Meditating with tinnitus

Milarepa sitting, with a hand raised to his right ear, listening.

If you suffer from tinnitus – persistent ringing in the ears – you may wonder whether meditation is a good idea. And yet it can be a powerful tool in helping you come to terms with the white noise inside your head. Meditator and long-time tinnitus sufferer Mandy Sutter airs some of the issues.

Tinnitus can make meditation very difficult. And because meditation is mostly silent, it may seem that meditation can make tinnitus very difficult, too.

It’s certainly true that as soon as you sit down on the cushion and close your eyes, the tinnitus seems to get louder. It isn’t really getting louder: it only seems that way because you are cutting down on other external stimuli. However, the thought that you’re making it ‘worse’ by meditating can be off-putting, if you let it go unchallenged.

Even accepting that, some days it’s still tempting to stay off the cushion completely. And of course, a missed day can easily turn into a missed few days, a week, a month.

Indeed, some tinnitus experts believe that sufferers should avoid silence altogether.

But this rather black-and-white view doesn’t help the person who wants to meditate, so rather than hanging up one’s meditation mat for good, I think it’s worth investigating some of the resources available to see if there’s anything out there (or in there!) to help you.

Courses and books

Perhaps the first thing to consider is attending a led course on managing your tinnitus through mindfulness meditation. These courses, which are becoming popular with healthcare professionals, are held in a variety of settings, including medical ones. They aim to defuse the anxiety and stress caused by tinnitus and they often report excellent success rates. Try typing the words ‘tinnitus’ and ‘mindfulness’ into your search engine to see what’s available in your area.

There are other types of tinnitus retraining, too. One scientist of particular interest is Pawel Jastreboff, who rejects the old idea that tinnitus is caused by damage to the ear and believes in re-educating sufferers to think of the condition positively as, say, ‘the music of the brain.’ He posits a strong connection between anxiety about tinnitus and its perceived severity, and has found that a shift in thought can have a dramatic effect on someone’s perception of their tinnitus.

Also see:

Vidyamala Prue Burch’s book ‘Living Well with Pain and Illness’ (reviewed here on Wildmind) is another helpful resource. It doesn’t deal specifically with tinnitus, but uses meditation to approach any chronic condition. There are practical tips on how to cultivate a wider awareness of your body that puts your condition into context.

Some practical tips

Personally I’ve found this particular approach – of cultivating a wider awareness – invaluable. I now sometimes wear earplugs while I meditate (this is a complete no-no for some tinnitus sufferers, though, so please approach with care). Because wearing earplugs magnifies ALL inner body sounds, like swallowing and breathing, the tinnitus sounds seem to decrease by comparison, or at least just take their place among my body’s other normal noises. I find I can simply welcome them to the party.

I have also spent some time actively listening to my tinnitus during meditation, and although this may feel unpleasant and even counter-intuitive at first, I recommend it. When you really listen, you may identify sounds like crashing cymbals or whistles, or notice that your tinnitus varies in volume, or has a wave-like pattern. I have found it helpful to learn the length and breadth of my tinnitus in this way: it makes me less prone to worry.

Meditating with your eyes open can help: the increased visual stimulus acting as a balance to the unsolicited sound stimulus. You can use incense in a similar way. And I sometimes find it useful to meditate sitting against a warm radiator, the body sensation of heat again providing a balance. Walking meditation is another valuable and legitimate resource.

Using sound

Also helpful are guided meditations on CD or mp3 (there’s a good selection of these here at the Wildmind store, and search the meditation pages for free ones. Bodhipaksa has many on the free Insight Timer app. Of course, there are still periods of silence during a guided meditation (though some have background muzak) but the voice coming in and out focusses one’s attention away from the tinnitus.

