Sitting quietly and focusing on our breathing is a commonly recommended way for many of us to clear our minds. The benefits of meditative moments can lead to lower stress levels, greater feelings of happiness and increased sense of calm.
But what happens if you are unable to ignore the ringing in your ears?
Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears, is estimated to impact nearly 15% of the general public. For some people, tinnitus is merely a nuisance. It may come and go, or worsen as the day goes on. For others, tinnitus can be a debilitating condition.
Symptoms of tinnitus include hearing sounds that are not made by something outside of the body. Buzzing, ringing, hissing and clicking are just a few sounds that sufferers report hearing.
Tinnitus itself is not a condition. It is, rather, a symptom of an underlying condition. In many cases hearing loss is the cause of the tinnitus. Regardless of what is causing the phantom sounds, for sufferers tinnitus can have a big impact on their quality of life.
If you know someone suffering with tinnitus, you may be unsure how you can help support them. It can be very difficult to watch loved ones suffer with debilitating medical conditions. Rather than leave you feeling hopeless, we’re going to look at a few ways you can offer support.
How to Support Someone with Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a complicated health issue. If you’re wondering how you can help a loved one with tinnitus, the answers are not always obvious. Likewise, your loved one may not know how you can help either.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can help!
The first thing to understand is that tinnitus is an invisible illness. It’s not going to leave someone looking ‘obviously’ ill. While it may not be obvious, tinnitus can cause significant suffering.
Imagine hearing nails on a chalkboard (or any other sound that sends a shiver down your spine). Now imagine not being able to switch that sound off. This is the reality for many people with tinnitus.
Chronic tinnitus can lead to stress, anxiety, even sleep deprivation. The sad fact is that many sufferers are told to simply “learn to live with it.” Not only is this not true (relief is possible), it can increase feelings of hopelessness and anxiety.
Understand that your loved one’s pain is real. Their suffering is genuine. Simply listening, and in turn validating, their situation is often more help than you realize.
As we highlighted above, tinnitus affects a significant amount of Americans. You can help support a loved one with tinnitus by being compassionate.
This can involve educating yourself about the condition. Learn more about the common sounds that sufferers report. The ongoing research into the condition. The potential treatment options that can offer some relief. Visit our website here to learn more about tinnitus.
Alongside educating yourself, talk to your loved ones. Ask them about their experiences. Simply trying to understand what they are going through can provide support.
Help Them to Relax
Relaxing can be difficult with tinnitus. While for many of us simply sitting quietly isn’t a challenge, with tinnitus it can be.
Relaxation, however, has been shown to be an effective coping mechanism. While it may not eliminate the tinnitus sounds entirely, it can help to minimize their impact.
“Just relax” is harder than it sounds. Breathing exercises can help. Focus on breathing in and out, and try to avoid external distractions. As your body relaxes, your heart rate slows and your blood pressure drops. Both can have a positive impact on tinnitus.
These are just a few ways that you can help support someone with tinnitus. If you’d like to read more about dealing with tinnitus, please click here.
At Anderson Audiology, We’re Here to Help You!
It’s estimated that 90% of people with tinnitus also have an underlying hearing loss. The best way to help support a loved one suffering is to encourage them to book a hearing assessment. At Anderson Audiology, our hearing specialists would be happy to help. Call us today on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.