For many people who experience tinnitus, a buzzing, hissing or ringing sound in the ears is something they experience all the time. This constant soundtrack is impossible to escape and it can make everyday activities and daily life more difficult. Sometimes tinnitus can be resolved through treatment of the underlying cause, but often no direct cause can be found.
How do I find relief from tinnitus?
If standard tinnitus treatment, such as masking tools, don't work for you, other relief strategies can help. For most people, a combination of habituation techniques, relaxation methods, and smart self-care can greatly improve their quality of life.
Habituation for tinnitus
Some tinnitus sufferers say that learning to habituate tinnitus, or ignore it, is one of the best ways to find relief. How you learn to habituate can vary, but it's all about breaking the stress cycle that occurs when you experience a flare-up in tinnitus:
In some cases, all you need to do is briefly refocus your attention on something else to find relief from your tinnitus, which can often be achieved by regularly practicing relaxation techniques. 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:
- Autogenic relaxation: Think of a phrase or saying that relaxes your mind and helps you to imagine a peaceful place, and simply repeat it in your head. While doing this, try to sit in a comfortable position and slowly breathe in and out.
- Visualization: Similar to autogenic relaxation, visualization 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.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: It is probably easiest to try progressive muscle relaxation while standing up, but you can also receive some benefits when 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.
Take good care of yourself
Since your health could be contributing to the ringing in your ears, these extra measures to improve your overall wellness are recommended. Managing stress is vital.
1. Wear hearing protection
If you're working around loud machinery, going hunting or dancing near speakers at a live concert, don't forget to wear foam earplugs or earmuffs so your tinnitus doesn't get worse. Noise exposure can trigger tinnitus for some people.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. And, if your tinnitus is related to high blood pressure, increasing your activity level can help get your blood pressure under better control and reduce tinnitus.
3. Evaluate your diet
For some people, their tinnitus is helped by reducing the amount of salt they consume and incorporating healthy eating habits. You should also limit your consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
4. Limit caffeine
Consuming too much coffee or soda regularly not only increases your blood pressure, it may aggravate tinnitus.
5. See a therapist
Tinnitus can impact your mental health and your relationships. Exploring coping techniques with a therapist can help you get a handle on any out-of-control feelings. If your tinnitus is leading to suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Have you seen a hearing care professional?
Seeing a hearing healthcare professional who specializes in tinnitus diagnosis may help you uncover the causes and identify possible treatments for your tinnitus. Many people find relief from simply getting a pair of hearing aids. Regardless of the treatment prescribed for you, these tips for tinnitus relief may be useful as you deal with the unwanted sounds on a daily basis.
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