Many tinnitus sufferers report being dissatisfied with their attempts at receiving help from healthcare professionals. If you suffer with bothersome tinnitus, you may have been told to ‘just live with it’. For many people, coping with the constant annoyance may seem like an impossible feat. However, this is simply not true! There are many effective tinnitus management options available that you can try. This blog will cover the different science-backed options available that can help with managing your tinnitus.
Research shows that stress has a big impact on tinnitus distress. While the causal pathway between tinnitus and stress is not clear, it is well known that tinnitus and stress often go hand-in-hand. For example, a recent study showed that during the COVID pandemic, tinnitus distress has increased for many sufferers. Tinnitus sufferers reported that the social and emotional effects of the pandemic (like isolation, depression and anxiety) impacted their tinnitus for the worse! Other research has shown that stress is very common among tinnitus sufferers. Now is a better time than ever to get your stress under control.
Introducing small habits to reduce stress and improve your well-being may help you to better manage your tinnitus. Prioritising stress management will also allow you to reap the benefits of an improved quality of life, too! Below are some ideas you can try out.
Deep breathing techniques are a great way of managing our stress state. Deep breathing helps to trigger our body's natural soothe system, slow our heart rate and reduce our blood pressure. This helps us combat the effects of stress hormones in our body, bringing about a peaceful sense of calm. We recommend trying out the 3-6-5 breathing method. Attempt to breathe (one full breath in and out) just 6 times per minute. Aim to complete this method 3 times a day, for 5 minutes at a time.
Try it out and notice how you feel!
There is no doubt that achieving a good night's sleep is tough for tinnitus sufferers. The silence while lying in bed at night can certainly make the sound hard to ignore or tune out. However, it's important to prioritise improving sleep, as it's vital to our health and wellbeing, which in turn equips us to better combat tinnitus. Poor sleep is associated with poorer cardiac health and higher rates of mental illness. We know that good sleep brings many positive benefits such as: improved concentration and productivity, supported immune function and better emotional wellbeing. Visit our blog on sleep to find out more.
If you're struggling with the annoyance of your tinnitus, it can be helpful to avoid being in total silence. This can prevent intense focus on your tinnitus, which drives a negative cycle of reacting to the tinnitus and perceiving it as worse. Having distracting sounds playing in the background can be a welcome distraction for your mind. Helpful sounds that act as tinnitus maskers might include white noise, music or nature sounds.
Read our blog on [Sound Therapy](https://www.hearingpower.co/learn/sound-therapy-and-tinnitus) for more information.
Damage to the auditory system in the form of sensorineural hearing loss is one of the leading causes of tinnitus, and arises from damage to the inner ear. This means that most people who suffer with tinnitus have some hearing loss. Hearing aids are a great option for people have a combination of hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing aids can help to improve a person's ability to hear the important things around them, while also having the added effect of masking out the tinnitus sound. Because hearing aids amplify environmental sounds, the sound of your tinnitus can be drowned out! If you think you may be affected by a hearing loss, visit your local audiology clinic. An audiologist will complete a hearing test, and advise you about your options.
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) works by teaching you how to habituate (become used to) tinnitus. TRT also teachers you how to get better at dealing with the unpleasant emotions that can be triggered by tinnitus.
Much of our difficulty with tinnitus stems from how we react to it. This includes our thoughts about our tinnitus, as well as our feelings and behaviours. For example, if we constantly think "my tinnitus is terrible, I can't stand it", we will get caught up in a vicious cycle of negativity. The thought will drive us to feel more stressed, anxious and upset, and therefore our tinnitus can be perceived as worse. Counselling can help us to manage our perception of tinnitus.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a scientifically-backed effective management option for the treatment of tinnitus. It works by teaching you strategies to challenge unhelpful thoughts about tinnitus, and replacing them with more rationale and helpful thoughts. Research suggests that CBT is effective for improving the quality of life for tinnitus sufferers, and can help reduce anxiety and stress.
Private CBT from a trained professional can be difficult to access and afford. That’s where Tinnibot comes in! Tinnibot is an affordable chatbot tool that delivers cognitive behavioural therapy for tinnitus via an easily downloadable app. Tinnibot teaches you about your tinnitus and ways you can better manage your reaction to it.