Woman holding her hand to her head in discomfort

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is unfortunately rather challenging to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to identify a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain little-known.

If you have tinnitus, it’s vital to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is occasionally a symptom of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by taking care of the underlying problem.

Second, a variety of tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be very effective, such as sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adjust to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in many cases.

Even so, some cases of tinnitus linger despite the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to minimize the severity of symptoms.

Below are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.

1. Uncover what makes your tinnitus worse – each instance of tinnitus is unique. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a written record to uncover specified triggers, which can be particular types of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are quite a few medications that can make tinnitus worse.

2. Quit smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restricts blood flow, both of which can make tinnitus worse. Studies also show that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some type of hearing loss compared to non-smokers.

3. Reduce consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have challenged the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should observe the effects yourself. The same thing goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no conclusive studies that demonstrate a clear link, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Use masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more conspicuous and uncomfortable when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or using a white-noise machine.

5. Utilize hearing protection – some cases of tinnitus are short-term and the result of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a live concert. To avoid additional damage—and chronic tinnitus—see to it that you wear ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – results might vary, but some people have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be highly effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

7. Find ways to relax and unwind – easing your stress and improving your mood can help reduce the severity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more sleep – sleep deficiency is a known trigger for making tinnitus worse, which subsequently makes it more challenging to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To ensure that you get a sufficient amount of sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois found that exercise may contribute to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also lower stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Enroll in a support group – by signing up with a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping methods from other people suffering from the same symptoms.

What have you discovered to be the most reliable method of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.