Tinnitus can be a real handful
to deal with for sure.
Yeah, like you didn't know that already. One of the reasons
is that for many people with tinnitus it encroaches and intrudes on the final
frontier of their personal privacy, totally trashing that final shred of human dignity to suffer
The previous articles were all
about me and how tinnitus had affected my life. There's all kinds
of hints and tips in the stories but they may not be all
that obvious other than recognizing yourself here and there. Let's high light some
of them although they won't be in any particular order. Keep in mind that
we're talking coping here, not fixing or curing, as I'm not
a doctor or whatever medicalician. You will be able to pick out some of these hints
and apply them to your own situation or come up with a
Depending on how far you've come in your
travels through your tinnitus journey you might need/want to skip some of
- Talk to others and seek medical help if
necessary. If your doctor doesn't seem too caring, or interested, or
gives you the "you gotta live with it" advice - don't accept that and
leave. Instead tell them you're not doing too well with the
living-with-it and that's why you came to see them in the first place.
Give them examples of how it's affecting your life and watch their ears
perk right up - now they have something they can relate to and can come
up with a plan for you.
- Don't fight your tinnitus, don't feel like you
need to conquer it, or resist it - all this does is waste to energy
that you need to lead your life and makes you feel even more crummy if
you fail or you feel like you're "losing the battle."
- Don't aggravate it - if you know that loud
sounds bother you, or caffeine (unusual actually) or whatever else that
kicks up your tinnitus a notch or two then give yourself a break and put
that activity on hold for a while.
- Go stand in front of a mirror and look at your
reflection, tell it you're here to help as you understand completely
what your image is up against.
- Tell yourself out loud that "tinnitus cannot
harm me" and keep
repeating it like a mantra whenever your feeling down because of it.
Yup, it's true: tinnitus cannot - cannot as in is not capable of - harm
you. The only thing it can do is make you feel crummy.
- Lower your sodium intake: food doesn't have to
look white when you're done with the salt shaker and who knows, you
might just take that high blood pressure down a notch or two.
- Stop researching tinnitus: stop surfing the net
to read all the horror stories others are all to eager to tell you -
don't let their misery drag you down.
- Keep associating sound with pleasure: listen to
music or better yet, learn how to play music yourself.
- Things you don't have to believe, or to accept:
"it's permanent," nobody can guarantee you that. "It's age related,"
that simply is not true.
- Avoid silence. Yes, this is what you want most
but stay away from it and in the quieter times, especially at night,
leave on the radio or open the window a bit - any sound is fine as it
will fill the silence and gives your brain something else, besides your
tinnitus, to play with.
- I've already mentioned it but it's important
enough to say it again: don't wallow in the misery of others.
- If you're on medications: check your meds'
instruction sheet to see if ringing in the ears is listed as a side
effect. If so then talk to your doctor, or pharmacist, to find out if
there any any that do the same job without being "ototoxic." Keep common
sense in mind though as this is not always possible.
- Don't chart your tinnitus - it does not deserve
that kind of attention.
- If you've had it for longer than six months
don't waste your time trying to figure out how you got it as that's no
longer relevant and you don't want to end up blaming yourself and
feeling even crummier.
- If your nose plugs up easily do a nasal flush.
Some doctor have kits available as freebie samples, see if can hit them
up for one. If not, you can buy them at your local pharmacy, they're not
expensive. My ENT gave me one made by NeilMed and a recipe for making my
own saline flushing solution: boil 1 liter of water to sterilize it and
dissolve 1 teaspoon of additive-free salt. Oh, and to be sure - wait
till it cools down before blowing it up your nose eh... It's best to do
the flushing while you're under the shower cause it's pretty gross with
the gunk that might come drooling out. I often hear/feel my ears pop
while I do it and that's a good thing as it also equalizes the pressure
in your ears and woohooo, I can hear better for a while.
- Earwax is one of the most common causes of
tinnitus so if your ears plug up with earwax easily then get yourself a
condiment bottle from a dollar store, you know one of them ketchup or
mustard dispensing thingies. Like the nasal flush, do it under the
shower - fill up the bottle with the nice and warm shower water and
spray it in your ear to flush out the earwax. For my "mustard" bottle it
takes three or four shower water refills and a thud on the shower stall floor
tells the story - a big plug of ear wax now gone and after
I'm toweled off I celebrate it by putting on my favourite CD because
I can hear all the sounds nice and clear again. Important
to remember: you're not doing this for hygienic reasons and do NOT do it any more frequent
than once every 4 months as your ears need
the stuff to keep themselves healthy. By the way, if the water is clean enough
to shower with it's clean enough for your ears.
- Tinnitus, the brat: yup, it's a brat all right,
always demanding to be the center of attention and it don't give a rat's
ass about you. Here's the news folks: feel free to treat it in kind and
to heck with IT - keep living your life, keep doing your stuff and let
the spoiled brat go to heck as it's nowheres near to deserving the
slightest iota of your attention
- Have faith - there's better days ahead. Read
one of my previous articles about tinnitus and faith.
- Musicians: make sure you read my previous
article for you fine folks.
- Back to the mirror - sit, or stand in front of
it and say a prayer for the image looking back at you. Nope, you don't
have to be religious to do this but it can be awfully inspiring and
comforting to hear "someone else" treat you on
some kind and understanding words.
Do not set yourself up for disappointments: realize that getting over tinnitus
is not an event - it's a process. Meaning of course, it's not
going to happen overnight as it might take a while.