If you have tinnitus it may or may not be something that troubles you. Some people find that the disorder impacts on their quality of life. Some find themselves becoming depressed and insomniac. It may be that a level of background noise is enough to mask it. Sometimes it can be heard constantly. So what can you do about it?
- Avoid risk factors. Noise-induced hearing loss is the main cause of acquired deafness and tinnitus but it is easily avoided by wearing a good pair of ear plugs. These need to be specifically designed to attenuate noise and be comfortable. Molded ear plugs are ideal.The ZenPlugs variety are much less expensive than having plugs molded by your audiologist. They are very comfortable and last for years. This is in contrast to foam and wax ear plugs which often need replacing after only a few uses.
- Masking. Masking is one of the commonest methods of managing tinnitus. It involves using a constant background sound source to overwhelm the sound of the tinnitus. Many people use a radio but there are specific types of masking devices available. These may be apps or physical electronic or mechanical devices such as white noise machines. Some of these allow you to tailor the sound to accurately match your tinnitus.Sometimes people have a fan running. This generates a sound which is close to white noise. Some white noise machines work by pumping air through them. Others use electronics to generate sound which can be tailored to different tinnitus sounds. Sounds like rivers, storms, forests and birdsong may also be included. These can be very useful to aid sleep.
- Meditation. Many sufferers use meditation to help their brain adjust to the tinnitus and learn to ignore it. Meditation can also help to reduce the incidence and severity of depression and anxiety. Focused guided meditation with a teacher or self-led meditation and breathing exercises can help. Effort needs to be put in and the practice applied frequently to be effective. This method can also bring an increase in general wellbeing and improved mood.