Struggling with tinnitus

I've had tinnitus for 3 weeks. I've not seen the audiologist yet. I am 52. I've had some very good days including last Friday when I thought I'd cracked it and had habituated but Thursday, yesterday and today have been dreadful. My sleep is so disrupted and the constant ringing in my ears is just really getting to me so that I'm having a massive meltdown again and wondering what the point is?

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27 Replies

  • Hi LuverleyLucie,

    Please read the post below that you might find helpful.

    All the best


    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 underlying 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 many 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 cochlear 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 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 favourite 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. I advise not 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.

    Neither do I think it's a good idea to listen audio through headphones, if the tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise, even at low volume and try 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. Read some of the positivity threads and ask other members for advice. 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.

  • Hi Michaelee,

    Thank you so much for your helpful and supportive words and advice. I've been coping pretty well but I knew I'd have days when it would get to me and this is my second meltdown. I'll keep you posted with how I get on. All the best LuverlyLucie

  • hi Michael. I have suffered non stop tinnitus for 4 weeks. I also had the feeling of going woozy and losing my balance, but that seems to have ceased. I am left with T and it is very loud most of the time, but I know if I am busy it is less intrusive. I have been off work for 4 weeks. Thank you for the information you have given, I found it really useful, and to have someone understand is a great help.

  • Hi Musician,

    Thank you for your kind comments. If your tinnitus was caused by loud noise and depending how long you have had the condition? The usual cause for it getting worse or spiking is further exposure to loud sounds.

    However, the wooziness and balance problem that you have experienced, even though it's gone, could be related to your auditory system, since it's this that is responsible for our sense of balance. The ear is far to delicate an organ to ignore this in my opinion. Therefore, it would be prudent to have a word with your GP and if possible get a referral to ENT so hearing and balance tests can be carried out just to make sure everything is as it should be.

    All the best



  • Hi Michael thanks for your reply, Im not sure what has caused my tinnitus, but I played a gig in the early stages of my vertigo, ( 4 weeks ago) when I felt very ill, and I am wondering if this has exasperated the condition. I have experienced low humming noises in bed at night for several months, but I always thought it was something outside the house, like a generator. I am a professional musician (part time) and

    haven't played since hoping resting my ears will help the condition.

    I do have an appointment with ENT, but I have to wait 5 weeks.

    I would be interested to hear your experience of tinnitus.

  • HI Musician,

    I have had tinnitus for 21 years and it was caused by headphone use. Too loud a volume over a long period of time, although I didn't realize it. Like other people that have had tinnitus for a while one picks up knowledge here and there and that's about it.

    I have written an article on tinnitus which is far to long to post in this forum, 30 pages actually and never thought I'd be able to do it. It was the encouragement from fellow people with tinnitus, that spurred me on to write, when my tinnitus was giving me no end of problems. I'm pleased that I completed it and able to pass it on to anyone that wants to read it as it might be of some help.

    It is just my opinion but I feel your problems stems from the loud environment that you are in playing music. It is not something that I want to tell you but I have to say what I feel. Loud noise/sounds and tinnitus just don't mix I'm afraid. I visit other tinnitus forums and sadly other musicians find playing in gigs causes lots of problems with their tinnitus. It is your choice whatever you decide to do but want to say be careful of exposure to loud sounds. Even earplugs won't offer one hundred percent safety and the reason is this:

    Behind each ear there is a hard piece of bone called the mastoid bone. It is honeycombed with air pockets. If external sound is loud enough, it can pass through the mastoid bone and enter the inner ear and irritate the cochlea and could make tinnitus more intrusive. Just be careful.

    I wish you well


  • Thank you for the advice Michael, I will take it on board. Sorry to hear you have had the condition such a long time. Also, thank you about the information about the workings of the ear, it is very interesting. I would like to read your article, if possible. All the best.

  • Hi Musician,

    Please send me your email address in Private messenger and I will send you the article. It is in PDF format.

    All the best


  • Great reply helpfull to others like me so big thank you for the read

  • I'm so sorry yet another sufferer of this monster is here, but welcome. Early days for you. Have you had prednisone yet? Often it's the first thing they give us.

