For many people who experience tinnitus, a buzzing, ringing or hissing noise in the ears is a commonality. While tinnitus can be caused by a number of things, the condition can make everyday activities and daily life more difficult. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, more than 36 million Americans suffer from tinnitus that varies in sound, severity and regularity, but there are many ways to find relief.
Causes of tinnitus range from things such as: physical blockage from ear wax, high blood pressure, fluid or infection in the middle of the ear, stress and exposure to loud noises. Although tinnitus is rarely serious and typically can be resolved without surgery or medication, there are a few simple steps you can take to find relief from the frustrating condition at home. However, it is still important to visit a healthy hearing professional for a hearing screening to make sure there is no underlying problem making the situation worse. An audiogram can determine the origin of the tinnitus to help you find the best relief and treatment.
Your physical wellbeing
Your overall health could play a role in the ringing noise in your ear, so you should take some extra measures to improve your overall wellness.
- Control your blood pressure: There are many ways you can control your blood pressure without going to the doctor or taking medication. Increasing your exercise is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to do so. Consider a workout regimen that will help you to shed a few pounds around the waistline, which is a key factor in decreasing your risk of high blood pressure. You can also reduce the amount of sodium you consume and change your overall eating habits to include a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. You should also make sure to limit your consumption of alcohol and tobacco products.
- Reduce stress: Stress and anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure and cause tinnitus. You can try to decrease your amount of stress by getting a massage, meditating or practicing deep-breathing exercises. Increasing your amount of physical activity in general will decrease your stress. You may want to consider taking a day off to simply relax, go for a walk or enjoy time with family.
- Decrease caffeine: Consuming too much coffee or soda regularly can not only increase your blood pressure, it can cause tinnitus. You can find relief of tinnitus by cutting out beverages with high levels of caffeine by replacing them with healthier beverages. Although tea has some caffeine, it also has vitamins and healing properties to increase your overall health and still give you a slight boost of energy.
Tinnitus comes in all shapes and sizes, so keeping track of when you are experiencing symptoms may help you find relief by just making small changes to your everyday lifestyle. Whenever you begin to experience tinnitus, write down what you were doing, what food you consumed, if you were exposed to any loud noises or if you are under a high amount of pressure or stress. Then, once you've determined the lifestyle triggers of your tinnitus, you can begin to find relief with simple remedies at home. However, you'll want to remember that tinnitus relief doesn't happen overnight – just as lowering your blood pressure or losing weight – so make sure to give it some time.
Forget about it
Some people must live with tinnitus and learn ways to cope, but trying hard to find a solution can sometimes make the issue worse. Some tinnitus suffers say that learning to habituate tinnitus, or ignore it, is one of the best ways to find relief. You can find things that you enjoy doing to occupy your time and help your mind forget about the ringing sensation in your ear. Whether you like to garden, paint or go hiking, these hobbies can take your mind off of the frustration and help you to refocus your concentration on something that makes you happy.
Sometimes you need to refocus your attention to something else in order to find relief from your tinnitus, which can often be achieved by regularly practicing relaxation techniques. By doing this, you can refocus your attention away from tinnitus and increase your awareness of you and your body. Yoga can be very beneficial for tinnitus because you are taught to pay attention to your breath and you learn to tune into what your body is "saying" to you. Here are a few other ways to relax:
Muscle relaxation has proved helpful in some tinnitus cases. Start by tensing the muscles in your toes and feet for about five to 10 seconds. Then, slowly release these muscles for 30 seconds and repeat with other parts of the body.
- Visualization: Similar to autogenic, visualizing relaxation helps to calm your body by thinking of a place that makes you feel at ease. For example, if you are thinking of a beach, don't simply imagine yourself sitting on a beach, but try to bring all of your senses into play. Think of the salty smell in the air, the warm humidity, the sound of the crashing waves, the feeling of the sand between your toes and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
- Muscle relaxation: In yoga, you learn to use all of your muscles and then relax them all at the end of practice. This technique is similar in vein to yoga, but can be done in a shorter amount of time. It is probably easiest to try progressive muscle relaxation while standing up, but you can also receive some benefits by sitting down. Start by tensing the muscles in your toes and feet for about five to 10 seconds. Then, slowly release these muscles for 30 seconds and do the same for the legs, hips, abdomen, lower back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and jaw.
Seeing an audiologist will help you to pin point the exact cause of your tinnitus, but these at-home remedies can make it easier for you to deal with the sound on a regular basis.
- Tinnitus, American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/tinnitus.cfm
- Adjust your Attitude about Tinnitus, I Can Live with My Tinnitus, http://www.icanlivewithmytinnitus.com/
- Tinnitus Relief, Therapy Mix Helps Ringing in Ears, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/news/20120524/tinnitus-relief-therapy-mix-helps-ringing-in-ears
- High Blood Pressure, The Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/HI00027/NSECTIONGROUP=2
- Relief for Tinntius Sufferers, Hear-It, http://www.hear-it.org/Relief-for-tinnitus-sufferers