Strategies for Coping with Tinnitus

Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.Blog-post, Hearing Health, Lifestyle, Tinnitus

Strategies for Coping with Tinnitus
Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D.
Latest posts by Dr. Maria Wynens, Au.D. (see all)

If you suffer from tinnitus, you surely don’t need a definition of the issue. You are well aware of its annoying, aggravating and sometimes downright stressful effects. For those of you who don’t suffer from tinnitus or are unsure if you do – the symptoms include ringing or buzzing in the ears that is always present, but much more noticeable when in quiet environments such as when trying to fall asleep at night.

The exact causes of tinnitus are currently unclear, however, the ringing or buzzing is usually associated with hearing loss. At this time, there is no cure for tinnitus – however – there are options for sufferers to alleviate tinnitus related stress. At Atlanta Hearing Doctor – we care about your tinnitus relief. We’ve compiled this list of 4 coping strategies you can start right now in order to limit the exasperating effects of tinnitus.

  1. Deep breathing exercises. It is suggested that you wear loose, comfortable clothing, remove your shoes and sit or lay in a quiet and comfortable place for this exercise. Once you are comfortable, you can decided whether relaxing music will be calming or distracting to you. It is suggested that you exhale completely through your mouth (empting your lungs), then inhale for 4 seconds through your nose, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 6-8 seconds. Repeat this entire sequence for at least 20 cycles for best results.
  1. Relaxation techniques. There are many relaxation techniques available for you to try when your tinnitus is bothering you. These exercises are intended to calm you down, as well as distract your brain from your tinnitus symptoms.
    • Progressive muscle relaxation – for this technique, it is suggested you sit in a comfortable chair or lie down in bed. Once again, listening to relaxing music is an option if it will not distract you. Starting with your feet, focus on one body part at a time to completely flex and tighten. Focusing on this muscle completely, hold it for at least 8 seconds. After this time, calmly exhale while you release the muscle – imagining the pain and tightness flowing from your body. Continue up your body focusing on one muscle at a time until you reach the top of your head.
    • Guided imagery. This technique is probably one we use often, without even thinking about it. After taking some deep breaths or following the breathing routine listed above, try to imagine yourself in your “happy place”. Use all your senses to really transport yourself there. Feel the ocean air on your cheeks, smell your grandmother’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven, taste the strawberry ice cream from your childhood. Imagine this in as much detail as possible. It may also be helpful to play music that reminds you of this time or place to help you with your visualization.
    • Stress management techniques.In general, it has been found that tinnitus is worse when we are stressed out. Learning how to positively manage stressors in your day-to-day lives may, in turn, lessen your tinnitus symptoms. Some stress management strategies could include asking yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”, usually, it’s not as bad as we initially think. Another technique includes focusing on all the things that are going right in the day in stressful moments. These can include very small victories such as, “my car smells clean today”, or “I already completed two things on my to-do list”.
  1. Sound or music therapy. Sound and music therapy sound a lot more complicated than they are. What this simply means is playing music in the background will often distract you from and even mask the noises of your tinnitus. Sound therapies can include music or simply peaceful noises such as crickets or the sound of ocean waves crashing. There are many websites and apps that can play this type of sound for many hours, so you won’t even have to think about it.
  1. Hearing aids with tinnitus therapies. There are also many hearing aids that include embedded tinnitus therapies to help tinnitus sufferers who are treating their hearing loss with hearing aids. One example is the Widex Zen. Another viable option for those suffering from tinnitus is the Siemens Binax. For more information on tinnitus and various treatment options, visit our page dedicated to tinnitus here.