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Daringrebel

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 #1 

Dr. Nagler,
As a new sufferer of “The monster in my Head” I thank you for your website. I discovered you while searching the other Tinnitus blogs and loved what you had to say. You actually spoke of a hope. I so need that.

Small history. The day after thanksgiving I woke up with the loud sound of a tea pot in my head. It drove me crazy and a little insane. I was dealing with an allergy/cold and everyone told me to wait till my allergy/cold subsided and I would be fine. When I went to urgent care they told me there was no infection and no pressure in my ears and casually told me “you might have tinnitus, It is not cancer so have some perspective.”

I then went to an ENT that was out of my insurance because he could see me earlier then the 8 week delay( still waiting) my own insurance has me endure. He told me it was congestion and gave me a shot of Kenalog and told me I would be clean in two days. I was not and when I returned he looked in my nose for 5 seconds, said “oh no” ushered me into room for a hearing test and after a few minutes told me I have tinnitus and I should look into hearing aides.

The two audiologists that I have seen cannot define what type of Tinnitus I have or are willing to gauge how loud my tinnitus is or give me solid advice.

On your 1-10 scale of how my tinnitus effects my life, my wife says I average about 5. Some days a 3 some days a 7 but with the holidays it might have been extra stressful because I love this time of year but not this year.

I found your website through your participation in another comment board and now I feel like at least have a road to follow. I have read all your frequently asked questions, several times, downloaded and started to read the book you suggested. I am out trying to love my life and participate in joy but I still have a few questions.

Is it normal for:
My ears to feel clogged and my tinnitus to get louder when I drive on a road that changes elevation of 4,00 feet even though I have no other sign of congestion? Is that how tinnitus feels?

Television and radio seem to annoy my tinnitus, not help it as other have stated. This makes my home one of the hardest for me to exist. Nothing soothes my sound.

That I cannot mask the noise, it slips through music, headphones and any white noise I have tried.

My ears to not stop making that  popping noise. ( which both gives me a false hope that this will go away and whenever I am doing better on concentrating on something else brings my brain back to the noise)

Can I still:

Run? I found some information that said I could further damage my inner ear with high impact exercise.

Sleep through the night? I am at least getting sleep in 1-11/2 hours sleep segments that add up to about 5 hours A night.

Expect that by next Christmas I will be in a better place in my head if I continue to follow the suggestions of the Henry and Wilson book
In conclusion:
You say Ignoring is not habituation. So should I stop using white noise or natural sounds in my AirPods during the day and just deal with it?

I can never escape the noise but while engaged with people or life it is not so noticeable for a few minutes a day. Is that what habitation is like and do I have to wait for my brain to catch up to my desire so it can happen when I in a quiet room?

Do I sound like I am on the right track or do I need to find a counselor because I have no idea what I am talking about?

Dr. Nagler

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 #2 
Hello Daringrebel (love the nick!), and welcome. 

Great questions. I'd like to give them a little thought. Meanwhile, it would help a lot in formulating my answers if you would clarify something for me, OK?

You wrote [in part]:

"The day after thanksgiving I woke up with the loud sound of a tea pot in my head. It drove me crazy and a little insane."

So here is what I want to know. I can totally understand how tinnitus can cause you to be distracted, worried, and even a little frightened - especially early on - but what is it about your tinnitus that actually drove you "crazy and a little insane?" Please try to be precise in your response. I ask because "crazy" and "insane" are very powerful emotionally-charged words. And what I want to know is if they accurately represent what your tinnitus did to you.

Thanks -

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Daringrebel

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 #3 
When I woke up it was loud and I felt out of control. My mom has tinnitus but never really shared what it was like. When I searched the web for ringing in the ears it went straight to so many of the bolgs and boards of people who were suffering for years and I was scared. I loved silence, reading in a room with nothing but my book and my brain.I am a high school theatre teacher who loved the silence of the theatre as we concentrated on the moment. I love classical musical and I am who enjoys the silence between the notes. I knew I had lost that and it made me very sad. I thought I was all alone. I was what I labeled insane and crazy with the idea of all I lost. Two weeks before it started my wife and I had bought really expensive head phones for each other and now that seemed like a waste.Plus it was my favorite time of the year and I felt I had lost that too. So crazy and insane could be replaced with lost and alone. It was not till I read your post on one the of the boards about stop thinking about tinnitus so much that I thought I might have chance to get away from the sadness. Then I saw the interview with William Shatner and looked you up and started to think I may have not lost everything. I still feel that loss but realize that if I let this control me I will be one of those who blog about the lost years of joy. Your guide to habituation has given me marching orders and things my wife can read to the keep me on track and remind me I can find peace in my head again. I know it’s a long journey and I wish I was at the end but that’s not where I am now and as you say the horse has left the barn ,so get on with it.
Dr. Nagler

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 #4 
Got it.

