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.
How to get relief from tinnitus
Sometimes tinnitus can be resolved through treatment of the underlying cause, but often no direct reason can be found. If you're wondering how to get relief from tinnitus, the following recommendations can help.
Learn to tune tinnitus out
If you have frequent tinnitus, habituating is an important skill to learn. 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.
Here's more information on how to tune out the ringing in your ears.
Relaxation and meditation for tinnitus
Relaxation is important in two ways: First, it helps ward off tinnitus. For many people, stress is a trigger for their tinnitus, so learning some relaxation techniques can help prevent it before it starts. And when you do experience tinnitus, calming your body—and mind—is a vital tool to help keep it from affecting your entire life.
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 meditation techniques. These techniques below are best learned when your tinnitus isn't active, but they're still worth trying even if you're in the middle of a tinnitus spike.
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.
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.
Lifestyle and home remedies for tinnitus
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. It also damages your hearing, which in turn can make tinnitus more intense.
Exercise is a key way to manage stress, and is good for both your brain and body. 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.
Yoga is a great exercise for tinnitus sufferers because it incorporates meditative breathing and relaxation techniques along with a healthy workout.
Evaluate your diet
For some people, their tinnitus is helped by reducing the amount of salt they consume and incorporating healthy eating habits. For people who have Meniere's disease—which causes hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness—lowering salt may be especially helpful.
Limit caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
All three of these things affect blood flow and your overall health. For example, consuming too much coffee or soda regularly not only increases your blood pressure, it may aggravate tinnitus.
Talk to someone
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 feels overwhelming
For some people, tinnitus can have a big impact on their mental health, leading to suicidal thoughts. If you are finding yourself in this position, our article on suicide and tinnitus offers tips to help you through the immediate crisis.
Medical treatments for tinnitus
If you've tried the recommendations above and are still struggling with tinnitus, our page on tinnitus diagnosis and treatment provides guidance on what it's like to see a medical or hearing care professional for persistent or severe tinnitus. It also goes over masking devices and behavioral and sound therapy options.
Many people find relief from simply getting a pair of hearing aids, especially if hearing loss is a contributing factor.