Listening to ambient sound is another option. You can buy devices or download mp3 files that reproduce the sound of waves, or rain pattering on a windowpane, or the crackling of a log fire. Whale or dolphin sounds can also be good. You can concentrate on the sounds as the object of your meditation or use your normal meditation technique (e.g. counting the breath) with the sounds in the background. I have a Sound Oasis which I find invaluable. These devices can be pricey though, so it’s worth downloading some free ambient sounds to your computer before you buy one, to make sure this method suits you.

You’ll find some ambient sounds more effective than others, depending on the character of your own tinnitus and the nature of your own emotional responses to things. I usually turn my Sound Oasis to ‘Harbour Swell’ (the sound of a creaking boat bobbing on the waters) but this might not suit someone who suffers from seasickness!

Listening to music may help, though you may find it too emotionally stimulating. In fact, this may be one of the rare occasion when muzak is better than music!

Forget any idea that this isn’t ‘proper’ meditation (something that bugged me for a while). It’s just a different kind of meditation.

For some tinnitus sufferers, wearing earphones is helpful. The sound is brought closer, as if inserted between your hearing and the tinnitus. This isn’t the case for everyone, though, so find out what suits you.

Going on retreat

Silent meditation retreats pose a particular problem for the tinnitus sufferer. Forget ‘me and my shadow’ – it’s ‘me and my tinnitus’ for days on end. What you can face intermittently during the course of a normal day can seem overwhelming when it’s continuous.

But it’s still do-able. My tinnitus is quite severe, but I go on retreat several times a year.

The important thing is to look after yourself. As you already know, tinnitus is an invisible condition, so no-one makes allowances for you automatically. You may find it difficult to make allowances for yourself, too. But however embarrassed or guilty you feel about making a special case of yourself in an environment where you are strongly encouraged not to, please do: you have my permission, at least! Retreat leaders can be very helpful if approached beforehand.

Request a single room if one is available. You can play ambient sounds and there will be less chance of being woken during the night (tinnitus sufferer often find it difficult to get back to sleep).

Keep your eyes open during meditations if you need to, or take yourself off for walking meditations while the others sit in the shrine room.

No matter what the normal rules are, allow yourself books, iPod or CD player and earphones. You may not need to use them, but they can act as a security blanket.

If particular foods exacerbate your tinnitus (e.g. caffeine) a retreat may offer the ideal opportunity to avoid them for a time. If other foods help, take them with you. Chocolate helps my tinnitus (only kidding, unfortunately).

Taking care of yourself on retreat can be a valuable lesson in self-metta (loving-kindness towards oneelf).

Coming to terms with tinnitus

Having said that, it was on a silent retreat three years ago where I had no security blanket that I perhaps came most deeply to terms with my tinnitus.

My single room hadn’t materialised, and I was sharing with someone who kept putting the light on through the night. Despite decamping to the sitting room a couple of times, I went for four nights with virtually no sleep. I became more and more anxious. My tinnitus, exacerbated by the anxiety, raged continually. I felt as if a jetplane was taking off in my head. All the meditations were a write-off. Finally I made a break for the retreat office to ring my partner and ask him to come and get me (he’d only have had to drive 200 miles). But I couldn’t remember our phone number.

I decided to stay till the next morning, if only because it was too late to leave that evening. And that night in bed, tinnitus raging, I felt despair laced with terror. What if this never ended? What if this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life? My heart thundered and I had to stuff the pillow into my mouth to stop myself from crying out.

Then I heard a clear voice in my head. ‘You don’t need to follow that train of thought,’ it said. ‘You just need to calm down. You know how: you have the tools. But they won’t work if you don’t use them.’

For some reason, I was able to recognise the truth of this. It was a great relief. I lay in bed going through every relaxation technique I’d ever learnt, be that in cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation classes, or hypnotherapy. It took a while but eventually I felt my body and mind profoundly relax, and knew I would sleep, if not now then later. The tinnitus, loud and insistent, was still there. The feeling of relaxation wasn’t one of relaxing despite it, or beyond it, but alongside it. At that moment, some of the emotional charge went out of my perception of my tinnitus, and it has never come back.

