Woman holding her hand to her head in discomfort

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is unfortunately very challenging to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to discover a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.

If you have tinnitus, it’s imperative to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is occasionally an indicator of an underlying condition that requires medical assistance. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by addressing the underlying problem.

Second, a variety of tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be very effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adjust to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in several cases.

With that being said, some cases of tinnitus endure despite the best available treatments. Fortunately, there are some things you can do on your own to reduce the severity of symptoms.

The following are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.

1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – each case of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to maintain a written log to uncover specified triggers, which can be specific types of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are a number of medications that can make tinnitus worse.

2. Quit smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restricts blood flow, both of which can make tinnitus worse. Studies also show that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some type of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.

3. Reduce consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – even though some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should observe the effects yourself. The same goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no definitive studies that demonstrate a clear connection, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Try using masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more noticeable and disturbing when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or investing in a white-noise machine.

5. Utilize hearing protection – some cases of tinnitus are temporary and the consequence of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To prevent further damage—and persistent tinnitus—make sure to use ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – outcomes can vary, but some individuals have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

7. Find ways to relax – reducing your stress and improving your mood can help lessen the intensity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more sleep – lack of sleep is a known trigger for making tinnitus worse, which subsequently makes it more difficult to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To guarantee that you get sufficient sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that exercise may lead to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also lower stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Enroll in a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping strategies from others who suffer from the same symptoms.

What have you discovered to be the most reliable method of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.

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