- Published on 28 January 2016
A.I. And the same happens with tinnitus?
P.J.J. Absolutely. Most patients associate it with something negative, probably because they have all seen many doctors, and they have all been told that nothing can be done, that they simply have to learn to live with it for the rest of their lives, that there is no “cure” for it. I know a patient who had been told that he had tinnitus because he had a defective brain, and he was absolutely devastated. It took me nearly a year to help him feel better. Throughout the world, ENTs and other healthcare professionals alike, psychologists for example, always say the same thing: “We cannot do anything about it, you will have to learn to live with it for the rest of your life.” This is simply not true. Tinnitus is not something negative, it does not indicate that there is a problem in your brain, nor that you are going to wind up deaf. It is like having a plastic gun to your head, it looks dangerous but it is not. Even when patients know the snake is a toy, whenever it moves they will be startled, because the unconscious brain is the first to react. First we have the instinct to run, and then comes the instinct to think.
A.I. It must be very difficult to re-educate your subconscious.
P.J.J. As behavioral psychology shows, learning is easier than re-learning. Even if you know there is no danger, it will take some time to not be startled anymore. My goal is to explain how unconscious reflexes work through examples, to help them understand how we sometimes react when faced with something which seems dangerous and is not.