Anyone who has dealt with a persistent, but temporary ringing in their ears after a noisy event or other occurrence understands just how annoying that can be. What if you had to deal with it on a constant basis? People living with tinnitus do. There are no current remedies for tinnitus, but there are many different treatments available to help people cope with the condition.
While no treatment is the perfect solution for everyone, a new method of addressing the problem of tinnitus is gaining well-deserved attention. Tinnitus is defined as the sensation of a constant ringing or buzzing heard but from no external source. It can come and go or remain constant. Varying levels of tinnitus are experienced by everyone suffering from the condition. Some people live with it without seeking additional treatment. While for others, tinnitus is incredibly intrusive and hard to ignore.
Mindfulness training has shown to become a rather effective treatment of tinnitus for a good number of people. This is according to a study published in the Ear and Hearing Journal and Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal. The study, conducted by the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath, gathered 75 patients to receive either MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) or traditional relaxation therapy to treat their tinnitus.
Although both treatments were effective at reducing the stress and increasing one’s ability to cope with tinnitus, MBCT appeared to be much more successful at achieving results and for a longer period of time. While MBCT may not be a perfect fit for everyone dealing with tinnitus, it is a promising therapy option to add to a tinnitus relief care providers tool belt.
A Different Approach To Traditional Methods
The approach to MBCT is somewhat counter-intuitive when examined from the viewpoint of traditional relaxation therapy. Relaxation methods help clients learn to reduce their stress triggers, thereby reducing conditions that may trigger or worsen tinnitus symptoms. Relaxation often focuses on blocking out tinnitus symptoms instead of addressing it directly.
MBCT teaches patients to embrace the tinnitus by bringing their attention to the present moment and accepting tinnitus in their lives as something that is a part of them.
By doing this, tinnitus becomes less of an aggravating factor, less of something they are trying to repress or push away, and more of something they can learn to live with. For many people who have not had success with other treatment methods, MBCT provides a little hope for a solution that will be right for them.
Of the total 75 patients involved in the study, the individuals who received MBCT experienced a significant reduction in tinnitus severity, negative psychological effects of tinnitus, and symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Additional studies on the benefits of MBCT are currently being conducted, which may further strengthen mindfulness training position as an effective strategy in dealing with tinnitus symptoms. But positive implications for future treatment as a result of this study will soon be felt in tinnitus treatment facilities across the nation.
If you are struggling with tinnitus, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a hearing health professional.