After having had tinnitus for 4/5 years, I thought I would come back and write about the journey so far and to maybe help some people who are suffering and feel a bit hopeless. I know many people just come here for reassurance without leaving any messages, like I used to and hardly anybody comes back to write how they overcame it. I was one of those too, mainly as I wanted to forget about it and didn't want anything to remind me of the ringing for fear of it becoming louder, as I managed to almost not hear it anymore. But I feel like I need to write this, even if I can give a bit of light to someone suffering who is reading this.
So, it was around 4 years ago when I was 23, I attended a VERY loud gig in a tiny venue (not much space for the sound waves to disperse!) after it was over my ears actually hurt and I couldn't hear well, everything sounded metallic, obviously I had ringing (which I assumed normal at the time, after attending any concerts) After a few days of it still being there I started to become concerned and after researching it could possibly be tinnitus (which I never knew much about before then) so by this time I was becoming pretty frantic, I'm not gonna lie! I'm quite an anxious person, probably not the best candidate for this constant noise in the ear.
But what made me feel worse was reading about there being 'no cure' and 'having to just deal with it'... how was I supposed to live with this constant ringing, it was driving me insane, it was all I could think about, or hear! At that time, my life seemed to be over, I couldn't enjoy anything, I was anxious about going anywhere loud, anxious to be in silence, hated going to bed as that's when it was loudest! I've had some really bad times with T in these years, sometimes really not knowing how I was gonna get by.
But gradually it did get better, i'm not sure if it got quieter in itself or that I just habituated, but either way it does get better. It's true that your brain has the ability to block irrelevant sounds out (just like the refrigerator, computer hard drive etc.) the trouble is most people, especially in the beginning see the noise as a threat, which makes it so much worse and louder. Mine went 'away' for a very long time, I was coping really well, whilst continuing to always wear sound protection anywhere loud, without fail!
Last year it did come back louder again, but I was feeling down at the time and it was a vicious circle, the more I worried the louder it got, the louder it got the more worked up I became! As soon as I fixed the problem, some peace again.
Also, during my years with Tinnitus I've met many people who also have it, some who never even realised they had it, like my mam! Because I was so obsessed with my ear noise, she told me one day "I hear it too, some mornings it's really loud, but I just ignore it" and one day I was in a quiet room with my friend and were talking about my the annoying T, when he said "but I hear that too, when it's quiet" and we even did a test - whilst focussing on the noise, even when the T.V is on, you can make the noise louder than the background noise, and vice versa, it's interesting how powerful the mind is. So, here it is.. the more you focus on the problem, the louder it will seem, everyone is different, as I said many people have it and some don't even realise! The key is, to keep focussed on things, stay busy and when you are in a quiet atmosphere such as bedtimes, I really recommend some sort of sound machine (I downloaded an app for the iPhone and it really is amazing when you want to take your mind off the ringing, just stuff it under your pillow, or watching T.V helps until you fall asleep... anything to take your mind off it, after some time of not focussing on it, it will become less significant. So although it will probably always be there, you can make yourself almost 'forget' you have it!
I'm sure, like myself you will always have bad periods, such as getting sick, feeling stressed/anxious and it will seem loud and unbearable at times... but be strong and you will have better days!
I wish you all the best in coping with your ringing, stay positive! God bless.