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Woman holding her hand to her head in discomfort

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is unfortunately very difficult to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to discover a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain little-known.

If you have tinnitus, it’s crucial to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is occasionally a symptom of an underlying condition that requires medical assistance. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by taking care of the underlying problem.

Second, numerous tinnitus therapies are currently available that have proven to be particularly effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adapt to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in several cases.

That being said, some cases of tinnitus linger in spite of the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do on your own to lessen the severity of symptoms.

Here are 10 things you can do to manage your tinnitus.

1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – every instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to maintain a written log to identify specific triggers, which can be certain types of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are several different medications that can make tinnitus worse.

2. Stop smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restrains blood flow, both of which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to develop some type of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.

3. Limit intake of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should keep track of the effects yourself. The same thing goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no definitive studies that show a clear link, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Use masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more perceptible and bothersome when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or buying a white-noise machine.

5. Use hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are short-term and the result of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To prevent further damage—and persistent tinnitus—make sure to use ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – results will vary, but some people have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be highly effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

7. Find ways to relax and unwind – reducing your stress and enhancing your mood can help diminish the severity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any other activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more sleep – lack of sleep is a recognized trigger for making tinnitus worse, which then makes it more challenging to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To guarantee that you get sufficient sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois found that exercise may contribute to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also reduce stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Join a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping techniques from others suffering from the same symptoms.

What have you found to be the most reliable technique of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.

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