New to tinnitus what to do?

The onset of loud intrusive tinnitus can be very traumatic for most people. I use the words loud and intrusive, because tinnitus comes in many forms and intensities. When it is mild, moderate or occasionally heard in quiet surroundings it is usually not too bothersome and a person can go about their daily affairs quite happily and unperturbed by this anomaly. This type of tinnitus usually comes on gradually and in some cases it’s associated with hearing loss, as we get older and the usual treatment is the wearing of hearing aid/s.

Tinnitus can be caused by other things: an underlining medical problem, build up of ear wax (cerumen). Jaw problems. Some medications and even irregular blood flow through the body causing Pulsatile tinnitus. There are a plethora of other conditions that can be responsible. However, the most common cause is exposure to loud noise or music that has been played at high levels causing some damage to the cochlea in the inner ear.

This type of tinnitus can be loud, intrusive and very debilitating. Often leaving a person at a loss and not knowing which way to turn to escape the nightmare that has suddenly come upon them. Your Dr has probably told you, it’s tinnitus and nothing can be done, you’ll just have to learn to live with it. I remember those words as if it were yesterday resonating through my mind and thinking, live with this for the rest of my life, impossible. So I fully understand how difficult it can be for someone new to this condition to take this in and believe it to be factual.

If you are having difficulty sleeping you might have been advised to try a night time sedation or an ant-depressant to help cope with the stress and anxiety that often accompanies tinnitus. These medications can be helpful especially in the early stages and they don’t have to be taken long term, so it’s something to consider. They can act as a safety net so you don’t become too down.

A referral to ENT will usually be recommended. In the mean time try to keep occupied with something you like doing, as it helps to distract the brain from focusing on the tinnitus.

Avoiding quiet rooms during the day by playing low-level non-intrusive music such as classical in the background can be helpful.

At night a sound machine placed by the bedside playing nature sounds or listening to favorite mp3 tracks or Cds are good. Keeping the volume just below the tinnitus is ideal and set to play throughout the night until morning. It takes time to get used to sound therapy so please stay with it. Whilst in a deep sleep it supplies the brain and auditory system with sound enrichment.

Over time the tinnitus is pushed further into the background helping to make its perception less noticeable during waking hours.

In the early stages of tinnitus, if one chooses not to use sound enrichment sleeping can sometimes be difficult and there’s also the chance of the tinnitus becoming more intrusive as sleeping in a quiet room can allow the brain to increase it’s own background activity. In doing so it will also increase the tinnitus making it more intrusive during waking hours.

There is a tendency for newbies to try and cure their tinnitus which is quite understandable. There are many remedies, treatments and concoctions out there. Some affordable others quite expensive. I am not adverse to trying to help myself but want to say, there are charlatans and con artists eager to relieve someone in distress of their money so please be careful. Even tried and tested treatments I wouldn’t recommend a person try until they have been seen at ENT.

Often a person after been seen at ENT is advised to wait a while.

The reason being. Many people habituate to tinnitus within six months sometimes a little longer and it has been known to go away. The ear is a very delicate organ and many Drs prefer to wait before investigating further and then suggesting a treatment.

If other problems are experienced such as: pain in the ears, deafness, dizziness or balance problems this is of more concern and a person will usually been seen quicker.

It is best to have a word with your GP if you’re feeling stressed or depressed in any way, as previously mentioned there are treatments available. Leaving things alone until ENT advise you of the next step is the best thing to do in my opinion.

Don’t try to fix anything or throw large sums of money at treatments that you have no way of knowing whether you’ll get any relief.

I don’t advise listening to audio through headphones even at low volume and keep away from loud sounds.

By all means go out but anywhere that plays loud music then wear noise reducing earplugs. Take things slowly and one day at a time.

Many people eventually habituate to their tinnitus and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life even though it may take a little time.

Michael

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32 Replies

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  • Great to see you on here Michael my dear friend.

    In for a big read so better put my glasses on...lots of love glynis

  • Great to see you also Glynis and I see you have been promoted. Well done and you deserve it!

  • Hi Michael, look forward to reading more posts from you. I've had T for almost two years and I'm making good progress towards habituation. Angela xx

  • HI Angela. It is nice to meet you and thanks for your kind words. I have had tinnitus for twenty years.

    Hope things continue to improve for you.

