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.
Tinnitus, A Personal View
Hyperacusis, as I see it
Tinnitus and mental health