How To Clear Up Tinnitus Symptoms By Clearing Your Mind
Now that you know how excessive stress and its byproducts can cause tinnitus in some people, it should be easy to recognize that reducing stress levels can significantly reduce tinnitus symptoms. Depending on the severity of your tinnitus, you may find that your symptoms disappear or are at least greatly reduced by lowering stress-induced blood pressure and adrenaline production.
However, a question remains: why are some people able to manage stress more effectively, while others struggle to bring their thoughts and feelings under control? You may think that some people simply have less stress in their lives, but unfortunately, those people are not that lucky. In most cases, either through upbringing or learning later in life, theyve learned the secret to clearing their minds and managing stress. Its a valuable tool to learn, and the good news is that anybody can learn how to manage stress.
One of the most effective ways to manage stress is through meditation. Meditation is a mindfulness exercise that can help clear a cluttered mind, and as noted above, has been shown to significantly help people who suffer from tinnitus.
When To See Your Doctor
Tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious medical condition. Talk to your primary care doctor if you are unable to sleep, work, or hear normally. Your doctor will probably examine your ears and then provide you with a referral to an audiologist and otolaryngologist.
However, if you are experiencing facial paralysis, sudden hearing loss, foul-smelling drainage, or a pulsating sound in sync with your heartbeat, you should go to your local emergency department.
Tinnitus can be extremely distressing for some people. If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, you should go to the emergency room right away.
A Tinnitus Tracker Is Essential
Keeping track of possible triggers in a daily journal is always helpful. If you can identify triggers, you can eliminate these factors with lifestyle changes, and that can smooth out the up and down emotional rollercoaster ride.
But even if you take meticulous notes on all aspects of your diet, lifestyle, and environment, you still may not ever be able to find a pattern. The math equation for tinnitus spikes often just has too many variables to consider. And trying to figure it all out can just end up being another source of frustration and anxiety.
Luckily, identifying tinnitus triggers is not necessary for coping, or even for habituation to occur. If you never figure out what causes your tinnitus to spike, you can still find lasting relief from your tinnitus.
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The Link Between Stress And Tinnitus
Research shows that stress can be a trigger for tinnitus, or make it worse. And some people, though not all, find that tinnitus makes them feel stressed and anxious.
So you may find yourself in a cycle: stress makes your tinnitus worse, which in turn makes you feel more stressed or anxious. The coronavirus pandemic is having an effect on almost every aspect of our lives, and many of us have found day-to-day life more stressful.
The good news is that help is available, and there are things you can try to help reduce stress and manage tinnitus.
Finding Confidence In Your Ability To Cope
Its not just a short-term strategy, either. This kind of self-confidence is also important for living well with tinnitus over a lifetime because life happens, and we cant always protect ourselves. Even after successful habituation, where tinnitus no longer impacts your quality of life, future spikes are always possible.
You never know when youll be hit by a loud sound you werent protected against. Traumatic events, illness, medication side effects, and injury can all cause tinnitus spikes, too.
When this happens, its possible to have a tinnitus relapse where you fall out of habituation, and the vicious cycle starts to ramp back up again.
But if you have confidence in your ability to cope with spikes, and you can catch yourself quickly when they first occur, you can prevent panic, focus on coping, and remain habituated when its over.
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Could You Have Tinnitus
How do you know if you have it? Your doctor will make the final call, but you can ask yourself these questions.
Do you hear a noise that people around you don’t hear? When you have tinnitus, you’re the only one who notices the ringing, buzzing, or other noise. Other people don’t.
Do you take medication? More than 200 drugs can cause tinnitus, especially when you start or stop taking them. These include pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen, as well as certain antibiotics, diuretics, aspirin, and chemotherapy medicines.
The form that tinnitus takes can vary, depending on the drug and its dose. Don’t stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.
Are you around loud sounds? Lots of blaring noises where you live or work can cause hearing loss that triggers tinnitus. Those sounds could include roaring machines, lawn equipment, concerts, and sporting events.
Tinnitus can build up over the years or stem from a single loud event, like an engine backfire. Stay away from loud noises if you can. If you can’t, wear ear protection. And turn that music down.
Do you have a cold or ear infection? Congestion, along with ear and sinus infections, can cause pressure to build up in your inner ear. The same thing can happen if you have too much ear wax. That pressure can cause tinnitus.
Treating the cause should ease your symptoms. But long-term blockage sometimes leads to having the hearing condition permanently.
