$300 off tinnitus sound therapy. Limited time only.  Learn more

Try tinnitus maskers risk-free for 45 days. Start Now

Sudden Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Success Story

Archana from San Francisco Bay Area

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Hello everyone, today we are with Archana who developed tinnitus about eight months ago. At that time, there was a sudden hearing loss, which created a sudden onset tinnitus in one ear. We were introduced to each other via telehealth. Archana’s with us today. Archana, when we first were introduced, you explained to me that your awareness of tinnitus was a hundred percent of waking hours. A hundred percent of the time your tinnitus was there. It was very obtrusive and bothersome that it annoyed you about 50% of the time. Your volume level was an 8 out of 10.

Now we’re sharing this message because you have improved since that time, and we want to share a positive success story of tinnitus to our community. I would like to introduce you, please introduce yourself further and give us some other context of what’s been going on.

Archana

Okay, hi everyone, I’m Archana and I am from the Bay Area, from the San Francisco Bay Area. In my professional life I work with students and I am a college advisor, and I have a wonderful family. I live here with my husband and my 13-year-old son. So, I had COVID in December, and later on, I went ahead and got my Pfizer shot and 10 days later I developed tinnitus. It may not have anything to do with the COVID or the shot. It could be incidental. It could be something going on already in my body that may have triggered the response. We don’t know about it. But it took me a while to get to know that.

And I’m so glad that as I was going through that journey, my solace was all the YouTube videos by Dr. Thompson. And I saw that and I thought, okay this seems like the right path for me. And I’m so glad I decided to work with him and worked with him for six months and things have gotten better for me.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And during those six months, we have this natural period of habituation where the brain has a natural tendency to de-focus and improve the attention, the effect, the disturbance of tinnitus. And when that happens, usually the volume gets softer too. In those eight months, as I said earlier, you went from tinnitus, you were hearing it or thinking about it a hundred percent of the time. The volume was 8 out of 10.

And the most recent time we met, which was about seven months after this started, your awareness of tinnitus improved to 30% of the time, which is a big improvement. And your volume, your baseline level of volume, was softer, but you did have spikes of volumes. So, tell us more details about what changed for you. Was it your brain focusing on the tinnitus? Was it the sound itself? Was it the volume? Would love to get into some details there.

Dr. Ben Thompson asks Archana how her tinnitus improved after having telehealth sessions with Pure Tinnitus.

Archana

Sure, I think initially it was the shock of it because my onset was very sudden and it was very sharp. It was March 13th, I came home from a little bit of family excursion. We just got in the car, drove around the Bay Area, all of us were vaccinated except the kid of course, I came home and I just sat down in the evening, even an activity like driving around the Bay Area was exhausting. Had been at home for almost a year. And we got around, I came home and I suddenly started hearing this kind of buzzer. Some kind of jet engines kind of very sharp noise in my left ear.

And I thought initially that there is some kind of how those mousetraps or those kinds of contraptions are to keep the rodents away. Someone in the neighborhood must have started something like that, so I started asking my family members, “Can you hear that? It’s really annoying. It’s really annoying.” But with that I also felt that my ear was clogged. And it really bothered me, I couldn’t sleep for like five, six nights after that. I was exhausted. The noise was there and I realized I have tinnitus.

It was very hard to make peace with it. But I had no idea that I also had hearing loss in my ear. It just felt clogged like a swimmer’s ear, and it was frustrating. And then I started exploring what this noise was and I came across the word tinnitus, and then I explored it some more on YouTube on how to beat it.

And believe me, there is so much misinformation out there that says, “Oh just listen to this for 20 minutes and your tinnitus is going to go away.” And it did not. And I listened some more, and it did not. And just did not go away. So then I started calling ENTs around the town and I finally found one who decided to give me an appointment but said, “You need to go to an audiologist and get your hearing checked before you come to me.” That is when I discovered that I had lost hearing in my ear.

Already about 10, 15 days had passed since the onset of tinnitus. And then after that I realized that I have hearing loss. I explored some more on how to deal with the hearing loss and tinnitus, and that’s when I came across your YouTube videos, and I decided to reach out to you. And slowly things progressed in a way where I started understanding the science behind what was happening. That my brain was creating this ghost noise because I had lost hearing, and it was not going to disappear miraculously. I had to work on it. I was not going to eliminate the sound, but it was, I realized, that it was up to me to detangle myself from that noise. So I had to move away from the noise.

