I was able to deal with it. I simply got used to hearing a continuous ring as I go about my everyday affairs. I can ignore it most of the time. Although when I pay attention to it, it's there—and sometimes it gets louder and can't ignore it. I expect I will have it the rest of my life.

I think it probably made me even more creative because I keep myself occupied mentally in order to ignore the tinnitus. I do a lot of writing. I find that deep concentration helps me keep my mind off the constant ringing.

There is no known cure at this time. If a cure is ever discovered, the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) would announce it.

My Personal Solution to Tinnitus

It can't be stopped, but I found a method of ignoring it. Mental activity!

I could be reading in a quiet room just as well as listening to music. My creativity in the form of writing helps. I think I focus my brain away from the tinnitus by concentrating on my work or on my writing.

Doing crafts, building things, taking walks, hiking, and talking with friends. It all helps to keep my mind off it.

I know this is not going to help everyone. There are just too many different causes of tinnitus. But if you happen to have the kind I have, give it a try. See if you can ignore it to some degree when you are actively pursuing other activities. That is how I survive with it.

There May Be Causes of Tinnitus Not Yet Known

I have some of my own theories based on my own experience with my tinnitus. It would be nice if I could discuss this with an ENT doctor. However, doctors seem to get frightened when I offer some kind of idea to experiment with that they don't understand.

I even had one doctor tell me I was bringing up too many unrelated ideas and he would have to discuss each one on a separate visit. I felt that he just wanted to have a reason to bill my insurance company several times—one for each visit. He was obviously more interested in making money than finding a cure.

I feel a good doctor would have an interest in this. After all, they are all clueless at the present. Wouldn't they want to be the first to discover the answers?

That kind of doctor must be out there, working on this—somewhere. Maybe that doctor will find my survey results useful.

We know our own body more than anyone else since we live 24 hours a day in our own bodies. It may sound silly for me to say that, but there is a meaning behind it:

Don't always trust what doctors tell you. If you feel a problem is coming from something else, give yourself credit for knowing better and try to find the right doctor to research the problem in the proper way.

Is It Possible That Tinnitus Is Triggered by Something Else?

I'm wondering if it's possible that tinnitus is caused by a combination of ailments where one thing triggers another. That is, where tinnitus is caused by some kind of interaction.

In my opinion, my tinnitus seems to be some kind of feedback or crosstalk in my brain. I wonder if there could be some sort of connection with nerves causing crosstalk with the acoustic (auditory) nerve.

I'll tell you why I'm thinking this. Due to another unrelated issue, I was diagnosed with having three herniated discs in my cervical spine (That's the upper spine in the neck). Therefore, I wonder if nerve compression in the neck can cause other nerves in the body to be irritated–triggering tinnitus.

I never found a doctor, that I went to, who would entertain this idea or who would have a desire to research it further. With some Google research, I found that there are already some medical supporters of this idea. Some doctors do believe that tinnitus may be caused by feedback or crosstalk. However, there is no sufficient research to prove this.

There is so much more to acknowledge as possibilities, and medical doctors should be willing to research these potential relationships.

Tinnitus Survey to Find a Common Cause

I developed a survey of 15 multiple choice questions for people to answer. The purpose of the survey was to compile possible related causes of tinnitus and to find a common thread of things that sufferers may have in common that the scientific community can analyze further. I was hoping I might find a pattern among the items listed.

The survey is now complete and I have written a complete analysis of the survey results. You can find it here ►


I wrote this article in an effort to offer something of value to my fellow tinnitus sufferers. However, this is not intended to provide any medical advice.

© 2012 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 10 months ago from Long Island, NY

      MizBejabbers - The statistics of this survey haven't changed much since I published the results in the other article. They remain pretty consistent as more people vote.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 10 months ago

      Glen, I read your other hub on tinnitis nearly two years ago, but I didn't see this one then. I took your survey two years too late out of my own curiosity. As I stated in my previous comment, I have no idea when mine began and can't remember ever being without it. I didn't realize the problem until one night in the middle of the night I awakened to dead silence except for a dog barking in the distance. It was a slow, comical yarp, yarp coming about a second or two apart. That was when I realized that the world was quiet, except for the dog, and the silence was what had awakened me. I so hoped the world would still be silent when I awakened again, but I awoke to the usual racket of screaming circadas in my ears. I have tried to separate the different tones, and so far have counted five different ones. Sometimes there are only three. The sounds are louder in my left ear than in the right, but I'm losing hearing in the right ear. One masks the whistle of a 4 a.m. train that passes about 1/2 mile below the hill where our house sits. My husband can't understand why I rarely ever hear the train whistle or the train as it stops with engines rumbling on the track. If surgery would cure these constant circadas in my head, I would have it in a New York minute.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      shay-marie - Loud places such as bars and night clubs bother me. I actually feel pain in my ears under those conditions. It's best to stay away from places like that. It may be making your tinnitus worse. Your tinnitus may be at or around the 1500 Hz frequency. That may be blocking that range and you can't hear in that range due to the tinnitus. I'm speaking from my own experience. In my case it's not hearing loss, but rather, it's being blocked at one specific frequency where the tinnitus is. I hear fine for normal communication.

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      @glenn stok - My low-mid range hearing is normal, but it drops off at and after about 1500 Hz. I have problems hearing things like cell phones and high pitched alarms, as well as certain consonants (like "S" or "T'). It proves to be problem when I try to talk to listen to people in loud bars, restaurants, or anywhere with a lot of background noise. Hearing aids help a bit in those situations, but it's nowhere near normal.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      shay-marie - There are so many reasons for tinnitus that it's hard to determine what the cause is for any individual. The doctors could never figure it out in my case. My tinnitus is also high pitched like yours. It sounds like a distant tea kettle whistling. You were young to have it start at the age of 12. Do you know for sure that you have heading loss? Did your doctors determine which frequency range you are not hearing?

