Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is regrettably very challenging to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to discover a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.
If you have tinnitus, it’s vital to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is occasionally an indication of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by addressing the underlying problem.
Second, numerous tinnitus therapies are currently available that have proven to be particularly effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adapt to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in many cases.
With that being said, some cases of tinnitus linger despite the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to minimize the severity of symptoms.
Here are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.
1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – each instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to maintain a written log to identify specific triggers, which can be particular types of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are quite a few medications that can make tinnitus worse.
2. Stop smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restrains blood flow, both of which can make tinnitus worse. Studies also show that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some type of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.
3. Minimize intake of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should monitor the effects yourself. The same thing goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no conclusive studies that demonstrate a clear connection, but it’s worth monitoring.
4. Use masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more conspicuous and uncomfortable when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or investing in a white-noise machine.
5. Use hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are temporary and the result of short-term exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To avoid further injury—and persistent tinnitus—see to it that you use ear protection at loud events.
6. Try meditation – outcomes might vary, but some individuals have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be highly effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
7. Find ways to relax and unwind – easing your stress and improving your mood can help minimize the intensity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any other activity that calms your nerves.
8. Get more and better sleep – sleep deficiency is a recognized trigger for making tinnitus worse, which subsequently makes it harder to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To guarantee that you get a sufficient amount of sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.
9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois found that exercise may lead to lower tinnitus intensity. Exercise can also reduce stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.
10. Join a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping strategies from others suffering from the same symptoms.
What have you discovered to be the most effective method of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.