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Start to manage stress in just 30 minutes a day

By | Tinnitus Management

We all know that stress can make tinnitus worse and learning to manage it isn’t always easy. But even a few small adjustments can make a difference. Why not try this one-week taster of activities that can help manage stress in under 30 minutes a day!

Day 1: Spend 10 minutes on focused breathing or try a 10-minute yoga or tai-chi exercise. If you can do it outside, even better!

Day 2: Spend at least 15 minutes outside, preferably in nature. This could be in the early morning, during your lunch break, or at the end of the day.  Avoid phones or other distractions and just take in the sounds and sights around you. Find out more about mindfulness here.

Man relaxing outsideDay 3: Take 10 minutes to write a list of activities, situations or responsibilities that you find stressful. Can you remove,
delegate or get help with any of these? Or can you manage them differently? Take another 10 minutes to write a list of the changes you would like to make. Select one. Take 5 minutes to plan when and how you will start.

Day 4: Take 30 minutes for yourself during your lunch break or before or after work. From a short nap to taking a walk or reading a book, schedule 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to unwind.

Day 5: Visit the NHS resources on reframing unhelpful thoughts and dealing with worries. Try some of the exercises and make a note of any strategies that are helpful for you.

Day 6: Make connections. Call an old friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while, meet someone for coffee or a walk, or find a tinnitus support group.

Day 7: Choose one of the activities from the last week that you found helpful and repeat it.

Day 8: Review the last week. Can you use any of these stategies going forwards?  Choose one or two tips to focus on. Set realistic goals and create a plan to start.

Don’t forget that managing stress can be a lengthy process. Small, manageable goals may not seem significant, but they can build your confidence and stress management skills to help you make long-term positive changes.

If you’re experiencing severe stress or anxiety, consider speaking with your doctor or a mental health professional. They can help you develop coping strategies and provide additional support.

Tinnitus and stress – What is the link?

By | Tinnitus Management

Man with stress and tinnitus trying to work at his desk

You’ve probably heard about the relationship between tinnitus and stress, with one study showing that people who suffer long-term stress are over twice as likely to suffer from tinnitus.

Tinnitus will often start during a period of stress, and stress often makes it worse.
But why is stress so closely related to tinnitus, and what can you do about it?

Fight or flight

Researchers are still examining the exact relationship between the two conditions, and increased sympathetic nervous system activity may play a part. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, increasing heart rate, and breathing in response to a perceived threat. Our bodies are not designed to maintain this state for a long time, so when stress continues for extended periods, we can suffer physical and mental health problems.

One effect of stress is increasing levels of hormones such as epinephrine or cortisol. Evidence suggests that stress hormones can alter inner ear fluid and auditory function and stimulate activity in the auditory pathways. If blood flow to the cochlear and inner ear is affected, tinnitus and even hearing loss can result.

Sleep disturbance and anxiety

Stress can also interfere with sleep, often leading to fatigue, which can make tinnitus worse. Again, the activation of stress hormones can play a part. Chronic stress can also lead to depression and anxiety disorders, which are also common risk factors.

Whether or not you are undergoing other tinnitus treatment, taking action to reduce stress may offer benefits. Exercising, getting enough rest and sleep, and doing things you enjoy are all ways to reduce the impact on your auditory system. Where appropriate, therapies such as CBT can also provide you with relevant coping skills and techniques.

For more ideas on how to manage stress see this NHS list of 10 stress busters you can start today!

7 self-help tips for managing tinnitus at home

By | Tinnitus Management

Managing tinnitus isn’t easy and if you experience it, you’ll know how the constant ringing or buzzing can make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, or enjoy everyday activities.

If you just want tips for easing your symptoms, or want to give your treatment the best chance of success, here are 7 things you can start today that may help.

Managing tinnitus with yoga

1. Learn about tinnitus

Understanding your condition can help you understand how best to treat and manage it. If you have recently started to experience tinnitus, make an appointment with your doctor or audiologist so they can advise you on the causes and possible treatments.

2. Take steps to manage your stress

Stress can increase tinnitus symptoms, so it may be helpful to identify small, achievable changes to reduce the effects of stressful events. New habits such as meditation and mindfulness, spending more time in nature and other changes can help in reducing stress and managing tinnitus symptoms.

3. Manage your environment

Environmental factors, such as loud noises, can worsen tinnitus symptoms, so do your best to limit your exposure to loud sounds and wear earplugs or other protective devices when in noisy environments.

4. Identify your tinnitus triggers

Are there some situations that make your tinnitus worse?  Understanding your triggers can help in managing tinnitus. Your audiologist will be able to help you determine what your triggers are and how to handle them.

5. Exercise regularly 

Regular exercise can reduce stress and improve overall health with potential benefits for hearing health. Find exercise that is appropriate and sustainable for you and build it into your routine if you can.  The NHS has guidance for exercise for all age groups including 19-64 and older adults.

6. Look at your diet and habits

 Is your tinnitus worse after eating certain foods, drinking coffee or alcohol, smoking or certain activities? Are you drinking enough water? Gradual, manageable changes can make a big difference. Discuss any changes with your doctor and get advice.

7. Find support

Talking to others with tinnitus can be very helpful for feeling understood and finding new management techniques. You can find support groups online or in your local community. Why not start by checking our resources page?

If you are really finding your tinnitus difficult to deal with, consider scheduling a new appointment with your doctor, audiologist, or even a mental health professional. They should be able to help you with coping strategies and additional support. If you are not getting the support you need, ask for other recommendations in your area.