Tinnitus and Meditation
I make an effort to meditate daily for a variety of health reasons. Meditation has been shown to yield structural changes in the brain that help us to deal with stress and to improve our emotional regulation. There’s a movement sweeping across North America right now which is advocating mindfulness meditation, a meditation practice that involves coming into the present moment as much as possible.
I personally have found meditation to be the best habit that I’ve ever introduced (apart from regular exercise). I have also found it to be useful in aiding me in coping with my remaining tinnitus. National Public Radio has done an excellent story on how mindfulness meditation has helped people to cope with their tinnitus:
Silence is a beautiful thing. But Robert DeMong has accepted that he’ll likely never experience it again.
He’s got a condition called tinnitus, which means a ringing sound travels with him everywhere he goes, including to bed at night.
It came on suddenly about five years ago. And he says it threw him into depression. “It was like an ugly monster inside my head,” recalls DeMong. “I couldn’t sleep at night.”
Now, DeMong says, he’s left the anxiety and suffering behind.
He participated in a research study at the University of California, San Francisco, that tested the effectiveness of meditation — or mindfulness training — for tinnitus sufferers. Previous studies that tested Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, also known as MBSR, with arthritis patients and those living in chronic pain have documented significant improvements in people’s quality of life.
Here is a link to the story.
Tinnitus results in multiple cognitive sequelae, including the classic responses of anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Many of these harms are the result of your brain’s response to the tinnitus tone itself. Depending on the acuity of the onset of your tinnitus, your brain may respond in a manner that exacerbates these harms – for example, developing tinnitus very quickly (say, overnight) is more likely to result in anxiety than if its onset is more gradual (this gives your brain time to habituate to the noise). Consider the use of meditation to help you in your tinnitus coping strategies.AudioNotch is designed to treat the tinnitus of individuals who fall within certain parameters. Outside of those parameters, there’s no evidence one way or another to indicate whether or not Notched Music or Notched White Noise will alleviate an individual’s tinnitus (although, if you have severe hearing loss, it’s very unlikely that AudioNotch can help you). It may or may not help you. If you’re one of these individuals, consider reviewing the article posted above. Not everyone with tinnitus may be able to reduce their tinnitus volume, but to a certain extent, you can control your response to it, and in doing so, reduce your suffering.