I have got tinnitus – and now?!
Tinnitus is worse when you haven´t learned to handle it yet.
I remember when my tinnitus first go tlouder. I was just desperate. Desperate does not even explain how I felt.
I thought I would not be able to live a normal life and was sure to have to be in that dark place for ever. The darkplace filled my whole life, I became equally dark. I hated my life, myself, my body and everyone else also! Negative character traits like criticism, cynicism and resentment arose.
Of course all that negativity and darkness only brought more and more negativity and darkness into my life. I blamed my tinnitus for everything and didn´t even consider that I attracted through my actions and thoughts even more of those things into my life.
Later it took me a super long time to get rid of my negative ways and to bring light back into my life. But it was possible and I could even adjust to the ear ringing. Cope. Deal. It is still there but it doesn´t seem to ruin my life any longer.
So how can you get to this point?
Of course right now you wonder how it will be possible to ever again listen to music normally, to watch TV or to follow a conversation or let´s be crazy and say even go to a concert . . .
The good news is, when people have adopted to their ear ringing and of course protect their ears properly – a so said normal life is possible!
So where to start:
- Inform yourself!
Step one – I know how scary it is and how crazy it can drive you. So it is important to understand what is happening to you.
A doctor who just tells you that you will get used to this condition may to some sort of extend be right but is not helpful at all.
For me, it already calmed me down quiet a bit once I understood tinnitus. It´s causes and what it does to a body or better said to the ear.
Read more about it here: https://thetinnituslife.com/2018/10/07/what-is-tinnitus/
2. Get to know your tinnitus!
Ear ringing can be caused by many different things. Of course a lot of people think about acoustic trauma at first, but many other causes are possible. Some medication can cause it, it can be aside effect of other illnesses, I got mine through inner ear and sinus infections …. These are just a few causes.
Ask yourself: Why do you think you got your tinnitus or what does your doctor say?
Then you need to find your triggers, there are certain things that make your tinnitus worse and others that help to calm it. What are they?
When you know what makes it worse ( for many people it is noise, stress, emotional distress, salt, sugar .. . ) you can start to avoid those things or learn how to cope better in those situations.
So let to know your tinnitus and then how to handle it. Everybody is different of course, you probably need to test to find out how you can avoid certain stressors and how to calm them.
For me that included a positive change in my life. I started to work on calming myself generally and how to calm myself in situations that affected me negatively. It didn´t only help to handle the ear ringing, but also to have a better understanding of myself and how I want to live and experience my life. A more mindful approachby doing yoga regularly to be calmer generally, later I added meditation. Working out is a big part of that too. Changing the way I perceive life and so many things more helped me to get a handle on things like that . . . of course at this point it is important to mention that it all was a process. One change led to another and so on. You don´t have to change your whole life, it might happen through the trigger management you are able to implement into your life step by step through finding out more and more to what your tinnitus reacts.
I started writing things down, like what I ate, what my workout routine was like….
Read more about tinnitus tracking journal here: https://thetinnituslife.com/2017/12/08/up-your-journal-game-to-keep-track-of-your-tinnitus/
3. Find an understanding doctor!
You might want to checkout a lot of things on the way or will go to the doctor more often now – so it is important that you have someone with tinnitus experience on your side, who also understands what you are going through.
Doctors who know what kind of treatments are possible, know about different causes and what has to be ruled out AND at the same time encourages you, shows that it is real what you are going through and that coping can´t happen overnight is the best way to go. I´m not saying it is easy to find a doctor who has all those qualities, but they are out there. Check out different doctors and stick to the one who makes you feel good. Somehow I always end with doctors that work with normal western medicine and natural based at the same time. In my personal experience they also consider feelings and fears and take the time to really help you.
It really doesn´t matter what kind of doctor you want to go to, but important is that he or she is there for you and rules out different physical causes.
4. Distract yourself!
In the beginning it is hard to apply different techniques to deal with tinnitus because in order to deal with it – you have to accept your current situation.
One of the reasons why it took me about 5 years to even begin applying the advice I´m giving on my blog is because I fought it. I wanted to fight this annoying noise in my ear and I hated it. I just wanted to take a pill and get it over with. Accepting that this was a part of my life for the moment and that I had to work on myself and how I was living my life was out of the question. I didn´t want to accept that there wasn´t anything that a doctor had to fix. . .I thought they just didn´t find it.
Or let´s say that is what I hoped it was.
So when I was still in that phase what helped me to not go crazy was to never allow myself to be in a quiet environment. Constantly there was something on, weather it was on the tv, the radio, an audiobook, Netflix, music…no matter what it was. Or just outside noises. Even if those sounds wouldn´t be able to mask the ear ringing completely it is something different than having to face it without any distraction. Also, I turned up the volume, not so much that it would hurt my ears but definitely like an old granny watching TV. So I would be able to understand it without any trouble and without having to try too hard. It was especially important for me to have something on that wouldn´t distract me from what I was supposed to do at the moment.
If I would have something very interesting on, I couldn´t go to sleep because I wanted to know how it ended. I have watched the same thing over and over for the past few years – knowing the words by heart and no surprises in the plot have helped me to just have it on as background noise. It still helps me today to not focus too much on my tinnitus when it spikes.
Right now, I am sitting here writing this without anything on and it is just more than fine for me. So step by step it got better and now I don´t even need those background noises anymore to shift my focus away from the ringing.
5. Stay active!
During the worst time of my tinnitus I didn´t do anything anymore. I just went to work and then straight to bed – drowning myself in self-pity.
It was a vicious cycle, because who can sleep when not having been active during the day?! Yes, I worked and all…but I mean physical or spiritual active. Doing things after work to feel full filled and alive. When you are mostly in bed, your body nor your mind is tired. Of course I couldn´t go to sleep and just drowned myself more and more in feeling sorry for myself.
Well, and as I didn´t do anything else . . . there was also nothing to think about than my tinnitus and how horrible it was. It was all I thought about all day long. That made it even worse . . . all my focus and attention was on the ear ringing. It was the main character in my life, my whole life revolved around it.
This is not how our livess hould be! Our lives should revolve around things we love to do, about yourselves and the people we love.
Once I got clear on how much I had to change to shift that focus it got already a little bit better. Thinking you can´t do anything anymore with your tinnitus just makes it worse and is not true! You can do almost everything as before, you might not feel like it right now but it is possible!
Using hearing protection helps with loud places and I started also going to and doing alternative things like choosing places where I knew I would feel comfortable.
I also became more active physically, going to the gym, doing yoga and so on. Once I became more active I was able to let go of that focus on my tinnitus and it started to not feel as horrible anymore.
I hope those tipps help you to get through the hardest time with your tinnitus – the first few weeks – and to find a way to deal with it quicker than I did.