5 Simple Techniques to Reduce Tinnitus (#2 is Our Favorite)

ecovering from tinnitus is possible and utilizing these 5 tinnitus treatment tools, with the help of a tinnitus professional, can help get you there.

Our team at Treble Health have been using these 5 management techniques and principles to help patients reduce their tinnitus. Recovering from tinnitus is possible and utilizing these 5 tinnitus treatment tools, with the help of a tinnitus professional, can help get you there.

Dr. Ben Thompson discusses the 5 modules of tinnitus recovery

#1 Habituation

The first module of tinnitus recovery is habituation. To start, focus your perception on your breath; once you have your attention turned to your breath, it’s very easy to feel it and hear it. But throughout daily life, your brain is likely focusing on other things. This is an example of habituation, where the brain reduces the perception of a sensation. This same degree of habituation is possible to achieve with one’s tinnitus.

Breathing habituation comes to us so naturally because the brain recognizes breathing as a neutral phenomenon; it’s neither good nor bad, and it’s happening all the time. The brain’s limbic system, which controls the body’s fight or flight response, filters stimuli according to which ones are threatening. While tinnitus might be labeled as threatening at first, it is still possible to habituate the brain’s response so that it becomes just another neutral phenomenon.

Read more about tinnitus habituation here

#2 Sound Therapy

The second module of tinnitus recovery is sound therapy. When discussing sound therapy, it’s important to consider both the technology (the device, instrument, or speaker creating the sound) as well as the actual sound output (white noise, pink noise, water sounds, etc.). With careful consideration of these factors, sound therapy can facilitate tinnitus habituation.

It’s useful to remember that sound enrichment—rather than technology—is the most important part of sound therapy. The best sound therapy solution is the one that provides the most enrichment to your daily environments. Another common misconception is that patients will become dependent on sound therapy. The truth is that sound therapy is a crucial tool for achieving tinnitus habituation for a majority of patients, and helps to vastly improve quality of life. Many patients ultimately find that after a robust sound therapy protocol, the volume of their tinnitus will decrease.

There are many modes of sound therapy available to patients. One of the simplest and cheapest is a basic speaker (running as little as $50 from manufacturers like Sound Oasis) programmed with white noise, pink noise, and natural sounds. Slightly more expensive alternatives include bone conduction headphones and tinnitus maskers. 

And beyond that, the widely agreed-upon gold standard for sound therapy are hearing aids programmed for tinnitus. If you are considering options for sound therapy, you may wonder about hearing aid prices, experience of the audiologist, and sound quality of the hearing aids. These typically require calibration from an audiologist, and are beneficial in affording patients the flexibility to move between different sound environments without having to adjust their sound therapy.

Read more about sound therapy for tinnitus here

#3 Sleep

The third—and most obvious—module of tinnitus recovery is sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well, it will be harder for your body to heal and habituate. Habituation requires a foundation of healthy sleeping patterns, and if your sleeping patterns are out of balance it will be very hard to make any progress with your tinnitus.

woman sleeping

If you are struggling with sleep, there are a few things you can do. First, try performing a sleep audit. This involves inspecting your pre-sleep rituals and routines and improving them where possible—for instance, are you stimulating your brain right before sleep (like by watching TV) or trying to sleep in a room with a lot of unnecessary light?

Another thing you can do, especially if you struggle with insomnia, is to try implementing cognitive behavioral therapy. Science has shown that medications for insomnia are not entirely effective, and that the best path forward involves changing and reworking certain behaviors associated with sleep. For example, if you are finding that you are waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to fall asleep, you might want to experiment with walking to another room, sitting down in a chair, and observing your breathing until you start to get tired again. Research has shown that this is one of the most effective tools for helping you to fall back asleep. There are also a variety of wearable tech options, such as sleep headbands and “sleepbuds,” available to help with achieving sound sleep for those dealing with tinnitus.

Read more about how to get better sleep with tinnitus here

#4 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The fourth module of tinnitus recovery is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There is a large body of psychological research supporting the efficacy of targeted practices that allow the brain to rewire and restructure itself. Thus, tinnitus patients are capable of eliminating certain negative thought patterns and emotional associations.

The limbic system in the brain is one of the “older” parts of our brain responsible for keeping us alive and alerting us to potential threats through anxiety and fear responses. However, brain imaging scans have shown tinnitus patients to have a more activated limbic system than the average person, which explains why tinnitus can become so bothersome and triggering for certain patients. By committing to CBT techniques through one-on-one counseling with a psychotherapist or audiologist, tinnitus patients can work to unlearn some of these emotional patterns and reactions and achieve a certain degree of neuroplasticity needed for habituation.

Read more about cognitive behavioral therapy for tinnitus here

#5 Mindfulness

The fifth and final module of tinnitus recovery is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves observing one’s thoughts—both positive and negative—with equanimity, and thus working to create a sense of space in one’s mind so as to not become a victim to negative thought patterns. Mindfulness frequently takes the form of structured breathing, and there are a variety of research-backed apps available to help beginners develop a sustainable mindfulness habit.

meditating at beach

Mindfulness meditation, as well as other holistic health habits, are crucial for tinnitus patients because they work to reduce limbic system activity and, therefore, the strength of one’s tinnitus. And while there are a host of holistic health habits that one may feel compelled to adopt, the best path forward is to first focus on strengthening the five foundational modules outlined above. 

Read more about mindfulness techniques for tinnitus here

If a possible technique or treatment is not evidence-based or audiologist-approved, that should be a red flag to tread carefully and to possibly invest more time and effort into one of the foundational modules.

What To Do Next For Tinnitus

At Treble Health, we know the importance of having a comprehensive approach to tinnitus management. That includes neuroplasticity, sound therapy, and proper medical tests. We put together a consumer guide to help you master tinnitus management so you can improve tinnitus once and for all. Click here to get the free Tinnitus Guide: 2022 Edition

Want to speak with an expert audiologist about your options for tinnitus treatment instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Treble Health Tinnitus Consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.

More To Explore

Recent Posts

CONNECT WITH TREBLE HEALTH

Treble Health Newsletter

Get exclusive guidance that we only share with email subscribers.