Hey everyone Glenn here from RewiringTinnitus.com. So in part 1 of this series I talked a little bit about tinnitus and how the only question that really matters is "Does it bother you?" Iargued that the noise itself isn't really even the problem that you should be focusing on because you can't control the noise. The real issue is our reaction to the sound. Our brains are fully capable of tuning out and eliminating annoying background noise from our conscious awareness with a mental process called habituation but when our tinnitus is bothering us our brain is interpreting the noise is something annoying or dangerous or threatening and that prevents us from tuning it out because we would never not want to hear the sound of something that actually is dangerous. Unfortunately, our brains also can't tell the difference between an imagined threat like tinnitus and real danger, so our reaction ends up being the same. But luckily the one thing that we actually have the power to change is the very thing that prevents us from habituating and finding relief.
We can change our reaction to the sound and when we do, we can start to tune it out naturally. So of course the question is how exactly do we change our reaction to the sound when it happens automatically? Well most people's first instinct I've found, and it was for me, is to try to drown it out with background noise. Tinnitus obviously always seems louder when it's quiet and ambient noise can help to cope. But it doesn't directly address that fundamental issue, our negative reaction to the sound, that's preventing us from habituating in the first place. And its core sound masking is really just another way to try to ignore the problem. But serious problems don't just go away when we try to ignore them. I've never ignored away a problem in my entire life but for some reason we all think that it will be different when it comes to Tinnitus. Now I should admit I say this all in hindsight.
I didn't habituate intentionally, at least not at first. I stumbled into all of this completely by accident onenight as I struggled to meditate over the sound of ringing in my ears. Now at the time my tinnitus was really bad and getting worse and worse everyday. I had also meditated daily for a while at this point but I was really starting to struggle with meditation. It was becoming harder and harder to focus on my breathing with the sound of sirens blasting in my ears all the time. But at some point while I was lying in bed one night trying to meditate and ignore the noise, I suddenly had an idea.
If meditation is just the practice of focusing my attention on to a single point of awareness like my breathing, what would happen if I focused on the ringing instead and stopped trying to ignore it but actually made that the focus of my meditation. All i knew at the time was it fell inherently like a bad idea. But I was so curious that I ended up trying it anyways and it changed everything. The first breakthrough happened almost immediately. When you meditate your mind typically wanders while you meditate. It happens to everyone, especially when you're new to meditation, but it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.
Catching yourself when your mind wanders and bringing it back and starting over is the actual exercise of meditation. But this time when my mind wandered it wandered away from the sound of the ringing. And for that brief moment of time my tinnitus didn't bother me at all. I barely even noticed it. It was an amazing realization that hit me. So I continued to do this. I continue to meditate focusing on the sound and the next thing I noticed was I was starting to feel more and more relaxed than I had been. Now as I mentioned, I was fairly experienced with meditation by this point and once I stopped fighting to ignore the ringing, I was able to meditate much more deeply and I started to feel more and more calm and more relaxed. So that was very surprising as well, as I was able to meditate much more deeply.
But the most surprising thing of all was that when I finished my Tinnitus seemed quieter. It wasn't actually quieter, when I examined it more closely, it just wasn't bothering me as much, so it didn't seem as loud and I honestly couldn't believe it. I didn't understand at the time, but my brain was starting to associate the deep relaxation meditation with the sound of my tinnitus and it was changing my response to the sound. Now over the following few weeks, I was not only able to completely habituate to the sound of my tinnitus and have it stop bothering me entirely, but I discovered a ton of other ways to speed up the habituation process and improve my quality of life with tinnitus even further. So that's why I started Rewiring Tinnitus, the blog, the YouTube, it's why I wrote my book: to share what I've discovered with all of you. And so I've included some of the links to the techniques and tools that I described in the video description below and I am happy to finally announce that my book Rewiring Tinnitus: How I Finally Found Relief From the Ringing in My Ears will finally be available in the next week or two.
So that's all from me today. Thanks everybody and best of luck on your tinnitus journey!.