Did you know this week is #TinnitusWeek? Tinnitus affects around 10% of the UK population, so if you don’t suffer from it yourself you almost certainly know several people who do.
One of the most challenging aspects of this condition is the associated stress and anxiety that can both trigger the symptoms, and also be caused by tinnitus itself.
The link between tinnitus and stress of anxiety is well-established. It is known that for many sufferers, the symptoms of tinnitus are made more noticeable in high-stress situations, and that in turn can lead to further stress and anxiety.
Dealing with this side of tinnitus can significantly reduce the ringing sensation. For the most effective approach, it is wise to spend time with a professional who can guide you through the process. However, as a good place to start we are sharing some simple tips to help get the ball rolling.
- Practise relaxation.
There are a range of very physical reactions that are linked with stress, and learning how to control these can alleviate the situation. In particular, relaxation techniques that focus on controlled breathing, and the gradual and systematic tensing and untensing of muscles in the body.
- Control your thoughts.
Being mindful about how your brain thinks when experiencing tinnitus can be very helpful. Determine which particular situations made you particularly stressed with your tinnitus. What did you think? What phrases came to your mind? Carefully and calmly look at each of those thoughts – Was it evidence based? What is the worst that could happen if it was true? If a friend shared this thought with you, what would you say?
- Sleep habits.
Although sleeping is often an issue for those with tinnitus, getting good quality rest is important for lessening stress. Establish a healthy sleep routine, cutting out stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine in the evening, and getting to bed and rising at the same time each day. It can also help to prop up your head on pillows, as this can lessen congestion and reduce the perceived sound.
- Stay active.
Exercise is recommended for all of us, but an energetic and healthy hobby is particularly beneficial for those who suffer with tinnitus. Beyond exercise, any engaging activity that occupies your mind will help to lessen symptoms. While it’s wise to avoid situations that you know will cause you stress, try not to let tinnitus control your life and carry on doing the things you enjoy.
- Share and seek help.
Let your loved ones know about your tinnitus and anxiety, so they can be more aware and can support you. They will have their own ideas for helping you deal with the stress, and they know you best. It is also worth seeking professional help. A practice like ours can offer a range of therapies that can significantly assist most tinnitus sufferers, such as CBT and talking therapies.
If you would like more information, or you would like bespoke advice to help you deal with whatever you’re experiencing, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I offer a free initial consultation, flexible out-of-hours appointments, and a caring and compassionate outlook. I’d love to help.