Tinnitus Stress

What Is Tinnitus Stress?

Tinnitus StressWe must first emphasize that stress in itself does not cause tinnitus, which is characterized by ringing, whistling, buzzing or pulsating in one or both ears despite the absence of external sources. Instead, tinnitus stress refers to the condition wherein high levels of stress, anxiety and distress worsen the severity, frequency or duration of the sounds.  This close connection between tinnitus and stress has been proven in several scientific studies.

The tinnitus-stress link can be a cyclical affair.  When you are under stress the sounds can return, which in turn will contribute to higher levels of distress.  The noises then become louder in volume, higher in pitch or longer in duration – or perhaps all of the above – as stress levels continue to soar.  And so the cycle continues until something is done to stop it.

Is there a cure to stop stress-related tinnitus?   It is possible to cure the stress but it requires commitment to making lifestyle changes, as well as patience while waiting for the results.  The basic assumption in treating stress-related tinnitus is reducing your stress levels.  Unless exposure to extreme stress is reduced, the chances of beating stress-related tinnitus are low.

Here are a few ways for you to lessen stress levels or improve positive reactions to stress:

  • Learn and then adopt ways to relax.  We suggest moderate exercise, relaxation therapy and meditation.  Even deep breathing during times of stress and stepping back from the source of stress can do wonders in considerably lessening tinnitus symptoms.  Tinnitus maskers are also excellent relaxation devices.
  • When sleeping, it may help to prop your head up with a few pillows.  Your head will then be less congested, making it possible to reduce or remove the noises in your ears.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.  These items have substances (i.e., tar and nicotine) that increase the body’s exposure to stress, which exacerbates the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Get support from your family and friends, or check out our large list of tinnitus support groups.

The bottom line: Successful treatment of tinnitus stress requires a holistic approach to stress management.  Start with relaxation methods and move on toward healthy lifestyle habits.

Useful Resources:

BTA Tinnitus and Stress: http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/tinnitus-and-stress

American Journal of Audiology:   http://aja.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/16/2/107

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