Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing, buzzing or clicking in the ear when no sound is actually present. While tinnitus is a symptom itself, rather than a disorder, there are a number of corresponding symptoms that go along with it. One of those is stress.
We’ve all experienced stress at some point in our lives. At its core, stress occurs when there is a difference between your demands and your available resources (known as your biological, psychological and social capabilities).
Stress is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it can help push your further and focus harder. When you are under constant stress, that is when you start to do serious harm to your body.
Hormones are released during a time of stress to help in your fight or flight response. While helpful in the short term, it is unhealthy for your body to be constantly releasing stress hormones.
According to cognitive behavioral therapy, our current situations, thoughts and behaviors can contribute to stress. In this model, how you feel is influenced by what you think and what you do. It is not just the event itself making your stress, but the way you think about it.
The Role of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can range from a mild annoyance to debilitating. When people begin to stress about their tinnitus, they will think about how it negatively impacts their life. They may resent the condition.
Tinnitus has been linked to an increase in a number of emotional and physical factors, including stress. It is unclear whether stress leads to an increase in tinnitus symptoms or if tinnitus symptoms lead to an increase in stress. Either way, they form a viscous cycle with each influencing the other.
Managing Tinnitus Stress
While there are a number of treatments for tinnitus, the best way to address the stress associated with it is through a cognitive behavioral approach. This involves changing your thoughts and behaviors.
Your thoughts play a large role in how you feel. Try determining if your thoughts about your tinnitus are helpful or not. This can be done by
- Becoming aware of situations when you are stressed by your tinnitus
- Asking yourself what went through your mind at that precise time
- Evaluating the thoughts to determine if they are true
By following these steps, you can begin to develop more helpful things to say to yourself while experiencing tinnitus.
Making changes to your behavior is how you will learn to manage your tinnitus. Things like exercising, finding supportive friends to talk to, spending time to do things you enjoy and making time for yourself can all help.
To learn more about managing your tinnitus, talk to the experts at Valley Audiology today.