Woman holding her hand to her head in discomfort

Tinnitus is regrettably very challenging to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to identify a cure, a great deal about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.

If you have tinnitus, it’s imperative 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 addressing 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.

That being said, some cases of tinnitus persist despite the best available treatments. Fortunately, there are some things you can do independently to lessen the severity of symptoms.

Here are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.

1. Uncover what makes your tinnitus worse – every instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a written log to uncover specific triggers, which can be certain types 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 restrains blood flow, both of which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to develop some form of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.

3. Limit consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have challenged the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should track the effects yourself. It’s the same 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 noticeable and irritating when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or purchasing a white-noise machine.

5. Utilize hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are short-term and the result of short-term 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 can 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 – alleviating your stress and revitalizing your mood can help minimize the severity of tinnitus. Try meditation, yoga, or any other activity that calms your nerves.

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

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that exercise may lead to lower tinnitus intensity. Exercise can also reduce stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Join a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping strategies from other people who suffer from the same symptoms.

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