So, through meditation, I’d say it’s eminently possible to reach some degree of accommodation with your tinnitus, no matter how you go about it. You may even come to see your tinnitus as significant, instead of a nuisance: a vehicle for self-nurturing, and for reaching accommodation with yourself as a whole (including all the painful, messy and inconvenient bits).

You may even find, over time, that you have made friends with your tinnitus: or at least that you are not the sworn enemies you once thought you were.

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165 Comments. Leave new

  • What a great blog Mandy. I’ve had tinnitus since I was 25 years old & now am 55. It’s been a real battle for me & have always wondered how one could meditate with this situation. I am inspired to read all of these posts & am hoping to have success. You all have given me different, wonderful ways of looking at it & thinking about it. Blessings to you all…

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  • I’ve had tinnitus now for about 3yrs. My tinnitus is a hissing sound much like the sound of air out of a tire. And yes we suffer in silence because of the above mentioned reasons by the author. But, I have a remedy for everyone. And the funny part of my story is I received this insight from a fellow tinnitus sufferer at the beginning of my quest for a cure. It just took me a long time to realize he was right. And the answer is ” IGNORE IT!! I know it sounds crazy but if you make it a habit “to ignore it” I promise you will soon realize that you’ve stopped noticing it. Sure it will be there , but only when you think about it. It helped me and I hope it will help you. Peace to everyone!

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  • Thank,s for the article,Ihave been meditating afew month,s and found it to be very difecult because of my severe tinnitus.Thanks to your article i now meditate using my mp3 player with ambiant sounds.Iallso no longer think this isn,t proper meditation

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  • I have not made a breakthrough with mindfulness meditation, but I think it is better than avoiding it blindly or unconsciously. Therefore, I also think that mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool to come to terms with the tinnitus. I am surprised about the Pavel Jastreboff quote, since he supposedly is a scientist. If you want to know more about what actually happens in the brain and how tinnitus exists then take a look at this 7 minute long video you will find at the link below. If nothing else, it will give you a thorough scientific explanation. It also describes a method to retrain the nerves in the brain to break up their patterns. I will, in fact, go to Germany this coming spring to undergo treatment, because, although FDA approved they don’t have it in the US as of yet. I hope you will find at least the video helpful. https://www.anm-medical.com/index.php/en/tinnitus/acoustice-crr-neuromodulation

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  • Hi Mathias, thanks for commenting. It’s off topic, but I’m sure many people who have contributed to this thread would be interested in hearing how your treatment goes.

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  • I had no idea when I googled Buddhism/tinnitus that such a wealth of material would come up. I am a sporadic 20yr meditator, have done several retreats including a 3 week one in Thailand two years ago, and now have developed t symptoms over the last 3 weeks. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever experience in my life (I’m 50) and I am trying as hard as I can to resign myself to the possibility of this going on for the rest of my days. I feel I am fighting despair and the possibility of a nervous break down. I might have to take a valium, though I have never taken one or any sort of antidepressant in my life, just to make it through the night. But then what, after it’s affects wear off? I have a good support group, but Mandy, or anyone else out there, can you offer any sort of a life line here? This is the beginning of a long, very hard road, is it not?

