When we are stressed or carrying any form of fear our body stays on red alert. Every sense is primed to notice the smallest thing and amplify it if feels it is a potential problem. When our fear is based on our own body sensations this is a nightmare. It is our sense of hearing which gets turned up the most. The auditory system listens for anything that might signal danger and latches onto it. With Tinnitus this is even worse because we have actually identified a sound that we are afraid of and it is coming from within! This gives the auditory system not only a target but one it can turn up over anything. When are thoughts are Tinnitus, Tinnitus and even more Tinnitus then it is the only show in town.
If I turn my HiFi amp up as far as it will go (with no music on) I will reach a point where a hissing sound comes out of the speakers. If I then introduced music my speakers would blow. In someways with Tinnitus, our brain has turned its internal amp up to 11 to make sure it can monitor this alleged threat. It is so clever at doing this it will keep turning up the Tinnitus signal no matter how loud the outside world gets. I use to experience this myself and could not understand why when I watched an action movie I could still hear my Tinnitus over the top. However, this was not a negative observation, it was a very positive one. Why? because it meant if my brain could turn it up, it must be able to turn it down.
My brain was operating at 100% I was telling it in my thinking, actions and everything I did that Tinnitus was more important than anything so my brain was ensuring it did not miss a thing.
Other Sensations – We Need to Get Out of Our Heads (I do not mean with copious amounts of wine!)
In Mindfulness, there is a practice called the body scan where you take your awareness around the body and pause as you tune in. Whenever you get to the toes or fingers the instructor will always say you might be aware of some tingling or warmth in this area. Even if you weren’t you most certainly will be at that point. This to me was another reference to the fact we have a choice in where we place our awareness.
If we keep our awareness in our ears and put all our energy into sound, what body sensations are we telling our brain we want to be aware of the most? What sensations are we asking our brain to turn up? Remember Neurons that fire together stick together so if we want to rewire our brain to not turn up the Tinnitus signal then we have to start taking our awareness somewhere else.
When Other Things Join In
Having one sensation in the body causing mischief is also the trigger for others to join the party. Tinnitus peeps are usually very creative and have imaginations that could power horror and sci-fi scriptwriters for decades. Every twitch, random fleeting pain or floater (see what I did there) is the sign of another body based apocalypse.
Except it isn’t. It is just the same thing, your internal amp it turned way up high without having anything real to focus on.
Many other people have these but do not see them…unless someone mentions them or they see the word.
Isn’t the brain amazing? You can see a word and then experience something even if it is just for a moment. So if you keep reading that word, studying and worrying about that word what are we telling our brains to do? Yep, see more floaters
I am lucky to have an eye condition so rare that there have only been 40 cases ever recorded, the Op I had was so risky that I could have lost my sight and if it was a success I would be living in floater central, with these pesky blobs, strings and really bad Walt Disney animations being part of my landscape forever. An ideal companion for my internal soundtrack from hell.
I live by the sea and I will admit walking along the beach and seeing the sky covered in blobs and a screaming kettle in my ear was not much fun. However, I wanted my life back. It was just a matter of time, patience, doing and not thinking.
Where I am now, is where you will be
I now walk along the beach looking at the clear blue sky, all I hear is the waves against the rocks. My internal amp operates on a normal level and these body sensations are just that, sensations. If I want to be aware of them I can be, if I don’t and I am just living my life I don’t have them.
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