Anxiety and Tinnitus

Anxiety and Tinnitus

Are you suddenly hearing a far-off, distinctly ringing noise in your ears? You may not be imagining it, as it’s a common symptom of a condition known as tinnitus. Tinnitus has a very interesting connection to anxiety, and this article you will learn about the interplay between the two, and how to treat the anxiety that provokes.

Anxiety and TinnitusTinnitus is typically caused by too much loud noise, and at worst, an ear infection. Other physical causes of tinnitus can include any type of heart issue that can disrupt the flow of blood to your ear. If you are suffering from the symptoms of tinnitus, it’s important to visit your family doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and find out if there is indeed a physical cause behind it. There are a variety of treatments at your disposal if the problem is a physical one, but if it’s psychological in nature, you are going to have to addressing underlying anxiety.

Prior to doing this, there is way to cope with tinnitus as you are treating your anxiety. Try to avoid loud places, such as bars and rock concerts, as they will only aggravate your condition. If you must be in noisy places, use ear plugs or muffs to block out some of the noise.

Now, onto taking care of your anxiety. The first step is to reduce any extraneous stress in your life. Don’t take on more obligations than you can handle, and if you question whether you can handle it, the answer is most likely “no.” Try to create a calm and peaceful place for yourself in your home, and avoid a lot of clutter as this tends to create subconscious stress. Take some time to unwind each day with soft music and meditation, and make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

It’s also important to make some dietary changes when trying to reduce anxiety.  Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, tea and sodas, and can aggravate both tinnitus and anxiety. Also, alcohol is another no-no when attempting to overcome anxiety, as it does nothing but exacerbate the problem. Smoking is also a terrible habit when you are suffering from tinnitus, as it narrow the blood vessels to your ears and restricts their access to oxygen.

Next, try to incorporate some activity in your daily life. You don’t need to become an Olympic-worthy athlete; a simple activity such as walking for a half hour every day can easily suffice. Exercise is very important for anxiety sufferers because it increases the production of endorphins that increase happiness and decrease negative feelings. Cardiovascular exercise can include any type of activity that gets your heart rate up. Yoga is also very helpful as it increases the level of GABA in the brain, the same chemical that traditional anti-anxiety drugs target.

Also, make sure that you are eating a nutritious diet. Try to focus on getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, and replaced refined grains with whole grains.

Finally, cognitive-behavioral therapy is the therapy of choice among psychologists to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. This type of therapy “re-wires” your brain to think in a more realistic manner. Most people who suffer from anxiety are prone to cognitive distortions. A few examples of these are catastrophizing, also known as making a mountain out of a molehill,” and emotional reasoning, which is trying to interpret reality based on your emotions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is not the same as positive thinking, as the goal is to think in a more realistic manner and find a balance between the positives and negatives in life.

References:

“Tinnitus-Reducing the Impact.” Better Health Channel. <http://www.betterhealthchannel.vic.gove.au> 4 Jan 2013.

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