Tinnitus treatment: Therapies and exercises to manage ringing in the ears

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Hearing Health | Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 06:00 AM

Tinnitus treatmentTinnitus (ringing in the ears) treatment can involve medical intervention or natural remedies. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to better manage the condition.

Tinnitus is permanent in about 25 percent of patients. In many cases, addressing the underlying cause of tinnitus can help ease the symptoms. Treatment methods may include taking antibiotics, removing obstructions or ear wax, changing medications or dosages, treating certain neurological illnesses, getting a surgery to correct joint problems, going for counselling for stress or depression, and getting dental work done. Exercise has also been shown to be an effective treatment option.

Therapies to manage tinnitus

Sound therapy: The goal of sound therapy is to fill the silence with neutral sounds to distract the patient from tinnitus. This can be as simple as opening a window or leaving a TV or radio on.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Often used for anxiety or depression, this type of therapy works to retrain your thoughts, which are believed to change the way you behave. In tinnitus, the goal is to retrain your thoughts to reduce stress and anxiety about tinnitus.

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): This is a specific type of therapy that helps retrain the brain in the way it responds to tinnitus, so you can be better able to tune out the sound.

Music therapy: Music therapy, particularly classical, can be calming and ease a patient’s reaction to tinnitus.

Acoustic therapy: Six main types of acoustic therapy are: sound generator, tinnitus instrument, hearing aids, tabletop or portable sound generator, home masking, and music therapy.

Biofeedback and neurofeedback: These techniques connect the patient to electrodes that send signals to a computer displaying visual or auditory signals that indicate stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and brain waves. The patient is then encouraged to regulate their body based on these signals to reduce their stress and other factors. Over time, this teaches the patient to control their bodily functions.

Tinnitus exercises

Exercise, too, can be beneficial for managing tinnitus. Relaxation and meditation techniques help a patient reduce stress, a large contributor to tinnitus. Exercises that increase your heart rate not only keep your heart strong and weight in check, but also boost blood circulation in your body, including your ears, to help reduce the ringing.

To relieve your tinnitus symptoms, you can exercise alone or seek professional guidance. Whether you choose to work out in the comfort of your home or in a studio setting, regular exercise and mindfulness practice is always a good idea for the benefit of your overall health.

There are also some exercises specific to relieving the symptoms of tinnitus. These include:

Exercise 1: Sit up straight and lower your chin to your chest. Intertwine your fingers and place your joined hands on the back of your head, then pull your head back while allowing your fingers to prevent the motion. Do not overexert yourself and repeat this exercise three to five times daily to help relax your spinal cord.

Exercise 2: Open your jaw as wide as possible, and while in this position, touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Move the tip of your tongue backward towards your tonsils and hold for a few seconds, then stick your tongue out as far as you can and hold. Repeat this exercise four or five times.

Exercise 3: Sit up straight and move your chin up and down 20 times in a nodding motion. Then move your chin side to side 20 times as if shaking your head. Repeat this exercise three times and be mindful that you do not strain your neck.

Exercise 4: Stand in front of a mirror and hold your chin in both hands. Open your mouth wide and touch the tip of your tongue to the top of your mouth and slowly move your jaw up and down. Add slight resistance to your jaw using your hands and repeat the motion for one minute straight. This exercise may be repeated three times daily.

Exercise 5: Sit up straight and open your jaws wide, but keep them relaxed. With your mouth open, tilt your head back until you are looking up at the ceiling, inhale deeply and then exhale slowly before returning to the starting position.

Related: Tinnitus diet: Foods to eat and to avoid for managing tinnitus

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