Tinnitus can be a life-changing condition–find out how it impacts you and how you can cope.
Whether you have been formally diagnosed with tinnitus or are still coming to terms with the constant ringing in your ears, there is no denying that tinnitus changes a few things. For some, it might seem like a fairly minimal condition, but the reality is that tinnitus can leave a lingering impact on those who have it. Changes from tinnitus can be physical, mental, and emotional in nature. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when coping with tinnitus.
Does Tinnitus Impact Your Life?
When you first start to develop tinnitus, you might find yourself wondering if it will truly have an impact. Hundreds of millionsof people experience it, with many nations reporting that up to 30% of the population has tinnitus. It might seem clear that tinnitus will be a part of your life for the foreseeable future–but what does that actually look like? Well, it isn’t always that simple. Everyone processes life with tinnitus differently.
The way that tinnitus impacts your life will often come down to you, how inconvenienced you feel by it, and the severity of the condition. For some, tinnitus is little more than a minor inconvenience. For others, tinnitus can be a debilitating condition that leads to many more struggles than simply living with a ringing in your ears.
Potential Impacts Include:
- Pain and discomfort
- Emotional distress
- Moeite met slapen
- Difficulty focusing
- Feelings of loss
Common Emotional Responses to Life with Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a tangible, physical condition that you have to live with. The fact is that tinnitus is more than just an unpleasant and ongoing noise. It can come with a surprising number of emotional impacts, especially the longer you spend with it. Many people find that the emotional weight of tinnitus is more difficult to cope with than the sound itself. There are quite a few common emotional responses that people experience with this condition.
Conflicted Emotions and Mood Swings
As you come to terms with tinnitus and continue to grow with it, you will find that it can lead to conflicted feelings. It sounds so simple on paper to simply accept that tinnitus will be with you for the long haul, but it isn’t always that simple in reality. Some people find themselves struggling to process tinnitus and the discomfort that can come with it. This can lead to conflicted emotions, mood swings, and difficulty processing the future of your life with the condition.
Examples of Conflicted Emotions and Mood Swings Include:
- Bouncing back and forth between acceptance and frustration[RvG1]
- Feeling negative emotions lead to other negative emotions and even amplify
- Wanting to ignore the sound and realizing it doesn’t work that way
- Feeling more volatile and easier to upset
- Feeling like happy or exciting moments are influenced or worsened by your condition
Tinnitus is known to cause stress on the human mind for many people. Clinical anxiety relating to tinnitus is present in up to 45% of those who have it. As frustrating as it might be, it really makes sense if you show yourself a little empathy. Coping with tinnitus anxiety isn’t always easy.
The feelings of anxiety associated with tinnitus can sometimes feel like an unpleasant cycle. You might find that you are anxious about the condition and its impacts. This alone can be uncomfortable, but there is also the fact that many people find that anxiety actually worsens their tinnitus–and tinnitus is found in roughly 96% of chronic anxiety sufferers.
Sometimes, a cycle can be formed. You might find yourself anxious about the condition and then feel the tinnitus get worse in response to your anxiety. As is possible with many anxiety sufferers, sometimes, the thought of being anxious can actually cause us to be more anxious, leading to another tinnitus flare-up.
Examples of Tinnitus-Related Anxiety Can Include:
- Feeling trapped in your own mind or body
- Worrying about how tinnitus will impact your life and if it will ever get better
- Fearing that the condition will get worse
- Worrying that tinnitus might ruin a special moment for you
- Feeling like your body is out of your control
- Wondering if the sound associated with tinnitus is even real (it is–just not for those around you)
Coping with tinnitus or any chronic condition is challenging. Whether you have tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or any other condition, you will find that consistent or recurring conditions are particularly challenging to cope with. For some, this can lead to feelings of hopelessness or loss. Research has found that up to 60% of those with chronic tinnitus also suffer from depressive disorders relating to the condition.
Though not every person who develops tinnitus also develops depression, it is possible. The chronic nature of tinnitus can be very taxing. Since it has the ability to impact our sleep and basically every other aspect of our lives, it can feel like we are constantly living with something else hanging around us. As we spend more time with this condition, it can feel like a heavy weight on us–particularly when we are facing other challenges.
Examples of Tinnitus-Related Depression Include:
- Feelings of hopelessness regarding the condition
- Feeling like there is nothing you can do and no chance that treatments will work
- Feelings of loss or mourning your life before tinnitus
- Feeling betrayed by your own body
- Feeling alone and like no one understands what you are going through
Anxiety and depression are both commonly associated with one other emotion–frustration. Frustration is a fairly common emotional response to life with tinnitus, especially as it worsens or increases in frequency.
It can be very frustrating to live with tinnitus. There is this constant and ongoing noise, and excluding dedicated treatment approaches, there really is not much that you can do about it without some kind of intervention. Tinnitus doesn’t always get better on its own, and it is perfectly rational to be upset by this.
A major part of the frustration surrounding tinnitus is its status as an invisible illness. Invisible illnesses are conditions that cannot be visibly seen but still have a very real impact on those who have them. These conditions are frustrating to have because it can often feel like you are making them up. [RvG2]
No one else can hear the sound that you are hearing–and that can be quite annoying! To add insult to injury, focusing on tinnitustends to make it worse. Think about when we see movie characters that can see something that no one else can. It is often met with fear, confusion, discomfort, and frustration. This is the reality of living with tinnitus.
