Buzzing, whistling, grinding, clicking?
Gets into your head and wants to make you scream! Run out of the room but it follows you!?
At its worst Tinnitus can feel agonising and hopeless & at its worst it makes you feel stressed which in turn gets the limbic system in overdrive and the outcome? More bothersome Tinnitus.
Could you escape it? Have you been told you can’t? Do you think you can’t?
What would your outlook be if you were forced to believe that the ringing in your ears would be permanent and un escapable? How would you feel?
It’s a very scary thought for a lot of people with Tinnitus. And in a lot of cases a reality which can drive the sufferer of Tinnitus absolutely crazy!
So much of the Tinnitus sufferer’s time can be spent worrying about if the ringing noise in their ears will get worse. Will it get Louder? Will it change tone? The patient with Tinnitus can then look for ways to completely mask the Tinntius or drown it out. They can obsess about the Tinnitus and look at the functionality and theory which can add to the anxiety.
I have personally seen people been given medication for the side effects of Tinnitus which according to the American Tinnitus assosation actually agrivates Tinnitus!
Personally, I’ve come to believe that medication for the anxiety Tinnitus causes and the general study around the anatomy and physiology of Tinnitus is not the best or certainly not the only approach. We have to start with a more emotional approach and the beginning of the Journey needs to be does the Tinnitus bother you?
If that ringing inside your head or ears does bother you then despite what you may have been told you can actually do something about your Tinnitus. In fact you can do a great deal.
I have written a previous blog on this but it’s worth going over again due to how important it is.
So there may not be a cure, you may not be able to do anything about the volume but with hard work and dedication you can get to a place where it can bother you far less and in a lot of cases not at all.
Lets not forget that this is an invisible disability. You could look at John. John has a wife, 2 kids drives a nice care has a great job.
But what you cant see is inside Johns head there is buzzing noises, wooshing noises or high pitched noises. These fatigue John and cause John to have poor sleep and or cause John to avoid company.
John could be tired an irritable and you may think John is terrible company, a loner or even arrogant.
You’re not to know John is suffering from Tinnitus.
But could John take the steps to suffer less?
The key here is to get the Tinnitus sufferer to habituate to the Tinnitus. Habituation is where the Tinnitus sufferer can still hear their Tinnitus but mentally they are in control and not their Tinnitus.
The thing is the brain habituates daily to unwanted background noise. In fact the brain habituates daily to almost everything. For example – That shirt on your back… Can you feel it now? Feel the cloth against your skin. Did you feel it before I asked you to? Chances are no you did not. Why? Because you habituated to it being there and you now never give it a second thought.
So can habituation help Tinnitus? Also can habituation happen when you help tinnitus with hearing aids or hearing devices?
The paradox is its not possible to habituate to things that carry a threat or threats that are negative. The limbic system is responsible for this.
So if its not possible to Habituate to threats because of the limbic system how do we do it? We work hard and change our reaction to Tinnitus so the Limbic system does not categorise it as a threat.
Okay getting your head around the noise itself not being the problem can be a tough one. The noise is there its subjective you can hear and feel it, surely I just tackle that? If this were true it would be easier but unfortunately is not.
The underlying issue is the emotional attachment to the noise. Tinnitus engages our limbic system which will naturally be categorised by the system as stress and a threat. This puts the Tinnitus sufferer into the flight or fight mode.
Stress hormones rise and fill our bodies, adrenaline shoots up its our bodies evolutionary way of responding to danger and threats.
Most Tinnitus sufferers will spend a lot of energy trying to ignore it. Have a conscious dialogue with it and depending on state whether tired or good mood will react to it. This is an act of paying attention.
Normally when we are stressed our bodies return to an average normal state but the problem with Tinnitus is it does not go away. This is where the Limbic system which works with stress, consciousness & flight fright plays on our mind and can create real misery and frustration.
So what can be done? Empowering ourselves to change the reaction to the noise and taking control of Tinnitus and its hold on our lives.
Its far from easy. Just like its not easy to stay fit and healthy when surrounded by such temptations. To stay fit and healthy you work hard. You work your muscles. We have to give that same attention to our minds. Our minds are just as important as our bodies if not more so. Healthy mind should mean healthy body as you will make positive decisions.
Stop running from it. Drowning tinnitus out with other noises only kicks the can down the road. What happens when the noises stop? The tinnitus comes back you cant escape from it!
