Youth People are correct when they point out the youth is wasted on the young. Many of my current physical issues were caused by my invincibility during my teenage years combined with an inability to listen to adult advice. Protecting my ears was one of those unheeded pieces of advice. The Destruction of My Hearing I worked as a carpenter and hod carrier from age fourteen until almost 30. I spent every summer and most of my vacations during medical school and college building houses. The summer before medical school I built a house for my parents. Although I was involved in many aspects of construction the most frequent work was framing and pouring concrete slabs. I used a Skil saw a good share of the day. I never thought about how loud the saw was even when I was using it close to my ears. Fellow workers mentioned ear protection but I just did not see the need. To finish my ears off I would also use a nail gun to shoot nails through 2 x 4 floor plates into concrete. This involved loading a .22 caliber bullet into a small driver. I would load the 16-penny nail and position it over the 2 x 4 and pull the trigger. The sound was also magnified by the fact that usually these devices were used in basements. I would do it all day long and still the thought of using ear protection didn’t seem relevant. The Ringing Begins When I was about 32 I began to notice my ears were ringing. It began during a period when I had undergone a low back surgery that had gotten infected. I wasn’t sleeping and my stress levels were extreme. I didn’t think too much about it until I realized that the ringing wasn’t stopping. I began to get a little crazy trying to deal with it. I would try not to think about it, which never works. If I thought about it I also would be frustrated. It became a big deal and bigger by the year. Around that time I read about a former TV star that had committed suicide because he could not deal with his tinnitus. I was not reassured. The Doctors Weren’t Helpful I saw several ENT physicians who documented a high-pitched hearing loss. When I would ask them about the ringing they would just shrug their shoulders and say it was nerve damage and nothing really could be done. I had some success in completely avoiding loud situations but even eating in a loud restaurant would aggravate the ringing. I was diligent in using earplugs, which also was helpful. But the baseline ringing was almost always present. The Ringing Stops About three years ago the ringing essentially stopped. I wasn’t sure why it happened but I was pretty happy about it. During that period I had experienced relief of many Mind Body symptoms. I did not realize that tinnitus is also a Mind Body Syndrome problem. It wasn’t until I read Dr. Schubiner’s list of MBS symptoms did I make the connection. I Still Have to Be Careful I still have to use ear protection in loud situations. The ringing can and will be set off. It will also return if I don’t sleep well and my stress-coping skills are being challenged. However if I am careful the ringing is now essentially gone. It is remarkably pleasant to not have to endure that endless annoying sound. Tinnitus is a MBS Symptom I am learning that many people experience tinnitus. I wonder what percent of people with chronic pain have this symptom? I am realizing that MBS usually does not occur with just one symptom. It is usually a constellation. One of the more enjoyable aspects of treating chronic pain with Mind Body Syndrome principles is that many of the other symptoms also diminish or disappear. I wrote a website post listing 16 of my MBS symptoms that have dramatically decreased. The beauty of treating MBS is that you are treating yourself and I essentially just get to observe you get better. It is a pretty easy and energizing day in clinic for me.