On further reflection you now say, "So crazy and insane could be replaced with lost and alone." Excellent.

The reason I asked has to do with the incredible amount of material that you have amassed about tinnitus in five short weeks. And the smallest part of that material is encapsulated in the following sentence: "I have read all your frequently asked questions, several times, downloaded and started to read the book you suggested." You see, amassing material and putting it in proper 
perspective are two different things. For instance, if you focused only on my Letter to a Tinnitus Sufferer and looked at the cognitive distortions in bold towards the end, you would readily see that referring to your tinnitus as having driven you "crazy and a little insane" is a classic example of catastrophizing, emotional reasoning, labeling, and likely a few others. But you are thinking in those terms anyway. You are doing what you are not supposed to do! So you've got all this information running around in your head (most of which likely is bad information to begin with if you got it from tinnitus boards), and the sheer volume of information is preventing you from putting it into perspective and applying it. As I see it, anyway.

Does that make sense? You are doing what you are not supposed to do because you are overwhelmed!

So here's what I want you to do. Ready?

I want you to STOP.

Maybe not forever, but STOP just for now. No more tinnitus research for now. No more trying to figure things out for now. STOP and catch your breath. Show this thread to your wife, and see if she doesn't agree. In fact, take her out to dinner tonight to her favorite restaurant. And if you just don't feel like it because your ears are screaming, take her out to dinner anyway. Force yourself if need be. Doctor's orders! :-)

And power down your computer.

Tomorrow power back up, and come back to this thread. By then I'll hopefully have gotten to a few of your questions.

One last thing. Somewhere on those boards you probably read that red wine is bad for tinnitus. Well, at dinner tonight with your wife be sure to have a glass. Hell, have two!

See you tomorrow.

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Dr. Nagler

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 #5 
So lets get back to your questions. My answers will be brief; there are a LOT of questions! :-)

Quote:
Is it normal for:
My ears to feel clogged and my tinnitus to get louder when I drive on a road that changes elevation of 4,00 feet even though I have no other sign of congestion? Is that how tinnitus feels?

Well, it is certainly not abnormal. There are any number of patterns of tinnitus. Very tough to figure it all out. In fact, the best thing to do is not to try to figure it out at all, in my opinion!

Quote:
Television and radio seem to annoy my tinnitus, not help it as other have stated. This makes my home one of the hardest for me to exist. Nothing soothes my sound.

Here again you seem to be trying to figure out your tinnitus. (Most everybody does that at first!) The trick is to focus on how to soothe yourself instead of focusing on how to soothe your tinnitus, which (as I have come to see it) is a losing battle!

Quote:
That I cannot mask the noise, it slips through music, headphones and any white noise I have tried.

I cannot mask mine either. Join the club. When you get to the point where you largely do not care about your tinnitus, whether or not you can mask it is really irrelevant.

Quote:
Can I still:
Run? I found some information that said I could further damage my inner ear with high impact exercise.

Yes, you can absolutely run.

Quote:
Can I still:
Sleep through the night? I am at least getting sleep in 1-11/2 hours sleep segments that add up to about 5 hours A night.

Sleeping can be a challenge for some. Perhaps take a look at my Hints for Sleep.

I have a bunch of projects on my plate today. Will get back to the rest of your questions shortly. And, again, I apologize for the brevity in my answers. Each of your questions would probably require a book chapter to answer fully! I am just trying to give you a feel for things.

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.


__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Daringrebel

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Posts: 7
 #6 
Thank you for your time. I never want to eat the elephant one bite at a time. On your first respond i was reading to my wife and she had already said “ see I told you” before I got to the section where you told me she would. Great minds think alike. Have a great day.
Dr. Nagler

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 #7 
Quote:
Thank you for your time.

You are welcome.

Quote:
I never want to eat the elephant one bite at a time.

Well, with tinnitus you will just have to ... or you will choke on it.

Quote:
On your first respond i was reading to my wife and she had already said “ see I told you” before I got to the section where you told me she would. Great minds think alike.

Sounds like you have chosen well! And I suspect your wife has too!

Quote:
Have a great day.

You too. I'll get to the rest of your questions later today or tomorrow.

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D. 