    Michael

  • Hi Michael, I joined the old forum in 2015 a couple of months after tinnitus got me. I had a major op and T happened the day after when I was stressed by the noise in the hospital. read many of your old posts which helped me come to terms with it - as did the other lovely forum posters of course. One thing I never understood was why my head was so painful- it was worse than any bad headache, thumping and moving around my head and pulsatile. I was given a hearing for slight high frequency loss in right ear and masker for left ear which have calmed it all down, plus the usual anti anxiety meds, sound oasis for sleep time etc. Is it usual to experience high levels of pain at the onset of T? Thank goodness I am habituation get and can live a reasonably normal life again. Ps Michael, the only improvement to this new forum is that you are back on it! Love Angela xx

  • Hi Angela.

    I am pleased to hear that you have made improvement and have habituated to your tinnitus. I know it isn't easy but your perseverance and positive attitude has got you to where you are. Please carry on using the "sound enrichment" at night as I believe it is one of the most important things to help tinnitus.

    Thank you also for your kind comments and I hope to be visiting this forum more often and meeting interesting and friendly people like you.

    Take care and wishing you all the best

    Michael

  • Thanks Michael. some days it is still annoying. Do you still sometimes hear your T and how long did your habituation take? Xx

  • I have had tinnitus for 20 years Angela and after my course of TRT treatment it reduced to a level that I rarely heard it. I wrote bout this on the BTA forum before I left.

    However, in 2008 it got much worse due to my own fault. I was listening to my HI-FI one evening some classical music. I turned up the volume and everything was fine. Went to bed and the next morning my tinnitus was very intrusive. Over the coming days and weeks it reached excruciating levels.

    I was referred to ENT and started TRT for the 2nd time which lasted 2 years. There was improvement but not like the first time.

    My tinnitus ranged from: silent, mild, moderate, severe and very severe. My Hearing Therapist and Consultant, have said they rarely see people with my type of tinnituts.

    It took me 4 years to habituate to tinnitus for the 2nd time. In 2010 for the first time I started to become depressed and that's when my ENT consultant, who I had a good rapport with, put me on clonazepam tablets. It helps some people with severe tinnitus. The medication did help but it can lead to addiction, so caution is advised.

    Fast forward to now. My tinnitus is still variable from: complete silence, to mild, severe but no longer reaches very severe levels. When my tinnitus is silent, mild, moderate I can carry on without any problems. When it is severe, it doesn't bother me too much unless this level is sustained for 2 days or more. When this happens I usually take my clonazepam, and usually just for one day, then the tinnitus calms down.

    I have habituated and I still wear white noise generators. As I type my tinnitus is completely silent, but I still have my sound machine gently playing in the background.

    Just before I left the BTA people encouraged me to write a book on tinnitus. That was in 2014, when I was moving home from London to live in Brighton. When I was settled I thought about writing a book but I had no idea how to start what to do etc.

    I didn't know doing something like that would be so difficult so I dismissed it from my mind. The more I done that is the more it haunted me literally. So, one day I sat down and started to write but it was difficult.

    Anyway, the result is nothing like a novel so I wouldn't call it a book, more an article. I have posted it on Tinnitus Talk and the people have been kind with their comments. Whether it's good or not is not for me to say. If you would like to read it at any time It would be a pleasure to send it to you and hope that you find it of some help.

    Michael

  • Good morning Michael great to see you back I've just joined myself from the old site

    Marcus.

  • WoW. Hi Marcus. It is great to see you and hope that you are keeping well. I have been away but I'm back. Whether that will be good or bad who knows..lol Hope to see you around.

    Take care

    Michael

  • Thanks Michael and I am glad you're T is quiet most days which is all we can hope. I would like to read your book so will m you on here when I have found the right button to click. Xx

  • HI Angela. Just click on my name and a message box will appear at the right hand side top of the screen.

  • Nice to see you Michael Reading glasses indeed

  • Hi Dave it is nice to see you. I have been a way for a while but now I'm back!

    All the best

    Michael

  • Hi Michael, so glad to see you here ! Have missed you! XOXO Bee

  • HI Bee. It is nice to see you after such a long time. I made the and living by the sea in Brighton.

