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Katarina8349

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Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #1 
Please help. Please offer a word of consolation and reassurance if you have it. I am going through a major panic attack and fear the worst. I have been doing well, panic wise, with the help of therapy and self-help books, and managing my response to tinnitus (caused by acoustic trauma) has really helped my general well-being. Unfortunately, today, I went out, got on a train, and when opening the door of the train, the door sound signal went off which was VERY loud and actually caused me physical pain in my left ear. I can liken the experience to that of a loud alarm going off right next to my ear, that's how loud it was. Instantly and not surprisingly,  I experienced a heightened tinnitus, which in my case goes hand in hand with the hyperacusis.
I am so scared. So scared that the tinnitus level will keep on increasing, after every trauma, until it will make my life miserable at all times (and not just at night). The world seems so full of "dangers" for people with sensitive ears like mine, it is indeed impossible to avoid acoustic traumas when living in it. I am paralyzed with fear of these sound attacks and their effect on my ears. Has anyone experienced this? How do you cope with frequent, unexpected and unavoidable acoustic traumas in the real world (sirens and alarms going off, dog barking next to your ear, baby screaming)? Do any of you have tinnitus which came on at the same time as the hyperacusis? Do any of you have experience of your ears suffering from these frequent "sound attacks" and getting back to their previous state after a few day recovery? Or can I expect a gradual worsening of my Tinnitus and also worsening of my slowly but surely uddenly emerging phonophobia, as a result of living in the real world? Is my only option to reconcile myself with the prospect of getting worse and worse in my ears or retiring from the world in one way or another (locking myself up in the forest?!) Please help. I am losing my marbles over this. Every time I feel I have made a progress and am getting used to things, I get another "slap" and down I fall. Am so desperate and anxious.


__________________
I have had tinnitus since I was 12. I have always had sensitive ears, but I never really thought about it until Sept 2011, when an unpleasant exam (Acoustic Reflex test) at audiologists' made my ears a lot more sensitive. It was this exam which caused my hyperacusis and severely increased my existing Tinnitus.
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Panda

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Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #2 
Katarina,

About your questions:

Quote:
I am paralyzed with fear of these sound attacks and their effect on my ears. Has anyone experienced this? 

Yes, and currently my symptoms are less than previous year.

Quote:
How do you cope with frequent, unexpected and unavoidable acoustic traumas in the real world (sirens and alarms going off, dog barking next to your ear, baby screaming)?


By using earplugs, I am not using them all the time, but only when I think I will encounter with those sounds.  I will not use earplugs with sounds that I can stand and from time to time I try not to use them at all. 
About earplugs, most ENTs can create earplugs that almost not noticeable. But, I am using regular light brown earplugs from Walgreens.  I trim off the end tip about 45 degree, not too much, just enough to help reduce the visibility.  If I trim them too much, it is risking them stuck in the ears, I am not recommending this! 

Quote:
Do any of you have tinnitus which came on at the same time as the hyperacusis?

Mine, they are fluctuated, and sometimes tinnitus is worst than hyperacusis and vice versa.

Quote:
Do any of you have experience of your ears suffering from these frequent "sound attacks" and getting back to their previous state after a few day recovery?

Loud sounds can hurt my ears but not increase Tinnitus.  My fluctuated H/T can aggravate by mastication muscle tensions like night time clenching, chewing, but not sudden loud sounds.  Currently, my setbacks usually take about less than half a day to 2-day to get back to my previous state.  I have H/T due to TMD related not acoustic traumas

Quote:
I expect a gradual worsening of my Tinnitus and also worsening of my slowly but surely uddenly emerging phonophobia, as a result of living in the real world?

I have seen many people gradually getting better.  I am slow getting better too.  For me, it takes time to learn about my body what can increase or decrease the symptoms.

Katarina, it was hard at first when I got the symptoms.  I have learn more about my body and managing the symptoms.  I also listen to soft musics (piano) or sleep meditation with slow deep breathing in and out to help me sleep.

P.
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Johnloudb

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Posts: 1,951
Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina
I am so scared. So scared that the tinnitus level will keep on increasing, after every trauma, until it will make my life miserable at all times (and not just at night). 

