The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make With Tinnitus (And How to Avoid Them)

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make With Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be difficult without professional guidance. Here are 5 common mistakes people make with tinnitus and how to avoid the pitfalls of life with tinnitus.

Dr. Ben Thompson offers 5 simple reminders for patients

Reminder #1: Create a Comprehensive Sound Therapy Plan

Sound therapy offers a much-needed respite from tinnitus and serves as an invaluable aid to those who find it difficult to work in silence or attain quality sleep. This auditory system remedy is essential for restoring peace of mind and relaxation.

"Treble Health helped me reduce my tinnitus by about 80%, and now I can live my life again!"
"Treble Health helped me reduce my tinnitus by about 80%, and now I can live my life again!"
– Steve D.
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It can help to soften the effects of tinnitus by introducing other noises. Without this stimulation, people with tinnitus may experience extreme feelings of stress and anxiety – leading to more serious mental health problems such as insomnia. By applying a sound therapy program, you will be able to make the noise in your auditory system less intense. In Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), one important step is reaching what’s known as “the mixing point.” You have the loudness of your tinnitus, and then you also have the sound therapy you’re going to use. The mixing point involves the sound therapy coming very close to—but not completely masking—your tinnitus. 

You will also want to determine your chosen sound that’s going to help you. Patients often prefer higher pitched sounds with a similar cadence and quality to their tinnitus, such as the sound of water running or crickets chirping. The way to actually use the sound therapy are through hearing devices that go inside your ears or on top of your ear, or even through something like a bone conduction headset, cell phone, or speaker.

Reminder #2: Be Mindful of the Fight-or-Flight Response

If you have tinnitus, it’s very important that you become mindful of your body’s fight-or-flight response. When this response activates, your tinnitus will often become louder. If you find yourself stuck in a state of fear and saddled with thoughts like “I don’t know if this tinnitus is going to get a lot worse” and “I don’t really know what I can do,” then it’s going to be hard for your body and mind to let go and ease your tinnitus. While the fight-or-flight response naturally occurs throughout our day, it is important to stay grounded in our parasympathetic nervous system for as many hours of the day as possible. 

Some common scenarios that involve activating the fight-or-flight response include watching action movies, watching the news, or having conversations with people that make you feel anxious. It’s in these instances where positive psychology and reliable stress reduction techniques can work wonders and help to ease your nervous system and, in tandem, your tinnitus.

Reminder #3: Manage Stress and Anxiety

The volume and intensity of our tinnitus is often linked to how much stress and anxiety we’re experiencing. The good news is that there are practices that can help to counter these feelings.

To combat stress and anxiety, one approach is to examine which factors or people are eliciting these reactions from you. Additionally, reflecting on your relationship with tinnitus can help ascertain if you’re caught in an unhelpful thought cycle. When dealing with tinnitus, confiding in a professional or support group can help to alleviate your suffering. However, it’s important to be conscious of other patients who are entrenched in negative thought cycles as this could trigger further anxiety for yourself.

Another way to manage stress and anxiety is through the use of different meditative practices like yoga, tai chi, guided body scans, and sitting or walking meditation. There are plenty of videos and resources available online (including on the Treble Health website and YouTube channel) that can teach you how to begin one of these practices. Ultimately, if you can pinpoint your stress and anxiety triggers, you will soon find your tinnitus getting better. 

Reminder #4: Deconstruct Negative Thinking Patterns

To reduce the suffering caused by tinnitus, it is essential to become cognizant of negative thought spirals. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven as an effective means of recognizing these patterns and improving overall symptoms associated with tinnitus.

Let’s break down a common situation: a patient thinks of her tinnitus as the worst thing that’s ever happened to her, and thus considers it the prime reason why her life has gotten so much worse. A cognitive behavioral approach to this pattern of thinking would involve unpacking these thoughts and determining the patient’s sense of control as well as their future outlook, and ultimately determining how the patient relates to her tinnitus.

With this understanding, there is great potential for rewiring how the patient relates to their tinnitus. Focusing on breathing or writing down thoughts are simple yet effective methods that can help bring much-needed relief. It’s vital to recognize that our perceptions and psychology play an integral role when it comes to experiencing tinnitus — so a shift in mindset could be just what we need!

Reminder #5: Establish Daily Wellness Practices

Establishing beneficial habits into your everyday life is essential for managing tinnitus and becoming more engaged with the here-and-now. These practices are advantageous for combating stress, anxiety, and exhaustion while refueling you with energy.

To make the most of your day, try to incorporate some calming and restorative habits into your morning routine. Guided breathing exercises, going for a walk or working out, drinking lots of water – these practices can help you find equilibrium quickly. Furthermore, if you prefer more meditative activities such as yoga and tai chi or meditation itself – feel free to experiment!

As the sun sets, why not implement some calming practices to get ready for a restful sleep? Ideas might include stretching, soaking in a warm bath or shower, reading a book or listening to music and sound therapy – whatever works best to help you relax.

Even if your tinnitus doesn’t noticeably change at first, these daily wellness practices give you something to consistently work towards and thereby help lay the foundation for your tinnitus to improve further into the future.

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