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  • Hello Tommy, I developed tinnitus (pretty severe in my terms) after attending a local outdoor concert and damaging my hearing in 2010 at 51yrs old. It is by far the single most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with but you will to varying degrees. I made load of mistakes and would do things differently again. Make a plan, get yourself off to an ENT doc for hearing tests and examination (you will probably have an MRI – be very careful – very loud use the hearing protection). You will probably find no serious problems but you are one of the people who get tinnitus when some don’t. Accept that no one else can understand how you feel unless they have tinnitus. Don’t try to beat/fight it as T will always win and drive you down. There is no timeline or schedule for this i.e you will feel better in x weeks as it does not work like that.
    Don’t search the internet (the endless quest) as there is no miracle cure and you will just feel worse. Many professionals say you have to accept it etc but I am not (even after 3 yrs) there yet, I think I have come to terms with it which is easier to achieve.
    I am not a meditator but used the varying breathing exercises to calm down and techniques from mindfulness to focus. Don’t try too hard you will just take your focus on to the T.
    I find the best thing for me is a good nights sleep and then I can face things better. If your GP offers some meds to take the edge off in the early days then take them(I wish I had but stupidly I resisted). Two weeks of diazepam might just give you some relief and sleep (diazepam does knock the old T down for me).
    I have good days and bad days and yes life is different to how it was but it is one life and unfortunately we have been thrown a curved ball! I am convinced that the less violent reaction you can have now the better you will be long term so go see the doc and get some help. An ENT consultant can refer you to a hearing therapist (very very good) – insist on this – you can get upset, angry, go on to someone who is not close to you and who understands. It helps to take the pressure of those close to you.
    For the first year I swam every day – my kind of meditation and got very fit in the process. The road ahead is going to be hard but the sooner you can let your system calm down from hyper drive you will feel better.
    Good luck – just reply on this site and I will respond. Only book worth reading ‘Living with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis’ by Dr’s McKenna, Baguley, and McFerran – top guys in the UK and a recent book. Simon

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  • Hi Tommy, it’s so hard when you first get T. I really thought my life was over if I was stuck with this noise forever. However – it will get better. 18 months on it is a lot better for me, I still have the odd bad day but my brain is learning to ignore it, like it ignores a noisy fridge or something like that.

    Sleep is also hard to start with. You could try valerian or something herbal to relax you? I have this sometimes on a bad night. Also try to have another sound in your bedroom, this will start to take your brain’s attention away from your tinnitus noise. You could get a sound machine or there are apps you can get for your mobile phone, I use relax and sleep.

    If you keep at the meditation, I think it will help you come to terms with the noise. Also bear in mind you may not have it forever, it does sometimes go away. What do you think caused your tinnitus?

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  • Hi Tommy

    Thanks very much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear you are suffering at the moment. I’m not sure what consolation I can offer apart from an assurance that it may well prove possible for you to live largely peaceably with your tinnitus, even if it doesn’t go away. I hope you’ve found the experiences that people have shared on this website useful. I’m not sure where you live, but if there is a Tinnitus Association or similar in your country (there is in Great Britain) they are currently setting up self supporting groups in various areas. A group has even started up in my little town in Yorkshire and it meets once a month and provides people with a chance to talk to others and at the very least to know there are other people out there suffering from this invisible complaint.

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  • I just wanted to reply to everyone who was kind enough to respond to my original post (and to apologize for taking so long to do so) by saying that your thoughts and suggestions are deeply appreciated. Everything you said was helpful in one way or another, but just knowing that there are others- good, compassionate people- who have gone through their own version of this incredibly challenging experience is comforting in it’s own right.
    And in the way of an update, I want you all to know that I’m doing well, or at least as well as can be expected. Dark times and bad days for sure, but also cheerfulness and positivity and a newfound sense of commitment to my practice and compassion toward my fellow man. And I got a great night’s sleep last night, with just a little bit of melatonin and white noise to help!
    So again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to reply to a stranger in distress. Your words made a difference and I look forward to the time when I can be as much help to others as you have been to me.
    Bows… Tommy H.

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  • Hi tommy, that’s great news that you are figuring out how to deal with your tinnitus so well and inspiringly – thanks so much letting us know.

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  • Hello Mandy
    Thank you once again for this great site. Just a little update after many months of torture and having given up on my spiritual path, my t finally lowered quite a bit. I’m taking an interest in being alive again. And I meditate with white noise. Weird…. But it’s working lol.
    Regards

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  • Shireen, what great news! Another inspiring story: I feel so proud of us all!