It, won't. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina
The world seems so full of "dangers" for people with sensitive ears like mine, it is indeed impossible to avoid acoustic traumas when living in it.

Ears do get hurt, but that's not the same as acoustic trauma or damage. And it's not permanent. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina
Or can I expect a gradual worsening of my Tinnitus and also worsening of my slowly but surely uddenly emerging phonophobia, as a result of living in the real world? Is my only option to reconcile myself with the prospect of getting worse and worse in my ears or retiring from the world in one way or another (locking myself up in the forest?!) Please help. I am losing my marbles over this. Every time I feel I have made a progress and am getting used to things, I get another "slap" and down I fall. Am so desperate and anxious.

Chill! You'll be fine. Hurt ears need sound enrichment.

What, if anything are you doing to treat your sensitivity? No, ear protection is not advisable for people with hyperacusis around everyday sounds. You will make your ears more sensitive. 

There will always be unexpected sound above your tolerances. Even if you're living indoors, or your room, or wearing ear protection all the time. No avoiding it ... I've been down that path and it leads to nowhere.

If you haven't already, read all the information on this site: http://www.tinnitus.org

Read the TRT paper that talks about problem tinnitus and the Jastreboff model, if you haven't already ... or read it again.

Read about TRT exercises as well.

My use of ear protection and fear of my tinnitus getting incredibly loud and causing deafness is what caused my tolerances to sound to collapse and caused me to retreat indoors. Happens to a lot of folks. Doesn't have to happen. Doesn't have to happen to you.

Sometimes sounds can sound really loud at times, and hurt,  though they really aren't that loud.

With sounds you worry about you can try listening to them at a distance that doesn't hurt, to help you deal with anxiety or record the sounds with a voice recorder and listen to them at a level that doesn't hurt you. Many MP3 players have built in voice recorders. I really like my Sansa Clip ... it has a nice sounding built in mic, and is easy to record sounds with.

John


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Katarina8349

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Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you Panda and John!

John, I have read about TRT therapy on the site you mention and I even emailed its no. 1 UK practitioner, Jacqui Sheldrake. She was very kind when she answered me and told me to contact her secretary to make an appointment. The secretary was also very quick to get back to me but her mention of the cost of that 1st appointment (1st of many to follow) put me off going down that route. (400 GBP to be precise). I cannot afford a treatment this expensive ...

I do not know of a cheaper route .. where I live, noone treats H. and T. in this way. I have been offered a masker, without therapy, but I do not think it is a good idea to self-treat myself ..
I looked on your website and printed your story. I will read it - may be it will give me the answers I am looking for?


__________________
I have had tinnitus since I was 12. I have always had sensitive ears, but I never really thought about it until Sept 2011, when an unpleasant exam (Acoustic Reflex test) at audiologists' made my ears a lot more sensitive. It was this exam which caused my hyperacusis and severely increased my existing Tinnitus.
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Johnloudb

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Posts: 1,951
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
I looked on your website and printed your story. I will read it - may be it will give me the answers I am looking for? 

Maybe, I don't know what answers you looking for, but there is some good information in it and a worthwhile read IHMO. It's no substitute for professional help though.

Yes, you shouldn't use the ear devices without professional guidance. There is the pink noise CD offered through the hyperacusis network here:


John
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Febrele

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Posts: 84
Reply with quote  #6 
Katarina,

I have hyperacusis, got a lot better (90-95%) without expensive TRT.

You can train yourself, if you are strong enough. By this I mean some people will probably need support during those times they are training... I have support from my family and a strong mind.  So its up to you.

Search for my posts if you want to know how I did it. I only used music, nature sounds and everyday sounds, at safe levels.

I agree with John, but I'd like to add something on this :
Quote:
There will always be unexpected sound above your tolerances. Even if you're living indoors, or your room, or wearing ear protection all the time. No avoiding it ... I've been down that path and it leads to nowhere.
 
I still think you should get yourself a pair of Alpine Musician Safe earplugs. They are like 15$. I have them on my key chain, they are always with me. I use them VERY rarely, only when I'm in presence of really heavy sounds that represent danger for ANYONE'S ears ;  Bars, live concerts, fireworks,...
 
