“This peeping is called tinnitus, but it will go away once the inflammation of your sinus infection calms down.” That is what my doctor told me nearly 10 years ago, but it never went away.
Back then I didn´t know much about ear ringing, I was just certain I would not be able to live with it for my whole life.
My name is Magda, I´m 33 years old and this is my tinnitus story.
An odyssey of going to different doctors, healers and therapists started – many promising healing, which never occurred and others just shaking their head when hearing the word tinnitus. Western medicine doctors kept telling me that I had to learn to live with it, ignore it. I wanted to jump in their faces and tell them that it was not possible. All I did was go home and cry…again.
To top it off, my tinnitus got louder every time I had a sinus infections, which was a few times a year. I got to a point at which I was so depressed, that all I did was drag myself to work, survive there and then fall into bed and cry.
It is no wonder that constant noises are used as torture, that is what it feels like to have this constant ringing, whistling, peeping, humming or what every noise it might be for others in your ear or head.
No matter what you do, you can hear this sound. It means sleeping becomes a nightmare as there is no more silence in your life. When you want to have a conversation, it is hard to understand others over that ringing. It is there with you 24/7. I even gave up reading, as I was not able to concentrate on the story in my book anymore. Being part of a big group becomes annoying as the ears can´t filter anymore than the ear ringing. When I am in a big group I can´t focus on one conversations as everybody’s voice is the same volume and has the same importance for my brain.
Being at my low point – I realized I was caught in the tinnitus spiral my doctor had told me about: The spiral goes from tinnitus, to anxiety, desperation, mental distress, depression, insomnia and fatigue, then round again.
I didn´t want to do anything anymore, just lay in bed…depressed. There was no sleeping because my head was screaming at me constantly. I was exhausted, even though I wasn´t doing anything. I also was super tense and had a constant headache accompanying me for a complete year.
At that point I quit my job and went on the Camino de Santiago in France / Spain. That was the best decision of my life. Being out on fresh air, moving and no worries. Just me and the path.
It wasn´t the path itself but the realization that I was the boss, not the ear ringing. I was responsible for my life.
What I changed:
Finding an empathetic doctor that understood me
Inform myself about the condition
Accepting my tinnitus as a given
Getting to know my tinnitus and what it reacts to
Using affirmations to become more positive
Relaxation through yoga and meditation
Sports to get a daily high and get tired physically
Shift my attention – do everything with my full attention
Of course that takes time and consistency, but step by step I got to the point where I am today. Until I was able to do every single one of those things, I tried to mask my tinnitus or at leas distract myself from it!
In the beginning it is hard to apply different techniques to deal with tinnitus because in order to deal with it – you have to accept your current situation. One of the reasons why it took me about 5 years to even begin applying the changes is because I fought it. Accepting that this was a part of my life for the moment and that I had to work on myself and how I was living my life was out of the question.
When I was still in that phase, what helped me to not go crazy was to never allow myself to be in a quiet environment. Constantly there was something on, weather it was on the tv, the radio, an audiobook, Netflix, music…no matter what it was. Or just outside noises. Even if those sounds wouldn´t be able to mask the ear ringing completely, it is something different than having to face it without any distraction.
Now I can see my tinnitus actually lead me to be my true self – as it is my barometer to if I am doing something that agrees with me or my body or not. If I am doing something it doesn´t like, the tinnitus flares up.
Author credit @tinnituslife