Tinnitus impacts nearly 50 million people. Often referred to as “ringing in the ears”, tinnitus is the experience of hearing noise when no external sound is present. This noise is commonly described as a buzzing, ringing, clicking-like sound that can be perceived constantly or intermittently. Tinnitus can be so disruptive that sleep, focus, and capacity to complete everyday tasks can deteriorate. Meditation is an effective strategy that can alleviate tinnitus and its impact!
Tinnitus is not a condition itself but an underlying symptom of a medical condition so finding the exact cause can be challenging. Most cases of tinnitus occur with underlying hearing loss – a chronic health issue that reduces the capacity to absorb and process sound. Hearing loss produces a range of symptoms, tinnitus being one of the most common. Other causes of tinnitus include ear and sinus infections, an accumulation of earwax in the ear canal, cardiovascular disease, thyroid conditions, and ménière’s disease.
Tinnitus can be experienced mildly to severely, often taking a toll on daily life and wellness. The sound can be soft or loud, range in pitch (from high to low), and be heard in one or both ears. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 12 million people experience tinnitus chronically and for 2 million people, it is debilitating. There are no cures for tinnitus so finding and practicing strategies that provide relief is important. Fortunately, tinnitus can be effectively managed with interventions like meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a mental and physical exercise that involves directing one’s full attention to one point of focus. There are various strategies, approaches, and techniques that are used to facilitate meditation. And though it sounds simple, meditation can be really difficult because the mind tends to drift and wander constantly – making to-do lists, thinking about reminders, reflecting on something that happened during your day, etc. Quieting the mind and concentrating your attention can be difficult to achieve. But the point of meditation is not necessarily to maintain perfect focus but rather, to bring yourself back to focusing when you catch yourself becoming distracted.
A daily meditation practice can profoundly enhance your life, offering countless benefits that strengthen holistic health. Benefits include:
- Reduces stress: navigating stress is one of the most common reasons people engage in meditation. Stress is also a significant trigger for tinnitus, often amplifying it. By focusing on and deepening your breathing, you relax both your mind and body. This is a great way to work through and process stress which in turn, reduces tinnitus.
- Manages anxiety: stress reduction is also useful for managing anxiety. Being able to cope with stress healthily and sustainably, helps reduce anxiety. Meditation helps people be and stay in the present which prevents the mind from thinking about past and future stressors, events, tasks, etc.
- Enhances emotional health: being in the present moment can significantly minimize self-talk and intrusive thoughts. This offers a way to navigate depression and contributes to a positive outlook as well as self-image; profoundly enhancing emotional wellness and mental health.
These benefits not only contribute to improved well-being but can also enhance health in a variety of ways. Meditation can improve the quality of sleep, reduce stress, and help ease tinnitus.
Tips to Ease Tinnitus with Meditation
Meditation is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment. Tips to make it easier and also provide tinnitus relief include:
- Create a comfortable environment. Being in a space that is comfortable and cozy is a useful way to help you relax. Creating your ideal environment can include setting the lighting to meet your preferences, powering off sources of loud noises (television for example), adjusting the temperature in your space, etc.
- Sit comfortably and focus on breathing. Positioning yourself so that you are fully comfortable is important. Sit or lay in a way that is most conducive to relaxation and in a position that you can maintain throughout your meditation practice. Focusing on the breath is a key part of meditation. Becoming aware of your breathing, deepening your breath, and feeling how it moves throughout your body is integral to focusing your attention and facilitating calmness. You can focus on your breath by closing your eyes and taking 5 deep breaths that you can feel in your diaphragm.
- Use ambient noise. Meditating in silence can be challenging, especially while dealing with tinnitus. Using ambient noise – nature sounds, white noise, ambient music, etc. – can help minimize tinnitus sounds, increasing your ability to focus.
- Meditate consistently. It will likely take time for you to feel comfortable meditating. It can be a process that requires you to practice different ways that help you relax. It is important to continue practicing consistently, try 5 to 10 minutes per day.
If you are struggling with symptoms related to tinnitus or hearing loss, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more!