Living with a condition like tinnitus can be challenging, to say the least. Tinnitus, or ringing, humming, or buzzing in the ears, can have different causes and can affect people differently — but no matter the cause, it’s important to learn what you can do to live with this condition. So to help you get started, this article will discuss a few important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

Do…

Visit a hearing center

One of the most important steps to take when you begin experiencing ringing in your ears is to visit a hearing center. When you visit an audiologist, they’ll be able to test your hearing and look into potential causes of your hearing problems — tinnitus causes can vary, but may include things like hearing loss, head or neck injuries, TMJ disorder, sinus problems, and other medical conditions. Getting to the root cause of tinnitus may be able to help with hearing loss and other tinnitus symptoms. The right audiologist will perform a hearing test, look into your medical history, and help establish a personalized treatment plan.

Avoid stress

Like many other medical conditions, tinnitus may worsen with stress. This is why it’s important to manage stress and anxiety to the best of your abilities — consider practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation or even seeking counseling. Your diet and exercise routines can help manage stress, too, so consider avoiding caffeine and choosing low-stress physical activities, like walking. You may also want to utilize a sound machine or fan when sleeping or sitting in quiet areas and avoid loud noises.

Consider all treatment options

While there is no cure for tinnitus, both subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus symptoms can be lessened — cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) have all been found to help those suffering from tinnitus better manage their symptoms. Additionally, sound therapy, which uses external sounds to either drown out the ringing or help the sufferer ignore the ringing, can be helpful, too. It’s important to remember that not everyone experiences tinnitus the same and it may take trying a few different treatment options before you find something that works for you.

Don’t…

Forget to use hearing protection

Hearing protection is important for people with and without tinnitus — exposure to loud noises can speed up age-related hearing loss and cause other problems, including permanent damage to the ears. Wearing hearing protection is especially important when you have tinnitus because loud noises can worsen the ringing or hissing in the ears. So if you’re going to be somewhere where you know there will be loud noises, including loud music at concerts or construction noises at a worksite, bring earplugs or other appropriate hearing protection to avoid making your symptoms worse.

Go through this alone

Tinnitus is a very common condition, affecting around 50 million Americans. And while this isn’t a condition anyone enjoys having, knowing you’re not alone can make dealing with it easier. Because tinnitus is so common, there are plenty of support groups, counseling options, and other organizations available to help those suffering from this condition. If you choose to connect with others who experience tinnitus, you may find the emotional support you need.

Accepting and learning to live with your tinnitus is no easy task, but it is possible. With help from a reputable hearing center and support from loved ones, tinnitus patients can find relief. So if you’re suffering from tinnitus, don’t wait to reach out to a local audiologist so you can begin finding the treatment of tinnitus that works best for you.

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