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#38 Tinnitus -

Do you know what tinnitus is? With tinnitus, you hear sounds in your head and no external sound is present. Lots of people have tinnitus but don’t have an acoustic neuroma. If you have an acoustic neuroma, chances are you know what tinnitus is.

Besides acoustic neuromas, there are other causes creating this symptom. Some of the causes have cures; for example, medications can be the culprit. Stop that particular med and presto, the tinnitus is gone. With tinnitus, check with your doctor to see if he or she can find the cause. I had tinnitus long before I knew I had an acoustic neuroma, but I always blamed it on my TMJ jaw problem.

Some acoustic neuroma patients are under the mistaken idea that if they have the tumor surgically removed, it will take care of the noise of tinnitus. In fact, that’s why some patients decide to have surgery. It might help, but it might make it worse. Why? How can that be? The doctors don’t know. That’s the short answer.

With an acoustic neuroma, the problem is often permanent.

What does tinnitus sound like? Here are some of the sounds I hear:

  • One bee in a jar
  • 100 bees in a jar
  • All kinds of ringing, one time it was like a phone ringing.
  • Most often, cicadas on a hot summer night

The sounds and volumes change from time to time, even from minute to minute. No matter what the particular sound, when it’s loud, you want to pull your hair out. This, combined with single-sided deafness, makes hearing even more difficult. About the only time I don’t hear it at all is in the shower. Also, I didn’t hear it close to Niagra Falls.

I don’t know if I have gotten a bit used to the sounds, but they do seem to be fading. 2 exceptions:

  • Nap time.
  • Bedtime. Maybe because everything else is quiet and I’m not busy, I’m more aware of the buzzing, ringing or whatever else hits at those times

The cure? If you know of a cure, let us all know.

There are things that help:

  • If you know what aggravates your tinnitus, limit it. For me, caffeine makes it worse. If I have more than one cup of coffee, I can expect the noise to be louder.
  • Masking the tinnitus can help. Here’s a picture of the clock/radio I bought at Brookstone many years ago. It makes 12 different sounds, like ocean surf, rain, and wind. Listening to the masking sounds helps. I just went to the Brookstone website to see if they still offer this product. I couldn’t find it but did find an interesting discovery – sleep sound machines. http://www.brookstone.com/sound-machine/672519p.html?autosuggest=true
  • Avoid getting overly tired.
  • Try to avoid stress as much as possible.
  • Medication at bedtime can help.

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Readers, If you have other suggestions, please let all of us know. Have any of you tried the sleep sound machines?

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Dear God,

Thank you for the times when I’m not aware of the ringing in my head. I pray today for those who are researching tinnitus, acoustic neuromas, and hearing aids. Amen.

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This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged . . . for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15