Of course use noise but use it to work with your Tinnitus. Use apps from Widex or Bernafon which are dedicated to Tinnitus and will give you some great ideas around relaxation.
Don’t ignore away the problem. Work with it and you will conquer it hold over you.
Do you have hearing loss? If so fix it. Most cases the hearing technology is so good it will naturally work alongside the tinnitus, reduce stress as your hearing better and not straining and in some instances the hearing devices will play sounds of the ocean soothing your ears and working with your Tinnitus.
Get over the myths that old people wear hearing aids. They don’t! Old people don’t wear hearing aids that’s the fact. Without correcting your hearing the brain is susceptible to cognitive decline and untreated hearing loss puts you at higher risk of early onset dementia.
You’ll grow older if you don’t fix your hearing. You avoid company and add stress. Stress in turn adds to Tinnitus which is terrible for cognitive healthy living. Hearing aids are no longer big and clumsy so get over your inhibitions here and fix your hearing you’ll thank me for it later!
Younger healthy get up and go people wear hearing aids. Especially invisible automatic hearing devices. That’s the story,
90% of tinnitus sufferers have hearing loss. If that’s you that’s number one priority. Go at it positively it could change your life.
Medication or Meditation
Tinnitus can cause anxiety which can lead to prescription medication. I would encourage you to explore meditation. This will give you the powerful tools to control your thought process and the access to how you react to your tinnitus.
There are so many health benefits to meditation and practices like yoga I could write a book! But no need as there is 100000s of books out there.
A great place to start would be Erkart Tolle ‘ The power of now’ This book will help you deal with everything in the present moment and help you re balance your thought process.
Wim Hoff is a Dutch explorer of both the physical and mental body. After the loss of his beloved wife Wim found himself in a deep dark place. He found meditation too hard but believed in its practices. He then went on and found his own method. Why is Wim so special? A huge part of Wims turnover goes into proving the science behind his method. Personally I have seen phenomenal changes in people using this method particularly around mental reaction which effectively tinnitus sits under.
Wim believes all disease is inflammation and inflammation is caused by stress. Sound familiar?
There is no doubt that working with your breath and tinnitus conciosley has a massive positive impact in your ability to live with tinnitus. This along with the correct hearing aids can have the biggest impact.
For more information on these topics please contact Lanarkshire Hearing Centre and we can discuss in further depth.
The first breakthrough happened almost immediately.
They say there is no such thing as bad meditation! The paradox with meditation is the hardest thing in the world is to sit in a room and do nothing. Do nothing consciously that is. Our brains get bored and need stimulation and we start to wander our minds.
This is where you can use your Tinnitus. If your mind begins to wander which it will notice how its wandrerd away from your Tinnitus….. See you can control it. Also use your Tinnitus as a consius grounding tool.
Focus on it. Breath with it then notice how you wander again or at least when you come back from wandering that is.
Your brain will begin to find grounding in your breathing. Breath in for 5 then breath out for 10. Focus on that breath and also focus on that tinnitus.
Your brain may begin to start associating deep relaxation with Tinnitus relief.
Remember if you want to win gold at the 100m in the Olympics you have to work hard and train your body every day. If you want to find relief from tinnitus and you really are serious about it you are going to have to take the time to invest in mental exercises and positive reading that will have a lasting effect on your moods and how you react to situations.
This can be done. Many people have done it before you and many more will. You could be one of them.
Being motivated to fix your hearing is your first point of call. If that means wearing hearing aids just get on with it. Change your story around this. Old people don’t wear them young alive and vibrant people do.
Change your habits. If you’re serious then you have to change your habits. You need to find me time. The most important person in your life is you.
What does that mean? Surely its my family? Think about it this way. If you are the best version of you who benefits most from that? Would your family benefit more from less time with you but less time with a way better version! Or would they be better of with more time together with a stressed and tired version?
Take time for yourelf its so important. Get away from work and home in to a neutral space preferably in nature and spend conscious time resting.
Read positive things and cut out the news. Reading is hard work but its life changing. Reading books about people who have experienced and walked in your shoes but managed to beat a path to a better life will always help. Cut out negative things like obsession with Facebook or watching and reading the news. Negativity causes stress, stress caused inflammation and inflammation causes many things including aggravating Tinnitus.
For more advice reach out to us.
Lets chat it through or at the very least let us investigate it for you and send you away with some ideas. You can change your experience if you’re willing to put the work in.
Steven Ross (MSHAA, RHAD)
58 Cadzow Street,