Monday, November 5, 2007

Tinnitus Habituation

Do you suffer from Tinnitus, the constant ringing in one or both of your ears?
I have found these suggestions helpful in dealing with the noise in my left ear.

1. Visit your ENT. Excluding Tinnitus caused by an acoustic neuroma at least
brings some peace of mind. When your ENT says "learn to live with it"
take him/her seriously.

2. Accept your situation and commit yourself to doing just what the ENT
has told you. You may need some help but the vast majority of those with Tinnitus
will successfully adjust. Yes, this may take a year or more but remember...
there is a strong likelihood you will succeed on your own.

3. Explain your situation to those with whom you live and work. It is
likely your Tinnitus will affect your ability to discriminate between multiple
sources of sound. This is not to say your ability to hear soft sounds has
been diminished but rather that your ability to hear one conversation
while another it taking place nearby may be. It sure helps if they are
patient with you as you try to understand them in a noisy environment.

4. You all know how important it is to avoid loud sounds. During the
habituation period, it is probably more important to avoid silence.

5. When you are interested in something else, and not concentrating on
your Tinnitus, notice that you are able to ignore it for that period. I think it
important that the noise level you choose to mask your tinnitus otherwise
distracts you.

6. Try using a sound machine. I have a Brookstone Tranquil Moments Sound Therapy System on my nightstand. It has 12 different relaxing sounds that will lull you to sleep. I prefer the sound of ocean waves. After about 10 minutes of listening to it I am in never-never land. Some people find the sound of a radio station, at a low volume, will help to take their mind off the Tinnitus.

Learn as much about your condition as you can, at least enough to know
that there is no cure. Since it won't kill you, it's important to learn to live with it.
Forget about herbal remedies, acupuncture, hypnosis, candles, massage and the rest of the crap out there. Avoid ototoxic drugs.
Just do the six simple things outlined above and be patient. You
will enjoy absolute silence again some day.
*Contributing Editor: Bill Gerrells

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