British Tinnitus Association
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Hi there my name is Emer and I live in Ireland and had recently been on another forum and truthfully do not go on much as I am very very fortunate that my Tinnitus has mostly disappeared after first getting it Nov 2016. Long period of many many types of interventions mostly cranio sacral therapy meditation and a few other things. Mostly I did a lot of emotional work on trying to figure out what is was all about as it wasnt really noise related. It comes and goes from time to time and can be activated by stress but only ever intermittent and mild.

I am so so grateful for that fact. Anyway I am really just asking for some feedback here and would appreciate any thoughts on fact that tomorrow morning I am due to have an MRI on my lumbar spine. I have read the research for and against and have rescheduled it from last week as got nervous and wanted to get my foam ear plugs which I have worn in the past in other settings and I did have an MRI two years ago with no issues.

I am torn between knowing I need to get my back checked out for peace of mind but so reluctant to risk my Tinnitus being activated. Some part of me knows if I could just trust and breathe through it and wear my plugs that even if it does go up a little it would probably settle again as it has done in the past.

However with all the stress of Covid 19 and the extra precautions that will be in place tomorrow I dont look forward to the environment of it. Even though I am going in early early and will be only a half hour in I am told.

I can still cancel I know and leave the MRI for another few months and then at same time I get my pains in lower legs and weakness etc and that keeps me awake with worry!

I am a therapist and know a bit about the power of the mind and so I know it can go either way. I do know the scanner can be so loud although the secretary told me today it is an open tube and relatively new scanner.

As I say any thoughts at this 11th hour would be really helpful.

Thank you


17 Replies

Hi Emerneurosis,

Im not sure if I might be too late in my response. I’ve had an MRI scan in the first year I got my tinnitus. It was around the time I was just about managing my tinnitus and I must say it did not spike my tinnitus or make it worse. It didn’t seem that loud to me though I must say I was more concerned with being in an enclosed space rather than thinking about my tinnitus. I did not wear any ear plugs either. I’m not sure if that really helps and I may be too late anyways so sorry about that. Wishing you all the best and hope it all goes well!

Hi Annie thanks so much for your reply I am so glad to hear that

I got completely lost in indecision and cancelled MRI

Knew instantly it was a mistake and so will have to wait a week but will rearrange as soon as I can

Fear is worse than the cause sometimes as now have to live with worry about my back until I get scan!! Thanks again and take care

I can definitely relate to fear being worse than the cause, it’s a terrible feeling. As you are a therapist, I probably wouldn’t be telling you something you’re not already aware of. As they say, the human mind is complex. I know it’s easy to say but try not to overthink the MRI scan, try not to think of it at all until you are due to have it (I know that sounds stupid.) Anyways, really feeling for you and I know you can do this. Wishing you all the best!

Thanks again Annie being a therapist only means I am aware of how much I dont get it right all the time and having the ability to be self honest and self aware nothing more than that and no different to anyone else and always learning from others so appreciate your thoughts

Take care

Yes off course! Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply otherwise (just because you are a therapist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be feeling fear or concern). Apologies if I came across that way!

Not at all Annie never thought that sometimes my communication is not clear!

Best wishes


Hey, no worries! Wishing you all the best and do let us know how it goes.


I have had an mri and did not affect my tinnitus. Wore the headphones and just imagined I was on a beach somewhere. Have the scan otherwise the worry of having it will be worse and that might make T worse. Go for it!

Hi Bridgett

So sorry to say I cancelled MRI and instantly regretted it but now will have to just wait a week or so and reschedule! So fear of something being wrong with my spine and tinnitus fear altogether!

Fear worse than the cause sometimes as you so rightly say thanks again and hopefully lessons learned!


I would look at getting some CBT to address the fear... changing pathways in your head will mean that fear will become so much less... CBT also really good with helping to cope with T.... I have had CBT and after 10 sessions once a week my life changed...for the better

This will make you smile Bridgett I am a psychotherapist and have some training in CBT but as you might have guessed its my least favourite approach but mindfulness based stress reduction probably closer to my style and more integrative approaches.

Sometimes knowing too much about something renders it ineffective and so am delighted you found it useful as it absolutely is!

Thanks again


Good luck with this and I would only say that ,if you put it off, you will only have to go through it again. As with most things we dread, the thought is worse than the reality.

Just on a practical note, I have found wax or silicone ear plugs much more effective than foam.

Easy to say, I know, but breathe deeply and try and relax.

Let us know how you get on.

Thanks so much you are so right nothing to be gained from putting it off not usually my style as part of my job is teaching people to face their fears(I am a therapist) but a human flawed one at the moment which is ok too! Appreciate all the reassuring advice - will come back when more news

best wishes to you


Hi Emer - thank you for posting and thank you to the BTA community on Health Unlocked for the sensible and helpful advice which they've offered. I hope it reassures you when you're able to reschedule your MRI.

Best wishes


in reply to BTAPat

Thanks so much Pat really appreciate all the good advice unlike a forum I used to be on - such a difference!

Thanks for all you do for Tinnitus community


First of all, many scanning facilities have ear phones that play music. Foam ear plugs don't block out much sound, contrary to what 3m states. You need ear protection that covers the entire ear and bone around it.

I've had many MRIs on my spine and they weren't a problem until I had a brain scan. The scanner is focusing sound wave right into the ear and surounding areas. They only provided some very inifective ear plugs, that didn't fit properly. That caused my T to be much worse.

My T seems to be related to my c-5 and c-6. When I work overhead and have been tipping my head all the way back, my T spikes. Still, it's hard to get a neurologist or an audiologist to admit any connection. When they do, they say still, nothing you can do about it.

You should be fine as long as you're not having a brain scan.

If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

Thanks so much for all that will consider the other plugs just find them uncomfortable

my tinnitus has been mostly silent for long time but so sensitive to stress reschedule and no drama next time take good care


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