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Dr. Nagler

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Posts: 1,668
 #8 

Quote:
Can I still:
Expect that by next Christmas I will be in a better place in my head if I continue to follow the suggestions of the Henry and Wilson book

What you can expect is that if you put a clock or a calendar on your tinnitus, you will miss your deadline!

Quote:
You say Ignoring is not habituation. So should I stop using white noise or natural sounds in my AirPods during the day and just deal with it?

I guess that depends on your strategy. Not trying to be difficult here, but your protocol seems ill-defined. 

Quote:
I can never escape the noise but while engaged with people or life it is not so noticeable for a few minutes a day. Is that what habitation is like and do I have to wait for my brain to catch up to my desire so it can happen when I in a quiet room?

I would say that habituation is more like not caring one way or the other.

Will get to your final question later. Stay tuned. It's going to require a bit more thought on my part.

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D. 


__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Dr. Nagler

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Posts: 1,668
 #9 
OK. So now for your last question ...

Quote:
Do I sound like I am on the right track or do I need to find a counselor because I have no idea what I am talking about?

I honestly don't think you are on any track at all. But that's OK - you are still in the information gathering stage. The problem, as I see it, is that you are trying to drink from a fire hose, which is why you have yet to embark upon a strategy that is a good fit for you. Do you need to find a counselor as in psychotherapy? No, not that I can see from your postings. Would you benefit from discussing your situation with a knowledgeable and experienced tinnitus clinician who can help point you in the right direction - so you can be drinking from a glass instead of a fire hose? I suspect that sort of counseling would help quite a bit, especially if you included your wife in the discussion.

Hope this helps.

All the best with it - 

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Daringrebel

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Posts: 7
 #10 
Thank you so much for your answers. Your are right and I need to slow down. One last question, do you know of anyone in the Orange County or Los Angels area I could seek out. Everyone who is listed as one who can help me also seems to work for a hearing aide company. I am leary of those types of operations.
Dr. Nagler

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 #11 
Quote:
Thank you so much for your answers.

You are welcome.

Quote:
Your are right ...

When you have made as many mistakes over the years as I have, you are bound to get something right every once in a while! :-)

Quote:
... and I need to slow down.

Yup. Just like your wife told you!

Quote:
One last question, do you know of anyone in the Orange County or Los Angels area I could seek out. Everyone who is listed as one who can help me also seems to work for a hearing aide company. I am leary of those types of operations.

Not trying to make this difficult, but that depends on what you are looking for. Are you looking to meet with a knowledgeable and experienced tinnitus clinician for an hour or so to go over your history, review your audiogram and explain what it has to do with your tinnitus, answer any questions you might have in a straightforward unambiguous fashion, and point you in the direction that seems to make the most sense in your particular case - or are you looking to actually embark upon a tinnitus protocol like TRT, CBT, TAT, MBTSR, PTM, NTT or any of the rest of the alphabet soup of treatment modalities.

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Daringrebel

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Posts: 7
 #12 
I would think the obvious answer is the first one. I have a long awaited appointment with an ENT ,witch is in my insurance, and after that I should have more info on the hearing test I recently underwent. Then I would love to speak with your suggestion.
Dr. Nagler

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 #13 
Quote:
I would think the obvious answer is the first one. I have a long awaited appointment with an ENT ,witch is in my insurance, and after that I should have more info on the hearing test I recently underwent. Then I would love to speak with your suggestion.

Well this is a little awkward ...

I can give you the names of a couple of top tinnitus clinicians who specifically do TRT. I can give you the names of a couple of top tinnitus clinicians who specifically do CBT. Same for TAT, MBTSR, PTM, etc. But if you are looking for somebody who is both knowledgeable and experienced and who will spend an hour or so going over your history in detail with you and your wife for the purpose of answering your questions and pointing you in whatever direction seems to be most appropriate given your particular situation, to the best of my knowledge you are sort of stuck with me. So if that is your preference, please feel free to contact me off the board.

All the best -

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
Daringrebel

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Posts: 7
 #14 
How do I contact you off the board?
Dr. Nagler

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 #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daringrebel
How do I contact you off the board?

Please see: http://www.atlantatinnitus.com

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.

__________________

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- Mahatma Gandhi

No bird ever soared in a calm. Adversity is what lifts us.
-
David McCullough quoting Wilbur Wright
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Dr. Nagler's Tinnitus Corner is provided for education and information only. It is not intended for the purpose of providing medical care and should in no way substitute for appropriate in-person consultations with qualified healthcare professionals. By using this site, participants agree to hold Dr. Nagler and Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC harmless with respect to any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage arising from following the postings herein.