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Felicia

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 #1 
I've had high pitch ringing in my ears for about 4 months. It started as occasionally and became constant. I recently went to get my hearing checked and was told I have tinnitus. I'm having a very hard time dealing with it and it is now affecting my new marriage because I have trouble falling asleep, so I over sleep which makes me late picking up my spouse from work many mornings. I'm also forgetting things, have headaches on occasion and I think I'm wearing my spouses nerves thin constantly asking her to repeat herself and constantly forgetting little things. Please tell me what I can do to help myself. This monster in my head is driving me crazy!!
Dr. Nagler

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 #2 
Hi Felicia -

Thank you for your inquiry, and welcome to this Q&A board. I am sorry to hear that you are struggling so.

It is really hard to tell you where to begin. I will give you a few links that you might find helpful in that regard. And below the links I will offer some suggestions for sleep, since right now that seems to be such a challenge for you.

The links:

Barriers To Habituation

Letter to a Tinnitus Sufferer

Recent Onset Tinnitus

On sleeping:

Insomnia is among the most frequent complaints voiced by tinnitus sufferers. Below are some guidelines that have been successful in making the silence of the night a bit less "noisy." The idea is to make being in the bedroom equivalent to allowing yourself to fall asleep instead of trying to fall asleep.

  1. Use your bedroom only at night.
  2. Do not use your bedroom for daytime naps. Try not to nap during the day - but if you must, use another room.
  3. Do not use your bedroom for reading or watching TV - even at night before sleep.
  4. Do not use your bedroom for work or for hobbies.
  5. Very important: Do not go to bed until you are tired, but regardless of what time you do go to bed, get out of bed and start your day at the same time each morning - weekday and weekend.
  6. Do not use your bedroom for intimate relations, except at night before sleep. If you want to make love any other time - use another room, a closet, a table, a putting green, the back seat of a Ford, whatever ... but only use your bedroom for sleep!
  7. Try to avoid even going into your bedroom except to freshen it up and to retire at night.
  8. Keep the atmosphere in your bedroom as pleasant and peaceful as possible. Make it a "special" place. Never argue there. Surround yourself with objects of comfort and reassurance - heirlooms, photographs, etc. -  but avoid too much clutter.
  9. If you have been used to sharing your bed with someone and that person is frequently away on business, consider keeping extra pillows on the bed, or - if you are so inclined - perhaps allow a pet to sleep next to you at night. This wonderful idea came from Malvina Levy of the San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center. (I respectfully recommend avoiding gerbils, ferrets, and pet pythons in the role of surrogate bedmate!!!)
  10. If you are unable to fall asleep at night after 15-20 minutes, do not keep trying! Leave the bedroom and watch TV, read a book, work on a project, drink some warm milk or caffeine-free tea, etc., and then - when you are more tired - go back to bed. If you still cannot fall asleep, leave the bedroom again. (Same rule if you wake up at night and are unable to return to sleep in 15-20 minutes.)
  11. Above all, AVOID SILENCE. Get the "Simply Rain" app for your iPhone or Android, and purchase an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker for your bedside table. No need to "mask" your tinnitus; just play the app softly to cut through the silence of the night.
  12. Pleasant dreams!
Please note: These guidelines are not a prescription for overnight success; they are designed to effect a gradual conscious and subconscious change in attitude towards the bedroom and sleep over a period of several weeks.

Hope this helps!

Dr. Stephen Nagler
Atlanta Tinnitus Consultants, LLC

__________________

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.