Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Often, tinnitus can't be treated. Some people, however, get used to it and notice it less than they did at first. For many people, certain adjustments make the symptoms less bothersome. These tips may help:

  • Avoid possible irritants. Reduce your exposure to things that may make your tinnitus worse. Common examples include loud noises, caffeine and nicotine.
  • Cover up the noise. In a quiet setting, a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static may help mask the noise from tinnitus.
  • Manage stress. Stress can make tinnitus worse. Stress management, whether through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise, may provide some relief.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol increases the force of your blood by dilating your blood vessels, causing greater blood flow, especially in the inner ear area.

Coping and support

Tinnitus doesn't always improve or completely go away with treatment. Here are some suggestions to help you cope:

  • Counseling. A licensed therapist or psychologist can help you learn coping techniques to make tinnitus symptoms less bothersome. Counseling can also help with other problems often linked to tinnitus, including anxiety and depression.
  • Support groups. Sharing your experience with others who have tinnitus may be helpful. There are tinnitus groups that meet in person, as well as Internet forums. To ensure the information you get in the group is accurate, it's best to choose a group facilitated by a physician, audiologist or other qualified health professional.
  • Education. Learning as much as you can about tinnitus and ways to alleviate symptoms can help. And just understanding tinnitus better makes it less bothersome for some people.

Prevention

In many cases, tinnitus is the result of something that can't be prevented. However, some precautions can help prevent certain kinds of tinnitus.

  • Use hearing protection. Over time, exposure to loud noise can damage the nerves in the ears, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. If you use chain saws, are a musician, work in an industry that uses loud machinery or use firearms (especially pistols or shotguns), always wear over-the-ear hearing protection.
  • Turn down the volume. Long-term exposure to amplified music with no ear protection or listening to music at very high volume through headphones can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Take care of your cardiovascular health. Regular exercise, eating right and taking other steps to keep your blood vessels healthy can help prevent tinnitus linked to blood vessel disorders.
Feb. 01, 2016
References
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  2. Longo, DL, et al. Common disorders of vision and hearing. In: Harrison's Manual of Medicine. 18th ed. Longo DL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Jameson J, Loscalzo J., Longo D.L., Fauci A.S., Kasper D.L., Hauser S.L., Jameson J, Loscalzo J. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  3. Understanding the facts. American Tinnitus Association. http://www.ata.org/understanding-facts. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
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  5. Dinces EA. Treatment of tinnitus. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  6. Tinnitus fact sheet. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=✓&sc=0&m=&embedded=&affiliate=nidcd&filter=moderate&commit=Search&query=tinnitus. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  7. Tinnitus. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/tinnitus. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  8. Causes of tinnitus. American Tinnitus Association. http://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/causes. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.