One-third of all adults report experiencing tinnitus at some time in their lives, and ten to 15 percent of adults have prolonged tinnitus requiring medical evaluation1. Though there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage it. Here are 11 strategies you can use to cope with your tinnitus, both in its mild form and for those more severe cases.
1. COMPLETE AUDIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL EVALUATION WITH NEUROTOLOGIST PRIOR TO INITIATION OF TINNITUS TREATMENT TO DETERMINE ETIOLOGY AND IF ANY MEDICAL MANAGEMENT IS INDICATED. For instance, patients diagnosed with Meniere's Disease or cochlear hydrops may simultaneously be managed medically and also pursue tinnitus treatment with an audiologist if their tinnitus is bothersome.
2. AVOID CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO if they exacerbate (worsen) your tinnitus.
3. AVOID ASPIRIN AND NON-STEROID ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS IF POSSIBLE.
4. SOUND ENRICHMENT IS IMPORTANT. Avoid silence: Use a radio, fan, TV, or sound machine to provide background sound.
5. UTILIZE EAR PLUGS APPROPRIATELY:
a. Plugs and/or muffs for loud exposures such as guns, mowers etc.
b. Musician's ear plugs for concerts, movies, and religious services
6. GET PLENTY OF REST.
7. AVOID STRESS IF POSSIBLE. Stress and fatigue may worsen tinnitus.
8. SEEK ORTHODONTIAL/DENTAL CARE if you grind your teeth at night or have been diagnosed with TMJ.
9. CONSIDER EAR LEVELS DEVICES AND TINNITUS TREATMENTS IF INDICATED:
a. Personal hearing aids for significant hearing loss
b. Tranquil low-level noise generator for TRT
c. Oasis device utilized for Neuromonics
10. PRACTICE MUSCLE RELAXATION EACH DAY.
11. BE WELL INFORMED REGARDING TINNITUS, but avoid keeping diaries and avoid excessive study of tinnitus in journals or on the Internet.
1Heller, A.J. (2003, April). Classification and epidemiology of tinnitus. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America, 36(2): 239-248.