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  • I last commented and gave my background withe tinnitus on May 21, 2012 so I will refer all to that date above. Shireen’s previous post got me to thinking…

    As someone who practices Mindfulness meditation under the guidance of a Theravadan monk who lives at a Vietnamese Pure Land temple overseen by a Vietnamese Zen trained Abbot (pretty ecumenical isn’t it) one of the things I have noticed is that those of us born and raised in the West (U.S. E.U. etc.) forget or fail to recognize is that most Buddhists of the world don’t meditate. They chant, use a mala, contemplate, walk, read the sutras, etc. Depending on numerous factors my perceived tinnitus volume goes up and down in volume over time. Sometimes it is too distracting to really meditate. At these times I am so thankful that this rich tradition offers me so many other ways to keep my practice alive and progressing.

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  • David, thanks for your comment, so true. In the night if I can’t sleep, I often chant or recite the Refuges and Precepts (not out loud as my partner wouldn’t thank me for that). It is a comfort as well as a way to practice, and I find it has a devotional quality that isn’t always there when I’m saying the words out loud.

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  • I love to read things like this from tinnitus sufferers. Nobody else understands. You have given me hope. Thank you.

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  • Hi Chuck, thanks for posting. I’m sure we’re all delighted that you’ve gained something from the article and comments!

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  • Hi Mandy and everyone else. Just wanted to say that since reading David’s post above, I started with Mantras too and yes what a relief it is to the mind !

    Thank you David for the post and thank you Mandy for all that you do xox

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  • Hi Shireen, that’s great news! Thanks for sharing it.

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  • Hi Mandy,
    LOVED your ‘journey’ through tinnitus. I have it too for past 10/11 months. While i’ve nearly accepted it. there are days..like this weekend where it’s annoying in pitch, not sure why, but i’d bet it’s anxiety??
    I liked your part on ‘coming to terms with it’ – very brave and fulfilling acceptance on how you ‘gave in to it’. My question: was it difficult and does it take all the courage in the world…my anxiety levels are like a see-saw, and i DO have many periods of ‘quietness’Unlike yours, you seemed to have it pretty elevated levels…PS: i do meditate but i don’t think i’d have the courage to put ear plugs in my ear and meditate, but i know your facing your ‘demons’ head on. I hope and pray to get to that point.
    Thank you for your patients for reading my lengthy e-mail.
    Nick

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  • Hi Nick, great to hear you have ‘nearly’ accepted your tinnitus! I wonder if there will always be times when it is annoying? I certainly still get them and even though I’ve had it for yonks, like you I am still learning about factors that bring it on. Lack of sleep, anxiety and reading first thing in the morning are three! But sometimes these things just can’t be helped. At least we know the tinnitus itself is harmless. I find that goes a long way towards calming any negative emotions. Good luck with your own ‘journey’.

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  • Has anyone thought to use your tinnitus (ringing) mine is (crickets chirping) and when its bad (metallic sound) anyway use the sound to meditate on. Much like Davids advice with the Buddhist monks chanting. Use the sound to meditate on. I don’t meditate but I do suffer from tinnitus so just a suggestion.

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  • What a treasure trove and mine of information. Thank you.
    Two days ago I meditated for the first time ever. I repeated a neutral sound. It felt artificial. I tried the word “Withdraw”, but my mind churned over what I wanted to withdraw from. So decided to just relax into the white noise in my head. I held it there. Then a sensation of observing the noise but not divorced from it. As the tide flows Into openings so did I feel a clarity of spirit, a sense of me strengthen. This was real and right. But gradually the physical head noise waned and I felt afraid to lose it. Then I concentrated on the vacuity. Almost just space. And then I let it go and I relaxed.

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  • Hi Dan and Gillespie

    Many thanks for your comments, Gillespie’s in a way answering Dan’s. When meditating, I usually listen to the tinnitus for a short while, then try to put it into context by listening/feeling/sensing some of the other things that are also going on in or around the body. Meditating on the tinnitus alone quickly gets claustrophobic for me. But once I’ve acknowledged its presence, it often (though not always) becomes slightly quieter. Or maybe it’s my slight turning away from it that makes it become quieter.

