About 8 days ago, I attended a concert that was way, way too loud. I got scared the day after, and bought earplugs, and tried hard to keep away from loud situations. I got into one without earplugs, but kept away as much as I could.
The ringing persists now. I'd say its been 5 days since the last period of loudness, and 8 days or so since the first.
I've been living with a fairly low grade tinnitus for years, and I've become habituated to it to the point there it doesn't bother me. Unfortunately, this past week the tinnitus has increased in pitch in one ear to at least a noticeable degree. For the past 3 days, I've become very neurotic about it, since the friends who were with me recovered after a few days.
I feel that it was my emotional response to the tinnitus that gave me the most problems here. The thought that it might not go away was intolerable to me, even though I could engage in hobbies and forget about it briefly. I have a hard time not focusing on it, and going down the rabbit-hole that is google and doing endless post-concert tinnitus searches. I responded very emotionally; I tried calling doctors, looking for some sort of positive prognosis, and called the people I usually vent to. One was rather negative about it, and has suffered tragedies of his own of late. Another was in the midst of their own crisis, which we talked out. By late evening, I was so focused on the tinnitus that I called a suicide hotline. No, I had no intention of suicide, but the American Tinnitus Associations website recommended it when facing much emotional distress about tinnitus. I ended up sobbing on the phone, and was frankly happy for some sort of release.
I forced myself to go to sleep early last night, and struggled to sleep. I even used white noise, and fell asleep eventually. I was very, very anxious that night, and when Im so anxious I have a great deal of trouble sleeping. I went to bed earlier than I was used to, and woke up once in the middle of the night. Again, my mind went down the rabbit-hole, and I kept worrying over the tinnitus.
This morning, I woke up feeling pretty good, and didnt notice it quite so much. The central air conditioning was on, and that was a soothing sound. I dont notice the tinnitus in the shower, making showers very soothing. Im not sure if the tinnitus objectively went down in pitch, or if Im becoming more used to it. I had a stress headache in the morning. I scheduled a session with an accupuncturist I knew who had given me swift relief for different issues before. I was a bit skeptical because I wasnt sure they could do anything for my tinnitus. I explained the situation, and she said that the tinnitus could take weeks to dissipate. I took excedrin for the headache. I now believe that may have been a no-no because that stops inflammation which retards healing.
Right now, im home from work and the city. Its quieter here, and I have time to engage in more neurotic behaviors and focus on the tinnitus. Its difficult not to at this moment. I notice it right now as I type, but honestly, I'm HAPPIER today than I was yesterday, and the tinnitus just doesn't seem quite so bad.
I've been living with this for years, and while I'm always hopeful for some sort of cure, the tinnitus was tolerable enough that I wouldn't have even called myself a sufferer or a victim. I was just me, you know? Right now I'm just hoping it returns to tolerable levels. So, it's the anxiety and emotional response that's killing me.View Thread
Tomorrow I see an audiologist. I'm very anxious, because I keep picturing the worst case scenario happening. Logically, it's too early to say for sure, as this could pass within another week or two, but the possibility of a longer recovery, or no recovery, is difficult to swallow. Tomorrow we'll see for sure, and hopefully garner some real hope, instead of the gloom and doom scenariors that I keep imagining.
My hearing seems particularly sensitive of late, and I think its because I keep hyperfocusing on the tinnitus, and hyperfocusing on every other sound. Because I'm focused so strongly on the sound when I am alone in a quiet environment, it is difficult to say if it is decreasing incrementally or not. My ears still feel a little full; I suspect its either my jaw and tension there, or perhaps inflammation from a healing ear. I've been chattering my jaw nervously in odd moments, and try to stop when I catch myself.
Hopeful me says this will resolve itself in short measure. Indeed, it is also possible that I have a cold of some sort, brought on by being caught in the rain a week ago and having to dry off in an air conditioned room. The nervousness and irritability is most certainly based on doom and gloom forecasts, but could be exacerbated by a bug.
As I await my appointment tomorrow, I think back to breaking my hand boxing about a year ago. It was my dominant hand, and I was concerned as I am a visual artist. I remember the surgeon who consulted me on the matter after a wait at the public hospital chiding me to everyone in the room, "why are you boxing if you're a visual artist?". I remember being worried sick that my hand wouldn't heal properly, that I'd develop crippling arthritis down the line, and so on, etc, etc. When the hand healed, as hands do, I began worrying about the piling on of medical bills. That was resolved rather handily after speaking with their financial department and a trip to the social security office.
So, lets say worst comes to worst. In my case, the worst would be permanent damage, factoring out some sort of tumor.
In that situation, the audiologist I am seeing tomorrow is part of a leading tinnitus care center in the Chicagoland area; I believe they are the only hospital locally to offer such treatments. Whatever the cause of the tinnitus should be, whether short term or long term, I'm sure they'll be able to discover it with ease.
Furthermore, there are highly successful habituation therapies availed to me; sound therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy are extremely hopeful long-term solutions, should it come to that.
The idea of a larger lifestyle change is also scary. I love seeing live music (NOT at the volume of that last show; frankly, I hated that, nor did I expect that, and I've never been to a show that has caused me such great distress as I'm having now.) I use earbuds, which haven't caused me tinnitus distress in the past, but have caused me some issue if they're not fitted properly. I've been scared to even listen to music that isn't soothing and soft for several days.
The idea of having to use (or wear) a masking device is a bit distressing as well. The whirring of a soft fan has been helpful to me when I go to bed, as has white noise from between radio stations, but neither are quite effective at masking the tinnitus. In those quiet moments its easy to focus and obsess and drive myself to more anxiety. The only time I have had any real relief is the shower, which masks the sound entirely; I suppose it is possible that a device to similarly mask that pitch when I sleep could be obtained.
I'll also have to begin carrying around earplugs. After a walk to calm my jangled nerves last night, the town inexplicably had a fireworks show several weeks AFTER the fourth of July; I ended up walking home with my fingers in my ears. I am not too concerned about any sort of stigma about carrying earplugs as I am about forgetting to bring them with me when I actually need them.View Thread
Hi Salvadora. I'm in Chicago and far away but if I was there I'd give you a big hug .
I think the worse part of this is the emotional response. I can be very neurotic if I have a problem that I just can't solve.
I've had a tolerable tinnitus for about 10 years at least now. I had at least one spell when I really started to focus in on it and it drove me crazy. Then I habituated to it gradually.
I've not seen an audiologist yet, but the advice I've gotten from medical professionals so far is that it takes time to recover. The friends who were with me recovered after a few days. I might take a few weeks to recover.
Its the waiting that's killing me, really. Its hard not to focus hard on the sound, enough so that I hyper focus, and get seriously stressed out.
My hope is that I recover fully within another week or two, but if I don't, I do believe I'll be able to habituate to the noise, so that it becomes background noise and tolerable.
But that will take time, and I need my sleep, and I have so many other things in my life that need to be taken care of. I hate the idea of having to struggle like this for any appreciable length of time.View Thread