    Take care

    Michael

  • Hi Michael, I know, you were missed dearly. Living by the sea sounds heavenly! So glad to see you here - and reading your posts and wealth of help! XOXO Bee

  • I missed you too Bee and thanks for your kind words. Perhaps Glynis has mentioned, that I recently finished writing a book/article on tinnitus, that I would be happy to send you if you would like to read it.

    All the best

    Michael

  • thats wonderful! thank you for the kind offer ! I would love to read it! XOXO Bee

  • Hello stranger!!

  • lol...great to see you Jim.

  • Well I know we used to disagree on a few things Michael but I agree with everything in your post. So where is this book then?...lol

  • Hi asw21. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed with each other. If you want to read the book that's no problem. Just message me your email address and I'll send it to you.

    All the best

    Michael

  • You should have it already Michael but I'll drop you an e-mail. Steve H

  • Hi Michael, good to see you on here. Congrats on finishing your book. I'd like to read it too please. I'll send you my email in a pm if I can figure out how lol.

    John

  • Hi John,

    Nice to meet you on here too. I have been wondering how to send a PM. I think clicking on my name, will bring up the private message box on the right hand side of the screen.

    Al the best

    Michael

  • My tinnitus has gone over 4 years from quieter to so loud the highest setting on Radio or TV doesn't touch it. It is so debilitating . I work , see friends and have tried to continue a normal life and to be positive. Not sure when the energy to do this will run out , or the capacity to manage the pain. I wish my quieter tinnitus self had not complained and to everyone , I hope your tinnitus doesn't take this trajectory. I hope you have the NHS support I didn't. I hope you , like I , are grateful for those in tinnitus groups ,forum andiscussions BTA who are indeed a lifeline x

  • Hi Lindsay, I'm glad to see you on the new forum. Sorry you're having not so nice times. I don't have the answer but from reading Michael Leigh's old posts on the old forum I know that he has information to help you. Love Angela xx

  • Hi Lindsay,

    I haven't met you before but my name is Michael. I am sorry to hear that your tinnitus has got worse. When tinnitus gets worse there is usually a reason for it. You say that you haven't been able to get NHS support? Any chance that your GP could try referring you to ENT again so that tests can be carried out on your auditory system?

    If the tests show no abnormalities a referral to a Hearing Therapist is usually offered, and they can help you will tinnitus management.

    Devices such as hearing aids or treatments like CBT and TRT are available on the NHS at some hospitals. If you sleep in a quiet room try using a "sound machine" at night for sound enrichment. This will help your brain not to focus on the tinnitus as much. Try to keep the volume slightly below your tinnitus.

    All the best

    Michael

  • Thank you both , Michael and Angela. I felt bad as soon as I had pressed ' submit reply' because the last thing I want to do is appear selfish or , worse still , discourage other people. Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated. Having had tinnitus 4 years now , and had tests etc then , I am now told that ' that is that' , despite the dramatic change in its intensity , loudness and impact on my body . I have a caring audiologist and am trying to find a private ' counsellor ' to help me manage the pain and maybe change my lifestyle ( if I can afford to do both) . I can not share here my experiences , and those of others , with a hearing therapist . I am a member of a group , but my work and the fact my tinnitus is getting so much worse makes it difficult. I am just so so tired ! However , I have just met with a great friend down for the weekend from her new life in the beautiful North East - maybe I should follow her example and go and live in the wilds ? Thanks again

  • No need to feel bad Lindsay for saying how you feel. Tinnitus comes in many forms and intensities and no two people experience it the same. When it is mild or moderate, many people are able to carry on with their life without any problems. It is a different matter entirely when it becomes loud and intrusive.

    I have been there worn the T shirt so to speak and I'm still here. In 2008 my tinnitus reached excruciating levels of intensity and it took 4 years to habituate for the 2nd time in 20 years.

    Try and get that referral to ENT and onto a TRT or CBT programme if possible with a Hearing Therapist.

    Best of luck

    Michael

  • Hi Michael . it has just dawned on me that you might be the very helpful Michael from what is 4 years in January when my tinnitus started. You were selling get your house. I have had the most horrendous4 years - not life wise other than a lot of stress but will my tinnitus. NHS been awful experience and it seems support across the country try is so different. I am noworking not able to mask the t with anything and it is so painful. I have had a nice few days but no difference -it just goes up and up. Feel very confused about it as it doesn't seem to be like anyonew else's . Heh ho 😂

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