Image via WikipediaJust saw the ENT, Dr Bigelow, that I have been waiting for for a couple months. Apparently, he's the bee's knees on ears, nose and throat. He gave me the results from the hearing and balance test that I had earlier (see my post on waterboarding): all normal (although the hearing test does not get too far into the central auditory processing problem).
We talked about tinnitus and I learned a fun fact about tinnitus and anxiety. Apparently, as the tinnitus goes up, so does anxiety. As anxiety goes up, so does tinnitus. Wow. What joy to know that I can really spin myself up into a frenzy of ringing ears and frazzled nerves. Add to the fact that anxiety can increase the pain from the osteoarthritis of my neck and back, I have the potential to put myself in one real happy spot.
On the other hand, all is not lost. There is some tinnitus retraining offered. Dr. Bigelow said that it may be effective... but it is a long therapy, about 18-24 months of Directive Counseling and Sound Training. Directive Counseling is a type of counseling where the therapist tells you what to do specifically rather than waiting for you to derive your own conclusion. The Sound Training is listening to specific frequencies that trigger your tinnitus and training your brain to ignore them. This looks like this is a pretty big time commitment and I also have to sit down and figure out how to schedule in tinnitus retraining into my dance card of therapists.
But I really do want to get rid of the tinnitus. It gets in the way of meditation which is my favorite way of relaxing and relieving stress. Theoretically, you can learn to meditate your way out of tinnitus but I don't quite think I've reached the 7th level of enlightment that would let me overcome tinnitus. I'll give the ole college try on trying to get back my meditative mojo but I'm not completely convinced I can turn off the tinnitus to allow myself to get to that centering place. I like to do contemplative prayer which is a way of stilling the body and mind completely.... Maybe I'll need to use another meditative technique instead. We'll See.
On another note, Dr. Bigelow did give me a diagnosis of disequilibria which is great support for the Occupational and Physical Therapists when we file claims with the insurance companies. Also, he has taken the bull by the horns and has ordered an MRI of the brain.... as he said, I just have too many things going on up there that need to get checked out. I am pretty excited about this. It'll be really interesting to see what the report is.