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If you have been experiencing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears that seems to be coming from inside your head you are probably dealing with tinnitus. This excess sound has no external source and may not seem like a big deal, but people who live with tinnitus know how frustrating this condition can be. This is no small problem, with an estimated 15% or over 50 million Americans living with tinnitus. Approximately 20 million people struggle with chronic tinnitus, while 2 million have extreme and debilitating cases. If you are hoping to find methods to deal with this condition then please read on.
What causes tinnitus?
The word tinnitus is derived from the Latin word tinnire, which means, “to ring,” but the sound of tinnitus often takes on an individual sound in each case. Tinnitus is not a disease but a side effect of other health conditions. The most common cause of tinnitus is sensorineural damage to the inner ear causing hearing loss. Old age, exposure to harmful noise, ototoxic medications, head trauma, infections and more can cause sensorineural damage. While hearing loss is the most commonly associated ailment associated with tinnitus, there are at least 200 different health disorders that can also cause tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Stress
Tinnitus can often be associated with emotional strain and stress. Tinnitus can be an extremely frustrating condition making your quiet moments of reflection full of anxiety and stress as it becomes close to impossible to find peace and quiet. While there is no proof that tinnitus can be caused by stress, it is definitely the case that people’s stress can be escalated by tinnitus. This is why, to treat your tinnitus it is important to treat your stress level.
Living with tinnitus
Changes to your daily life and surroundings may make it easier to live with tinnitus. Many hearing aids have functions that are designed to mask tinnitus so you are distracted from the ringing in your ears that only you can hear.
Pay attention to what foods and beverages you are consuming daily. Certain foods may exasperate symptoms of tinnitus including foods heavy in salt, alcohol, excess sugar and caffeine. Aspirin is has also been reported as a possible instigator for tinnitus. Each person’s condition is affected differently so it may be helpful fro you to keep a food diary to help you discover which substances instigate tinnitus the most for you.
Meditation in coping with tinnitus
Contrary to what people may expect, many have found relief from tinnitus utilizing meditation. This may seem counter intuitive, as the buzz of tinnitus can often be the loudest when you are the most still and silent. Even so many people claim that the most effective method they have ever had for their tinnitus is a daily meditation practice. The process is simple and does not require very much besides a comfortable quiet space and an open mind.
It’s important to breath deep and focus on clearing your mind of any other thoughts. Many people use calming music or a meditation guide, either live or prerecorded to help them find the piece they need to help tinnitus subside.
Three important rules that seem to help people are:
- Don’t move: This is easier said than done.
- Don’t scratch: Stay as focused as possible even if your body feels a slight itch or discomfort. Acknowledge the discomfort, sit with it and let the discomfort resolve itself on it’s own.
- Don’t engage with your thoughts: This is often the biggest hurtle for people new to meditation. Clear your mind of thoughts as best as you can. Many people rely on counting to help their mind focus. When you do start to feel your thoughts wondering use counting as an anchor to return to.
Many people find success in this practice. Despite the quiet that usually brings on tinnitus, people find that meditation practiced daily can often help to let the buzzing of the ears fade away into a true silence. The concept behind meditation therapy for tinnitus is a retraining of the brain rather than a masking of the symptoms. Meditation works by allowing the mind to come to terms with the tinnitus rather than fight it’s presence.