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  • Hi Ihave been suffering with tinnitus for nearly a year, ive been to see specialist and there is nothing wrong with my ears etc Im just lucky I guess. Today I googles tinnitus & meditation and found this page and thank goodness I have, jsut want to expressmy thanks and gratitude for the helpful suggestions and ideas that people have written will try some out, anything really for a good nights sleep. Cheers Marja

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  • Hello Marja

    Good to hear from you! I’m so glad you have found the suggestions and ideas here helpful. Good luck in dealing with your tinnitus.

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  • I have a question for anyone that wishes to share their own experience and since it is a tad off topic I hope that Mandy will allow it to stand. I assume that everyone experiences their tinnitus when they meditate but are there any among you that are aware of it even after you go to sleep? Do you have dreams that include the tinnitus? I for one don’t experience my tinnitus after I fall asleep but reading other comments makes me wonder what happens for others.

    With Metta, David

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  • I don’t hear tinnitus in dreams. I do find, however, that when I wake up, my tinnitus is often cranked up to an intense level. This is particularly true with naps – daydreaming. The daydream can be just wonderful, with no tinnitus. But then when I come back to, the tinnitus will be screaming in my ears – as if to make up for lost time!

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  • Hi David, that’s an interesting question and it will be good to see what others’ experience is. I don’t hear tinnitus in my dreams, and often feel myself ‘losing’ it just before I fall asleep, in that stage when one’s awareness turns inward. It is always very loud just after I wake up, even after a ten minute nap, but it tends to calm down again to a lower level within half an hour or so.

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  • I have never had a dream in which I heard my tinnitus. But, tinnitus wakes me up despite the medication my doctors have given me. Sleep is a real escape for me when I can get there but it is difficult and I actually have come to dread going to bed because of hearing the tinnitus despite medication and the sound of an air cleaner and sound machine. So, I wonder, if one doesn’t hear it when one is asleep if there is a way to shut it off when we are awake. There are brain re-training programs out there – Gupta program and Dynamic Neural Retraining Program – which look interesting. If a shift in thought can affect someone’s reaction to their tinnitus then perhaps brain retraining can do the same or even more. Anyone have any experience with either of these programs? Thank you so much for this opportunity to share. Judy

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  • Great to hear from you, Chuck and Judy. It is so good to hear of others’ experience.

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  • Hello,
    I am curious as to how my post didn’t appear? I took the time to share & have heard it in my dreams, regarding David’s question. I have had it 24/7 for 30 years.

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    • I don’t know, Teresa. I approve all comments and I haven’t seen another one from you. Technical problem, perhaps?

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  • No worries, good blog. Support for this situation is very comforting & inspiring. I’ve been doing a lot of mind/body work with different entities, Phoenix Center For Healing, Dr. Joe Dispenza/Quantum Physics & seems to be enabling me to cope with it. I’ve been taking anxiety meds & sleeping meds for years. I have heard it occasionally when sleeping. I have gotten off all anxiety meds & am titrating down the sleeping medication. My ears are screaming right now & I am very tired, yet I am able to focus & am at peace. I was searching for that for years. Medication does not work, meditation does. Blessings to you all.

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  • I have had tinnitus now for 4 years and it does seem to be the loudest most often during morning hours. Question, does anyone worry about mental illness because of tinnitus? It stands to reason if our brains are being stimulated 24/7 eventually things will break down. If this is the case then why isn’t it considered a disability? If it is considered a disability then maybe the government will do a better job studying it in an attempt to find a cure.

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    • Hi, Dan.

