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Perry, I love music every bit as much as you do.  (Went to the opera - Strauss's Salome - with my wife last night, as a matter of fact.)

And - sorry - I know you're miserable ... but I'm having trouble with the idea that music "might as well be gone" just because on your bad ear days you do not enjoy it as much as you do on your good ear days.

I seems that you are seeing things in terms of black and white ... is there any room in your life for the grays?

This is such a subjective area, it's hard for me to answer in a way that makes sense.

I don't know if there's room for gray areas in this part of my life. To use the popular vernacular, it sucks. Can something suck a little less? Yeah, I can sit down and listen to music through the hiss, but is it worthwhile?


Is it worthwhile?  Hmmm.

Well, Perry.  Maybe look at it this way ...

It seems that you have a choice - because it's not very likely that you will ever be totally cured of your tinnitus.  Your tinnitus is greatly affecting your life.  "It sucks," as you so delicately put it.

In short, your tinnitus is so severe that it makes you feel REAL bad.  And if your tinnitus didn't make you feel bad, you'd be better off.  I mean, even if you weren't 100% cured ... if you had tinnitus that didn't make you feel bad (like I do), it would be better than having tinnitus that does make you feel bad (like you do)?  Is that a fair thing to say, or am I all wet?


Obviously that would be preferable. How do I get there?
Pessia posted:

Obviously that would be preferable.
Well, I sure think so.   I'm glad you agree.
How do I get there?
Three things.
First, you realize that what I am about to tell you isn't some sort of gimmick, razzle dazzle, or shadown and mirrors.  Because I'm dead serious about it ... or I wouldn't be spending all this time.
With me so far?

I'm with you. Carry on.
Second, you realize that it's really irrelevant whether your tinnitus is intermittent or constant, single tone or multiple tone, high pitched or low pitched, caused my noise-induced auditory damage, caused by a musculoskeletal problem, or caused by any of a whole host of other possibilities.  The problem is that it makes you feel so bad.  (I mean, if your tinnitus didn't make you feel bad, what would it matter?)

For me to accept that means I have to give up trying to find the source of the tinnitus (or find a "cure"). That is a really difficult thing for someone like myself, who (I believe) is a born problem solver.

Okay, let's say I'm stuck with it, wherever it has come from and wherever it's going.

Let's stay here on "second" for a moment.

I never said anything about giving up trying to find the source of your tinnitus ... or hoping to cure it.

But I am very much interested in reality.  Because the reality is ... that if your tinnitus didn't make you feel bad, you wouldn't be saying things like:

"I feel trapped. I'm just sick of the whole thing. It would be easier to just turn off the lights."

So what is the likelihood of your current strategy's being successful?  Specifically, what is the likelihood that you will find the source of your tinnitus and cure it?

The way things are going, not very likely. I hate to give up, however.
There's that black and white thinking again.

I never said anything about giving up, Perry.

But tell me, how many hours a day do you devote to your current strategy of finding the source of your tinnitus in the hopes that you'll be able to cure it?

It varies, but the number has been decreasing. Like I said, I've been seeing a biofeedback therapist who has uncovered some interesting things, but I don't know if they will resolve my problems. I'm not spending a lot of time on it lately.
Got it.

So your strategy is focused on finding the source of your tinnitus in the hopes that you'll be able to cure it.  And to that end you are working with a biofeedback specialist who has "uncovered some interesting things" that you yourself acknowledge may not help resolve your problems.  OK.

If I may ...

It seems that your black and white thinking is putting you in a bit of a corner, Perry.  In fact, according to what you have written in this thread, you are currently at the point where you have chosen a strategy for addressing your tinnitus that has not borne fruit to date, and your biofeedback therapist has uncovered some interesting things that may not help appreciably either.  In fact, by virtue of your "not spending much time on it lately," you are pretty skeptical in that regard.

So I'll ask you again, exactly how many minutes on average a day are you devoting to your current strategy, the one you "hate to give up?"

An hour maybe?
Perry, you've been very patient with me ... but I promise that I have an important point to make that I believe will be of significant benefit to you.

And we're real close now.

So ...

What is it exactly that you do for an hour a day for the purpose of identifying the cause of your tinnitus in the hopes that in doing so you will be able to cure it?

I know you spend time worrying about it and trying to deal with it.  But that's not what I'm looking for.  So, Perry, exactly what do you do for an hour a day for the purpose of identifying the cause of your tinnitus in the hopes that in doing so you will be able to cure it?

(And then we can move on to the third - and last - point.)

It depends on the day. Tomorrow it'll be an hour with the therapist and the biofeedback. Another day it might be an hour spent on a website such as this, looking at new posts or whatever. Or maybe just an hour fretting about it.
Thanks so  much for explaining, Perry.

Here is my thinking ...

Your efforts over the past couple of years have not been successful.

Moreover, it sounds like you are currently spending maybe an hour a week with the biofeedback therapist in some sort of endeavor directed at finding and hopefully addressing the source of your tinnitus in the hopes that doing so will somehow cure it - even though you are not at all optimistic about the ultimate results. 

The rest of the time that you devote to "achieving your goal" isn't really spent achieving your goal at all - rather it is spent on fretting and checking out tinnitus-related websites that (no matter how good they might be) contain no reliable information from people who have conquered their tinnitus the way you propose to conquer yours.

So except for an hour a week, you have indeed given up your goal.  Or at least you have ceased working towards that goal.

Perry, you are a very logical problem-oriented type of fellow, which is why I have been working through things with you in a logical problem-oriented manner.

Here is what I suggest ...

Do not give up your goal of curing your tinnitus by identifying and effectively addressing its cause.  But instead of seeing it as a goal, see it as an outcome that would be absolutely wonderful to achieve, but is at the same time one that is not essential to your feeling better ... if somehow you can find a way to change your tinnitus that makes you feel bad into tinnitus that does not make you feel bad.

In other words ... THIRD, modify your current goal while not giving up the hope of a cure someday.  And make a sincere commitment to achieving your new goal - the goal of changing the tinnitus that causes you to feel bad into tinnitus that does not cause you to feel bad.  (Because this new goal I am recommending for your consideration is very definitely achievable.)

Would that be acceptable to you, Perry?  And more than that, is it something that you could enthusiastically embace?

Dr. N. - thank you for spending time on this.

I'm not sure I've entirely given up my goal, but I've grown tired of trying. I'm exhausted.

As for your suggestion, I don't know about the enthusiasm part of it, but I'll have to work on that.

How should I proceed?


Perry, what in the world is it about the goal of feeling better that you could not enthusiastically embrace?  It's not like I'm telling you to forget your tinnitus and go to the Cheetah Lounge for a lap dance! 

Seriously, what is your problem with my suggestion?

Nothing wrong with that goal. Maybe I just don't want to get my hopes up too high. Does that make sense?

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