Tinnitus is unfortunately rather difficult to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to discover a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain little-known.
If you have tinnitus, it’s critical to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is sometimes an indication of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by dealing with the underlying problem.
Second, several tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be highly 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 linger in spite of the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Here are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.
1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – each case of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to maintain a written record to uncover specific triggers, which can be particular 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 restricts blood flow, both of which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to develop some form of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.
3. Reduce intake of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – while some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should observe the effects yourself. The same thing goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no conclusive studies that show a clear link, but it’s worth monitoring.
4. Use masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more perceptible 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 transient and the result of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To prevent further injury—and persistent tinnitus—make certain to use ear protection at loud events.
6. Try meditation – outcomes will vary, but some individuals have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
7. Find ways to relax – reducing your stress and revitalizing your mood can help diminish the severity of tinnitus. Try meditation, yoga, or any activity that calms your nerves.
8. Get more and better sleep – sleep deficiency is a recognized trigger for making tinnitus worse, which then makes it harder to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To ensure that you get sufficient sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.
9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois found that exercise may contribute to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also reduce 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 others who suffer from the same symptoms.
What have you found to be the most reliable technique of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.