Let’s talk about how to limit the ringing in your ears. There’s two things we know very well about tinnitus. First, you hear it louder in a quiet place, like going to sleep at night or in a quiet room. Second, tinnitus is directly linked to your stress levels. If you’re relaxed, your tinnitus probably isn’t so loud. But if you’re having a bad day or if you’re feeling stressed, your tinnitus is gonna go up.
The source of tinnitus is in the auditory brain. There’s a filtered signal that comes from your cochlea, the hearing organ, and then the auditory brain creates this phantom sound, which we call tinnitus. When the auditory brain hears tinnitus it also affects other parts of the brain. The emotional brain reacts very strongly about tinnitus because tinnitus could be a threat or something in our environment. Our brain pays attention to tinnitus because of the strong emotional reaction to it.
Tinnitus can create a negative response in the autonomic nervous system. This puts the body on high alert. That can send a feedback loop where your negative reaction to tinnitus can make the sound louder, and the louder sound can make a stronger emotional reaction. So how do you break that feedback loop?
3 Simple Methods to Limit Tinnitus
Reducing your tinnitus comes from relaxing the autonomic nervous system. The most simple way to relax the autonomic nervous system is by learning about the relationship between the auditory brain, emotional brain, nervous system, mind and body. Another way to find that relaxation is through sound therapy. Sound therapy can be played in your environment, or in your ears.
1. Sound Therapy
Tinnitus is an auditory perception. Sound therapy can help. Sound therapy involves using sound in your environment, or sound on your ears, to reduce the loudness of tinnitus and help us calm down to relax into our bodies. You can set up sound in your home or office to help you keep your mind away from your tinnitus.
2. Mind-Body Techniques
Meditation, yoga, tai chi are examples of mind-body techniques that can relax your mind and help with tinnitus. The benefit of mind-body techniques is to calm the nervous system. In turn, this allows your body to ease the tinnitus response. Consistent practice is the key to gain benefit from mind-body techniques. You can try the 7-Day Tinnitus Meditation Challenge here.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Methods
Another way to reduce tinnitus is through cognitive behavioral therapy. One on one counseling sessions allow you to individually explore the problems you’re having. Therapy can significantly calm down the autonomic nervous system. From my experience with tinnitus clients, it’s clear that even a simple informational session is of value. Information about the imbalanced nervous system gives the client access to what control they have over breaking this feedback loop. That can make a significant difference in calming down the autonomic nervous system.
How To Limit Tinnitus During The Day
Typically, when we say to limit your tinnitus, we mean to reduce the concentration, focus, and attention you might have towards it. A good way to do that during the day would be to use sound therapy. Sound therapy can be something as simple as a fan or a white noise maker. You can also have some relaxing music, any sort of background noise to help calm you down.
It is known that about 60% of people with tinnitus do report benefit from wearing hearing aids. Of course you only wear hearing aids if you have hearing loss. Research shows that 80% of people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. So if you think you might have a hearing loss or you know you do, I strongly recommend trying hearing aids because that could significantly limit your tinnitus during the day when you’re wearing them.
How To Limit Tinnitus At Night
It’s very common to have some loud ringing in your ears when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. It’s very quiet at night. There is no other sound to help reduce the tinnitus. That makes your brain amplify the tinnitus inside your head.
Using a white noise machine or a fan can mask out the tinnitus. This can be a very effective solution for mild tinnitus. There are many options for white noise machines. The white noise machine lets you fall asleep and enter sleep more easily.
Another effective way to limit your tinnitus at night is by calming down your body for about 30 minutes before you enter sleep. What this means is that you’re accessing your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and calmness. That makes entering sleep much easier. You’re likely to be so relaxed by the time you enter sleep, that your tinnitus may not be as much of a concern. Compare this to if you were to go straight from watching TV to try to sleep. Your mind’s very active. You’re not calm and relaxed in your body.
When you have ringing in your ears, is it possible to live peacefully, I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have any control over your tinnitus. The truth is, it likely won’t permanently go away. There’s a relationship between your auditory brain, your emotional brain, and your nervous system, which you have to understand. There’s some parts about ringing in your ear that you can’t change. But there’s so much you can do to take direct action to improve the relationship between your nervous system, your emotional brain and your auditory brain. If you’re motivated, you can learn how to reduce the heightened response to tinnitus from your nervous system and take back control over your tinnitus.
To learn what may help you manage your tinnitus, please download our free 10-page e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Tinnitus Relief. Dr. Thompson also offers online Tinnitus Retraining Therapy with Pure Tinnitus.