The noise was not going to leave me. And I think once I had that mindset, everything started progressing in the right direction. And that to me, I think, is habituation where you have to actively remove yourself from the sound that continuously goes in your ear. And it took me a good six months to get there, and the progress is still going on. So I’m very pleased with the journey now.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And people always ask me, they ask when someone shares a success story, right? What is the volume of the tinnitus now? Has it changed much for you Archana? Has your volume changed much from when it started?

Archana

It can be worse than what it was in the beginning at times, but those times are not round the day. It’s not a hundred percent of the time. It can be bad during bedtime, but then I have alternators that I use, like the sound machine. So sound therapy certainly helps. I wear hearing aids, so it helps during the daytime. I listen to music, so that helps a little bit. And when I’m working with my students, I have my headphones so that helps a little bit. And –

Ben Thompson, AuD.

So your tinnitus is still there, but your life is different. Your quality of life is different. How it affects you is different, talk about that.

Archana

Correct, so the awareness is totally in my hands, which is what I realized later. I can either be annoyed by it and be aware of it 24/7, or there could be days, times of the day, when I can just remove myself from that awareness and focus on something different. And initially it was more noise, like create more noise, and focus on that.

But then as I spoke with you, I moved on to focusing on silence and still could get myself away from the awareness of tinnitus. And I think that to me was the turning point where I could focus on meditating and breathing and the sound of my breathing, and not so much on my tinnitus. So there came a point where it didn’t have to be… I didn’t have to have an external sound to move away from it.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And how did you approach managing tinnitus? What were you doing on a daily or weekly basis that was different than before you had tinnitus?

Archana

So many things. I remember you gave me things about anti-inflammatory diet. I read about that. I started also walking a little bit, exercising more. I started playing soft music before bedtime, or just a meditation routine before bedtime. I would get up and do some yoga, which helped me. I would have some soft music or sound running when I thought things got annoying for me at certain times of the day. And I think it was just a combination of multiple things. Initially it was a frenzy, but then it settled into a routine where I know exactly how to channelize my thoughts or my awareness, so that the effect, the bothersome effect of tinnitus goes away.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And this journey for you, it’s not at the end correct? You are still working on managing. You’re still doing things in your life that are promoting healthy behaviors related to tinnitus. And you still have time that you can habituate further. How are you approaching the months and year to come?

Archana

I think work is keeping me busy, which is a good thing. That I was able to get back into work hundred percent about two, three months, after starting to work with you. I could focus back on what other people were saying. Initially, I was annoyed by everyone in my house. I had gotten sensitive to sound. So everything became too loud for me, even though I have profound hearing loss in that ear, any time my kids spoke up or my parents, when they visit me, when they said something. My mom’s and my son’s speech are very high, and it used to bother me a lot. And sometimes it was my students. Sometimes it was my students’ parents.

And then I realized that it’s not them or their pitch, it’s my sensitivity has gone crazy. So for me, part of habituation was also that habituation. I have a feeling things got better, much better, after the hearing aids. Because that sharp, I don’t know what to call it, that sharp discomfort in my ear is gone, it’s settled down. It’s much better with hearing aids. Although I can hear a little bit better, it doesn’t feel screeching to me.

And yes, this is the journey. What I want to do is I want to keep up with the routine. I don’t want to miss out on it, but at the same time there are days when I miss out on the routine and everything is still okay. It doesn’t go out of hand. I’m not annoyed by it. I’m not upset or angry because of my tinnitus. I don’t want to be away from people. It’s okay for me to have dialogue with them. It’s okay for me to be surrounded by people who are slightly loud or whatever it is. It’s just, it’s cheerful again. And so-

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Yes so we-

Archana

that’s a good thing.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And we decided to use hearing aids as part of the retraining protocol.

