tinitus stepping into the light

Stepping into the Light for Tinnitus

Ever woke up in the middle of the night or before your alarm clock goes off feeling wide awake?

Today I woke up at 5am, not because my alarm went off but because I was excited. Last night I made a decision to be brave and step into the light. As many of you know I’ve been grappling with how to open the lines of communication around tinnitus and extend my reach to as many people as possible.

Yesterday I completed a 2-day online event by Amy Porterfield. Amy is passionate about helping people share their story and knowledge with the world through social media – specifically by creating an online course. During her event she had a lovely speaker named Luvvie Ajayi Jones. It was this woman’s courage to show up in spite of her fear that woke me up this morning.

She shared her mantra with us that she had posted on a sticky note on her desk – “Hold the light” – and it struck a chord with me. It inspired me to make a commitment to start writing to you each week to share my experience and knowledge around tinnitus … to inspire you.

I took a photo to include in my first blog so it’s not so text heavy. It’s a photo of the scratch pad I grabbed from the top of my plug-in fireplace in my room. It’s a special note pad because I took it home after a family stay in New York at the Ritz Carlton Hotel a few years back. We heard the hotel was closing so I brought home the momento and thought I’d finally use it for something special – my first blog draft to you. Ok it’s also true that I was too shy to take a photo of myself for the post and just got a manicure. But you’ll see I’m using my Salus Hearing Centre pen and writing with my notes from Amy Porterfield’s event, that I added to my Remarkable electronic notebook, close by.

I’m writing in my room and can’t believe how quiet the house is … only it’s really not. I hear a “loud” noise in my head. I’ve heard it before one night while in bed dreading an exam the next day for, believe it or not, one of my courses from my post graduate certificate program – Advanced Studies in Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Management. The first time I heard it that night I panicked. It was so loud! I can only describe it to you as a jet engine. You know that noise you hear while on the airplane waiting for it to take off? Well in that moment a flood of thoughts came to my mind – What is that noise? Is this tinnitus? Why is it so loud? Is this permanent? I need to sleep or I’m going to be tired in the morning and fail my exam. But then I stopped … I remembered what my professor told me. He said that tinnitus is actually a very soft sound that our brain perceives as being loud.

So I tested this … I grabbed my iPhone from my night stand and opened up an app I use sometimes when I have to wait in the reception area for my doctor (back in the pre-COVID days) because I don’t like waiting. The app is actually from a hearing aid manufacturer called Resound – Resound Tinnitus Relief. I like it because not only can I combine sounds that I like but it has these gentle bubbles that float up that I like popping with my finger. Wait where was I? Ah yes, so I turned on the app and I set it to a soft level because we were taught that the volume of the sound we use during sound therapy doesn’t have to be loud. I set the timer in the app for 30 minutes, turned it upside down on my nightstand to block the light and lay in bed in the dark and just focused on the lovely nature sounds … and fell asleep.

I can’t remember which sound I chose that night but I would guess it was a combination of water and birds. I was thrilled, the next morning when I woke, to see that it worked. It renewed my commitment to the course and to share this with others who have tinnitus since many have trouble falling asleep because of the noise in their head.

So my friend, I thank you for allowing me the time and space to share my thoughts (and distract myself from my tinnitus) in this first attempt to “hold the light”. I promise to write again to you next Monday and every Monday after that to give you tips and inspiration. To know that you’re not alone. I’m here for you and we can do this together. Now go do something you need or want to do like hug your kid, husband, or dog or go for a walk … because tinnitus is just a small part of our lives.

Sincerely Sabrina

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