    I've had mine for five years, last few days horrendous, but I get by.

    There are some people on here that can really advise you.

    Good luck, and remember, you're not alone.

  • Hi Slipware. Many thanks for your support. I haven't tried the drug you mentioned but I'll ask my GP about it. Do you find that yours is better some days and worse others? LuverleyLucie PS really hope they find a cure for this. I'm definitely going to start donating to research for it.

  • Yes, good days are few and far between, but very welcome. I think we all get good and bad.

    Yes, sincerely hope a cure is found, people who don't have it don't really understand how debilitating it can be. I have ear fullness and balance issues sometimes too (like today)!!

    How did you get your T?

  • Sorry to hear that your good days are few. Have you checked out Michaelee's suggestions? It's predominantly in my left ear. I think I got mine by playing my music too loud in my car (recently) but I never guessed it would lead to this. Gutted. How did you get yours?

  • I had a TIA. mini stroke back in 2012. An undiagnosed heart condition caused the clot in my brain stem.

    I'm lucky, could've been MUCH worse, but it's bad enough.

    It's early for you, hope it clears up.

  • I'm sorry to hear that. I think this group is so supportive. I hope your condition improves too. I find doing things with friends, arty stuff or word games are a great distraction. But sometimes I just really need to cry.

  • I play words with friends, and card and board games with grandchildren, they're a great distraction and help my concentration.

  • I read all Michael and Glynis posts. Very helpful and informative

  • LuverlyLucie,

    Welcome to the BTA community.

    I see you have had great advice already.

    You have found a lovely forum and will make some friends along the way who understand about tinnitus and the unwanted emotions it can cause.

    Have a look at the New BTA websight and also their sister link

    Take on Tinnitus..

    ..lots of love glynis

  • Hi Glynis. Many thanks. Would you mind sharing your experiences ie how you got it and when? I'm definitely up for getting more involved in the campaign to find a cure for this debilitating condition. LuverlyLucie

  • Hi Lucie,

    I have had Bilateral tinnitus for over 12 years due to Menieres Disease .

    I have been supporting members on the BTA forum for well over 6-7 years ...lots of love glynis

  • Hi Lucie,

    You might like to register with the BTA sister site

  • Many thanks - it's really helpful. I really had a massive meltdown yesterday and could stop crying. I've coped much better today. I was back at work and it wasn't really very noticeable until about 5pm. It's loud now and I have the veinous hum but I'm used to that. x

  • Hi I have very loud hissing in my left ear and it's causing me so much distress it's been that bad today just feel like ending my life had it for 9month and the past 3months it has got worst 24/7 can't stand any loud noises it even hurts when, people Talk Can't even watch TV anymore how do you cope I've triw doing thing to distracted. The noise but it doesn't help

  • hi I know what your going through bloody terrible most the time I hade it over 3 year s I'm 60 this year and this all I want well plod on were all in same boat

  • As a newbie, thanks for the information in the above posts. Have had tinnitus for only 2 weeks and am also struggling with sleep. Can go to sleep but it is so loud when I wake up, that's it for the night. Yesterday 15:30 today 12:00! It's now 13:30 and I really don't know what to do.

    Michael H.

  • Hi Michael. Welcome. I really feel for you but I think you will learn to sleep with it. I've tried pillow sprays which were quite good and my Neuromonics app works ok. I've had T just over a month and it really does vary. Sometimes it's as though I haven't got it, other days it's bearable and every once in a while it's so bad I have a meltdown and then then this brilliant group helps get me through it. There are some really helpful tips on this forum so take the time to check them out. Luverly Lucie x

  • Hi Michael and welcome. First I would say that you're right forum for help and support. My journey over the past two years began by going to the doc for anti anxiety meds and sleeping pills. I had a ct scan and an ent consultant appointment who referred me to audiology when I was given a hearing aid and masker. I joined the BTA whose support was vital during the early difficult stages. Two years and I am ok even though I still have T. Hopefully for you it will be a temporary thing, but read through all the advice on this forum for information. Also the BTA website is excellent. Love, Angela xx

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