Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is unfortunately very difficult to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to identify a cure, a great deal about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.
If you have tinnitus, it’s vital to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is sometimes a manifestation of an underlying condition that requires medical assistance. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by taking care of the underlying problem.
Second, numerous tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be very effective, such as 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 endure in spite of the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to lessen the severity of symptoms.
Below are 10 things you can do to manage your tinnitus.
1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – each instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s critical to maintain a written record to identify specific triggers, which can be certain kinds of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are several different medications that can make tinnitus worse.
2. Quit 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 develop some form of hearing loss as compared to non-smokers.
3. Reduce consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – while some studies have challenged the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should track the effects yourself. The same thing goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no conclusive studies that show a clear connection, but it’s worth monitoring.
4. Use masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more noticeable and irritating when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or buying 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 chronic tinnitus—see to it that you use ear protection at loud events.
6. Try meditation – outcomes will vary, but some people 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 – alleviating your stress and elevating your mood can help diminish the severity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any other activity that calms your nerves.
8. Get more and better sleep – sleep deficiency is a known trigger for making tinnitus worse, which then makes it more challenging to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To guarantee that you get plenty 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 lower stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.
10. Join a support group – by signing up with a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping strategies from other people who suffer from the same symptoms.
What have you discovered to be the most effective method of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.