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      I had always been told that my tinnitus was a direct result of my hearing loss. My doctor explained that it was feedback from dying nerve endings in my inner ear. They never were able to pinpoint what caused the hearing loss though.

      If it helps at all, my tinnitus is a constant high pitched ringing . I've had it since I was 12 - I don't know what silence sounds like anymore either!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY


      The thought that radio waves might be affecting the brain neurologically and making it "create" these sounds itself, is one of my questions. That's why I put it in my survey as one of the questions.

      Since your father had tinnitus, it obviously isn't WiFi, and the airways were not as full of radio signals as we have today - such as cellular, satellite GPS signals, etc. So I still don't rule it out, but it probably isn't that.

      I have learned to live with my tinnitus such as you have, simply considering it background noise. That's a good way that you explained it.

      Thanks for your sharing your comments about your experience.

    • Tinsky profile image

      Tina Dubinsky 5 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      When I was a young child, my father complained of Tinnitus constantly describing it as the chirping of crickets constantly in his head. So when I began to experience it too the constant "ringing" that never really goes away I took it with a grain of salt. It has since become background sound. I don't notice it usually, not unless I want to hear it. I can hear it now, but it doesn't bother me anymore. I've had it since any early age (late teens / early 20's) and often wondered if it was hereditary and or perhaps the brain picking up on some sort of radio / sound frequency in the air or sounds that might be coming from the brain itself. Thanks for such an informative article and sharing your experience. I haven't always used wi-fi etc and have had this condition long before I even began using a computer.

    • Madoshi profile image

      Madoshi 5 years ago from Belgium

      Yes definitely, I have been somewhat of a earbud prophet after it happened. People don't understand until after the damage has been done and it's easy to prevent (at least in case of noise induced tinnitus)!

      Surely future medical understanding and technology will provide peace of ears. I certainly hope rather sooner than later. Until then, I agree it is wise to keep your mind and body active to distract from it.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY


      Sorry to hear about your tinnitus. You have noise induced tinnitus. I found from comparing notes with people that this seems to be a lower frequency, as you described. Being that is the case, the sleeping music works to cover it somewhat.

      There is another form of tinnitus that no doctor seems to understand, and I call it a malfunction of the brain -- possibly from some kind of short circuit or internal feedback in the brain. That is a much higher frequency, and is the one I have. A sound machine does not cover it.

      At least you have a solution for sleeping. But the damage had been done when you used the 50 watt amp.

      I agree with you that in both our cases, protection from further damage is very important by using the proper earplugs. I also avoid loud places unless I'm prepared with earplugs.

      Thanks for your input on this. Your experience is worthwhile for others to understand how easy it is to damage our hearing.

    • Madoshi profile image

      Madoshi 5 years ago from Belgium

      Great hub. I actually have two tinnitus frequencies in my right ear. Strangely my left ear is completely fine. A high beep tone from going to a party without earbuds (which I remember deciding not to bring with ...). I also have like a morse-code windy sound is what I would describe it like, I got it from rocking out with my band using a 50watt guitar tube amp. It's super loud. Also my drummer pretty much smashes his drums like Dave Grohl. I got some custom made earplugs now but it's probably a bit too late, I never leave to events without them though! I've been listening to sleeping music at night ever since, I can still hear it but it's not as noticable. The sleeping music I listen to varies from sounds from the ocean, the rainforest, wind to bizarre psychedelic indian music ;) Anyway, do yourself a favour and get custom made earplugs if you haven't already. I'd choose losing 200$ over endless beeping sounds any day.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Melovy, Thanks for bringing to my attention that there are medical supporters of the feedback and crosstalk idea. I just did a search and found a number of sites discussing it, as well as one "gov" site that may have more unbiased opinions. I didn't read this yet but I'll have to follow up with it. But first I'm going to check out your hub you mentioned. Thanks for your comment and for your useful additions to this discussion.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      This is a very thorough hub. The way tinnitus in dealt with medically in the USA seems quite different to how it is in the UK. In some ways we have less choice, but on the other hand if we go to NHS specialists they do have to be knowledgeable about the subject. I was referred by ENT for an MRI scan because of pulsatile tinnitus, and nothing showed up. I guess because of that I am low priority because I've been waiting about 6 months to visit a tinnitus clinic.

      Like you I found the white noise didn't help, and like you I also find that getting absorbed in something else helps, as has finding ways to cope better with stress.

      I'm pretty sure your theory about tinnitus being feedback or crosstalk in the brain actually has now got medical supporters. I read something about this recently, but can't remember what it was. I also read last week that the belief it's caused by irreparable damage to the the tiny hairs in the ears is wrong because these regrow.

      I still hold out hope of a cure, at the same time as not letting it rule my life.

      This is a very useful hub and it was interesting to read about your visits to various doctors. Thanks for reading my hub. (If you're interested, I also have a story on HP where the main character has tinnitus: New Year's Day.)

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      My husband has this problem. Like you, he tries to ignore it and has learned to live with it. Soft music or general white noise helps him sleep at night. Great hub, Glenn. Voted up and shared.

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 5 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      My tinnitus arose when I had a cold and the virus attacked the 'hair' cells in the left inner ear killed them all stone dead - completely lost hearing in that ear (stone deaf). Interestingly the specialist diagnosed the problem using a tuning fork! I have got used to the phantom ringing in the ears which comes and goes.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Very thorough information here, Glenn. I know many people who have suffered from this and they tell me it "drives them crazy". Thanks for sharing. Rated Up/I/U