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Tinnitus self-help

There are a huge number of steps you can take yourself to help relieve and eliminate the noises from tinnitus

Introduction

Tinnitus is a common condition that many people will be familiar with. First line, it is important to consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you are experiencing tinnitus symptoms. Your healthcare professional may be able to find a reason for the symptoms and help to treat or suggest therapies to help reduce and alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Many people reading these pages will also be interested to know that there are a variety of therapies available to tinnitus sufferers that may be useful to help them.

This page describes self-help tips that can be useful if you suffer from tinnitus including general advice on what you can do short and long term to combat the symptoms of tinnitus.

Tinnitus self-help tips

The following self-help tips may help you to realise how you can keep tinnitus symptoms to a minimum.

Here are a few useful techniques you can try to relieve tinnitus symptoms:

  • Make a note of every time you experience tinnitus noises and try to pinpoint the environments and activities you are doing when tinnitus is not so apparent. Do more of the activities that make your tinnitus less apparent.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises as some people find these relax them which will help in situations where tinnitus is triggered by stress.
  • Positive thinking – it has been shown that the attitude towards having tinnitus is crucial to how you deal with the symptoms. Those with a positive attitude find it more easy to manage.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. A lot of people believe tinnitus prevents them from having a good night’s sleep either by preventing them from getting to sleep or disturbing their sleep and so it is important to remember the general rules for ensuring good night’s sleep (see section below on a good night’s sleep).
  • Relaxation CDs and tapes – listening to music before sleeping helps some people to drift off and the music may cancel out the noise form tinnitus.
  • Listening to background noise such as the television, radio or music will make the tinnitus noise less distracting and make you less aware of your tinnitus.
  • Wear the correct ear protectors – whether tinnitus has been caused by a pneumatic drill at work, constantly listening to hairdryers or from loud music in the pub, make sure you buy or are supplied with the correct hearing protection devices such as earplugs or earmuff protectors. For musicians and DJ’s it is important that they consider wearing musicians earplugs to prevent tinnitus developing after years of listening to loud music.

Help available to tinnitus sufferers

  • Attend a Cognitive Behavioural therapist – a therapy that examines thoughts, attitudes and behaviour in an approach to treat tinnitus.
  • Talk to a tinnitus professional (by phoning the British Tinnitus Association) who can make you more aware of the symptoms and causes of tinnitus which may help by giving you the confidence to the best treatment options for you.
  • Join a tinnitus counselling group if available in your area
  • Aids you can use to distract yourself from tinnitus
  • Pillow speakers may be useful where you or your partner are distracted by music in the room. Pillow speakers are designed to fit under your pillow so only you can hear the music.
  • Maskers – these noise generators are worn in the ear like a hearing aids and can mask tinnitus by producing sounds that distract you from the noise you normally hear.

Lifestyle advice

Some foods are known to trigger tinnitus symptoms. There are a number of steps you can take to help decrease tinnitus symptoms by changing your diet and lifestyle habits:

  • Alcohol – keep alcohol intake to a minimum
  • Caffeine – decrease caffeine intake by reducing the amount of tea, coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate
  • Diet – always eat a healthy balanced diet and ensure to keep salt intake to a minimum.
  • Supplements - The B group vitamins are particularly well-known for their invaluable properties in helping brain function.
  • Exercise – it is important for the circulatory system to do regular exercise

Tips for getting a better night’s sleep

Tinnitus may be preventing you from having a good night’s sleep and so the following advice may help you to get to sleep or have a better sleep:

  • Reduce daily caffeine intake, especially in the evening
  • Ensure you wind down close to bedtime by doing some relaxation exercises, reading a book or listening to calming music
  • Try to do some light exercise daily
  • Try not to think about things that are worrying you just before or at bedtime
  • Don’t get annoyed when you can’t drift off to sleep, do something you find relaxing and try again.
  • Try not to do anything that stimulates your mind at bedtime such as work or crosswords
  • Restrict alcohol intake to a minimum

Further reading:
Tinnitus
Tinnitus symptoms

Tinnitus treatment
Tinnitus causes
Ringing in ears