Do you ever hear a ringing in your ears that doesn’t seem to have an external source? This is most likely tinnitus and may manifest as a ringing buzzing, whooshing or roar. Tinnitus is estimated to affect 15 to 20% of the population and can become incredibly stressful when there is no relief.
You may wonder what causes tinnitus in the first place and if there is any way to get the noise to stop. First of all, it is important to understand that tinnitus is not a medical condition by itself but a sign of damage to the inner ear. When the tiny hairs that send audio information to the brain become damaged they can send feedback to the brain that you interpret as the buzzing of tinnitus. Similar to hearing loss, there is no cure for tinnitus, however there are many ways to minimize its stress inducing effects.
Tinnitus is the most prominent when you are in silence. If the ring of tinnitus is stressing you out, then one of the quickest forms of relief is to block it out with other noise. Turn on the radio, run the dishwasher or use a white noise machine to reduce the amount of silence in your space and distract you from the roar of tinnitus.
It can be incredibly stressful to be faced with the buzz of tinnitus when all you want is peace and quiet. The problem is that stress and anxiety has been found to make the symptoms of tinnitus much worse. Often, when you can manage your stress level, your tinnitus will be less noticeable. Many people have found success dealing with their tinnitus through a regular meditation practice. Breathing and clearing the mind has been found to eliminate the ring of tinnitus at least temporarily. Others have found success using yoga to decompress, reduce stress and find tinnitus relief.
A healthy diet
It’s important to understand that what we put into our bodies directly affects our health and our emotional well-being. When we eat high sugar foods, ingest high levels of caffeine and alcohol our tinnitus symptoms may increase. This is because these substances help many of us to energize or deal with a busy schedule but actually cause our body and minds excess stress. Prioritizing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains can lower your blood pressure and improve our overall health including tinnitus.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a tinnitus treatment that addresses the patients’ reaction to tinnitus rather than the tinnitus itself. While it does not aim to eliminate the perception of tinnitus, it actually teaches patients to reduce their negative response to tinnitus using conversation with a licensed therapist.
Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice used by eastern medicine to relieve stress, reduce back pain, and increase energy levels by inserting needles into specific pressure points in the body. Acupuncture is also used to relieve tinnitus. Many who suffer from tinnitus have found acupuncture to help lower the frequency and level of tinnitus. While western medicine often remains skeptical the calming benefits of tinnitus alone are enough to help you manage your tinnitus symptoms.
Many find staying active can reduce stress levels helping people rest more sound and relieve tinnitus symptoms. In addition, there are certain exercises that may directly help get in control of the elusive buzz. Regular focus on exercises to release jaw tension have been found by many to reduce symptoms.
For those with hearing loss, often hearing aids can amplify the level of conversation making it easier to participate. As tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss, many hearing aids now offer tinnitus-masking features, which distract or cover the frustrating sound of tinnitus. Many newer model hearing aids can predict the frequency of tinnitus, creating a masking sound that most effectively eliminates your tinnitus.
Most importantly, don’t suffer through your tinnitus. If tinnitus is causing you stress and sleeplessness that is interfering in your life make sure to reach out for help. Often tinnitus issues are connected to hearing issues. Make an appointment to have your hearing tested. If a hearing loss is detected the proper hearing aids can help you hear clear while also helping you deal with your tinnitus.