5 ways to take control of your tinnitus

Posted 17 January 2022 by Simon Myhill RHAD FdSc FSHAA, Clinical Lead Audiologist
Monday 7th February marks the start of Tinnitus Awareness Week (7th-13th February), organised by the British Tinnitus Association.

5 ways to take control of your tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition where noises are heard when there is no external source. Many will have experienced some buzzing or ringing in the ears at times, especially after exposure to loud noise. However, 1 in 8 of us in the UK experience this permanently with the figure set to increase by more than half a million people over the next 10 years.

Currently there is no cure for tinnitus, therefore treatment is focused more towards managing and masking the symptoms. It is very much a case of finding what works best for you. I have put together 5 actionable steps you can take to feel more in control of your tinnitus.

1 – Seek professional advice

The first and most progressive step towards managing your tinnitus is to seek the advice of a trained professional. As tinnitus is very specific to the individual and there is certainly not a general ‘cure all’ solution, it is imperative that you address it as such and receive personalised advice that is tailored to you.

This could be either by making an appointment with your GP, or seeking the advice of a private audiologist or ENT specialist.

2 – Connect with a support group

Tinnitus support groups take place across East Anglia. They provide an excellent opportunity for those living with tinnitus to meet, share their experiences, pick up tips to help manage their symptoms and spark up new friendships.

Click here to find your nearest group.

3 – Try mindfulness

Did you know that if you have a higher level of stress there is a greater chance that you will be troubled by your tinnitus? For this reason, taking steps to reduce stress and be more mindful could in turn help you to manage your tinnitus.

In basic terms, mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment. This is something that takes practice, but over time you will be able to observe rather than interact. There are plenty of videos and apps to guide you through this process, try Calm.com or Headspace to get you started.

4 – Use sound therapy

Tinnitus is usually more noticeable in a quiet environment. It’s a bit like candles on a birthday cake – in the lights, the candles aren’t very bright but if you turn the lights off, the candles seem much brighter.
Sound therapy is the use of any sound to mask the sound of tinnitus. This can be in any form that suits you, from simply playing music, to having the windows open to hear environmental sounds around you, to using a specifically designed sound generator.

5 – Wearing a hearing system

You may be surprised to discover that a hearing system can help to managing tinnitus. By addressing an underlying hearing loss, the amplification of external noise can mask the symptoms of tinnitus.

Some new hearing systems have in-built tinnitus therapy features, allowing you to play sounds to mask your tinnitus directly into your ear. It might be worth booking a hearing assessment with your local hearing care provider to see if improving your hearing could be the key to managing your tinnitus.