Tinnitus, the medical term for a ringing in the ears, is a condition with no known cure. There’s no question – chronic tinnitus can be frustrating. A persistent ringing in the ears can dominate your thoughts and detract from focus. While there isn’t a cure for tinnitus, there are ways of managing the condition to help make it less prominent in your mind. Among possible solutions, many people are turning towards meditation techniques to provide relief for their tinnitus symptoms.
There are many factors that can contribute to tinnitus, and most involve some damage or restriction in the auditory system. Tinnitus is a malfunctioning of the auditory system, triggering the brain to hear sound where no sound exists. Often these sounds are tonal or ringing, but tinnitus can also take the form of other sorts of sounds such as buzzing and clicking noises.
If you have hearing loss, the occurrence of tinnitus may be especially distracting for you. While other, actual sounds may be muffled or softer, tinnitus noise can dominate your hearing by being the clearest and prominent sound. The best course of action once you’ve recognized it is to pursue treatment that can help you manage tinnitus.
Mindfulness meditation aspires to help you recognize and accept the subtle sensations of your body and mind. There are many online resources to help you get started with mindfulness meditation, to begin you will simply need a quiet space and a comfortable sitting position.
This meditation involves sitting still and silent and allowing the sensations of the body to come and go. This means not indulging the urge to scratch an itch or shift your seating as well as not allowing your mind to fixate on any single thought. For tinnitus sufferers, the urge to try to alleviate your tinnitus through movement or introducing other sounds may seem overwhelming at first. Don’t worry- over time this meditation can allow you to rest with your tinnitus, observing it for what it is and releasing stress your body carries from tinnitus.
While it is often recommended that you meditate with your eyes closed, many people with tinnitus suggest beginning with your eyes open. Visual observation can help downplay the dominance of tinnitus sound and make you more relaxed throughout the process. By passively observing the tinnitus sounds, even surrendering to them, your body is better able to combat their intrusiveness. Many people have found that mindfulness meditation, though initially challenging, changes the role tinnitus plays in their life and helps them better manage their hearing. Organizations, such as the British Tinnitus Foundation, have even developed mindfulness programs specifically built around tinnitus management.
Another form of meditation is guided meditation where the meditation session is led by verbal guidance and soothing sounds to help you pay attention to different aspects of your life and experience. Guided meditation can be used to help focus on a certain element or goal as well as directly reinforce new thought patterns and strategies.
Many people who cope with tinnitus find solace in using guided meditation to help redirect their thoughts and focus. Guided meditation can provide more cues and reminders to help you redirect your mind from fixating on intrusive sounds or disabling thought patterns. A guided meditation path can also help your body find rest and relaxation strategies that you can carry into everyday stressful situations. Using soothing sounds to accompany your meditation may provide the most comfortable path for you, similar to working with white noise patterns to neutralize the tinnitus.
It usually takes some trial and error to learn what works best for your personal tinnitus. Meditation can help deconstruct stress and relax your mind, helping to make tinnitus more manageable. This may work by itself, or meditation may be one of multiple strategies you employ to cope with tinnitus.
Using a sound generator to reduce the tinnitus you focus on is one of the most popular ways of dealing with tinnitus. Many hearing aids can be equipped with personal tinnitus management therapies, including white noise sounds, simple harmonic tones and customizable sound palettes to create your own sound relief. Whatever course of action you pursue, with some trial and error you can find what helps you relieve tinnitus and helps you function every day.
Many cases of tinnitus are linked to hearing loss. To learn more and to schedule a consultation and hearing exam, contact us at Hearing Consultants today.