Can Meditation Help Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is that pesky ringing, buzzing, whistling or hissing in your ears with no external sound source. Tinnitus affects more than 45 million Americans, and nearly 20 million from this group experience the bothersome noise on a regular basis.

While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are certain tools to help you manage it. One of which is meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

meditation

There are many benefits of meditation, and relaxation is one of the most well-known. In fact, in the 1970s Dr. Herbert Benson, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response” after studying participants of transcendental meditation.

There are other benefits of meditation, too. These include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels

Many have also reported that meditation can help reduce symptoms of tinnitus.

How Does Meditation Reduce Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused or exacerbated by high blood pressure and poor blood circulation in the inner ears, and meditation can help reduce these symptoms. Perhaps the greater benefit, however, is that meditation reduces the stress caused by tinnitus and helps take focus away from the tinnitus symptoms.

Shari Eberts, a hearing health advocate, shared her own experience with meditation: “During the meditation sessions, the ringing in my ears would subside. Despite the silence of the meditation room, the roar of my tinnitus would fade away. This occurred subtly at first, but by the end of the week, my body seemed to anticipate what was to come. I would assume the meditation posture, begin to mindfully breathe, and the quiet would come, as welcome as a gift.”

“When I returned home, I maintained my meditation practice, and the silence stayed with me. Even my debilitating fluorescent light outbreaks are much fewer and farther between,” she continued.

How to Meditate

Meditation is simple to try, but difficult to master. There are just four simple steps when it comes to meditation:

  • Find a comfortable position. You will hold this position for the entire duration of your meditation session.
  • Close your eyes. Some people recommend using an eye mask.
  • Breathe naturally. Don’t try to control or change your breath.
  • Let go of your thoughts. Try to clear your mind. This is the most difficult step. If you have trouble thinking about nothing, focus only on your breath and how it moves through your body. If you experience negative thoughts or emotions, acknowledge them and let them go.

There are guided meditation videos available online and through apps that you can try. For more information about tinnitus management strategies, call Sharp Hearing today!

Three Life Hacks for Tinnitus Patients

Tinnitus is common in Plano. About one in five Texas residents experiences a ringing or other sensation in one or both ears. For some it’s barely noticeable, but others perceive it as a full-time distraction that impacts their quality of life. For these people, living with tinnitus can be challenging – but we have a few tips that can help ease your suffering.

Side Effects of Tinnitus

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Whether tinnitus is an occasional nuisance or a constant bother, you are sure to experience at least a few side effects. People with tinnitus in Plano often deal with anxiety, stress and irritability, all of which can make symptoms worse. It’s a vicious circle that many find tough to break. The worse your tinnitus, the more of an impact it has on your life. Many find tinnitus interferes with sleep, causing daytime fatigue, memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Jobs and relationships can suffer.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but we have compiled some “life hacks” that should make living with a ringing in your ears more bearable.

  1. High-fidelity earplugs. Tinnitus may be mild at first but can progress over time. This makes preserving your remaining hearing a top priority. Be cognizant of the damage noise causes and protect your hearing by wearing earplugs whenever you participate in activities where harmful noise levels are likely to occur. Earplugs sold in drugstores do offer protection, but they cause sounds to appear distorted or muffled. High-fidelity earplugs solve this problem by utilizing filters that reduce decibel levels evenly across the hearing spectrum. This allows you to participate in conversations more easily and enjoy music. One-size-fits-all high-fidelity earplugs can be purchased online or in select retail stores, but you’ll receive better protection, not to mention a more comfortable fit, with custom earplugs crafted from molds of your ear canals. Your Plano audiologist can do this for you. Custom earplugs will cost a bit more, but can you really put a price tag on preserving your hearing?
  2. White noise. Many people with tinnitus in Plano utilize white noise therapy as a way to mask, or cover up, the ringing in their ears. White noise is a random assortment of sounds with flat spectral density throughout the audible frequency range; because there are so many different frequencies being employed, white noise is great at masking other sounds – including tinnitus. You can find white noise machines that offer falling rain, ocean waves and other ambient sounds at many specialty retailers or download an app for your smartphone – a wide variety are available for both iPhone and Android users. Or simply switch on an air-conditioner or fan to achieve the same effect. For the best results, set your white noise volume a little lower than the ringing in your ears; partial masking can help your brain habituate more easily and make your tinnitus less noticeable.
  3. Assemble a tinnitus kit. Tinnitus tends to be unpredictable, worse at certain times and less noticeable during others. In order to be prepared for any possibility when heading out, put together a “tinnitus kit” containing supplies that will help you cope with tinnitus when your symptoms come on strong. Include items such as medications, earplugs, earbuds or headphones and hearing aids. Include a list of emergency contacts and be sure to add your Plano audiologist’s information.

For more strategies on managing tinnitus symptoms, contact your Plano hearing specialist.


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The Tinnitus Cycle


Statistics show that about one out of every five adults in Plano experience tinnitus. Commonly referred to as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus affects everybody differently. It may be an occasional nuisance or a full-time disruption to your daily life. Regardless of its impact on your daily life, tinnitus follows a well-established cycle – one which you’ll want to break in order to enjoy a higher quality of life.

What Causes Tinnitus?

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While tinnitus typically begins with hearing loss, it is not exclusively an auditory problem. It is a result of neurological changes within the auditory system and the parts of the brain that influence conscious attention and emotional state.

No single explanation applies to all cases, but the process outlined below describes one of the more commonly accepted theories about what causes tinnitus.

Your Balance

When your natural balance is upset by hearing loss, the neurological activity is altered; this altered activity is then interpreted by the brain as sound. This results in whistling or ringing sounds commonly known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus Causes

Tinnitus most often results from hearing loss caused by exposure to excessive or loud noises. Other common causes include aging, ototoxic drugs, Temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), depression, anxiety, Lyme disease or thyroid disorders, as well as ear infections or wax in the ear.

Breaking the Cycle of Tinnitus

  • Normally, background neurological activity in the brain is covered up by everyday sounds.
  • Neurological changes may cause the perceived sound to be more noticeable and disturbing.
  • For some people, the presence of tinnitus is so troubling, the brain treats it as important and focuses on it, increasing awareness.
  • This increased awareness can lead to stress and anxiety, resulting in further enhancement by the emotional centers of the brain and further amplification of the tinnitus.
  • Additionally, the brain may try to compensate for the hearing loss by “turning up” the sensitivity of the hearing system. This not only amplifies the tinnitus but can also make ordinary sounds uncomfortably loud for some people, further adding to stress and anxiety.

The result is a cycle of symptoms that can be self-reinforcing, leading to progressive worsening of the tinnitus over time. These factors have made tinnitus very difficult to treat in the past. While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage symptoms and help break the cycle. Popular solutions include masking techniques such as white noise therapy; counseling; lifestyle modifications and prescription drugs.

One of the best solutions might be right at your fingertips. If you have hearing loss and wear hearing aids, turning up the volume to boost background noises will help distract your brain from tinnitus.

If you are suffering from tinnitus in Plano and looking to break the cycle, a consultation with an audiologist can help you find relief.