Tinnitus is the sensation of ringing, hissing, buzzing or whistling in the ear with no external sound source. Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. experience tinnitus. For some, it is a mild nuisance, but for others, it is debilitating. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus; however, there are treatment options and lifestyle modifications to help manage it.
Turn on Background Noise
Tinnitus is most noticeable during quiet activities when there is nothing to drown out the phantom noises. Try playing music, an audiobook or a TV show as background noise. Even if you’re not actively listening or paying attention, your brain will have a distraction from the tinnitus. The same effect can be achieved with a white noise machine or fan if tinnitus is bothersome when you’re trying to sleep.
One major trigger for many people’s tinnitus is stress. When tinnitus is severe, this can cause even more stress, and many find themselves caught in the stress-tinnitus loop. Take extra care to practice mindfulness – such as meditation and breathing exercises – and self-care in whatever form works best for you during stressful or turbulent times.
Change Your Diet
Some people’s tinnitus is triggered by consuming sodium, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine. If you notice your tinnitus worsen after a meal, snack or smoke break, try to reduce or eliminate the substance from your diet. It may be helpful to keep a log of all your meals and times you experience tinnitus so you know what to cut out.
There are many types of therapies to help relieve tinnitus symptoms. Sound therapy uses masking to drown out tinnitus with a hearing aid-like device, and habituation uses sound in combination with behavioral therapy to retrain the brain to ignore tinnitus.
Behavioral therapy is also helpful for many. The purpose is to target your emotional reaction to tinnitus and eliminate negative responses like anger, anxiety or depression. Types of behavioral therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), tinnitus activities treatment (TAT), progressive tinnitus management (PTM) and tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT).
To talk to a provider about tinnitus management options, call the experts at Evergreen Speech & Hearing Inc today!