Tinnitus is constant, abnormal ear noise when there is no corresponding external sound present. Most sufferers of tinnitus describe the noise as a ‘ringing’ sound, but this can vary from person to person. This relatively common condition will affect around 18% of Australians at some point in their lives.
For people with tinnitus, the constant ringing can be a source of frustration, pain and even depression. Sleep patterns are interrupted, conversations become harder to follow and it can seem impossible to find peace and quiet.
If you think you might have tinnitus, the first step to take is to see a hearing specialist, who will advise you of your treatment options. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for tinnitus, but it can be managed. If you would like to book an appointment with a Connect Hearing clinician, click here.
In the meantime, here are ten simple steps you can take to cope with your tinnitus. These tips are not a substitute for professional advice, and should be used in conjunction with professional treatment.
- Talk to your family and friends. Having the support of others can make a world of difference when you are struggling. Approach people who you are comfortable confiding in, and explain to them what you are going through.
- Avoid stress. Researchers have found a strong link between stress and tinnitus. Dealing with illness, grief, exams or divorce can trigger tinnitus, or even make it worse. Where possible, avoid situations that can cause tension and anxiety.
- Learn relaxation techniques. Meditate, breathe deeply and be present in the moment instead of rushing everywhere. Have you ever practiced yoga? Now might be the time to start!
- Avoid caffeine. Stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco and alcohol can temporarily worsen tinnitus for some people.
- Protect your ears. Prevent further damage to your hearing by avoiding loud music and noisy situations. Do not use headphones or ear buds to listen to music, and if you work in a noisy workplace, use earplugs.
- Don’t give up on a prescribed treatment if it doesn’t work right away. Some treatments can take time to have a positive effect, so be patient!
- Try distracting yourself. Playing low background music or white noise can help neutralize the ringing of tinnitus. These ambient sounds can be particularly effective when you are trying to sleep.
- Improve your general health. Taking a ‘holistic’ approach to your health, through better diet and exercise, could help with your tinnitus.
- Move to another room. If your tinnitus is keeping you awake at night, don’t toss and turn and become frustrated. Try getting up and doing something relaxing, such as having a warm bath or a cup of herbal tea.
- Keep a positive outlook. Your attitude matters! Avoiding negative thoughts and envisioning a positive outcome instead can really help.
If you would like to discuss tinnitus treatment options with a hearing specialist, visit the Connect Hearing website.