Tinnitus is an ailment that affects millions of individuals across the world, (approx.15-20 percent of the world’s population) and is often associated with stress and worry. In this article we will examine the relationship between tinnitus and stress, as well as the several approaches that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition within the ear that is characterised by a ringing, buzzing, or humming sound that may be present in one or both ears. The sound could be continuous, or it could be intermittent; additionally, the volume and pitch can change or can be experienced simultaneously. It can last for a period of several years or can even be a lifelong condition and can affect both males and females. It can affect people of any age, young and old. Some of the additional symptoms that may be present include a feeling of fullness in the affected ear, vertigo, and headaches.
The Effects of Tinnitus on Daily Life
Because the sound is often distracting, it can make it difficult to concentrate fully on daily tasks. Also, because the noise may continue (or even appear more prevalent) while an individual is trying to relax, it may also make it challenging to go to sleep. This might result in feelings of exhaustion and make it difficult to operate normally throughout the day, since a lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus or concentrate on the activities that need to be completed.
Because of the persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, the disorder may also be a source of worry and tension. Because of this, sufferers may experience emotions of irritation, helplessness, and melancholy due to the fact that it may seem as if there is no way to escape the cacophony. Constantly feeling this concoction of emotions can contribute to a slow and protracted burnout, with burnout putting even more stress on mind and body.
In addition to its effects on one’s body and mind, tinnitus may also have a significant influence on a person’s relationships with their friends and family. The continuous noise may make it challenging to speak and engage with other people since the sound can be disorienting and make it difficult to concentrate on discussions. This can make it tough to converse and interact with others. It may be difficult to communicate the experience to others, and it can be much more challenging to discuss the condition with someone who cannot comprehend what you’re going through. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can be detrimental to recovery.
What Causes This Aggravating Condition?
The disorder is not an illness in itself, but rather a sign of another issue that may be going on beneath the surface. There are even some sufferers whose tinnitus has not been linked to a specific cause. Whilst there may not always be a clear understanding of what exactly causes tinnitus; there are a number of internal and external factors that may play a role in the development of the condition.
Internal factors include hearing loss that occurs naturally with ageing and issues with hearing due to a physical reaction to emotional triggers like stress or anxiety. When the body is stressed, hormones are secreted by the body in response to stressful or anxious situations, and these hormones have the potential to alter the way in which the auditory system processes sound. This can result in the perception of sound even in situations where there is no external source of the sound.
External factors include hearing loss caused by external environments, such as those who have had prolonged exposure to loud sounds (on the battlefield) and some people find their disorder is made worse in environments that are loud or crowded.
Tinnitus can also be exacerbated by certain medical conditions such as when trauma has been experienced to the head or neck, or resultant from problems with the circulatory system or the taking of certain prescription drugs.
How Best To Manage Tinnitus
The identification and treatment of the underlying cause of the disorder is the most effective method for managing the condition. If stress or worry is the root of the problem, it is critical to identify and implement strategies that might mitigate against feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. Meditation and yoga, as well as workouts that focus on deep breathing, may all contribute to a reduction in feelings associated with stress and prompt relaxation for the sufferer.
In some instances, some symptoms of the disorder might be alleviated with the use of several drugs; these medicines include those that treat depression and anxiety, as well as those that relax the muscles. Patients may also find relief from the disorder by using hearing aids, which have been shown to be effective in minimizing the sensation of ringing in the ears.
Changing Behaviour If You Have Tinnitus
There are ways to look after yourself if you suffer from tinnitus such as always being aware of, and monitoring, the external environment. For example, if you have the disorder, you should avoid loud noises as much as possible (try covering your ears if you hear sirens, trucks, and heavy machinery). Also beware of entering into noisy environments (such as music venues), in fact, try to avoid them at all costs since they have the potential to make the condition much worse.
Daily activities can aggravate the condition (such as emptying a garbage bin with lots of glass in it)- best to avoid if possible or at least wear ear-plugs if this is unavoidable.
It’s best to limit stimulants such smoking which can make the symptoms worse and make it more challenging to live with. Caffeine and alcohol are also believed to heighten the symptoms; it is advised to abstain from both of these drugs as much as possible.
Top Tips for Living With Tinnitus
The disorder may make life challenging, but there are certain things you can do to make living with it easier to manage. Because stress and anxiety may make the symptoms of the disorder worse, managing your stress and anxiety levels via relaxation techniques or therapy should be one of the top priorities on your list of things to do. They may help to lessen symptoms of the condition and make it easier to live with.
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Not getting enough sleep may worsen the symptoms of tinnitus, therefore it’s also essential to develop and maintain healthy sleeping habits through proper sleep hygiene in order to lessen the impact of tinnitus on one’s quality of life.
It’s also essential to remember to take frequent rests while engaging in tasks that require sustained focus and finally, finding strategies to deal with the noise, such as by donning earplugs or participating in sound therapy  all can have a positive impact.
Where Can I Get Help to Recover From Tinnitus?
It is imperative that you consult with your medical provider if you are searching for assistance in the management of this disorder. Your doctor will be able to assist in determining the underlying cause of the tinnitus and will be able to provide therapy recommendations that might be helpful in alleviating the symptoms. In some situations, it could be required to get a referral to see a specialist with regards to potential hearing loss. In addition, a Stress Coach can help with exploring the root cause of stress and reducing stress levels can have a positive impact on the management of tinnitus.
If you are having trouble managing your disorder, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Your physician will be able to assist you in determining the underlying cause of your condition and will also be able to recommend the treatments that are likely to be the most successful.
In conclusion, tinnitus is a disorder that impacts the lives of millions of individuals across the globe. It can be brought on by a range of circumstances, including worry and stress, which, in turn, may make the problem worse. The good news is that the causes of tinnitus such as stress can be managed in a variety of ways, including the use of relaxation methods, medicine, being conscious of lifestyle choices and through careful management of the external environment.
- health.harvard.edu – Tinnitus: Ringing or humming in your ears? Sound therapy is one option – 20/01/2023
Link to page on health.harvard.edu