Archana

Yes.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

You got those through a local clinic, and that was a positive experience for you from what I heard. So that was very good, and your case showcases that there are many different aspects of managing tinnitus. There’s the psychological, there’s the holistic and there’s the sound therapy. And bringing them all together is often what a good approach will have. And I wanted to invite you on my YouTube channel on this podcast to showcase that you did put in work, that this didn’t happen automatically. And who’s to know exactly if you did nothing and got no professional help, you probably would have habituated to some degree.

Archana

I don’t think so.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Oh, then perhaps not. It’s hard to say. It’s hard to say.

Archana

Yeah.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

It’s hard to say. And what we do know is when you put all of these chips together, when you put all of these factors of tools together it gives you the best chance of habituation, right?

Archana

Right, I think I was frenzied in my attempts to overcome it. What therapy helped me do is decipher everything and put everything in boxes and address one thing at a time. And not go after everything at once. So, I know I had my hearing aids kind of late in the situation, that I could have had them right away.

But I’m glad I did not, that I learned to first have a better control on my emotions and my awareness. I mentioned to you before, for me the Buddhist meditation helped. Just the chanting of Ohm. And just listening to that. It helped me focus, because I was losing focus. My brain fog just got bad because I couldn’t focus on anything that I was doing. I couldn’t remember anything. My short-term memory was like failing me.

But after the therapy I realized, okay, wait a minute. I need to step back, and I need to compartmentalize everything, all my problems. So let’s deal with one thing at a time. Let’s deal with focus first, then sleep, then tolerating other people, and then came the hearing aids. So, after the hearing aids it was like, aha, okay. I am in my journey where I can see the growth in a positive direction, for sure. But I think that a lot of work had to go into making that progress before the hearing aids came into picture.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Definitely a lot of work, and thank you for sharing your story. One reason that we publish this is to inspire others to showcase positive success stories with tinnitus. And take note, you still hear the sound.

Archana

Yes I do.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

But your quality of life and how it affects you is much improved.

Archana

Yes 100%

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And what messages do you have for someone who may have been in the position you were in six months ago, with sudden hearing loss and tinnitus?

Archana

The first thing I would say it is not your fault, so stop beating up on yourself. And if people tell you it’s all in your head, your managers, try to move away from it. You are going to be able to do all of that, but don’t take it as criticism, and avoid listening to non-professionals saying things. Because it did bother me, I am a sensitive person. I think self-compassion is extremely important in this case. So, having self-compassion did help me a lot. And then, having that support system. Therapy is extremely useful. I don’t know which kind of therapy helps people. For me, this is what helped me the most. I think it was your approach was very holistic. It was not just, you did not work with me simply as an audiologist. It was much more holistic than that, and it chimed with what I was looking for. So that fit has to be there. And then you have to just trust and you will let go slowly. But I think no one should beat up on themselves, if things don’t just turn around very quickly. It was about six, seven months for me. It could be a year for some people. It could be two months for other people.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

Archana thank you for sharing your story, so valuable. You’re strong, you’ve improved, you’ve put in work and hopefully things continue to get better. And you’ve shown that you can live with sudden hearing loss, sudden tinnitus. It can get better. You can manage it. Even if those conditions are still there for the future, it’s okay. So I really appreciate that, and thank you so much for being here.

Archana

Thank you Dr. Thompson, thank you so much.

Ben Thompson, AuD.

And for those of you who are listening, please let us know in the comments of any questions you have for us. We will try our best to answer them. And make sure to check out the other podcast episodes to learn from myself, other professionals, about tinnitus management and hearing loss. Thank you everyone. Take care.

What To Do Next For Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

At Treble Health, we know the importance of having a comprehensive approach to tinnitus management and hearing loss. That includes neuroplasticity, sound therapy, and proper medical tests. We put together a consumer guide to help you master tinnitus management so you can improve tinnitus once and for all. Click here to get the free Tinnitus Guide: 2022 Edition

Want to speak with an expert audiologist about your options for tinnitus treatment instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Treble Health Tinnitus Consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.

More To Explore

When does tinnitus become permanent and other tinnitus questions.

When Does Tinnitus Become Permanent?

Many patients that we work with initially come to us with similar questions regarding the permanence of tinnitus. Three of the most frequently asked questions

Recent Posts

CONNECT WITH TREBLE HEALTH

Treble Health Newsletter

Get exclusive guidance that we only share with email subscribers.