      Ironically, this kind of “what if…” thinking about chronic illness can make an already stressful situation even worse, leading to anxiety and depressive disorders. Instead of projecting into the future and imagining a breakdown in mental health, try just being with your experience one moment at a time…

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  • Not mental illness, I have had it 35 years & I’m still functioning quite well. I thought it might be affecting my body, so I had my cortisol (stress hormone) levels checked. Comes back normal, so the tinnitus is aggravating, but not harming your body, state of mind is how you view it. I wouldn’t rely on the government for my health, with all respect. When the President gets it as intense as mine (and a lot of you) is, perhaps heads will roll, lol.

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  • Thanks Teresa . Being only 4 years into it I haven’t paid much attention to it(we suffer in silence). This blog pop into my mail from time to time and I thought I might ask the question of sanity and this condition. I have a background in medicine so it only stands to reason this cannot be good for our brains. I’m glad to hear you’ve had test done. I see you’ve been taking anxiety meds and meds for sleeping do. for years. Don’t you feel this is related to your tinnitus ?

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  • Hi Bodhipasksa, I can appreciate your concern about needlessly worrying about this but I feel what I’m doing is healthy.
    The best advise I can give anyone who is just starting out is “to ignore it” My first year was hell ,but after I realized there is no real cure; accepting it came easy for me ,and I’ve moved on with my life. So my question is just something I was wondering about.
    If there is anyone else that has years with no problem ; I would love to hear about it. This blog is perfect for finding out if there is any history consistent to this condition that is detrimental to our health. We suffer so willingly because no one else hears it. How many have had their ears tested and told there’s nothing that would indicate hearing loss. (helpless)
    The government has deeper pockets and if this(tinnitus) can be confirmed as a disability ; at lest someone is studying tinnitus because its mandated. Thanks to everyone responsible for this blog(much appreciated)

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  • Hi Dan,
    Most definitely the meds I’ve taken were directly related to it. I got it such a long time ago that I thought I was losing my mind at 25. I was a diver & I think that could have perpetrated it because I had bi lat myringotomy when child (eardrums weakened from tubes), then 100 ft. water pressure. Who knows? All I do know is that the first 2 years were really hard & then after that I began seeking anti anxiety meds & eventually sleeping meds. I have thought about it as a disability & that my work was affected, etc. It does cramp your lifestyle for sure if you let it. I do intend that the government should invest more into research. I’ve always thought what a waste of a perfectly good human. Good mind, body & then whacked by a cacophony! I read somewhere, decades ago, that tinnitus is the most maddening, non life threatening affliction known to man! I was so disheartened. I’ve heard rumors that Van Gogh cut off his ear because of it, even more disheartened. I kind of gave up & just relinquished myself to prescription medication because the Dr.’s “understood” how bad it was & that it did help me cope. I feel like I’ve been sleeping for years. My first post here was in 2013 as TM. That’s when I began to search outside/inside of myself. I now no longer take anti anxiety meds & am almost off of sleep meds. I can sit here again & type peacefully with “screaming” in my head. It makes no sense, but I am learning how to master or just “be” with the tinnitus. I use guided meditation because I enjoy it. Sometimes I will just “be still” & listen to it, maybe it has something to say to me, lol! My attitude is great & that helps too. I don’t like to count on medicine or the government to help me. The mind is very powerful. If after all these years I am able to do this, anyone can. There are a lot of snake oil cures out there, many of which I have tried. The vendors know we can feel kind of desperate, so what a good market to sell such nonsense. I am still studying mind/body connection & it is really spot on for me. I am in control now after 35 years, not the tinnitus. My hope is that everyone on this blog can attain the beautiful sense of peace (ears don’t necessarily stop ringing) that I have. Would I like to banish it?, yes, I’ll let you know if that happens! For now, I’m grateful to just “be” with it. No fear. Blessings always :)

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  • Hi again everyone, great to hear your thoughts and have this discussion. It would be great if some proper research was done into tinnitus but when funds are limited, I feel it’s better that research money goes towards the big killers of our time, cancer and heart disease. Not saying I wouldn’t like some help, but…

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  • That’s a really inspiring story, Theresa. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all.

