detailed tinnitus graphic

How to help tinnitus: Managing the symptoms

22 / 05 / 24

Blog post

Tinnitus is a condition which has impacted countless people for many years. The constant ringing in your ears can be challenging to deal with daily, and it can have profound effects on your physical and mental well-being. But, we’re here to help.

In today’s news, we will be exploring tinnitus and how you can manage the symptoms.

What is tinnitus?

If you’re unaware of what it is, tinnitus is a condition where you will experience constant ringing, buzzing, and clicking noises in your ears, not caused by any sounds from the outside world. The impact it can have on you is huge.  Tinnitus can be temporary or permanent. Temporary tinnitus goes away by itself, but permanent tinnitus has no cure. If your tinnitus is permanent, the symptoms will be constant and this can dramatically change the quality of your life. 

But how is it caused?

It can occur due to a variety of factors. The most common is arguably exposure to loud sounds. The tiny hair cells in your inner ears can bend or break due to age or are regularly exposed to loud sounds, which then causes tinnitus. The second most common cause of tinnitus is ear infections. Due to built-up earwax, the ear canals can become blocked which can result in tinnitus. 

Another cause of the condition is head or neck trauma. If you experience an injury in either affected area, it can cause issues within the inner ear. The nerves connected from the brain to the ear can become damaged and as such, will fester tinnitus. Typically in one ear though. 

Those are the three main causes, but there are less common causes too. Issues like Meniere’s disease, ear bone changes, muscle spasms in the inner ear, blood vessel disorders or other chronic conditions, can contribute to tinnitus in your ears.

In addition, some studies conclude there is a link between hearing loss and tinnitus. Exposure to loud sounds and ear blockages are common causes of hearing loss which leads to developing tinnitus. Similarly, age-related hearing loss can trigger tinnitus. This is because the brain tries to compensate for the loss of hearing. 

Diagram of inner ear with tinnitus

Managing the symptoms

Managing tinnitus can be tough, especially if it’s severe. It’s difficult to adapt in the beginning, but once you’ve gone through the initial adjustment period, it becomes easier over time.

Lifestyle adjustments

Once you’ve been diagnosed with tinnitus, lifestyle changes can help you to manage the symptoms. It can be difficult to make adjustments to begin with, but once you’re used to it, it will become easier over time. 

Firstly, a simple adjustment you should make is avoiding loud noises where possible. This can include listening to loud music or attending concerts. However, we do understand that both of those things are a form of enjoyment for a lot of people, so if this is the case, then make sure you use ear protection when applicable to prevent further damage to your ears. 

Next, you should aim to live a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of sleep is a great way of reducing tinnitus symptoms. In regards to exercising, it’s important to clarify that you don’t need to go to the gym every day, as we’re aware some might not be able to get there. So, we recommend you do something simple like walking around your local area; or if you can travel, go for long walks at parks or nature reserves. 

Moreover, consider relaxation techniques such as yoga or breathing exercises. This is becoming a popular way of reducing tinnitus symptoms, as it reduces tension, stress, and you can do it in the comfort of your home. Slow breathing and visualisation will allow your body and mind to relax, which in turn, reduces stress caused by tinnitus. 

So why not give it a go? We highly recommend you do! If you’re unsure where to begin, check out these 5 tinnitus relief exercises

Finally, limiting caffeine, alcohol and nicotine content can have a positive impact on your tinnitus. A study has shown that smokers are 15% more likely to suffer with their tinnitus compared to non-smokers. Also, it is common knowledge that alcohol increases your blood pressure and reduces blood flow to your ears, which damages the hair cells that help the brain recognise sounds. So, it’s recommended to consider limiting or completely removing it from your lifestyle. 

Woman with tinnitus pain

Stress management 

Once you’ve made your lifestyle adjustments, you need to consider how to manage your stress, as stress can sometimes worsen tinnitus symptoms. However, it’s common for tinnitus to also cause stress in itself so this can be difficult to manage.  An easy win is to seek support from your friends, family or support groups. We can’t stress enough the importance of speaking to others about your condition. We understand you may feel anxious or self-conscious about your situation, but the truth is, people are here to help. Once you’ve opened up to your friends and family, they can assist you in any way possible. 

If you’re finding your loved ones can’t provide you with the help you need, consider going to a support group. By listening to others who have lived with the condition for a long time, you can relate to them and listen to the advice they give. You never know, you could learn a coping mechanism that works for you!

Furthermore, exploring alternative therapies can help you manage your stress. A popular solution people have used for many years is cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy teaches you how to live with the condition, rather than trying to remove it. The main goal is to help you live your best life without tinnitus being the main focus. Throughout this process, you would speak with a counsellor or therapist weekly to discuss any negative thoughts you may have. 

If you would like tinnitus counselling, then there’s no better place to look than us here at Sutton Hearing Centre. Our expert audiologists have years of experience and are qualified to help you manage your tinnitus. Get in touch today to learn more. 

man experiencing tinnitus symptoms - buzzing noise in ear

Treatment options for tinnitus 

Consulting an audiologist about your tinnitus is essential to receiving the best treatment for it. They can provide you with a proper diagnosis and schedule regular checkups, so they can see if the treatment plan is working. The treatment they provide will be tailored to meet your needs, so rest assured you’re in capable hands. 

Typically, the first line of treatment is hearing aids. Some hearing aids are designed to minimise the symptoms of tinnitus by improving your hearing function. You may find it the most effective way of reducing the buzzing noises you hear. 

Also, as mentioned in the previous section, cognitive behavioural therapy is another treatment option; but as discussed previously, it doesn’t remove the symptoms. The therapy simply helps you to live with it, and not let it distract you from living your life. 

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our latest article about how to manage your tinnitus symptoms. If you have any questions surrounding our suggestions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today




Author Sutton Hearing