Some days it takes over my life, but for most of the time I have learnt how to beat my tinnitus.
It started after a visit to Moscow in 2005, where I quickly caught and developed a cold. The result of an unavoidable 4 hour return flight home with this cold left my left ear blocked for about 6 weeks. Several trips to the doctor and a course of anti-biotic at least cured the pain and eventually after my ears became less blocked I was left with that horrible hiss. At first it appeared when I was tired or subjected to any stress, but as time passed the tinnitus free intervals became less and less. The doctorâ€™s only solution was some advice â€œNo cure, you will just have to live with itâ€. Ever since the start, I do believe that each bout of flue increased my level of tinnitus, until the ultimate December 2010 when I caught something resembling swine flu, and I was in bed for 3 or 4 days and off my feet for a week. Since that flu the tinnitus has been continuous. I used a 0 – 10 rating system to convey my discomfort level to my family. 0Â = no tinnitus, and 10 being total distraction. Prior to the swine flu (if that what it was), I suffered between 4 and 7 on my tinnitus level. At level 5 you can almost forget you have a problem and you are only aware of the hiss, when there is nothing else in your head. They were the good times. Since December 2010 however I think my tinnitus distraction level has not ever dropped below 9.
I have tried many of the suggested solutions- none worked for me. In the last 12 months I have been able to become totally stress free. So the lack of stress did not solve.
The worse time is just before I go to sleep. If Iâ€™m not really tired, then it stops me going to sleep, and I have no option but to get up again and be busy again until I am tired. So to beat the tinnitus to allow me to sleep I must sometimes work till 2 am. Just sitting watching TV is no good, and casual reading is no solution, as I must be 100% concentrated on writing things like this on my blog or programming my C# Xbox game, or developing my CAD project, or programming my Windows 7 Phone, or playing a high level Civ 5 game. Fortunately I have quite a few options that allow me to become 100% concentrated that I forget the level 9 tinnitus raging in my head.
I need only about 6 hours sleep, and anyway to wake to the tinnitus gets me up and out of bed looking for something to concentrate on immediately.
There are a few other times that I can forget the noise. Standing under the power shower drowns the noise out completely. Another is so intimate that I wonâ€™t mention it here.
There are also a few things that irritate and will increasenthe level. One is being in a crowded room full of people talking over one another. I can handle a single conversation, but when there are several parallel competing conversations, you will find me retreating into a corner. (My wife says that I have always done that!). One would think that music would be a cure, but I find background music is an irritant. This results in the Classic FM On/Off War. My wife switches it on at every possible moment, and I switch it off- I usually lose. However, if I was to listen to the music through head phones â€“ no problem. It is only when the music or talk is in the background.
So based on the above, the most obvious solution to my tinnitus problem would be to have sex in the shower late at night with no background music, while thinking about how to resolve my next 3D coding problem. But as I/we canâ€™t spend all my/our time in the shower, just keeping 100% busy most of the time trying to solve problems in my head will just have to be my best solution.
There that did it- I think that I forgot about tonights level 9 tinnitus for at least 15 mins while writing this!. Next problem to concentrate on…..