Tinnitus-related Anxiety: Hello :) I'm... - British Tinnitus ...

British Tinnitus Association
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Tinnitus-related Anxiety

Sally07
Sally07

Hello :) I'm wondering if anyone has any specific tips on reducing tinnitus-related anxiety.

I've been noticing my tinnitus for about a year. I have two distinct sounds - a hissing/buzzing in one ear and an intermittent ringing in the other. I have spent the past year compulsively worrying about it - whether I caused it somehow, whether it's going to affect my ability to work, as well as feeling guilty and ashamed about it.

It's awful because different doctors have told me different things. Since I have normal hearing, one doctor told me that it was all caused by anxiety, that essentially hearing such noises is normal but most people's brains are able to filter them out because they don't cause them anxiety. So he prescribed me anti-depressants. But another doctor told me that the anti-depressants won't help because my tinnitus was likely caused by using headphones for music. I never had them that loud but I did use them often so, maybe, but there's no way to be sure.

All this uncertainty has turned me into a very anxious person! I feel scared all the time - every time I hear the noises (which is pretty often) I get strong anxiety. I know people talk about habituation, is there any way I can speed this up? Also, if anyone has any theories about why I have t in the first place from what I've said, I'd love that too.

Many thanks for reading!

28 Replies
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Hi Sally.

Tinnitus isn't caused by anxiety, though anxiety can make pre-existing tinnitus worse. Hearing noises such as tinnitus isn't "normal" - especially if it has been going on for a period of over a year. It is a sign of damage to the hearing system. Note that you can have a perfect hearing score and still have this damage (this is called hidden hearing loss).

I would ask your doctor to be referred to audiology for counselling about your tinnitus (you may need to be quite insistent with your GP). I would also stop using headphones as these are a likely cause of your tinnitus. Some people find "soothing sound therapy" helpful, there are various apps and downloads available though remember not to use headphones.

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Blue1970

Hi Blue,

Thanks for the advice! I have stopped using headphones since the tinnitus, accepting that they may have been the cause, and I will ask about the referral. It seems like an impossible thing to do right now - to accept that I caused it, but I will keep trying. Maybe it will get easier.

Many thanks!

Hi sally,

Anxiety can heighten your tinnitus so much. You’re noticing it so much cause you’re scared of it and your brains natural thing to do is to bring it to the front of your attention when it feels something is threatening you. Not so long ago my tinnitus was very intrusive and used to bring me anxiety any time I would hear it. I kept saying to myself “don’t let it scare you, it’s only a noise” and recently I’ve been doing very well. I lost my fear for it and stopped noticing it at all! It’s the same all the time (I used to thing it was LOUDER when my anxiety was bad) unfortunately I am an anxious person and I’ve been through this with my tinnitus a couple of times but I always come out on the other side ☺️ Hope this helps

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Amyleeh

Hi Amyleeh,

Wow, great to hear that you've got to the stage where you've stopped noticing it at all sometimes! That's where I want to be :D. I too am an anxious person, always have been, so maybe that has something to do with why I'm finding this so difficult, but your comment gives me hope I can get there if I learn to stop fearing it - so thank you very much!

All the best!

Hi Sally

Apologies sent your reply to Amesh by mistake!

Engaging in this type of communication is new for me .

I developed severe anxiety which in a word “ gripped” me 100%, totally overwhelmed me,, I eventually ended up have counseling privately plus on YouTube I put in ,, anxiety meditation,,the one that helped me was a lady called Ariel she did a 14min 14 sec video, I followed this religiously day and night for months I believe this helped me greatly,, in the end I didn’t use her video I just did it in my head as first 5 or 6 mins was preparing you so I skipped that bit,, it helped me who knows it may or may not help you, though the tip is you MUST do it every day without fail,, good luck.

Do you have the link to the you tube one you use

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Woodentop99

Wow, thank you for this. I will definitely check out that channel. Anything that would reduce my anxiety would be extremely helpful!

All the best!

May I have the link also to the You Tube video.

Daily meditation and yoga helps to cope with that. It at least work for me. It is good to pass some course on meditation as it is not as simple as many thinks - it is similar as for example - you can start exercising Pilates watching Youtube videos or you get some sessions to get the technique right and than you can practise on your own

I also heard CBD oil healthline.com/nutrition/cb... with many other benefits works good for somebody. I am planning to try it.

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to RomanSVK

Thank you - I will definitely try meditation! It seems that reducing anxiety is key to getting to the stage where you don't notice the tinnitus so much.

All the best!

Unsure how to post a link, though will try when one of my kids come to visit, it’s called,,, meditation for anxiety-yoga, with Adrienne, hope this helps for now.

Most tinnitus has nothing to do with the hearing system since deaf people also experience tinnitus. A lot of times its the brain signaling that something isn't right. I've never met a person who's long term tinnitus was caused by noise such as headphones, short term - yes. Also, never known anyone who had tinnitus without some form of anxiety.

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Blue333

Hi Blue,

This is really interesting. There's a TED talk by Josef Rauschecker in which he says that although some damage to the ears is necessary to induce tinnitus, it isn't enough on it's own - the filtering mechanisms in the brain also have to 'malfunction' as they do more often in people with anxiety. Even if people incur minor damage with headphones or other noise, most people still don't get t, according to him. I agree it seems really unlikely that headphones alone have caused my t, since I'm exposed to much louder noise on a daily basis - just walking through the city for instance. I think the doctor who told me it was DEFINITELY caused by headphones shouldn't have been so 'sure' at least.

