Woman holding her hand to her head in discomfort

Tinnitus is unfortunately rather challenging to diagnose and treat. While researchers are hard at work to identify a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.

If you have tinnitus, it’s crucial to first seek professional assistance. First, tinnitus is sometimes an indicator 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 highly effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adapt to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in several cases.

With that being said, some cases of tinnitus linger in spite of the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to reduce the severity of symptoms.

The following are 10 things you can do to manage your tinnitus.

1. Uncover what makes your tinnitus worse – each instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a written record to identify specific triggers, which can be certain kinds 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 worsen tinnitus symptoms. Studies also show that smokers are 70 percent more likely to develop some form of hearing loss as compared to non-smokers.

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

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

5. Use hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are short-term and the consequence of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To avoid further damage—and chronic tinnitus—make certain to wear ear protection at loud events.

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

7. Find ways to relax – reducing your stress and elevating your mood can help minimize the severity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any activity that calms your nerves.

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

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that exercise may contribute to lower tinnitus intensity. Exercise can also lower stress, improve 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 others who suffer from the same symptoms.

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