Do you ever find yourself distracted by a ringing in your ears that seems to be coming from your own ears? This is tinnitus, a condition which affects 50 million people in the United States alone and while for most it can come and go, for around 20 million people report symptoms described as bothersome. Around 2 million symptoms are described as debilitating, making it hard to sleep, causing excessive stress and impacting your ability to concentrate during the day. 

What Causes Tinnitus

Tinnitus can take many forms from a ring, buzz, hum, roar, woosh, or even phantom music and no one knows exactly what causes it. However, while not everyone with hearing loss has tinnitus, 90 percent of people who report tinnitus, also have hearing loss. This leads experts to examine the connection between the two. When we are exposed to loud levels of sound it’s common to have tinnitus which lasts for some time after the event. While it may dissipate it signals lasting damage to the inner ear and hearing loss that will last a lifetime. While we collect sound with our outer ear, the process of hearing isn’t completed until sounds reach our brain. Sound is transmitted to our brain via tiny hairlike cells called stereocilia and when our stereocilia become damaged they may send a sort of feedback to our brain which is received by us as symptoms of tinnitus.

Stress and Tinnitus

The problem with addressing tinnitus is that it is a perceived condition. As it appears in our consciousness how we relate to it dictates to some degree how it affects actions. When it appears, especially when it is interrupting your daily life, you may react with a stress response over time. The problem with stress is that it amplifies the impact of tinnitus, and the more we react, the worse tinnitus can become. While there are many techniques to reduce the risk of tinnitus such as masking the sounds, one of the most effective ways is by reducing your stress response—one of which is meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is defined as “Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” As you can imagine this is a great way to take a moment from a busy life full of appointments, traffic, social media, and social obligations. It gives us a chance to take a break and become centered amidst our busy lives. 

Meditation not only gives us a chance to relax, but has many noted benefits to our health including:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Decreased perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Lower cortisol levels

How Does Meditation Reduce Tinnitus?

In addition to these many noted health benefits, researchers have found that it is a successful way to minimize the effects of tinnitus. This may be due to the effects of stress on the auditory system. For instance, higher blood pressure, and cardiovascular issues, brought on by chronic levels of stress can impact the flow of blood to the inner ears, increasing the risk of hearing damage and tinnitus. However, by reducing stress levels with a regular meditation practice, many have found one of the most effective ways to lessen tinnitus.

Shari Eberts, a hearing health advocate, shared her own experience with meditation: “During the meditation sessions, the ringing in my ears would subside. Despite the silence of the meditation room, the roar of my tinnitus would fade away. This occurred subtly at first, but by the end of the week, my body seemed to anticipate what was to come. I would assume the meditation posture, begin to mindfully breathe, and the quiet would come, as welcome as a gift.”

“When I returned home, I maintained my meditation practice, and the silence stayed with me. Even my debilitating fluorescent light outbreaks are much fewer and farther between,” she said.

Achieving Calm and Peace

Meditation may sound simple but achieving a space in your busy day to focus on simply being can be easier said than done. It requires you to close your eyes, focus on even breathing, and let other thoughts and worries slip away. If you are struggling with tinnitus, it may signal a hearing loss. After you are done with your daily meditation practice—contact us to test your hearing. By treating hearing loss we can find a solution to amplify your hearing, reduce tinnitus and manage your stress levels.