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  • Trust me Mandy there plenty government waste already. Maybe we could get the government to stop studying toads in the amazon or releasing billions of dollars to countries like Pakistan. (just sayin)
    So we should just be good sports and deal with it. Do you have tinnitus? Hey I understand the passive nature of the Buddhist philosophy but wasn’t Cain in Kung-Fu a buddhist (chuckle)
    Still we’re only talking about it here; its not like we could do anything about it anyway right.. We should learn to mediate with tinnitus (chuckle) Is it just me but am I the only one in the room looking around saying “now that’s cruel” lol

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  • Theresa, thanks for sharing that. But just the fact alone of you having to be subjected to medication because of tinnitus is disheartening. How many more are like you and have they been as successful or have they instead become addicted to their medication.
    Ironically I believe it is the med’s that I take for high blood pressure that is the cause of my tinnitus. Still I count myself lucky because my noise is (hissing) rather than (ringing). All of us should be glad that tinnitus doesn’t cause otoplasty . A silver lining perhaps ? Live long and prosper !

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  • You are welcome & yes, there are silver linings everywhere! You just have to “see.” I’m a fan of Yoda, so I’ll say, “with you, be peace.” Since you like Spock, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Yoda, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” “Luminous being are we, not this crude matter!” Blessings always, T

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  • Hi Dan, it’s all relative, at least that’s my opinion. But I’m coming from a difficult couple of years witnessing the suffering of terminal cancer patients and the effect on their families, so that has probably shaped my view. I don’t know if I am speaking as a Buddhist, or just as me – it’s hard to say. I imagine my opinion is not the sort of thing anyone wants to hear while they are in the grip of suffering, either! But the article I wrote (above) about my experience with tinnitus is aimed at people who meditate but who find it difficult because of their tinnitus. I just wanted to share some ideas that have worked for me. I’m not advocating meditation for all, or saying that it is a substitute for action. Hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

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  • Thanks Teresa, sorry I used otoplasty to reference the condition (pointed ears). But I realized after the post (otoplasty) is the procedure not the condition.(my bad) lol. I was being facetious and wound up being just ignorant… No biggie Blessing back!

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  • Sorry Mandy if I seemed defensive. I’m sorry about your patients. I’ve been in the medical field myself for over 20 yrs. I too see these things all the time. It does put things into perspective doesn’t it. No Mandy, your article is really good. I’ve been commenting on it starting in 2013. I didn’t realize we had to stick to meditation . Sorry my bad

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  • Dan, Maybe that’s it? Your tinnitus is telling you to get Spock ears, lol!!! You did mention pointed ears (albeit inappropriately) & then you quoted Spock ;) I’m just kidding, perhaps stick with the quote, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Mandy, you rock for keeping this blog afloat. There are many who are suffering out there that are lonely and afraid. I was one of them once. My prayer is that many find you. Again blessings to you all & live JOYously even through life’s storms. Blessings abound & Namaste’

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  • Thanks very much, Dan and Teresa. I just looked back and saw I wrote the original article in October 2011. It is your comments that are keeping it live, not anything I’m doing, so I really appreciate your input – keep it coming!

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  • I have very recently begun studying Buddhism and I know I have tinnitus but it’s not something I ever really notice, not even when going to sleep. Up until I tried meditation. I was surprised by how loud it actually is. It didn’t bother me in any way but it was interesting to notice how we keep our thoughts on so loud all the time. Loud enough to drown out that really loud noise in my ears.

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  • I recently attended a seminar to promote TM or transendental meditation, how does the form differ from regular meditation and how can I find in local area of 01983 zip Mass. some help in learning at a no or low price. I have pulsitile T that roars without control upon wakening from a nap or a few hours of needed sleep, it takes about an hours to taper down to a level that is still horrible but less. help. thanks

    Reply

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