What I Learned When My Doctor Told Me to 'Just Try to Ignore' My Tinnitus


I have struggled with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) for years and recently started a new symptom of that, which, most people may not have heard of before. I have a loud heart beat sound in my right ear that never goes away, called tinnitus. For a few months after it started, I really didn’t have any education on how to describe it and part of me really didn’t want too. It was and still is so bizarre to me. Among other things, my symptom of tinnitus is a major trigger to my anxiety and my mood in general. Because of this, I eventually broke down and went to my primary care doctor.

While describing it the best way I could, she stared at me blankly and said, “You should just try to ignore it.”

I left the office feeling that no one will ever understand what I am going through.

I have moments where I still feel like this.

But, I have gained strength over this past year and I have realized that no matter what it is, whether it’s my tinnitus, my anxiety, my depression, my chronic pain – what have you, I should never feel embarrassed for what I am going through. And neither should you.

It’s not OK what that doctor said to me, but I didn’t give up and I kept going to see different doctors until my voice was heard. That is the doctors job, after all. Please do not feel like a burden when you go see the doctor. If one is not helping you the way you deserve, see a different one!

Also, your friends and your family may never 100 percent understand the day-to-day mental or physical differences you have, but trust me when I tell you they care. I’ve learned that any support is better than no support.

My boyfriend listening to me having a panic attack over my tinnitus may not make any lick of sense to him, but that fact that he takes the time to be there and listen to me is all I can expect from him. I can’t expect everyone to understand what goes on in my mind,  and once I accepted that, it was such a relief.

It will become one less battle you have to fight if you let go of the fear the frustration of describing your symptoms. Accept yourself and accept that some people might never understand you, and that’s OK.

At the end of the day, you live in your body, not them.

Getty Image by Ridofranz


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