Examples of Tinnitus-Related Frustration Include:
- Being angry or upset that you have tinnitus
- Feeling frustrated that others do not have the condition and do not understand it
- Finding yourself wondering why you are the one who developed the condition
- Being upset that you didn’t take steps to lower your risk of developing the condition, even though it is likely that nothing could have been done to stop its development
- Getting annoyed by the noise or upset that it is always present
- Being angry or frustrated when treatment options don’t immediately fix your tinnitus
- Wishing that other people could understand that tinnitus is very real to you, even if they can’t hear the sounds
Since tinnitus often makes itself a constant companion, it isn’t all that surprising that people with tinnitus can struggle to focus. In many ways, the symptoms associated with tinnitus are comparable to chronic pain–even though a sound might not seem like it can cause that much discomfort. Trying to think or focus when you are constantly listening to ringing, humming, or clicking can be very difficult, particularly on bad days. People with chronic tinnitus frequently report struggling with complicated tasksdue to the ongoing sounds caused by tinnitus.
Examples of Tinnitus-Related Difficulty Focusing Include:
- Struggling to read, write, listen, or process information
- Feeling lost in conversations because you were focusing on the sound
- Feeling like your mind never truly turns “off” because it is always processing the sound
- Spending time throughout the day focusing on the noise or condition rather than what you want to dedicate your mental energy to
Why is Tinnitus Difficult to Live With?
Every single person with tinnitus will cite their own reasons regarding how tinnitus complicates their life. However, many people experience a few fairly common issues with tinnitus. The reasons why tinnitus is difficult to live with go well beyond simply hearing a noise.
Tinnitus is a chronic condition for many, which means it is always going to be around unless you seek treatment. The reality is that, even with treatment, tinnitus can continue to linger. For most people, there is not a quick and easy way to get rid of this condition. The permanent nature of tinnitus, in particular, makes it more difficult to cope with. For some, it can feel like their lives are split into two–life before tinnitus and life after tinnitus.
A Lack of Clear Options
One of the more frustrating realities of life with tinnitus is that there are many behandelingsmogelijkheden, but they aren’t always effective. When you look online, it is easy to see that the treatment options tend to vary significantly, which can make it difficult to decide which approach to treatment is right for you. You might not know where to start or find yourself getting discouraged when you read how certain treatments didn’t work for others with the condition.
You Might Think:
- “Should I try this treatment?”
- “People online said this treatment doesn’t work”
- “How do I know which treatment is right for me?”
- “What if none of these treatments work?”
- “Why don’t my tinnitus noise canceling treatments (or any other treatment option) work for me when they worked for someone else?”
People Don’t Understand It
Most people understand what tinnitus is, but the average person cannot understand the full extent of the condition or how severe it can really be. When the average person experiences a ringing in their ears, they might make a face or call it annoying–then, a few minutes later, they have the luxury of moving on with their lives because it went away. Explaining to someone how a minor inconvenience to them is a life-altering condition for you isn’t always easy, and this can be upsetting–especially considering the fact that over 2 million people have debilitating tinnitus in the United States alone.
You Might Hear People Say:
- “That’s annoying!”
- “Oh, I hate when my ears start ringing.”
- “They say when your ears ring it is because someone is speaking badly about you.”
- “It can’t be that bad, right?”
- “You shouldn’t complain so much. I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
- “Just get treatment for it.”
- “Try to stay positive!”
With any chronic condition, it is common to experience resentment. You might feel resentment towards the tinnitus, your body, yourself, and those around you who don’t have to deal with it. For some, the resentment of the condition can make tinnitus unbearable on an entirely new level.
Resentment Can Sound Like This:
- “Why did I have to develop tinnitus?”
- “I wish my body was different.”
- “I wish they could experience this for even one day.”
- “Why didn’t I do more to avoid this?”
- “Is tinnitus genetic? Is this my family’s fault?”
The unique nature of this condition can lead to many different complications, and it isn’t surprising to see them vary from one day to the next. Tinnitus can impact your life, your mental health, your self-esteem, and even your relationship.
Potential Complications Include:
- Struggling to focus on work
- Struggling to be in the moment
- Impacts caused by sleep deprivation or poor sleep cycles
- Varying mental health impacts
- Relationship impacts caused by worsened mental health
Finding a Solution
What happens if tinnitus is not treated? Generally, it will stay the same. In some cases, it will get worse. Unfortunately, life with chronic tinnitus is no walk in the park. When I developed tinnitus, it came on suddenly after a wave crashed on my ear while kitesurfing–and it changed my life, just like I’m sure it has yours.
Like many others, I explored the existing treatment options–and just like many others, nothing really seemed to work for me. I was desperate to solve my problem, so I stopped battling tinnitus and started learning instead. My research led me to many therapy techniques and different treatment approaches. Individually, they didn’t work for me, so I started piecing them together instead. After years of research and practice, I rarely hear my tinnitus–and Still Tinnitus was born.
Now, the Still Tinnitus Method is available for you to use on your own terms, at your own pace, and in your own home. To all of my fellow tinnitus sufferers who have tried everything and still hear that noise day in and day out, I made this for you. You can learn about your condition, use clinically-proven therapeutic techniques, and connect with a community that understands what you are going through too. Coping with tinnitus isn’t easy, but it is possible, and you kan find relief.