Tinnitus is a mystery and often so much more than mere “ringing in the ears.” No matter what the cause, noises such as buzzing, ringing, roaring, hissing or crackling trigger emotional responses from annoyance to desperation. So far there is no cure for most cases BUT there is help.
Here are three steps for calming emotions that greatly complicate the situation.
Step One: Check it out!
Not all tinnitus is of the same kind. And so, it is important to find out what the reason for the nuisance might be. A professional consult including a detailed patient history, an ear inspection and hearing tests can already tell a lot.
The majority of tinnitus cases are related to some form of hearing loss. Who knows? Something might be fixable or can be improved upon? Earwax? Infections? Side effect of a medication? How about other issues such as TMJ? Find out!
Permanent hearing damage due to aging and/or excessive sound exposures is said to be the most frequent cause for constant or intermittent tinnitus.
BEWARE: Sounds with a thumping, throbbing, pulsating, swooshing or heartbeat quality may be related to a cardiovascular issue rather than to hearing loss or some other problem. These noises can often be detected by the medical specialist.
Step two: Learn about it…and about yourself.
Once a specialist has determined that nothing can be fixed and that the noise is permanent, don’t despair. Help is available. Get information. Inquire about tips for management and about tinnitus and hearing loss treatment options.
Get to know yourself. Personality often stands in the way. Getting mad and putting up a fight does not work. As a Type A, I had to find ways to “chill.”
Learning is liberating and empowering. It leads to new choices and different points of view. Understanding the condition helped me the most. I got to know the enemy, which changed my attitude. The sound is still there but I do not pay so much attention to it anymore.
Step three: Develop a recipe for peace.
Determine what worsens and what calms the noises. Excess caffeine and sugar, stress and loud noise/music are known triggers to avoid. Divert the brain from the sound. Focus on work and hobbies. Calm the brain with pleasant soothing tunes. Protect the ears from excessive sound which worsens hearing loss and revs up tinnitus. Keep a diary on what works and what does not.
Over time, most people develop their own recipes of how to cope with the noise and how to keep it in check. The din moves into the background and does not rule life anymore. Tinnitus becomes another chronic condition that has to be managed. Ultimately, smoothing the emotional response makes tinnitus lot more tolerable. And that is good!
To learn more about Tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please see my book on hearing loss: What Did You Say? An Unexpected Journey into the World of Hearing Loss, now in its second updated edition. Sharing my story and what I had to learn the hard way