Solving the Difficulty of Tinnitus Spikes
Solving the Difficulty of Tinnitus Spikes: What You Should Know
If you have been dealing with tinnitus for some time, you are likely to understand the health condition, possible causes, and the frustrating symptoms already. However, how often do you notice a sudden rise in the severity? Have you been dealing with a tinnitus spike recently? Or perhaps, the situation seems to be getting out of hand?
Do not become excessively worried. In fact, tinnitus spikes are a common case, especially for those who seem to pay little attention to their health conditions or individuals who are simply finding it hard to get a remedy for a frustrating health condition.
If you would like to know why your tinnitus has been intensifying in recent times and possible controls and solutions, here is a comprehensive article to learn everything that you need to know. Let’s begin!
Introducing tinnitus spike
Understandably, many tinnitus patients consider a spike as an increase in intensity or volume of the ringing in ears. This is correct. However, it also implies a change in tone, sounds, or pitches of constant ringing in the ears. In other words, don’t be surprised if a new sound appears or the sounds become bothersome or intrusive. These situations form different types of tinnitus, which may last for minutes, days, or even months.
Regardless of the experience, tinnitus spikes are common difficulties that affected individuals have to deal with on most days. In fact, it is simply unavoidable for some patients. However, on the bright side, spikes do not mean there is notable progress, despite your treatment effort. Spikes are simply unavoidable in some situations, and more importantly, it is an aspect of the habituation process that patients must pass through to secure permanent relief.
To assist in your recovery process, it’s highly recommended to understand the underlying biology and psychology associated with tinnitus spikes. In this way, you’ll be able to cope better with the situation and even become more confident in getting through the recovery journey.
Causes of tinnitus spikes and the associated challenges
A tinnitus spike could be random in terms of experience. However, there is a good chance of being caused by a combination of different factors, which could be external or internal. The difficulty lies in understanding the cause of the spike.
In most cases, stress, sleep deprivation, and anxiety play a crucial role in intensified tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus occurs as a cycle. It often begins with a fight or flight stress reaction within the nervous system. Hence, stress or anxiety can aggravate the situation, while sleep deprivation can make the health condition even more disastrous.
Aside from the three major factors, specific tinnitus may also have a certain element that triggers tinnitus spike in the affected individuals. These could range from diet, environment to exposure. When such an element is identified, it could help proffer a lasting solution to the patient.
Check the common tinnitus triggers in the list below:
- High sugar diet
- Certain noises
- Specific medications
- Supplements and vitamins
- High sodium diet
- Recreational drugs
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Certain changes in barometric pressure or weather as a whole.
- Food sensitivities
- Loud noise and noise-induced hearing loss
Duration of tinnitus spike
A certain time frame cannot be put on how long a tinnitus spike will last because it varies from one patient to another. Ideally, it should be over within a few days. In the case of experiencing a tinnitus spike triggered by loud noise, ensure that you relax your ears to prevent additional damage to your ears.
Consider a tinnitus tracker
If you are yet to get a tinnitus tracker, you might consider getting one for yourself or affected relatives. This is because monitoring the possible triggers of your tinnitus daily could prove very useful in the long run. By identifying the triggers, it can help correct the health condition by simply modifying your lifestyle slightly.
For those who are under a tight budget, consider taking a meticulous note of the situation. This ranges from the diet, environment, to lifestyle. However, don’t be overworked if you don’t find a pattern, as several equations come into play when it comes to tinnitus and its spikes. It is important not to get worried over it because it can lead to anxiety and frustration that can contribute to the aggravation of tinnitus.
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to find the trigger to cope with ringing in ears. In other words, you can complete a habituation process successfully and recover fully without figuring out the cause of the tinnitus spike.
Tinnitus Spikes and Habituation
Aside from the obvious ringing in ears, several other events are ongoing when you are dealing with tinnitus. As humans, we are capable of tuning out and ignoring irrelevant sounds and even sensory perceptions by using a mental process. This process is known as habituation. Whether we want to or not, habituation occurs unconsciously every time. This is how we manage to discuss with our partners in noisy situations. The brain is automatically filtering out other noises to focus on your desired conversation.
However, humans are not capable of ignoring what the brain considers as the “important information” to focus on. This is usually sounds classified as dangerous, threatening, or problematic by the brain. Understandably, there is rarely anyone who would want to ignore the sounds of dangerous activities. Thus, rather than overlooking the sounds of tinnitus, it becomes a tussle between us and the sounds. This occurs as a fight or flight stress response that seems to never end.
Over time, the response may get worse due to its implications on our emotions and psychology. In other words, anxiety, panic, frustration, anger, and hopelessness can continuously accumulate until the nervous system is recruited into a recurrent state of anxiety and agitation. In this regard, the positive news is that we can change our psychological, physiological, and even emotional state towards tinnitus sounds. By so doing, it is possible to reach a stage where we don’t give any attention to tinnitus again, despite still being there.
The challenge is that habitation takes time. It doesn’t matter the kind of strategy adopted; you need to take it one step at a time. Usually, it’s a case of two steps forward and one step backward. In other words, as you are making progress towards ignoring the sounds, there could be some cases of spikes. Consider it as an expected part of the whole process.