Many thanks for the comment! Very reassuring! All the best!

I hadn't heard of Josef Rauschecker but I just found some things he's done that will be interesting to check out. I have to have noise or a TV on constantly, even when I sleep because for me silence is horrible with tinnitus. I've had T for several years and not too long after I got it we had a blackout so I didn't have any power for a couple hours. I wasn't used to T at all and I was sitting in silence and all I could hear was a clock ticking across the room. My anxiety got so bad and after the power came back on all I could hear was that clock ticking in my head. I thought that noise was going to be permanently stuck in my head. I really panicked. Probably sounds pretty stupid to someone who's never had tinnitus. I remember reading about tinnitus before I ever had it and I would think... someone must be pretty strange to hear buzzing and ringing in their ears. Then not too long after that I got it. I wish they'd find a cure. This time of night/morning I start thinking a lot and I've even wondered if all the T sounds and noises are real and around all the time but only certain people can hear them at certain times. Probably not the truth but it did have me wondering. 🤔

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Blue333

I get you - whenever I have to be in a quiet place, my anxiety kicks in, and the tinnitus seems to get louder. Then, often I'll start the cycle of thoughts about whether it's my fault, whether it'll be forever etc. It's interesting about the noise of the clock being stuck in your head, as it suggests that anxiety can create such subjective sounds, or maybe perpetuate a sound we've already got used to? I so hope they find a cure or an effective treatment soon!

I also have tinnitus induced anxiety. Tinnitus started 12/2018 caused by me trying to fix a CD player and a loud blast of music happened and I was right in front of speakers. Right now I am experiencing tinnitus in my head 24/7 and think the antidepressant generic for Effexor 37.5mg is the cause for the worsening. Since I have only been on it 3 weeks the pharmacist says I should have no problem as I am on the lowest dose. I have read about the bad withdrawal symptoms so nervous. Anyone else know about this drug. I know anxiety which I have is severe makes tinnitus worse but I never experienced this until start of this drug. Hoping the tinnitus will calm down once this drug gets out of my system. Any help appreciated. Just joined today.

Hi :) I'm afraid I don't know about that particular drug, but I have heard that some antidepressants can worsen tinnitus so I feel there's a good chance coming off it will quieten yours down. I am on sertraline, and it hasn't changed my tinnitus, so maybe you could ask about changing the type you take?

Best wishes

There is ahomeopathic remedy called Cortez and a herbal remedy calledi ginkgo belobo which you could try

Thanks

Some medications make it worse

I cannot take any allergy meds even tho I suffer so bad , vitamin B just explodes

My anxiety and my T. I’m on low dosage of Xanax and it seems to keep my anxiety in check and it keeps the attacks of very loud T to a min but that’s me someone else it maybe won’t work.

Hope you can find something to give you some Silence that’s what we all want

Best of luck

DSH🇺🇸

Hi folks here is the link , hope it works and you find it helpful, again the tip is to do this twice a day EVERY day, first thing and last thing, I ended up doing it myself but her voice really helped initially.

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Woodentop99

Thank you very much! I'll give this a go :)

Best wishes

Hi Sally, in my experience (and I’m very old ) loud music as a teenager is number 1 cause.

Lots of rock stars suffer with it. Number 2 is cannabis abuse as a teenager because your

hearing is enlightened and that’s when you become aware of the slightest malfunction between your hearing / brain filtering. Number 3 is taking too many antibiotics. I took oxytetrocycline for many many years for Acne. I now just accept my T. I once had a debilitating fobia and joined an on line chat group which helped enormously, I then had hypnotherapy

(2 sessions ) and it cured me. Thinking about the 2nd option for my T. But I promise you

It’s not going to harm you unless you let it. It is scary which highers the anxiety which makes the T seem louder !!! Accept it and get on with your life.

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to Bellyboo

Thanks for this 😊. I was never a lover of 'loud music' but I guess with headphones it's hard to tell where 'loud' begins. I'm trying to get into that acceptance state, monitoring my anxiety and trying to distract myself when it gets really bad. Thanks for the reassurance that acceptance is possible!

Hi 👋

Yes anxiety is a big part of my Tinnitus

And I am also on low dosages of Xanax that does work, I feel anxiety is a big and terrible part of Tinnitus cause the anxiety is always there even when I get a break

From it I was always thinking with anxiety when it will return it would consume my whole day.

All the best and I hope you can find some

Silence! That’s one thing we all wish and hope for

DSH🇺🇸

Sally07
Sally07
in reply to dsh2358

Hi :)

It really is terrible! I'm on sertraline for my anxiety which is taking the edge off, but anxiety is still a huge part of the problem!

Here's hoping in the future there will be more treatment options available to help us back to silence!

dsh2358
dsh2358
in reply to Sally07

Hi

Yes let’s hope they do more research on this cause it affects millions of people

Drs really don’t take it seriously I had 5 Drs just tell me deal with it lol

But I have a Dr now that does understand it and I’m so happy I found

Him

All the best

DSH🇺🇸

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