Stress Induced Tinnitus Exacerbations
Studies have also shown that stress can make tinnitus worse. Once again, it’s not always clear whether tinnitus simply is more noticeable, or if the noise has actually become louder, but there is a great deal of evidence that stress affects the tinnitus experience. Since anxiety is essentially persistent stress, it stands to reason that those with anxiety and tinnitus would be more likely to experience a worsening of the symptoms.
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Factors That Contribute To Insomnia For A Person With Tinnitus
Sleep disturbance usually involves a combination of:
- health problems for example, arthritis, migraines or asthma
- psychological factors for example, stress or emotional crisis
- drug use for example, alcohol or sleeping medication
- disturbing environments for example, an uncomfortable bed or intrusive lighting
- conditioning for example, the more you associate bed with struggling to get to sleep, the harder it is to relax there.
To successfully improve your sleep patterns, you will need to look at all the contributing factors.Research has shown that relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, biofeedback and progressive relaxation, can work well. Experiment and find the technique that works for you. You might like to try a regular relaxation class or use a self-help relaxation app.It may also help if you:
- try and get up at the same time every day
- reserve your bed for sleeping avoid arguments or serious discussions in bed
- avoid naps during the day
- experiment with low-intensity background noises in the bedroom, for example, leave the radio playing softly or play tape recordings of ocean surf.
- tea, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks
Regular exercise helps you to cope better with stress and reduce fatigue, both of which can make sleeping more difficult or disturbed.
First Stages Of Relief:
Now the question is, What are the various stages of habituation, and what you can expect to experience along the way?
Lets start with the worst possible case of suffering a person whose tinnitus is extremely loud, extremely bothersome, and causing terrible anxiety, panic, and emotional chaos.
Its a difficult existence, and I know that many you are experiencing this right now. In severe cases of tinnitus, the person is essentially in a constant state of crisis, affecting every aspect of their daily life.
For someone suffering this much, the first sign of progress occurs when they cross over what I refer to as the crisis point. In other words, they have improved to the point at which they are no longer in a constant state of crisis. Think of this as the first mile marker on the path to habituation.
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Beware Of False Claims Of Cures That Are Not Realistic
Be aware that many scams are claiming to cure tinnitus. It would be great if eating certain foods or taking a concoction of herbs could heal tinnitus. But this isnt reality. Dont fall for these claims. As challenging as it is to cope with living with tinnitus, spending vast amounts of money on fake remedies will only make you feel worse.
Surprising Facts About Tinnitus
To date, tinnitus continues to be one of the most common otologic problems with agonizing and debilitating physical effects. Tinnitus is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sounds in your ears when no external sound is present.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus. Even more surprising, only approximately 12 million actually seek medical help. With this information, it is our hope to shed some light on some of the facts and symptoms surrounding this common hearing disorder we know as tinnitus.
Before we start it is important to note that tinnitus is not derived from one cause. Unfortunately, there are numerous causes that lead to tinnitus including, but not limited to, excessive noise exposure, head and neck injury, ear infection and most surprising stress! According to the website, RestoredHearing.com, many people who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety disorder, depression, or high-stress levels are prone to ear ringing caused by tinnitus.
Although tinnitus is more common among seniors, it is often found in people of all ages, including children. Because of this shocking information, raising awareness surrounding the facts and prevention of tinnitus is important to spread for all ages.
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Tinnitus Cure May Lie In The Brain
Scientists were able to eliminate tinnitus a persistent ringing in the ears in rats by stimulating a nerve in the neck while playing a variety of sound tones over an extended period of time. The finding gives hope for a future tinnitus cure in humans.
Tinnitus usually comes in the form of a high-pitched tone in one or both ears, but can also sound like a clicking, roaring or whooshing sound. While tinnitus isn’t fully understood, it is known to be a sign that something is wrong in the auditory system: the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, or the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus, but it can also arise from a number of health conditions. For example, when sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged from loud noise, the resulting hearing loss changes some of the signals in the brain to cause tinnitus.
There’s no known cure for tinnitus. Current treatments generally involve masking the sound or learning to ignore it. A research team led by Dr. Michael Kilgard at the University of Texas at Dallas and Dr. Navzer Engineer at MicroTransponder, Inc. set out to see if they could develop a way to reverse tinnitus by essentially resetting the brain’s auditory system. Their work was funded in part by NIHs National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders .
Early Stages Of Tinnitus
When you first learn you have tinnitus:
- consult your doctor, an audiologist or an ear, nose and throat specialist to check that you do not have an underlying medical condition
- learn all you can about tinnitus
- accept that you have tinnitus once you have done this, you are halfway to mastering it
- understand that you may be depressed and tired in the early stages, but that this will pass as you learn to manage the condition.