Please make an effort to not be overly anxious about your symptoms, setbacks, and the like. Its quite possible your ears have NO damage at all, even if they feel full, even if they hurt! It was my case, and they found no damage (I have no ear loss whatsoever).
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sucuqu

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Posts: 197
Reply with quote  #7 
Katarina,

I could probably answer yes, yes, and yes to all your questions. I know exactly what you are going through.

yes, my tinnitus increases with loud sounds, unexpected or not.  yes, the tinn affect the hyperacusis.  when the T is bad the H is even more sensitive. and things sound louder than before.

I sympathize with you.  I know the feeling of things going along getting better even flow and then wham an unexpected loud sound as what happened to you ( which is certainly on the very very loud spectrum) and  you are back to square 1 or I sometimes say back to negative 10 or whatever.   yes, I sometimes feel like I get out of the dark hole and then I am pushed back in.

 the cycle continues.   anxiety is another whole ballgame.  self talk sometimes works and sometimes i try to forget it happened.   now with the noise you experienced, no, that would not work.

lay low, take care, and try to rest your ears if you can,  the pain will decrease and you will get back to where you were before.


sometimes I feel like such an oddball---  then I read a post like yours and can not believe someone else is going through the same thing.

try to keep your hope up,   you are not alone --take care, Su
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Katarina8349

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Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #8 
Dear Febrele, I forgot to thank you for your uplifting note. I had read it soon after you posted it, had no time to respond, and then - overwhelmed by everything - I forgot to respond! I most appreciated your reply and now, that another set back accured, I come back to it. It's a truth that I - as many others propably - only come to these forums when things get worse, when we feel down, and when we feel the need to connect with those who understand the situation. As soon as I overcome the crisis, as things stabilize, I get on with my life NOT thinking and not wanting to think of my ears. I should come here in good times too, so that I too can lift up the spirits of someone who is in the dark place ... like you did. Thank you.

__________________
I have had tinnitus since I was 12. I have always had sensitive ears, but I never really thought about it until Sept 2011, when an unpleasant exam (Acoustic Reflex test) at audiologists' made my ears a lot more sensitive. It was this exam which caused my hyperacusis and severely increased my existing Tinnitus.
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laflauta

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #9 
Katarina,

"Search for my posts if you want to know how I did it. I only used music, nature sounds and everyday sounds, at safe levels."

Hi Febrele,

Can you please say which thread you posted the above information? I am having difficulty locating it. Thanks so much for this information,

Carlos

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Mikemeds

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Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Katarina - just read your mails and the replies and would like to add some support. I know what you are going though and send my best wishes and hope you can manage and beat it. Cos that's what I'm going to do no matter what happens.
I've had both T and H for six months, am on Citalopram, have had two ENT appointments and was given the Noise Generators, have been to therapy sessions and am (just like you), having to manage everyday and sudden, unexpected noises. Looking at some of your concerns:
1. Being paralysed with fear. I have it going into pubs, restaurants, train stations,hearing alarms, sirens, etc. I wear my noise generators (got them free from ENT) all the time on very low but turn them up before going into tricky situations. If that doesn't work I have Bose noise canel headphones I sometimes put on or I have Alpine earplugs ( got from a music store in Brighton). Point is, I know sounds may/will make me jump, shout, be frightened, but still try to face them as much as I can and then the plugs - I'm getting better but it's still hard every day.
2. I got T first and then H after a month. When I'm stressed, tired, anxious, have had loud sounds hit me, the T goes up a lot. But I try and be calm, leave the room for a moment or whatever can shift the situation, and then go back . The T will drop back and I try again.
3. I've also felt its getting worst and it's the H. But I also know that's probably cos of the phobias that I have set up for myself, AND I MUST UNLEARN THEM.

I agree with all the others who sent positive and supportive messages and have had the same sent to me over the last months, thisbsite has been so good for me. Even though all I've said sounds easy, that's how I want it to be and it doesn't always work. But hang on in there and if any of my rambling on helps then Great. Good luck and Keep Smiling.

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Mikemeds
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