British Tinnitus Association

Tinnitus and the negative mindset

Tinnitus and the negative mindset.

Whether a person is new to tinnitus or has had it for a while, they will know how debilitating it can be when it’s loud and intrusive. If hyperacusis is present it can make a bad situation worse and I fully understand this, as someone who’s had tinnitus for twenty-one years and once had very severe hyperacusis that has been cured for the passed eighteen years.

I am not going to pretend and say the habituation process is an easy one, although some will find the journey easier than others.

My first noise trauma took two years to recover and the second four years. Throughout both ordeals I never allowed thoughts that my tinnitus would never improve or that my life was over to take hold, as I believed negative thinking would reinforce the belief that I faced a future of impending doom. I will admit that occasionally they crossed my mind but just for a fleeting moment and then I’d let them go and direct my thoughts elsewhere. Going out for a walk, playing relaxing music or even doing work around my home brought about the desired affect and helped me to focus on something else.

2010 was a particularly low point in my life as I was having a lot of difficulty coping with the tinnitus and asked my consultant to be candid about my condition, because I felt I had reached a plateau with TRT and wasn’t making any more improvement. Unfortunately it wasn’t as successful as the first time.

My doctor confirmed what I had suspected but wasn’t prepared when told, I was the second worst tinnitus patient that she had met in all her years of practicing Audiovestibular medicine. I wanted the floor to open so I could fall in and all my troubles would be gone. I sensed a feeling of dark clouds looming over my head having been told something that I wish I hadn’t asked for.

My doctor said she would never give up on treating me and I was prescribed clonazepam. My recovery was slow but determined not to let the cacophony of noise that at times was tormenting, send me on a downward spiral into oblivion. Although my experience is unique because no two people experience tinnitus the same, it will not be strange to those that have travelled a similar road and come through it to tell their story.

I believe one of the biggest problems a person faces with tinnitus is having a negative mindset. This is completely different from feeling occasionally down or even negative which is something that this condition does to a person as it directly affects one’s emotions but doesn’t take hold or is allowed to fester. Having a negative mindset is not allowing any positive thoughts to come through about your tinnitus. The thought that it will never improve and you won’t respond to treatment takes precedence over everything else. If hyperacusis is present this can be intensified by the overuse of hearing protection, which reinforces negative thinking that even slightly raised sound levels are harmful. If one isn’t careful a fear of sound can develop known as phonophobia, to the point where a person feels scared to leave home thinking environmental sounds will make their condition worse.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there as relationship with people often suffers as a person becomes more withdrawn. This can induce depression and one can start to feel angry about their circumstances and vent their frustrations on those nearest to them. It can become an unhealthy situation to be in. Therefore, if person is slipping into a negative mindset, my advice is to seek help by contacting their GP. Perhaps getting a referral to a Hearing Therapist, psychiatrist or counsellor. Someone to talk to before the situation gets out of control.

My purpose for writing this post wasn’t to give an account of what I’ve been through with tinnitus but felt it necessary, to give a little background information as some people might think: It’s alright for you but you haven’t lived my life or know what I have to go through daily with tinnitus. I hope the above information will have given you some insight into what I’ve been through, as I know how debilitating this condition can be when severe. I have counselled people with it and continue to do so.

Tinnitus has been around for centuries and like many medical conditions, a cure hasn’t yet been found. However, in most cases it can be successfully treated and there are a variety of different options available, enabling people go on and lead a normal life doing everything that they want to.

I wish you well.

Michael

Tinnitus, A Personal View

Hyperacusis, as I see it

Inspiration

Tinnitus counselling

Tinnitus and mental health

8 Replies
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Thanks for this eloquent description on how tinnitus can and does have a real impact on an individual's life, relationships and personalities. I have found myself shouting at a person close to me which scared the life out of me as other than at Forest or doing presentation scat work I never raise my voice . Thank you for showing that whilst negative thoughts don't help , it's not as simple as ' just be happy , it's all in your mind , it's all up to you just to think it away " which I still find even from people with tinnitus. I am having " mini episodes "of / verging on near nervous exhaustion / breakdown / ME . I can afford to give up hope , but this post helps me because it shows that I am not making it up . I am pleased you have a good doctor. My ENT consultant wrote to a gp at my practice ( who left 20 ) years ago that my tinnitus had improved and he was dischathing me. Luckily the medical secretary totally believed me that this was not what the appointment had shown and the receptionists at my practice are happy to wait until we have a letter with the right outcome on. Still deciding if I should go to PALS about him. So thank you Michael , if we didn't have each other it'd be a much harder experience .☺

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Hi Lindsay,

Thank you for your kind comments. I am sorry to hear that you have been through a difficult time with tinnitus and that you didn't have a more understanding consultant. In fairness all ENT doctors are not the same but I do understand what you mean. I had to report my first Hearing Therapist 21 years ago when I first got tinnitus, for in appropriate behaviour. I have mentioned this before in this forum. Other tinnitus patients also complained and the Hearing Therapist was asked to leave the hospital.

There is good better best in everything Lindsay, and then there's downright awful. My consultant left and went to another hospital but I'll never forget her. We had a good rapport and I could talk quite open and freely with her. Occasionally formalities were relaxed and we joked or had laugh, I'm not kidding. She was very popular with patients I was told and sorry to see her go.

I am pleased that you found my post helpful and hope that your next consultant will be more understanding of your needs.

Take care and wishing you all the best

Michael

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Thanks again. I have a good audiologist and the counsellor I pay for is very understanding too. We persevere ☺ This morning I went to the presentation by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire to ouring Homeless Centre of the Queens Award for Volunteering. I wrote the application and I was so proud to be sat next to the service user who I'd helped to write a letter of support. It was very regal indeed . I have to hang onto your words , and those of others , that a negative mindset isn't the same as having tough times. I have to be more hopeful during the tough times to have any chance of getting out of them - just as the homeless guys do ☺

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Just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking the time too write this. Good to hear wise words. Thank you.

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Hi Boss1

Thank you for your kind comments and for taking the time to express your opinion, it is much appreciated.

Take care and all the best

Michael

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Hi Michael, iv had many thanks for your wisdom, I v had mild tinnitus for many years, actually forgot I really had it... last year I had a ear infection and with that my Tinnitus has become loud and intrusive, its been about 2 months now and I am suffering every day, even tho I am on anti depressants, i am really at a loss what to do, I pray it will improve, but I am stuck in a negative mind set most of the time, its a bit like mourning the loss of my happy life ....really thinking about ending it, but I know it only early days in T world......

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Hi hazyfan,

Sorry to hear that you're going through a difficult time at the moment with your tinnitus. You haven't said what orignally caused it? An ear infection can increase the tinnitus and this can take time to reduce to it's previous level even when the ear infection has cleared up. I have written an article: Tinnitus, A Personal View. If you would like a copy, please send me a Private message with you email address.

Hope you start to feel better soon.

All the best

Michael

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Hi Micheal, thank you for replying, it really mean a lot, I will pm you, I suspect onset may have been due to head phone use or clubs nd gigs when I was in my 20s , I’m 44 nowI foolishly had it at such a low level I never even thought it could get to such a intrusive level. And used headphone at work, But it def ramped up with the ear infection, I’ve ceased any headphone or gigs etc

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