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Understanding Tinnitus And The Different Approaches Used To Manage Symptoms

August 28, 2018

Tinnitus can be a significant form of discomfort for some. It is usually well tolerated by most individuals but can be very distressing for about 1-2% of the population. It is a symptom that can be described as a ringing, hiss, high or low pitched sound that can come from either one or both ears. It is usually more noticeable when you are in a quiet room and there is no identifiable source of the sound around you. It can be caused by many different things, so it’s important you see your doctor and get properly assessed if you experience this sound. I personally experience it and have learned to cope and “lessen” the noise over the years. As irritating as it can be, there is hope and various strategies you can use to help yourself along. There is no “cure”, but there are exercises you can do to improve your overall well-being. Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis have been shown to be viable options in helping you manage tinnitus symptoms.

It is estimated that as much as 42% of Canadians have experienced some form of tinnitus that was either directly or indirectly caused by some form of hearing loss. Using headphones, or earbuds while cranking up the volume can exacerbate symptoms. Overtime, if permanent hearing damage occurs, that ringing noise in your ear(s) may persist permanently. Inner ear infections can also be a cause of tinnitus. It is estimated that about 12.5% of the global population is affected by tinnitus and that only 1-2% of that population have a significant problem with it. It can be irritating, but most people learn to live and cope with the noise overtime. Eventually, some may even ignore it entirely and don’t even notice it is there, unless they choose to focus on it and think about it. In some people, if the symptoms are very persistent, it may cause anxiety and depression as well as sleep disturbances. It can at times affect your concentration if the sound annoys or distracts you from what you are trying to do. This article aims to inform you on the different causes of tinnitus and what you can do to help manage your symptoms.

 

What Is Tinnitus & How Can You Manage Symptoms?
There are a number of causes of tinnitus. I will be covering the most common causes as described by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Age-related hearing loss: Hearing naturally worsens with age for many individuals. Hearing loss can cause tinnitus and is described medically as presbycusis.

  • Exposure to loud noises: Cranking up the volume on your MP3 player, going to concerts, standing next to loudspeakers, noise from heavy equipment can all cause short-term tinnitus. This usually goes away, but long term-exposure to loud sound can lead to permanent hearing damage and the tinnitus may persist at this point.

  • Earwax blockage: If an accumulation of natural ear wax builds up, it can become difficult to wash away naturally. This may intern cause hearing loss or an irritation of the eardrum leading to tinnitus symptoms.

  • Ear bone changes: Stiffening of your middle ear bones can affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition tends to run in families and should be mentioned to your doctor if it does.

There are other more serious causes that are not listed here. If you notice any change or something unusual, it’s always best to get properly assessed and diagnosed by your doctor. Certain medications can also worsen symptoms, so it’s also a good idea to discuss this with an appropriate health care provider.

 

You can help your tinnitus by managing your stress, reducing your alcohol consumption and avoiding possible irritants like nicotine, caffeine or loud noises. Other alternative approaches include acupuncture, zinc supplements, B vitamins, and hypnosis.

 

How Can Hypnotherapy & Self-Hypnosis Help Me Manage My Symptoms?
There have been many documented studies that support the use of hypnosis as an alternative intervention to manage tinnitus symptoms. A french study published in 2011 evaluated the role of hypnotherapy in the treatment of debilitating tinnitus.

 

This study enrolled 110 patients suffering from distressing tinnitus. Each patient was treated with 5 sessions and were taught to use self-hypnosis at home. It was shown that 69% of the patients enrolled felt a significant improvement with their symptoms. The authors concluded that hypnotherapy “can be regarded as an effective treatment against distressing tinnitus”.

 

Hypnosis is not for everyone, but it has been shown to have beneficial effects in helping people manage their tinnitus symptoms better.

 

If you have any questions, interested in trying out a session, or getting a personalized self-hypnosis recording made, please reach out and feel free to send me an e-mail.

 

Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, RHt - a research scientist & practicing Registered Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.

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