During times of stress, tinnitus can be more common and more severe. A study in Ear and Hearing found that the probability of developing tinnitus is approximately the same for highly-stressed people as it is for people exposed to occupational noise.
Similarly, according to the British Tinnitus Association, it’s common for tinnitus to first manifest during or after periods of high stress and for existing tinnitus to become worse with stress.
Unfortunately, stress is fairly ubiquitous at the moment; making stress management more important than ever.
- Practice positive self-talk and optimistic thinking. Whenever possible, flip negative thoughts on their heads, focusing on the good side and on self-love.
- Try to nip stress in the bud. When you’re in a very stressful situation, have a few “emergency” stress-stoppers you can turn to. Experiment to see what works best for you. Take a walk, listen to music, or practice slow, deep breaths. Later, when you have time, prioritize activities that are relaxing and enjoyable to you, like hiking, painting, gardening, knitting, focusing on your pet, taking a warm bath, reading a book, doing yoga, etc.
- Spend time in nature. Numerous studies have found that immersing yourself in the natural world can improve mood. Even nature videos can help. Whether you have access to trails, parks, documentary films, a bird feeder outside your window, or a patch of sky with clouds floating by, try to take time to notice and focus on the untamed world.
- Exercise. In one study, working adults who engaged in moderate physical activity had half the perceived stress as those who did not exercise. Harvard Medical School reminds us that even a simple 20-minute stroll can clear the mind and reduce stress.
- Prioritize sleep. Stick to a consistent sleep routine that gives you time to relax and slow down before bedtime. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Avoid screens for about an hour before bedtime as their blue light can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Seek help. When stress becomes too much, talk to someone. A psychologist or another type of mental health provider can empower you to find even more ways to limit the stress in your life, to better deal with the stressors that seem unavoidable, and to limit the impacts of stress on your body and mind. You could even consider some of the new tele-therapy options that are available.
Of course, for anyone with active tinnitus, stress control is not the only management technique. Lipo-Flavonoid is a natural bioflavonoid product that has been used extensively for decades for the treatment of Meniere’s syndrome and tinnitus and continues to be ENTs’ #1 recommendation for relief of ringing in the ears.* You can learn more about how it works and how to take it here.
*Clarion Brands, April 2018 Survey of ENTs