Woman in pain holding hand to ear

Tips for Managing Tinnitus

Suncoast AudiologyHearing Health

If you have tinnitus, you are familiar with that constant sound that rings in your ears. Some people describe it as a whirring, whooshing, roaring, buzzing, or humming. Others even hear a clicking sound. No matter how you describe tinnitus, its constant presence can lead to stress, anxiety, and other negative mental health consequences. Looking for management strategies can lead you down many roads, and each person with tinnitus has their own tale of how to deal with that constant presence of sound. Let’s take a look at some of these management strategies, as well as what you can do to find the treatment that is right for you. 

Tinnitus and Treatment

What is tinnitus? Although the constant presence of sound originating within the body is the common cause of tinnitus, it can be divided into two main types. Objective tinnitus is defined by sound that a doctor can hear with specialized instruments. These sounds can originate in clicking bones or blocked blood vessels, for example. This type of tinnitus is less common than subjective tinnitus, in which a doctor or specialist cannot hear the sound at all. This experience of tinnitus arises from bent, broken, or otherwise damaged parts of the inner ear called stereocilia. These tiny, hairlike organelles can be damaged in a way that makes them unable to detect sound, resulting in hearing loss, or they can be damaged in a way that effectively turns them permanently “on.” Getting treatment for tinnitus will depend on whether it is defined as objective or subjective. In the first case, a doctor will be best able to suggest a treatment plan. In the second case, individuals take many different approaches to management and treatment. 

Managing Subjective Tinnitus

With the constant sensation of sound, yet without an external cause of that experience, you can imagine that tinnitus is quite difficult to treat. In many cases, this constant presence of sound does not go away, and our best strategies are to work with perception and mental attention to detract from that sound. Many treatment options occur right at home. Some people have been successful with masking the sound of tinnitus. Particularly when we are in a quiet home waiting to fall asleep, the sound of tinnitus can dominate our thinking and mental focus. Turning on a television or radio at a low volume can be enough to distract our minds from focusing on tinnitus symptoms. However, that same distraction can make it difficult to fall asleep or to get sound sleep through the night. Others in the home can be bothered by this constant presence of sound, as well. White noise can be a better option that provides less distraction. When a fan, nature sound generator, or white noise machine is playing in the home, it is possible to cover the sound of tinnitus with something that is not bothersome to others in the home. 

Another approach to managing subjective tinnitus is to practice meditation. It might seem counterintuitive to spend time in silence, exactly the condition that makes tinnitus worst, but that quiet environment provides an opportunity to train the mind. Some meditation approaches distract the individual from tinnitus, while others actually advise the practitioner to focus on that sound as the object of mental attention. Training the mind on tinnitus symptoms for a limited time can be effective at reducing its sway over the mind in contexts, for some practitioners. 

If these approaches to tinnitus management have not worked for you, why not take this opportunity to contact our offices to learn about professional tinnitus management. Many of the latest hearing aids are equipped to treat tinnitus, as well. By emitting tones that match and reverse the sounds of tinnitus, many people have found relief through these professional solutions. Although this strategy does not work for everyone, we can have a conversation about your options, as well as your potential hearing loss treatment needs. We will begin with a thorough diagnosis of your hearing ability and tinnitus symptoms, and our experts will be able to recommend the right array of solutions for your individual needs. Don’t delay making an appointment to find out if tinnitus treatment is right for you.