How to manage tinnitus
The first part of tinnitus management is not to panic. It is always advisable to consult your GP, who can refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor, or Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus.
It may be a simple case of a build-up of wax, but they will be able to ensure there is no evidence of an infection or an underlying ear condition which needs treatment first. You may find that your GP may not have a lot of information with regards to tinnitus, but the important part is that they refer you on to specialists who do.
You may find that some clinicians will tell you “there is nothing you can do about tinnitus, just get used to it”. This statement is wrong. There are various therapies and treatments that can help you manage your tinnitus and reduce its impact on your life.
You might find it helpful to try managing your tinnitus yourself, either before or during treatment.
Ways to manage tinnitus
1. Learn to relax
Sometimes worrying about tinnitus can make it more noticeable, so learning to relax can help provide relief. Slowing down the rate of breathing and relaxing your muscles are examples of simple relaxation exercises you can try.
2. Avoid silence
Increasing the ambient noise can help you stop focusing on your tinnitus. Some people find playing background music or other regular sound can be beneficial.
3. Protect your hearing but avoid overuse of earplugs
Protect your hearing when you are in a particularly noisy environment. However, do not be tempted to wear earplugs away from these situations.
4. Keep active
It is important to try to keep active and involved in your usual activities or hobbies as this can help to take your focus away from your tinnitus.
5. Keep healthy
Obviously, being as healthy as possible is good for your general well being. If you find certain foods or drinks or activities seem to aggravate your tinnitus, consider reducing them. There are several therapies available now which have been shown to provide long-term and consistent relief from tinnitus. You should seek help from a tinnitus specialist who may be able to provide one of these therapies or help you choose a hearing device which can provide relief from tinnitus.
Tips from Hearing Link Services’ volunteers
|Relax, relax and relax some more||“My tinnitus gets worse with stress or illness, so it is very important to take time to rest and de-stress.”|
|Exercise||“It’s a great way to de-stress. I recommend Tai Chi in particular, because it helps you focus on the movements you make, your breathing and body space. With a little practice, I find it is possible to zone out the ringing in my ears.”|
|Get busy with something else||“Transfer your mind to a project or activity that requires you to think about something else. Stop allowing the tinnitus to control your every thought. Concentrate outside of the noise instead.”|
|Avoid loud music||“Wear ear plugs if you go to loud venues or concerts. Protect your ears at all times!”|
|Go white||“Listen to something soothing, such as ‘white noise’ to help you to balance the tinnitus and therefore change how it sounds to something much more acceptable.”|
|Sing along!||“Turn your tinnitus into something more pleasant and tolerable by matching it to a song, Imagine it is your favourite piece of classical music.”|
|Go with the flow||“Sometimes I hear choral music, which I try to relax and enjoy. I visualise a peaceful place and give it time to disappear.”|
Webpage updated: November 2022
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