Tinnitus Stress Magnified?
I occasionally participate in a Facebook group for people looking for effective strategies when it comes to dealing with tinnitus. Recently I posted this question to the members there:
"I have been an ATA support group leader in the past here at the Jersey Shore. I also see clients with tinnitus in my hypnosis practice. Here's the question. Do you believe that the initial interactions with your healthcare providers when you developed tinnitus helped or hindered your recovery? I am curious as I have encountered people who felt they were treated with less than adequate sensitivity and this created a sense of hopelessness and panic. For example being told "you have tinnitus, there's nothing that can be done, go home and learn to live with it" without being given any actual direction on coping strategies. Is this commonplace or just a few healthcare providers with a deficiency in empathy and communications skills?"
Dozens of group members took the time to reply and indeed it does seem that the being traumatized by poor communication from healthcare providers is unfortunately rather common.
While some respondents stated they received supportive care, many didn't replying with comments like:
"I was told by an ENT that I waited 9 months to see "just ignore it". My visit was 4 minutes long"
"I saw an insensitive audiologist at a well know high street store who told me people committed suicide with tinnitus. He thoroughly depressed me and scared me to death!! Thank god I saw a hospital audiologist who gave me hope my brain would get fed up and filter the sound out."
"My G.P. used those very words!! "You have Tinnitus, we can't do anything for you, you'll have to learn to live with it!!"
"I'm in Perth Australia and YES I also hate the doctor who said exactly what you wrote. I cried for weeks without any direction. It was horrible."
The experience of having tinnitus is complex as I am sure you are aware. There is the neurological misfiring that is creating the perceived noise and then there is a person's response to that signal which can vary depending on stress levels and personal expectations.
I suspect that those people who received negative, insensitive, pessimistic or dismissive communication from their initial healthcare provider had insult heaped on injury in that it increased anxiety and a sense of hopelessness and made the subjective perception of the tinnitus worse.
Never underestimate the reach of the mind/body connection to work in the other direction too. People who feel better tend to heal better and anything you can do to reduce stress, anxiety and pessimism will help in the long run.
If you could use some help, please consider me a resource. A free initial phone consultation is available, call (732) 714-7040 to set that up.
P.S. I also have free self-help resources for tinnitus you can access at https://www.njhypno.com/tinnitus-nj-help