Why tinnitus spikes are unavoidable and quite difficult
First off, keep in mind that spiking doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong or you are not getting the recovery methodologies right. Also, it is not an indication that you are not recovering. Instead, a spike means the progress is temporarily on hold – a feeling of moving backward could materialize at this point.
Consider spikes and setbacks as unavoidable
On emotional and psychological levels, the negative emotional and psychological patterns that make tinnitus so depressing and frustrating will be triggered almost every time you experience a spike. However, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is that these experiences, such as anger, anxiety, frustrations etc., are temporary setbacks. Although it is a sign of a step backward, it only means putting the habituation process on hold till the spike is over. Spikes are like old memories that get triggered when certain situations align together.
How to cope with tinnitus spikes
Coping with tinnitus doesn’t take any special energy. The most important thing is control. You need to focus on what you can control. Some situations are simply beyond us. For instance, you cannot change the volume of tinnitus noise in any significant way or ignore the sounds by force of will. When you actively ignore a sensory perception, you are only giving it more attention.
Also, it is not possible to control the duration of a spike. Regardless of the emotions and thoughts that come with the spikes, you simply need to make peace with it and not try to force things. Some emotions will rush in; acknowledge, accept and embrace them. The storm will soon be over.
Put other senses in activation mode
Catching yourself quickly at the commencement of spikes is the best approach. Afterward, focus your energy on what you can control: Using every possible coping mechanism that you know. Regardless of the intensity of the spike or the situation, consider any coping mechanism that can help you feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Any activity that will distract you from the noise is also welcome. If need be, create background noise to mask the frustrating noises from your ears.
It’s recommendable to use a coping mechanism at a time. The amount of other sensory perceptions available at the time plays a crucial role in your ability to distract yourself from the tinnitus symptoms. This means that as you activate more senses, you stand a better chance of improving the situation.
Coping during tinnitus spikes: What are the limitations?
Regardless of the coping tools used or how perfectly it is done, there will always be a certain level of discomfort. This is the most difficult thing about coping with tinnitus spikes. Consider thinking about the severity of your tinnitus-related suffering. You may rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 0 being the most serious.
If the tinnitus spike is severe but suffering on a scale of 10, there is only a little possibility of getting as far down as 0. For instance, it is helpful to use background noise for distraction. However, it will only take the edge off the going down by two to three points at most. Masking alone means staying consistently on a seven or eight out of ten. By adding other coping mechanisms such as breathing techniques, mental relaxation activity, or physical exercise, you further improve the situation. Also, it is recommendable to visit friends, play a game or engage in some exercise collectively – it gives you extra points towards recovery.
Despite improving the situation, you may still be feeling some level of discomfort. It may also be exhausting to put a lot of energy into coping throughout the day. However, being consistent with the effort will get you to almost a perfect relief point. Every effort counts in the process, and you shouldn’t let any spike weigh you down. As you drift towards recovery, you can be sure of experiencing improved relief.
Beating tinnitus spikes improve your resilience
As stated earlier, it is impossible to avoid spikes. It is even an important aspect of the habituation process. In fact, a habituation strategy that promises a full process without any spike should be suspected. Every difficult spike that is successfully endured boosts your chances of beating the condition. It also improves your self-confidence.
Many people suffer panic and fear when tinnitus spikes occur, believing they have regressed in their effort to habituate with tinnitus. This belief will only create an emotional and psychological pattern that will continue reactivating the tinnitus – even if you have been coping nicely. When this happens, you may feel the suffering worse than before.
It would be a lie to deny that terrible negative thoughts will never rise. There is a good chance of experiencing such. Thoughts such as “Will this ever end?” or “how am I going to continue to suffer this way?” As a result of your concerns, your blood pressure may rise, and the same may happen to your heart rate. This does not contribute any positive development to your habituation process.
However, by managing to get through the challenging spike and bounce back, you will need no convincing concerning your ability to cope. Hence, it is advisable to expect the spike and watch yourself panicking. Instead, focus on your confidence and getting through the situation. Consider as many coping mechanisms as possible to get through the tough moments
. Believing in yourself will also help you succeed.
Find confidence in your coping ability
This is a short-term and long-term strategy towards achieving a successful habituation process. Self-confidence is crucial for living with ringing in ears across a lifetime. Even after successful habituation, spikes may occur in the future, despite the tinnitus no longer influencing your life quality. This is because you may get hit by a loud noise without any protection against it. Also, traumatic events, side effects of medication, injury, or illness can also lead to spikes.
In such situations, you might experience a tinnitus “relapse” and fall out of habituation. As a result, the vicious tinnitus cycle may kickstart again. However, considering you already have confidence in your coping abilities, you can easily and quickly help yourself and prevent unnecessary panic. At this point, you’ll find it less challenging to cope and regain your habituation state with tinnitus.
Before rounding up, it is important to seek help. While tinnitus spike is a terrible experience, it’s a chance for us to learn about overcoming adversity. Even the worst of spikes will come to an end. If you can remain calm and cope, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. More excitingly, you’ll become more resilient and confident than before.
Nobody says it’s going to be easy. However, effective coping techniques are available to complete the habituation process successfully. Regardless of how challenging it gets, always know that there is hope.
If you are experiencing ringing in your ears, consider a thorough hearing evaluation from an expert. This is because tinnitus and hearing loss commonly occurs in tandem. Getting the services of an audiologist who specializes in tinnitus treatment helps boost your chances of beating tinnitus quickly.