Now, I would like to talk about the difference between acceptance and trying to find a cure for tinnitus.
Acceptance of tinnitus can be described as transitioning from paying unnecessary attention to tinnitus and considering it bothersome, to ultimately not perpetually monitoring it and instead classifying it as a neutral stimulus or neutral sound.
A recent patient testimonial mentioned how the patient would constantly listen and categorize his tinnitus, retreating into the closet of his house, listening for the tinnitus, and asking himself, “Is it louder today? Is it better?” While educating ourselves about tinnitus can be helpful, there is often a point of diminishing returns regarding the amount of attention we pay to tinnitus.
One way to accept a loud spike of tinnitus is by practicing acceptance and noting when you might be creating a story and triggering negative thoughts and emotions. It’s in these types of situations where a therapist, tinnitus coach, or psychologist can really help you with accepting where you are, even if your tinnitus is loud or uncomfortable. By accepting where you are and knowing that your tinnitus is not going to dramatically change, you create the possibility that your tinnitus might get better in subsequent months.
It is often helpful to ask someone habituated to their tinnitus about the importance of acceptance. What most positive tinnitus stories have in common is that, at some point, there was a shift from trying to fix, solve, or chase the tinnitus to simply choosing and allowing the tinnitus to be there. The power of psychology lies in our ability to change the course of how things are going and adjust our reaction to various sensations.
My own journey with tinnitus has followed a similar trajectory. I’ve had tinnitus for the last eight years. It was initially triggered by listening to loud music and attending concerts. I specifically remember being on a college camping trip just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. My friends and I were traveling down a highway along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we stopped alongside the road to look at the amazing view. After we sat down, I vividly remember how loud my tinnitus felt, because my surroundings were piercingly quiet. There was no sound whatsoever—no wind, no birds, nothing. We were gazing at the horizon and my tinnitus was consistently loud, so much so that I realized that my tinnitus was constant and that it was not merely a side effect of a loud concert.
Trying to Find a Cure for Tinnitus
In the last year and a half since I created Pure Tinnitus, I’ve sought out the best treatments. During the process, my tinnitus has become a lot more noticeable. However, because I’m practicing what I’m preaching, my tinnitus doesn’t bother me, even if it gets a little louder. And because I’ve been thinking about tinnitus every day—helping people with it, researching it, making videos about it—I often have to ask myself: is my tinnitus louder, or am I just noticing it more? I notice that I often perceive my tinnitus during periods when I’m stressed or anxious, and that when my surroundings are quiet or when I’m trying to go to sleep, my tinnitus feels significantly louder.
To learn what may help you manage your tinnitus, please download our free 10-page e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Tinnitus Relief. Dr. Thompson offers Tinnitus Retraining Therapy via telehealth. Please contact our team at Pure Tinnitus to learn more.