Tinnitus: That Terrible Ringing Condition and What Can Be Done

Tinnitus: That Terrible Ringing Condition and What Can Be Done
Tinnitus, That Awful Ringing!

Managing tinnitus, a condition characterized by the perception of noise or ringing in the ears can be challenging for many. Although there's no real cure, several strategies can help minimize its impact on daily life. Here are ten comprehensive approaches:

1. Understanding and Education

The first step in managing tinnitus is understanding what it is and what it is not. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease, and it can be triggered by a variety of underlying causes, including noise-induced hearing loss, ear and sinus infections, diseases of the heart or blood vessels, Meniere's disease, brain tumors, hormonal changes in women, and thyroid abnormalities. Learning about tinnitus can alleviate many fears and misconceptions, making it easier to cope with.  Not to mention make it more bearable to live with when you understand it.

2. Medical Evaluation

First things first, consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing your tinnitus. This could include a thorough hearing test by an audiologist and a physical exam by a doctor specializing in ear disorders (an otolaryngologist). Sometimes, treating the underlying condition can diminish or even eliminate tinnitus symptoms.  Make this a first priority!

3. Sound Therapy

Sound therapy involves using external sounds to alter the patient's perception of, or reaction to, tinnitus. This can include white noise machines and specialized hearing aids when hearing loss is present. These devices can help drown out the ringing or buzzing, making it less noticeable.

4. Hearing Aids

For those whose tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss, hearing aids can be remarkably effective. By amplifying external sounds, hearing aids can make tinnitus less noticeable and improve the patient's ability to hear through the noise.  

5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps people change their reaction to tinnitus by altering negative thought patterns. It's proven to be effective in reducing distress and improving quality of life for tinnitus sufferers. CBT can help manage the emotional side of tinnitus, including anxiety and depression.  When in doubt, try it.

6. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Stress can exacerbate tinnitus, so incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation can be beneficial. Mindfulness practices can help shift focus away from tinnitus and reduce its impact.

7. Avoidance of Triggers

For some people, certain substances or environmental factors can worsen tinnitus. Common triggers include loud noises, caffeine, nicotine, and certain medications. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help manage tinnitus symptoms.  Again, your doctor may help narrowing these external triggers down.

8. Healthy Lifestyle Choices

General health and wellness, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can have a positive effect on tinnitus management. Exercise, in particular, can reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase blood flow, all of which can help lessen the severity of tinnitus.

9. Support Groups and Counseling

Joining a support group or seeking counseling can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing tinnitus. Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others who understand can be incredibly comforting and helpful. Knowing you are not alone is a good thing, and any support can help.

10. Protect Your Ears

Finally, protecting your ears from loud noises can prevent further hearing damage and worsening of tinnitus symptoms. Use ear protection in noisy environments and keep the volume down when using headphones.  I am a Disc Jockey from the 80’s, I wore phones all the time when working, usually at full volume to hear what I was doing in a club.  I attribute my affliction to that.  (Go figure, my parents were right)

In Conclusion

While tinnitus can be a persistent and very annoying condition, the combination of understanding, medical intervention, therapeutic strategies, and lifestyle adjustments can provide some significant relief. It's important for individuals with tinnitus to consult with healthcare professionals to tailor a management plan that suits their specific needs. With patience and perseverance, tinnitus can become a manageable part of life, allowing individuals to retain their quality of life.

Dean Benson, “The Dean of Rock & Roll, SKY7music.com  middays daily on the “Only Classic Rock Channel”

Also see:  www.roadmapmogul.com  and www.deanbensonrocks.com