Tinnitus affects 10 per cent of adults in the UK*. You might be familiar with the temporary ringing in your ears after attending a loud concert or sporting event, but for some, the struggle with this constant internal buzzing affects their life on a daily basis.
Permanent damage can affect anyone as a result from just one instance of over exposure to loud noise. In recognition of British Tinnitus Association’s, Tinnitus Awareness Week, Specsavers chief audiologist, Nick Taylor, offers some guidance on managing tinnitus, which currently has no known cure.
Nick said: ‘Tinnitus is an extremely common problem, although the exact cause of it is still unknown. It is a symptom – rather than a disorder or disease – that affects a person’s nerve pathway between the ear and the brain, and the type of noise heard varies from person to person.’
Top tips to help manage tinnitus
Learn to relax - worrying about tinnitus causes tension which can worsen the condition. Therefore, learning to relax is an important part of the relief process. There are a number of simple relaxation exercises that you can learn from books, CDs or classes, which will help relax your mind and body. Some people find that aromatherapy, improved posture, massage, reflexology, craniofacial therapy, yoga, and tai chi have similar relaxing benefits, as well as resting in a relaxing environment with special aromas, dim lighting, and soft music.
Avoid silence - in a totally quiet environment your brain will try to hear any sound more clearly - including the sound of your tinnitus. It is, therefore, important to try to avoid complete silence, especially when you are trying to sleep at night. Increasing the amount of ‘background noise’ in your home or workplace can help lessen your focus on your tinnitus tone.
Avoid earplugs - if you have tinnitus, you should not wear any kind of earplugs that make it more difficult to hear, except when exposed to very loud noises. They will not help your tinnitus and will instead make it seem louder as they create the sort of quiet environment that it is advised should be avoided.
Keep active - keeping active and involved in your interests and hobbies can enhance your quality of life and help you focus on other things aside from tinnitus. It may be that you want to try something new, rekindle an old interest or help out with the running of a tinnitus support group.
Stay healthy - it is also important to monitor your overall health and wellbeing. If you find that certain foods or drinks, activities or situations aggravate your tinnitus you could consider cutting down on these or finding alternatives. This may mean making a few adjustments but will mean that tinnitus doesn’t stop you carrying on with life in the way you want to.