Calming My Tinnitus
Calming My Tinnitus
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or miraculous cure for chronic tinnitus. If someone is trying to sell you this, be mindful and check the credibility of the source. Educate yourself before you spend money on these “treatments”.
Do not be discouraged, there are still solutions for you!
Start by visiting your health care professionals to try to determine the cause of your tinnitus. In some cases, tinnitus can be treated but this is very dependent on the source of the tinnitus (e.g. neck problem, dental problem, medication, etc.). Due to the subjective nature of tinnitus it is extremely difficult for researchers to isolate and investigate the exact cause of this irritating problem. In a lot of cases, tinnitus is an unfortunate symptom of underlying hearing loss. If you experience chronic tinnitus and then learn that you have a hearing loss, the first place to start is by talking to your audiologist about treating the hearing loss with amplification (if appropriate).
Let’s compare the perceptual effects of tinnitus and/or hearing loss to a lit candle in a room. The lit candle signifies your tinnitus and/or hearing loss and the room (light off or light on) represents the type of environment you may find yourself in (simple and quiet or noisy and complex, respectively). When the light in the room is on (noisy listening environment) the candle’s flame may be difficult to see amidst the brightness in the room. But, when the room is dark (quiet listening environment), the candle flame becomes very bright and stands out amidst the dark surroundings. In both cases, the candle is still burning therefore the flame is present. The only thing that changes is the environment in which you are viewing the candle. This effect is very similar for people with hearing loss and/or tinnitus in that it is more or less noticeable depending on the environment you are in. You will be more aware of your tinnitus when you are in a quiet place where there are minimal distractions compared to a noisy, complex environment like a friend’s party. In a similar but opposite sense, you may not be experiencing any hearing difficulties in a quiet environment but as soon as you enter a loud and busy restaurant, it becomes much harder to hear and follow the conversations around you.
If you have a hearing loss hearing aids are a great first step in combating tinnitus. When you wear hearing aids that are correctly programmed for your hearing loss, the additional auditory stimulation from this amplification will help to ‘lighten the room’ so to speak so the tinnitus is less noticeable. There are even hearing aids that have a special program that produces some background noise (white noise, ocean sounds) to camouflage the sound of your tinnitus. If you choose not to try hearing aids or it isn’t appropriate for you, you can try to enrich your listening environments to make them more complex in order to help camouflage your tinnitus. Turning on some music, the television, or even a noise machine can be helpful to divert your attention to something more pleasant than your tinnitus. Remember to always listen at a safe and comfortable volume so as not to damage your hearing! As a rule, you should be able to have a conversation with someone without too much trouble over the music/tv/noise machine.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! It is very important to consult with the right health professionals and to follow their recommendations in order to enjoy the wonderfully noisy world we live in!