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Modified Or Customized Sound Machines
Standard masking devices help to mask the sound of tinnitus while you are using them, but they have no long-lasting effects. Modern medical-grade devices use customized sounds tailored specifically to your tinnitus. Unlike regular sound machines, these devices are only worn intermittently. You may experience benefits long after the device is turned off, and over time, you may experience long-term improvement in the perceived loudness of your tinnitus.
A 2017 study published in the , found that customized sound decreases the loudness of tinnitus and may be superior to broadband noise.
Treating Dysfunctions And Obstructions
According to the American Tinnitus Association, most cases of tinnitus are caused by hearing loss. Occasionally though, tinnitus is caused by an irritation to the auditory system. Tinnitus can sometimes be a symptom of a problem with the temporomandibular joint . If your tinnitus is caused by TMJ, then a dental procedure or realignment of your bite may alleviate the problem.
Tinnitus can also be a sign of excess earwax. Removal of an earwax blockage may be enough to make mild cases of tinnitus disappear. Foreign objects lodged against the eardrum can also cause tinnitus. An ear, nose, and throat specialist can perform an exam to check for obstructions in the ear canal.
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Why Your Thoughts May Worsen Tinnitus
First of all, what is a messy mind? A messy or cluttered mind is often in a state of fight or flight. Its stressed out a significant portion of the day. It may experience negative thought patterns, racing thoughts, repetitive thoughts, trouble sleeping, and general worry about life, the future, or the past.
People with a messy mind often feel scattered, and in extreme cases, its hard for them to remember important things or even think straight. All of this mess is generally the byproduct of our hectic lives because lets face it: between family, Facebook, work, health, and the news, you probably have a lot on your mind.
Some people have learned to manage all of this busy-ness with less mess than others. Its an acquired skill that theyve been able to master, or even thrive on. But for others, dealing with the mess is a struggle. Every day presents a new challenge, and a new reason to be stressed out.
Unfortunately, all of this stress can take quite a physical toll on a persons body. The conditions most commonly associated with increased stress levels are ulcers and high blood pressure, the latter of which is directly linked to tinnitus symptoms. Thats why people who suffer from hypertension or consume large amounts of caffeine or alcohol often exhibit signs of tinnitus and hearing loss, as these factors affect the blood vessels in the inner ear.
Concentrating On Another Activity
One of the things that affects tinnitus loudness is where our attention is focused. As an intelligent species we are good at problem solving. We concentrate on a problem in order to find a solution. However, concentrating on tinnitus symptoms and ruminating over them to find a solution is unhelpful for tinnitus management. Sometimes the more we concentrate on them the more irritated we can become and tinnitus loudness increases.
Whether its reading a book, playing a game, watching a film, cooking or gardening, placing our attention elsewhere through distraction is much more beneficial than concentrating on the tinnitus.
There are, however, occasions when concentrating on tinnitus is helpful but this only as part of tinnitus retraining therapy under the care of a qualified therapist.
The reason why tinnitus might seem louder on some days than others is that we are less busy and have less to concentrate on. Tinnitus can manifest into this space and our thoughts can run away with us. Mindfully carrying out routine tasks to take our attention away from tinnitus can often provide you with the best results .
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Strategies For Managing Tinnitus
The more attention you pay to your tinnitus, the harder it is to become used to it. Try to:
- overcome your fears of tinnitus
- change your perception of it from a sound to be feared to a benign sound that cannot harm you
- keep busy focus on enjoyable and stimulating activities
- normalise your life as much as possible do not let your tinnitus stop you doing the things you enjoy
- find a way to become habituated to it. The 4 Keys Program explains this process. A DVD is available to guide you through the steps to achieve habituation.
Typical Causes Of Tinnitus
When medical professionals and subject matter experts discuss the causes of tinnitus, stress and anxiety is not usually on the list. Typical causes of tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss and hearing loss caused by damage to the ear are both believed to be causes of tinnitus.
- Head or neck injuries. Head and neck injuries, including cases of traumatic brain injury, can cause tinnitus. When the cause of the tinnitus is an injury, the sound and volume heard may vary more than other types of tinnitus.
- Certain medications. Some medications can cause tinnitus. Symptoms usually go away when the medication is discontinued.
- Blockages. Ear canal blockages, caused by ear wax, dirt, foreign objects, hair and even head congestion can cause temporary tinnitus. The sounds go away when the blockage is removed.
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