3 Ways to Manage Tinnitus In The Morning: Expert Recommendations

woman with tinnitus waking up

If you are one of the millions of people across the globe that have tinnitus, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with ringing in your ears first thing in the morning. It can be difficult to get started on your day when all you want to do is curl up under the covers and make the ringing go away. In this article, we will discuss three ways to manage your tinnitus in the morning and start your day off right!

Dr. Ben explains why it’s so important to start the morning in a positive way.

1. Sound Therapy

One way to manage tinnitus in the morning is with sound therapy. There are many different types of sound therapy, but one common method is to use a white noise machine. White noise can help to mask the ringing in your ears and make it easier for you to wake up peacefully. White noise is the kind of noise that contains all frequencies of sound in equal amounts, all at once. It may sound like static to you, like from a radio or TV. Other types of soothing, neutral, or natural sounds can also be effective in helping you mask your tinnitus upon waking up.

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Having sound therapy playing throughout the night is helpful in facilitating the tinnitus habituation process, research says. Upon waking up in the morning, your ears and brain will process those sounds and reduce the perception of your tinnitus first thing in the morning. The tinnitus sound therapy process can help you in the long term. 

Studies show that this can be an effective treatment for tinnitus. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine compared 17 different sounds for tinnitus sound therapy in 20 chronic tinnitus sufferers. They played the sounds randomly to all subjects while keeping the sound level just below the sound level of tinnitus. They found reduced loudness of tinnitus in 90% of the subjects, showing that sound masking works for the majority of people.

2. On-Ear Tinnitus Maskers

If you’re seeking a way to ease your morning tinnitus, an on-ear masker may be the answer. It’s a device which produces sounds that aid in covering or cancelling out the ringing sound within your ears. You can purchase either over-the-ear models, in-ear earbuds or bone conduction headphones for use as an on-ear masker.

Make your day start off right by slipping on an on-ear masker when you arise. These discreet devices can be used to treat tinnitus while you go about your morning routine or take a leisurely stroll around the garden. For those who use hearing aids, there are even sound maskers and trainers that are specifically designed for tinnitus treatment and will work directly through them. With this simple yet innovative solution, managing tinnitus has never been easier!

Studies have shown the effectiveness of tinnitus masking. Professionals at the Royal National Institute for the Deaf in London published that they had an acceptance rate of 81% from 142 patients with tinnitus maskers. They gave them counseling, individualized fitting of the devices, and follow up appointments. These patients did have varying degrees of relief from each other or at different times within their own experiences, but none needed any further treatment for their tinnitus. Interestingly, initial studies in the 1970s showed only a 40% success rate, but these people had very little instruction and no counseling.

3. Meditation

Practice a consistent and daily morning meditation such as guided imagery, body scan, or deep breathing exercises. These techniques will help you start out your day with lower levels of anxiety and stress. You can take as little as a few minutes or do longer sessions if you happen to have time for it. 

Equal breathing and deep belly breathing are two widely practiced methods of calming yourself down through conscious respiration. To perform equal breathing, inhale for a certain amount of time (e.g., five seconds) via your nose, followed by an exhalation period lasting the same duration through either your mouth or nostrils. This simple exercise helps promote emotional balance while slowing down the heart rate and facilitating relaxed states in our minds and bodies.

Reap the rewards of deep belly breathing! Begin by inhaling deeply, placing one hand on your stomach and another on your chest. Feel the rise of your abdomen as you breathe in and its decrease when you exhale. Practice this three times with full breaths, then repeat again if necessary to fully enjoy the benefits.

If you are enjoying guided meditation, you can find free or paid apps on your phone to help you. YouTube also has many meditation videos. Just type in “meditation” or “five minute meditation” into the YouTube search bar and choose one that looks appealing. 

Additional Recommendations

Do not stay in bed too long once you’re awake. Get up out of bed and engage in a brain-stimulating activity, either mentally or physically. For ideas, you can read the newspaper or a book, exercise, go for a walk, or make breakfast.

If your thoughts start to spin towards the negative, implement the STOPP technique and shift the focus of your thoughts to a more neutral mindset. 

The STOPP technique stands for:

  • Stop! Take a moment to be mindful.
  • Take a breath and focus on the sensation.
  • Observe- What is going on in your mind or body right now?
  • Pull back- Get some perspective. Look at the bigger picture or think about what you would tell a friend right now.
  • Practice what works- precede with what is most helpful for you and others right now. Do what fits your values. 

Keep an insights journal and have it by your bedside. It is suggested to have several rational and positive thoughts written down to read through and remind yourself that you have control over your thoughts and reactions to your tinnitus. It is also important to remember that as difficult and frustrating as it can be, tinnitus isn’t harmful.

Just like a consistent bedtime routine is an important part of a comprehensive tinnitus management program, a consistent morning routine is equally essential to working towards habituation. Our audiologists can help you create a routine to minimize the impact of your tinnitus in the morning as part of your comprehensive tinnitus treatment plan. 

If you live with tinnitus, there are many things that you can do to manage it in the morning. Sound therapy, on-ear maskers, and relaxation techniques are all effective methods for dealing with tinnitus. Work with an audiologist to find what works best for you!

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