You may have decided to pursue masking to reduce your tinnitus.
Most masking or habituation programs make no promises but normally have
good results in one to two years. Hypnotherapy can have very rapid
results. Some people see exceptional results in the reduction of volume
in 4-8 weeks. Others may not see results for one year or more.
Pharmaceuticals will often produce excellent results in less than three
months. Of course there are challenges involved in using various
medications. Some people experience side effects to medication. Others
may not get the results they had hoped for.
All of these possible time frames and scenarios demand one thing on the
part of the tinnitus sufferer. There is the request for an "unfair
patience." We are given no promise of dates and times of reduction in
any scenario involved. It is in response to this request that this
article is written.
In the Mean Time...
It can be a very mean time, waiting in the meantime. There can be days
that seem to unforgivably test our stamina, emotional strength and
outlook on life. Here are some useful ideas that you can use
immediately in the meantime. You can turn your meantime into a simple
but occasionally challenging waiting time.
Focus of attention...
You may have heard that you should, "just
ignore your tinnitus." This
is not possible. Please ignore the imagined picture you have in your
mind of President Clinton. Ignore it now. Ignore it. You see, you
cannot ignore something that you are trying to ignore.
What you can do is create an external focus of attention. Remember the
last time you were fascinated by a book or en-tranced in a speakers
speech. You were externally focused. In psychology this is what is
known as a "flow state."
When you are completely in a flow state you
cannot hear your tinnitus regardless of its volume. Now this may seem
difficult to believe but it is true.
It has been scientifically proven that the conscious mind can only
focus on about 126 tiny bits of information each second. Everything
else that is in our environment (which amounts to over one million bits
of information per second being recorded in the unconscious mind!)
still enters into our mind, but it is not in our conscious awareness.
It is when you are so wrapped up in something that is exciting or
enticing to you that your tinnitus is not important enough to the brain
to be de-coded. As long as the reticular activating system has decided
to focus on one set of stimuli, you will not hear the noise in the
circuitry of the brain.
You can take full advantage of these facts of your neurological wiring
by participating in the most enjoyable activities you know of. Your
conscious mind will then be directed toward external activity that
creates a flow state for you. Unfortunately, activities that demand a
great deal of internal processing will normally not be quite as useful
for creating a focus of your attention. For example, chess is a game
that creates flow states in people who enjoy playing chess, but because
the game is largely played inside of the mind, it is more difficult to
achieve quiet than games like tennis, baseball, basketball, volleyball
and hobbies that mostly happen, "outside."
Prelude to Habituation
Many people have discovered that being in a quiet room and being in a
loud room accomplish the same thing for their tinnitus. Both make the
noise go up in volume. The noise increases in a quiet room because
more attention units are focused onto the noise itself. This creates a
perception of increased volume in the mind of the tinnitus listener.
In a loud room two key elements cause the volume to increase.
First, is the contrast principle. After leaving a loud room we are
hyper-aware of noise in our heads. There is a great contrast between
the loud environment and the quieter environment. Then there is the
simple fact of noise induced tinnitus. High decibel noises can cause
and/or exacerbate tinnitus.
Therefore, it would be prudent to avoid silent and noisy environments.
It is best to offer yourself a free prelude to the habituation process.
Keep some noise in "the background"
in every environment you are able
to. Unless you are profoundly deaf, you can play soft classical musical
music, environmental tapes, new age cassettes or simply use the radio
or television to create background noise for your listening. If you do
not do this, your brain will normally seek out the original unwelcome
If you are profoundly deaf, then you have an additional challenge. For this
person it is actually best to create two different foci. One will be
complete focused attention on the tinnitus. Literally meditate on the noise
itself for 15-20 minutes every day. This will be challenging at first for
most tinnitus listeners. You will be excited to discover the difference you
experience when you participate in externally focused events when you are
in a flow state. Because profound deafness robs the individual of external
auditory stimuli, you should be aware that the emotional interpretation we
place on the tinnitus is very important. It is not necessary to try to
convince yourself to "fall in love" with the noise, but it is
useful to use the noise as a signal. Many of my clients learn to use
tinnitus as a signal to discover who they should be "listening
to." Other clients learn to use their tinnitus as a message to
themselves to care for themselves and others more. Even the profoundly deaf
needs to "listen" to themselves and others, at least in a
Tinnitus as a signal to care for our health, happiness and those we
love is a useful point of view to adopt. By considering this
possibility we do not hate the noises we hear but emotionally habituate
them. Emotional habituation is just as important as auditory
habituation isn't it?
In future issues, we will discuss alternative methods of dealing with
tinnitus. There are numerous causes of tinnitus and while they are
important to research for the researchers, we will focus on resolution
and improvement in these pages.
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Anyone with tinnitus who would like to reduce the volume of their tinnitus through the use of self-hypnosis CDs, along with other strategies presented in the program.
The Tinnitus Reduction CD Program has helped thousands of individuals reduce the distress associated with tinnitus. In most cases, when individuals utilize the Tinnitus Reduction Program as part of a multi-modality approach to tinnitus reduction they experience long term improvement.
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Kevin Hogan is a psychotherapist specializing in hypnosis, who didn't stop with just one possible way to experience silence. A multimodal approach is the only way to assure your success in reducing your tinnitus volume and the intense emotional distress that comes from the tinnitus. If you are sick of hearing that "nothing can be done" and "you'll have to learn to live with it," this is the starting point.
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