As a child I once was at my cousin and I was going to get picked up by my parents.
We were playing Nintendo DS and were having quite a lot of fun. We were out in the sun, swimming, and now resting before I had to get back home.
But there was something weird happening.
I started to hear a high pitched sound very faintly, growing louder and louder. It became so loud that I wouldn't be able to concentrate and I got headache.
I almost went crazy and wanted to cry, as I just wanted it to stop.
Before that, I never noticed it that much. But it seemed as if I had that peeping noise in my ears for all along.
Fast forward a almost 15 years, I'm at home with my now wife and had a stressful situation with university and other things going on at that time.
At that time this peeping noise started to come into perception more and more, and even stronger. I started freaking out again and became frightened of the sound, wanting it to disappear.
Then some day, I found out - people can actually hear nothing. It's not "normal" for people to hear a constant ringing in their head.
For me it was actually kind of astounding since I was 23 by then and it never crossed my mind: I might have tinnitus.
For most of my time it was just there and it never really bothered me. Usually getting louder at night, but not really being intimidating. Rather some kind of background noise. So there it is, I have tinnitus.
It usually gets louder in stressful situations in life, or when I keep listening to it. Sometimes a new sound emerges as a sine wave in my ear, and then I don't only have a ringing, but a peeping too, and sometimes multiple at the same time.
So I tried quite a lot. Massages, relaxation therapy, got my neck spine adjusted, went to the doctor, etc.
Everything to no avail.
I may have to live with tinnitus my whole life.
Diagnosis and reactions
As there are many physical causes for tinnitus, a tinnitus can have many different forms. Sometimes it is a problem in the brain. The neurons responsible for firing at certain frequencies just wont stop firing. Sometimes its because of a clogged ear canal, and sometimes its because of a stressful period in life, maybe someone loved died, or the stress at work is overwhelming you.
So what should you do if you find yourself experiencing tinnitus?
I'll give you a little list here:
- Don't panic. Don't listen to the tinnitus, rather try to ignore it, no matter how loud it is. And try to not be in silence.
- Check if you maybe just have a stiff neck as monotonous work can strain your neck muscles and neck spine, too.
- Check whether you're stressed or something big happened in live, usually something negative. If so, try to digest it.
- Try to go to the doctor and check whether it is a problem with your ears. Sometimes the doctor will even perform an MRT, and then you'll see whether it is your brain being annoying or just a clogged ear canal.
- If everything fails, come to terms with your tinnitus.
Cures and attenuation
The doctor told you your brain is torturing you?
Now, there is still hope to get rid of that noise altogether.
People have had tinnitus for 30 or 40 years and suddenly found a cure.
The cure is as individual as your tinnitus. It is important to know the causes, and that stress is an incubator.
Maybe you have a defective neck spine and something is pressing against a nerve? Maybe you need another pillow, as it all started in the new apartment.
Think about things you can do to feel better and especially live healthier.
A "sour" body may also be a cause for your tinnitus. Maybe you are overweight? Start to become healthier. Maybe try a new diet (or rather: change your eating behaviors once and for all). Go to the gym or start running.
Go to the sauna. Relax more if it's stress induced. Basically see it as your brain telling you that something is not right, and since it has no other way of doing it, it starts to output a constant signal, as if an alarm is ringing (quite literally).
Maybe you have unprocessed trauma or a psychological problem (which is no bad thing! You should seek help then, its no sign of weakness!). Try to become more healthy in general.
But remember one thing: Don't do it because you want the tinnitus to go away, but because you want to become a "better self" (but of course secretly you do it because of the tinnitus, lol. Just pretend you're not doing it for it, otherwise you'll give it space to make you go crazy).
Coming to terms with YOUR tinnitus
Now you've lost all hope and you will never be without that noise again?
Then I tell you one thing now:
It's not as bad as you think!
Of course, you now may think something like "huh? Not as bad? I'm mentally disrupted and my energy is drained because of that noise. I cant and don't want anymore!"
But to tell you bluntly: Thinking that way is causing the tinnitus.
First, by thinking that way, you are inducing stress on your system on your own.
Secondly, by thinking about and listening to the tinnitus all the time, you give it the space it needs to destroy you.
Here are a few rules I found helped me a lot:
- Start "taking vacation" from the tinnitus. Start to ignore it. Occupy your mind with other things. You are not your tinnitus.
- See your tinnitus as a "friend", as weird as it sounds. The tinnitus often intensifies when you're stressed, so you have an inbuilt stress-o-meter! See it as a positive thing!
- When the tinnitus is overwhelming you again and its especially loud, keep in mind: It will get better. There are days which are accompanied by an intense tinnitus, others will be totally silent. You had good days before, so it will get better again.
- Also sometimes you may start to hear new noises: They will also disappear as quickly as they came. Don't focus on them. Recognize them and then accept them.
- It can't hurt you. It's just a noise. If you're not getting headache, it will be just a noise. And it's just that. Nothing more, nothing less. It can be filtered out by your brain if you focus on other things. And its actually this exact problem: Tinnitus gets worse the more attention you direct at it. Stop doing that.
- Never lose hope. As I said, there are ways to attenuate the tinnitus' noise and maybe some day it will magically disappear. Or maybe you do a thing that finally helps you lose it. But be aware: Don't be obsessive in fighting your tinnitus, because then it will regain importance in your life and it will become more intensive again. Investigate the causes and try to be cool with it. Don't be adamant about eradicating it. That won't help at all.
- See it as given. As my younger self never realized that it's actually something abnormal, I just took it as given. Accept it the way it is and try not to focus your life around your tinnitus.
We found out that tinnitus can have many different causes and it can be fought if you know your weapons. However, as there are some especially tenacious kinds of tinnitus, they may require special treatment, usually in the form of changing ones own behavior and attitude towards it. We learned that we can live without it dictating our life and can control what impact on our life it will have.
I personally hope that some day I find my cure, though I'm not really actively pursuing to find the cause anymore. Maybe I will have to live with it for the rest of my live. Maybe Elon Musks Neuralink will be able to use signal processing in my brain to counteract the tinnitus.
Either way, I accept it the way it is and try to move on without it bothering me. And so far I was able to be just as relaxed as I was as a child or young adult. When I didn't even know that it's tinnitus, but just thought of it as given for every person.
I also hope that you liked this article and that it may helped you a bit with your experience. I will share a few interesting sources, but they are mostly German. Anyways, good luck with your journey! And if you don't have tinnitus: You lucky one!
Actually I lost most of my sources. If I find them again, I'll post them.