Can tinnitus be treated?
Although there is not full treatment for tinnitus there are a lot of different things you can do to help the symptoms. Below are somethings that can help.
Talking about your tinnitus
Quite often you may find that people around you just don’t understand, so this can be a great way for you to let them know what tinnitus is and how it affects you. This may also help you, as they may be able to really get to know what you are going through. It can ultimately help bring your anxiety levels down just by having a good conversation with someone that really understands.
If you feel talking to people close to you may not work you could think about meeting people who also have tinnitus. You can find lots of Tinnitus Support Groups around the country. This can help you pick up tips from others, but you can give as well as gain support simply by sharing your story with people who understand, and they will because they are going through it themselves.
Being anxious and sometimes afraid when you first encounter tinnitus is completely normal, this however, can make the tinnitus worse as explained on the tinnitus page. Studies show just by trying to relax yourself a bit more, you could see and feel your stress levels decrease and in turn notice your tinnitus less. Working towards relaxing more is probably one of the most useful things you can do to help yourself.
There are a lot of wax you can relax one that is often helpful to us, is, finding somewhere peaceful using some calming music and slowing our breathing, there are a lot of techniques you can find online. Once you are relaxed you will find you can manage your tinnitus better and will often result in you not being able to hear the tinnitus as much.
Has this helped you? Let us know.
Using a Hearing Aid with Tinnitus
When there is a deterioration in your hearing it is often a gradual process, and a lot of people quite often surprised when they are told that their hearing has deteriorated. If you have hearing loss, it is always recommended to use a hearing aid, but it does not only help your deterioration of your hearing, it can and normally lessens the affect of tinnitus. This is because the hearing aids are helping to restore your hearing and the extra sound will normally overshadow the tinnitus.
If you do not have a hearing loss, you can find that using background sound this same affect can happen. E.g. while trying to get to sleep at night, the tinnitus will normally be more noticeable. So, try using soft calming noises at night to take away from the tinnitus at night. This may help in the long run with how you are sleeping.
People who have tinnitus will quite often find they might have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Understandably we need sleep not only for the restoration of our joints, muscles and organs but also to help with keeping our mind relaxed.
If we allow ourselves to worry or stress about the tinnitus, it can stop you from getting a full restful sleep. This worrying about how much sleep you’re getting or not getting as the case may be can be detrimental, ultimately it will stop us from sleeping it will cause our stress and anxiety levels to increase and then can become a vicious cycle. However, most people with tinnitus sleep well and their tinnitus is usually no different to those people who don’t sleep well. In order to help with sleeping if this is an issue, try some of the things we have already spoken about like the relaxation and use of sound at night. If, this is not the case and you feel you have tried but it has not helped we would advise seeking medical advice.
More Tinnitus Support
Sometimes particularly if the tinnitus is very distressing you should be referred to a specialist tinnitus clinic. You will be given a lot more formal and structured ways of managing your tinnitus. Most tinnitus management clinics will use a combination of approaches. If you read on you will gain a relatively basic insight to each.
(CBT) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or better known as CBT a psychological approach that tends to be the most successful when managing tinnitus. The principle of CBT is you find an awareness of your tinnitus, and if in the past you have responded badly or negatively to it. E.g. you thought you had a severe issue with your hearing and because of this belief, it has led to the emotion of being anxious or stressed. From being stressed and anxious you have tried to make yourself feel better by physically avoiding quiet place which is a change in your behaviour. In this case avoiding quiet can be seen as negative which the CBT will help you to identify. On the other side some behaviours are good, and CBT will teach you to embrace these positive steps overall helping reduce the tinnitus.
(TRT) Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
TRT essentially is a very structured approach way of managing tinnitus. The science behind TRT assumes that your brain has prioritised the tinnitus as a more important signal than some other sounds. The way in which they use TRT is by producing sound at a precise level to reorder the priority in the brain so it knocks the tinnitus to the back of your mind and eventually stopping it from being heard at all. They have based this on the idea that we can get use to sounds for example if you were to live under a flight path or by the train lines, you will notice the planes or trains going past to begin with but after a bit of time your brain will start to ignore these sounds as they will be considered non-threatening to us. So, the idea is, if we can de-prioritise these sounds there should be no reason, we cannot do this with tinnitus. During TRT they will be using a combination of counselling and noise generators to retrain your brain. This process is called habituation. You will find a lot of practices will vary slightly as there is not strict procedure, this is due to the lack of evidence showing how effective it is. You can find some studies that show a very good result and some with very bad results but these are of such a small sample size that none can really be called conclusive.
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Mindfulness is more of a meditation technique, it is used more frequently for pain management, and recently it has been started to be used for tinnitus. Simply put we tend to resist unpleasant sensation for example pain and tinnitus. Instead of resisting the unpleasant feelings and start to push more into it allowing that unpleasant sensation to happen, it will alter the way we feel about it for example a gym goer will normally ache after a gym session but is not put off from going because they can see and feel the benefits after. This ultimately aims to alter your awareness to include more sensations. If this is managed effectively you will start to notice that the tinnitus becoming less dominate because your attention will be shifted away from it and hopefully creating a space which you will be able to live in without the fear and anxiety of tinnitus.
Take care of your hearing
Take care of your hearing! Prolonged and frequent exposure to very loud noise will increase the risk of you getting tinnitus, or of making the tinnitus worse. Make sure if you know you are going to be working in or just around very loud noise including some gardening equipment to wear proper ear protection, this does not mean using a bit of cotton wool stuffed in your ear when using power tools or when you are shooting. Have a look at our ear protection page to find out more as its not just industrial noise you should protect against it is also important if you play live music for example in a band or orchestra. However, ear protection should not be used in everyday sounds even if they are uncomfortable read below if you do to find out a little about hyperacusis. If you do wear earplugs for this reason you could be inadvertently making the hyperacusis worse.
What is Hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis is something you’ve probably not heard before; a very basic explanation is that you have an increased sensitivity to sound. You will normally find yourself hearing everyday sound that you interpret as being uncomfortable. If this is something you are finding you may have hyperacusis. Understandably you may think it is normal to try and block out as much sound as you can as they can agitate a lot, we would advise to try not to do this as it can cause the hyperacusis to become worse. This is particularly difficult to treat quickly so we recommend seeking medical advice from a GP or ENT they should be able to give you some management choices the most common being something involving sound in a controlled manner which should be able to improve the hyperacusis.