My Long-Covid Tinnitus Rabbit Hole Notes

 My Long-Covid Tinnitus Rabbit Hole Notes

"A drawing of "sound", in the style of MC Escher." Generated with Dall-e on Feb. 4th, 2023.


After almost three years of Long Covid, I have finally started moving in the right direction. I am now at about 70%!

I am constantly researching, thinking, scheming, and experimenting to heal. However, with so many symptoms (Brain Fog being one of them), I often try to focus on one symptom at a time.

Thanks to my improvements over the past 6 months, I can now spend some time researching the less debilitating symptoms like Tinnitus.


My tinnitus is not too bad. It is mostly bearable: 

  1. It is not always there now.
  2. I am only bothered when it is too quiet. 
  3. It seems to be worse when there is more inflammation.
  4. Most noise (city, work, talking, etc) masks it for me.
  5. I can mask it and forget about it with things like meditation music when I want to fall asleep.


Since I have found a lot of benefits from brain training and "neuroplasticity re-wiring", I found this video from a psychologist with Tinnitus to be interesting because there is some overlap:

The "correct" way to use CBT to help with tinnitus?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8CMAgKIJOI

From Dr. Bruce Hubbard (https://www.cbtfortinnitus.com/)


The TLDR summary of Dr. Hubbard's presentation/video:

  1. Most CBT practitioners get Tinnitus treatment wrong.
  2. There is NO "cure" for tinnitus.
  3. The only "cure" is habituation.๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. It is often times correlated to both aging and hearing loss.
  5. 50% of those with tinnitus are not bothered by it.
  6. Research shows that there is no correlation between the "Measured level" and "Perceived level" of the tinnitus noise.
  7. Our brains receive endless stimuli from all the senses. However, our brain has learned to filter out most of the stimuli.
  8. Once you learn the science and learn to "habituate" to the sound and avoid connecting the tinnitus to "negative" emotions, then you can learn to live with it and eventually forget about it. You can train the brain to "ignore" the tinnitus like it does with 99% of the stimuli coming in at any one time.
  9. His website: https://www.cbtfortinnitus.com/
  10. A free book (PDF download) looks like a good place to start. It is written by the US Department of Veterans affairs. I will try to skim through it when I have more time/energy:

https://www.ncrar.research.va.gov/Documents/HowToManageYourTinnitus.pdf


Audio-Notch/Masking... 

Different companies sell "notched" music technology. The first one I found wanted 530€! This one starts at 40€ for 2 months: https://www.audionotch.com/pricing/

  • However, Dr. Hubbard's website FAQ says that research shows little or no benefit for things like audio-notching.
  • My tinnitus is oscillating (like a hissing siren). However, the Audio-notch research appears to only have results for people with a constant pitch. Maybe it does not work as well for oscillating pitches like mine.
  • I will try habituation and general masking before spending any money on fancy, fan-dangled tech gadgets.


This is a Youtube page dedicated to Tinnitus with different masking sounds & interviews with experts and patients:

Treble Health:  https://www.youtube.com/@treblehealth

They have different kinds of masking sounds (Pink noise, Brown noise, Water, Crickets, etc..). Each person responds better to different sounds. Mine seems to respond better to Crickets:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxf-Y5ZV1LA&t=3535s

In my opinion, the first few minutes it just seems annoying. But if you find the correct mask and volume it does seem to "Hyde" the noise (sorry, bad brain-fog joke).

Some people (judging from the comments), learn to habituate to their tinnitus if they find the correct masking sound frequency and listen to it long enough. Some listen to it all night to help stay asleep or get to sleep and report improvement after only a day or two. My mom always told me to believe everything on the Internet ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚.... But it does not cost anything to play the masking noise in the background and see if it helps speed up habituation. 

 

A short video on finding the correct volume for the masking noise: (it seems to be finding a comfortable volume that is lower than your tinnitus).             

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UopkbK18jXI

 


As I continue to improve... the inflammation should continue to decrease and with time and habituation, tinnitus can be a thing of the past. 

Unfortunately, the increased energy has meant that I could play in the park with my niece long enough to forget that I am not five years old anymore. This led to a stupid, twisting jump that pinched a nerve in my back. I now know what 10/10 on the pain scale is... Thus the increased inflammation and increased tinnitus... and my Long-Covid Rabbit Hole for today.


Don't forget to take care of yourself today... and if you can, someone else too!


BTW: If you are based in Madrid and need a good Osteopath! Check out my hero Carlos:
www.carlososteopata.com

He has brought me back from the dead many times!


Update 1 (about two weeks):
I still need to read the book I downloaded from the V.A., but understanding the science behind it has already been helpful. I only notice it when things are very quiet. It also seems to change. so:
Different masking sounds are better at different times.
I tried to do a test to find the frequency of my tinnitus with this video which seemed to match at about 8,000 to 10,000Hz (most hearing tests stop at 8,000Hz); however, I am not so sure since my tinnitus is pulsatile...it seems to oscillate between a louder one at 9,500Hz and a quieter one at 8,000Hz.
Lastly, it seems to be a good measure for my energy levels and inflammation. Noticing it more is a sign that I need to pace more and take more breaks.


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