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If you’re among the millions of Americans who experience tinnitus regularly, you know what a distraction is can be. A constant ringing, buzzing or hissing in your ear makes it hard to concentrate and stay focused, derailing your thoughts and provoking anxiety. Unfortunately, most tinnitus is caused by damage to the auditory system that can’t be undone. There are, however, a growing range of treatment options that can help you effectively manage your tinnitus, pushing intrusive sounds to the background so you can focus on what’s truly important in your life.
Meditation is gaining traction as part of a tinnitus management plan. The ability of guided meditation and mindfulness meditation to observe the body and control negative feelings has recently gained scientific support and evidence is growing around meditation’s positive effects. For people with tinnitus, meditation can become a powerful tool for transforming how they handle the discomfort of intrusive sounds.
Controlling tinnitus has been a concern for countless people coping with the condition. Tinnitus can sound like many things – it can be hissing, ringing, static-like, tonal, buzzing or wave-like amongst other sound forms. Because tinnitus is usually based in a malfunctioning of the tiny hair cells we use to hear, it cannot be physically repaired and can only be managed.
Many tinnitus therapies have depended heavily on using other neutral sound patterns to push tinnitus noise to the background and make it less distracting. White noise generators have been especially helpful in letting people with tinnitus regain their concentration. Some noise generators exist as a stand-alone machine, but with the advent of smartphones and mobile technology, many fully-customizable sound generators have become available as apps.
Hearing aid manufacturers have also taken note and many offer the option to incorporate tinnitus-reduction therapies into hearing aids. Some offer accompanying apps where you can design a white noise palette that can then stream directly to your hearing aids. Tinnitus can be especially bothersome when significant hearing loss is present, since normal hearing is muted and dampened, tinnitus sounds can seem extra loud and more difficult to overcome.
Using Meditation to Combat Tinnitus
Tinnitus makes healthy hearing difficult. It can make hearing challenging especially if someone is already dealing with significant hearing loss. While white noise is an effective treatment, tinnitus is also helped by added care that deals with its psychological effects. Part of the anxiety that tinnitus produces is raised by the mind’s inability to push it aside – the “don’t think of an elephant” effect, where the intrusive sound becomes a fixation.
Guided meditation has shown success in leading a person’s focus and concentration away from tinnitus sound. Guided meditation programs are now being designed specifically for tinnitus control, designed to suppress tinnitus’ influence on the mind. Some research has also found that people meditating with tinnitus benefit from leaving their eyes open during meditation. Having visual stimuli while meditating can help reduce the dominance of auditory sensations.
Mindfulness meditation is based on doing slow sensory scanning of the body and its sensations. It focuses on paying attention to the small feelings in the body and observing them without responding to them. Mindfulness techniques may take some practice but have been shown to help neutralize the dominance of tinnitus over focus.
Study after study have been finding widespread medical benefits that come from regular meditation practice. Meditation is now being pursued as a wellness strategy for helping with many diseases and disorders including depression and addiction. Specifically related to tinnitus, one Welsh study found that pairing mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy improved tinnitus for 80% of participants after 6 months.
Studies into a Mindfulness-Based Tinnitus Stress Reduction Therapy have been showing similar promise, with participants having better focus and self-esteem, sleeping better and showing less anxiety and depression. One major hurdle meditation has been shown to help people overcome is the idea that they will never be able to manage their tinnitus or be free of its frustrations. Meditation strengthens the ability to concentrate and control focus, as well as de-prioritize tinnitus sounds.
Atlanta Hearing Doctor
If you suffer from tinnitus or have other hearing issues, Atlanta Hearing Doctor can help. We specialize in patient-focused audiological care and connecting you with hearing solutions that work. Conveniently located and offering the best hearing health care in Atlanta, it’s time to set up an appointment with Atlanta Hearing Doctor today!