Tinnitus Clinic – why I went on tinnitus rehabilitation

In November I was for four weeks at a tinnitus clinic – a rehabilitation center for ear problems, specialized on tinnitus.

Many people asked why I went if I supposedly habituated….

So why did I go?

I think it is important to be informed about what it is, what from the point of few professionals of this field say about it and how they think it should be dealt with.

And filtering has been a big problem for me, going out, not necessarily a club, but to places where more people at the same time talk and to top it off even some background music or noises…well, then I felt like it was impossible for me to hear anything.

Consequently I stopped going to those kind of places, but those places started to add up….if felt like first it was just a few and then it seemed like it became more and more. And even though I managed to arrange with friends to just meet up with a few at a time, at my house or theirs…I couldn´t shake the feeling that I missed out or that I wanted to be part of said activities.

I read about hearing filters being connected to tinnitus and not being able to filter out sounds and noises that are not important – hat it got to the brain unfiltered and so it would be overwhelmed with all the sounds coming in at the same time at the same volume. So concentrating on a conversations seems impossible.

Plus, all those hard years from before had taken their toll on my mental health. Feeling down a lot and exhausted.

So being away from home for four weeks without having to any house chores what so ever sounded just like what I needed and my doctor and therapist agreed.

What was the rehabilitation like?

My pension fund paid for it, as it helps to make sure that I will be able to work for the years to come. I just had to pay a reasonable service fee.

I got there and the first week was basically scheduled time to calm down, leave responsibilities behind and to settle down a bit.

In this first week they offered many talks about how rehabilitation works, what tinnitus is and their approach to “treat” tinnitus.

Otherwise there were many classes we could check out like Meditation, Breath work, Pilates and so on.

Plus we had some test done, hearing test for course and general health test as well as a sports test.

After the first week, I got a weekly plan with all my treatments and classes I was supposed to take according to my test results. There were also weekly doctor appointments to check-in.

Treatment at the tinnitus clinic

Sports

As sports is one of my techniques to deal with stress, pressure and life in general, plus I would say I am fairly sportive, I got a good amount of sports in my schedule, like an hour every day at their gym, 3-4 hours per week on a cycle ergometer, circuit training 3-4 times per week and 2-3 times per week trail running.

Sports is a big part of their philosophy as they say it helps to reduce stress, sets free endorphins which basically is a happiness-hormone. Plus is it is good for overall health of course. The better you feel, the less you feel bothered by tinnitus or the easier it is to apply the other techniques like shifting attention and so on.

I talked about the importance of sports in this post:

Relaxation

Twice a week I had a class that was called Motorelaxation – which is are relaxation techniques especially designed by the sports therapists there to help reduce tension. Some focused on the neck and shoulder region to reduce tension there, similar to my neck relax post I made a while back:

We also did Tai Chi as a form of active relaxation but not as sportive as yoga and also did some massages.

I also had once a week a class called spine exercise course, where we learned techniques how to take care of our spine in daily life and what exercises can help to reduce problems with the spine. As I was in the tinnitus group, it was focused more on the upper back.

Doing those kind of techniques can help to reduce the tension, which can trigger tinnitus and shift the focus on tinnitus.

I also had scheduled massage, fango treatment and physical therapy appointments which were furthering my reduction of my tense back.

Information

Every day I had at least one some sort informative class and / or talk about tinnitus. The topics varied from sleeping better, managing stress, tinnitus cycle and just general information on how to deal with it or explaining what is actually going on in the body as well as the latest research results and newest treatment options.

I will write a separate blog post about this.

Music Therapy

Once a week I had a music therapy class, which showed how we can work with music to help deal with tinnitus and hear filter problems.

The teacher showed us how we can use music in daily life to relax and shift our attention away from tinnitus and what effect music can have on our mind and body.

I learned in an informative class that hear filters can be trained to be working better again and in this class I learned how, to listen to music trying to focus on just one instrument. It seemed impossible to me, but it is a training. Daily with one song and I realized it is a lot easier with classic music.

It is also important to use music to influence your mood and to relive positive and happy moments – hence shifting the focus to something that makes us happy.

Psychotherapy

Once a week I had an appointment with a therapist. It could be connected with tinnitus or just used as whatever you wanted to talk about. I meet others that had more appointments, so I guess it depend on how you are feeling.

These appointments were voluntarily.

Groups

Once I week I had a tinnitus group, each week it was a different topic we were able to talk about and share our experiences with other people.

We also had quite some free time which we should use to rest, go to other classes like painting, yoga, pilates, meditation, dancing, swimming and so on. There was also a great hiking trail behind the clinic.

They recommended not to overdo our schedule to have time for ourselves…which is important generally but crucial when you have tinnitus.

So that was it.

It was good to have time for oneself and to check out different techniques. The information was great, but I learned that I was on a good track and already apply a lot of it in my life.

I also got so grateful to how well I am off, as I have seen so many people suffering from constant dizziness and the neurological wing of the clinic made me even more appreciative of my life as there were a ton of (young) people having suffered a stroke and had to learn to deal with the consequences.

It also showed me how important it is to do what makes one happy and enjoy life AND that it can be enjoyed even with tinnitus.

I saw a lot of people not ready for this kind of clinic –as they were still hoping to get some sort of quick fix and leaving without tinnitus. Which is a myth. I understand and was there for so long too….but it is here to stay so the best way to live with it is to learn how to handle it and to habituate. Then eventually it will feel like it is cured as it will be out of one´s focus. If it is out of your focus you “don´t hear it” actively. As soon as you check if it is still here though, of course it is back in the focus and will scream as loud as it can.

My next post will be about the most valuable lessons there – stay tuned.