Tinnitus is one of those conditions that does not pose any serious risk to your health, but can be quite distressing none the less. Prolonged periods of hearing buzzing, whooshing or any other type of sound can be maddening.
While at present there is no way to cure the condition completely, there are several strategies that may lessen the intensity of symptoms, and cause less of an interference in your daily life.
We really underestimate the effects of stress on our physical health—we tend to think of it as more as an issue of the ‘mind.’ But, the mind and body are intimately connected, and feeling stressed sets off a whole slew of reactions in the body. If you are feeling stressed, whether as a direct result of your condition, or some other element of your life, your tinnitus will become more intense, which will make you feel more stressed, setting off a vicious cycle. There is no one best way to manage stress, and ultimately it is about finding what vibes with you most. Some good methods to try include meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization, yoga, and biofeedback.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One of the biggest issues we face in managing health challenges is how we respond to them; we always can find ways to handle the situation better, and when we do that, we can live with the problem without it having as much of an effect. And, the reduced levels of stress often reduce the severity of the symptoms, making us actually feel better physically.
One of the most effective techniques for changing how we respond is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps us change how we view our problems, as well as develop more effective strategies for coping. A review of studies in 2010 that used CBT for tinnitus found a significant improvement in quality of life due to patients finding the condition much less bothersome, even if symptoms remained the same. And don’t worry, this is not like ‘regular’ therapy where you may spend years hashing out your issues. Typically, it is short-term—perhaps twice a week for a few months.
Masking devices can be quite helpful treatment for tinnitus. They produce a low-level of white noise that basically neutralizes the tinnitus sounds. Sometimes, the effects may last a bit longer after the devices are turned off. You don’t necessarily need to get a masking device to achieve this type of effect. Putting on a fan, a white noise machine or some other sound in the background may also help. For any type of devices, it is a good idea to meet with a health care professional, who can also provide hearing aids, tests and more to provide optimal relief from your symptoms.
Studies examining the effects of acupuncture for tinnitus relief have produced mixed results, which is often the case for many treatments. This means it worked for some people, and not for others. As I see it, it may be a good idea to give it a go because you may be one of the lucky ones for whom it produces a positive result. In cases where it has been successful, the results have been long-lasting, meaning it could potentially make a significant improvement in your condition.
Gingko Biloba is one of the more popular natural treatment for tinnitus; it has long been prized for its ability to boost blood flow to the brain, and improve memory and cognitive functioning. This ability to increase circulation may be helpful for a condition like tinnitus. For these purposes, you should take it for at least six weeks before determining whether it is helping. Take 240 milligrams of a supplement that contains 24 percent gingkolisides; after six weeks, take a maintenance dose of 40 to 60 mg a day.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer with a passion for health and wellness, and enjoys sharing helpful information to help you take control of your wellness.