Have you ever wondered if meditation might be useful for improving tinnitus? The good news is that meditation can be a powerful tool, whether used alone or with other treatments.
Meditation provides many strengths for improving tinnitus including stress reduction, improved sleep, and learning the ability to let thoughts come and go without judgment. In the following article, we'll go through the essential facts about meditation for tinnitus and how it can be used to improve relaxation and find peace.
Treating Tinnitus With Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice of using techniques to promote relaxation, focus, and attention. It can take many forms such as guided meditation or mantra meditation, for example, but each form shares the following strengths for treating the side effects of tinnitus such as stress and anxiety:
- Promotes relaxation
- Improves focus
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- It can improve sleep quality
- It's portable and flexible - you can practice on the go
- It's inexpensive and anyone can learn meditation
- It's a simple, fast way to reduce stress
It can take time and practice to reap the full rewards of meditation. Helpful hints for practicing meditation include:
- Consider the environment: find a space where you can be focused and free of distraction; sit comfortably on a blanket, mat, or cushion; and use ambient lighting such as soft lights or candles.
- Develop a meditation routine by setting aside enough time to relax and focus and don't try to rush through a meditation session.
- Silence isn't ideal for people with tinnitus so consider using soft, pleasant music, a noise machine, or a guided recording. Instead of thinking about your tinnitus, try to focus on your breathing.
- Get in the right mental space: let thoughts come and go without judgment. Don't be too hard on yourself as you develop a meditation practice, it's okay if you feel that you struggle to relax, focus, or if your mind wanders. If you feel unable to focus or relax during a session, pat yourself on the back for attempting a meditation session and try again at another time or day
Which meditation technique is best? Headspace details 16 types of meditation and which ones are "best" depends on the individual and their unique needs such as preferring to practice meditation alone at home or outside with a group.
The best way to determine which meditation techniques are best for you are to approach meditation with an open mind and try a variety of techniques. Some people may find benefit in practising more than one type of meditation. For example, they may practice guided meditation on a daily basis and also practice Tai chi or yoga in a group setting.
If you're new to meditation and aren't sure how to get started, consider following Headspace's Reset: Decompress Your Body And Mind video on YouTube. It can be helpful to follow along to a video or audio recording to learn what meditation techniques you prefer.
It may be beneficial to consider when the tinnitus is noticeable or bothersome, and to plan specific meditation activities during those times. For example, if the tinnitus is bothersome at bed time, plan to do some guided meditation at that time. If the tinnitus is noticeable when you normally have quiet time during the weekend, try to find a group yoga or Tai Chi session to fill the time.
There are additional benefits to group settings for meditation such as becoming part of a community based on a common goal or interest, learning from each other, and feeling a sense of belonging with a group. You might find that at some times you prefer group meditation and at other times you prefer to meditate alone.
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Ending The Ringing
Although there is technically no proven cure for tinnitus, it has the potential to change your awareness and reaction to the tinnitus for the better. Tinnitus may still be noticeable, but the goal is to have more and longer periods of relief and to no longer regard the tinnitus as a negative thing.
Using meditation when the tinnitus is noticeable can help to reframe the tinnitus as a neutral sound as opposed to a negative one. When the brain no longer interprets tinnitus to be intrusive, it's less likely to attend and react negatively to the tinnitus.
Using meditation to approach thoughts and feelings about tinnitus is helpful in ending the cycle of experiencing tinnitus, thinking about it negatively which causes stress, and then the stress affects quality of life items such as sleep. By reframing thoughts and emotions about tinnitus, it breaks this vicious cycle and gives you back control over how you interpret and react to the tinnitus.
Tinnitus, stress, and sleep are interdependent upon one another. When any one of the three components is suffering or lacking, the others may be aggravated.
Many aspects of meditation are excellent tools for improving tinnitus, stress, and sleep: relaxed breathing promotes relaxing the muscles of the chest and neck and examining thoughts without judgment helps to reframe thoughts and emotions about tinnitus as neutral as opposed to negative or triggering.
Although you may still experience tinnitus from time to time, the overall goal is to achieve more time when it is not noticeable or bothersome. When the tinnitus is present, the skills and relief provided by meditation can help to retarget attention to something else, reframe the tinnitus is just a sound, and feel a sense of peace and control.
Meditation For Tinnitus
Although meditation may not be the first treatment that comes to mind for tinnitus or other medical issues, it's helpful to know the meditation is used to treat an array of physical and mental ailments such as asthma, high blood pressure, tension headaches, chronic pain, and depression.
In fact, adding meditation to your tinnitus toolkit may help address other health issues along with your tinnitus and in turn improve overall quality of life. Similarly, it can be a useful tool for living a healthier and happier life for people who don't suffer from tinnitus or medical conditions.
Practicing meditation takes time to master but can be a powerful tool in the tinnitus toolkit. Consider combining meditation with other tinnitus treatments such as:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for tinnitus
- Hearing aids for tinnitus
- White noise machines for tinnitus
- Other tinnitus treatments
The sooner you start, the sooner you can develop a meditation practice to add to your tinnitus toolkit and get relief. It can be helpful to try different methods to see which ones you find most helpful.
Consider downloading the Oto app for additional tinnitus resources. Oto offers a comprehensive approach to reducing tinnitus intrusion and 86% of users see improvement in their tinnitus with Oto.
Check out Oto's Tinnitus Support Group, a supportive community for individuals with tinnitus or related conditions to receive regular tips and tricks from the expert team at Oto!