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Posts: 10

Hi Dr. Nagler,

Thank you once again for the service you provide here. I've got a question about something I find curious.

Over the year or so I've had tinnitus, I've noticed sometimes if I'm occupied with other things it will go completely away. Not always but sometimes. It will even go away to the point where I cannot hear it at all even if I look for it.  This never lasts, but it's curious to me.

The latest was new year's eve. My tinnitus was a bit more noticeable during the day than it often is. It didn't really bother me but I was definitely more aware of it. Anyway, at some point between dinner and drinks after with friends, it was just gone and stayed that way for the rest of the night.

It's done this several times. Is this typical? Seems there is a lesson there I should learn; perhaps I will some day. Hope you had a great holiday.

Dr. Nagler

Posts: 1,764
Hello jrose -

Thank you for your interesting post. I read it through a few times before deciding how best to answer. And I think the key is really encapsulated towards the end, where you say:

Seems there is a lesson there I should learn ...

So there are actually two lessons to learn, as I see it anyway.

The first lesson is that just when you think you have figured out an answer, tinnitus will change the question. In other words, trying to predict what your tinnitus will do and why it will do it is just about the ultimate act of futility.

And the second lesson is that if your tinnitus doesn't bother you to any appreciable degree, then whether or not you are aware of it and why is really irrelevant. It is a sound, not a ruptured appendix.

Now I fully realize that those answers will not in any way satisfy your curiosity, but the point I am trying to make is that curiosity can sometimes take on a life of its own. So if you are curious by nature, then be curious about something that is more important than a sound, like possibly the rate of growth of your toenails? I mean, presumably you have already been evaluated by an ENT, who after examining you has informed you that whatever is causing your tinnitus, it is not a threat to your health. So for lack of a better term, what you have is a nuisance. And in your case, it is not much of a nuisance at all. Please do not allow your curiosity to make your tinnitus into more of an issue than it is, which is not much of an issue at all.

Here's to good health and happiness for all in 2018!

Stephen M. Nagler, M.D.
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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