Struggling with the never ending noise from tinnitus can be very distressing. This hidden chronic condition leaves many suffering in silence – literally! The quieter the ambient background, the more your mind will notice the tinnitus. Many tinnitus sufferers talk of their grief about never being able to enjoy the peacefulness of silence again. And this is certainly a loss. However, an interesting point to consider is that “silence” in nature is a sign that a predator is approaching and thus, in reality, a more relaxing and soothing sound environment would have the sounds of nature like chirping birds and crickets. Enriching background surroundings with sounds of nature can provide the tinnitus sufferer with some relief as it distracts and may even mask the tinnitus.
If you suffer from tinnitus, it is worth experimenting with a range of sounds such as relaxing music or recordings of sounds from nature like moving water, birds and insects, wind or white noise. You can find more information about tinnitus and some free sound recordings to install on your computer and play in the background on this excellent website http://www.tinnitus.org. Alternatively you will find some Apps with sounds to mask tinnitus that you can always have with you on your phone. As tinnitus often makes sleeping difficult, it may help you to sleep by having these soothing sounds playing in the background.
In addition, consider psychological therapy to assist with coping with the stress of having tinnitus. The more stressed you are by tinnitus, the more aware you will be of it, leading to more irritation and distress. There are psychological strategies to assist with getting out of these negative cycles. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been found to reduce the distress from tinnitus. More recently, Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) has also been used to help people cope with tinnitus. Of the two therapies – and I practice both of them – I think that ACT has probably more to offer for this particular problem. This is because the very essence of ACT is learning ways of managing troubling thoughts, feelings and chronic conditions so they do not stop you from leading a rewarding and meaningful life.
For more ideas about coping, see my extended article on tinnitus free moments.
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