I have tinnitus, and if you're reading this, know that you are not alone.
An estimated 25 million adults in the United States experience tinnitus. Tinnitus or unwanted ear noises can be brought on or aggravated by stress. The past few months have been filled with challenges and surprises at every turn. Most of us have experienced a bit of stress for a variety of reasons. The loss of employment, illness, isolation, and a constant state of worry can all create unavoidable stress.
Closing the doors to our family business for direct patient care was certainly the right decision mid-March. Figuring out how to work effectively and efficiently from home was the greatest challenge. While making these decisions, two of my family members tested positive for Coronavirus. No surprise that my tinnitus got out of hand. During the day I heard crickets and at night the high pitched whine would creep in. Stress was certainly my trigger.
As an Audiologist who counsels patients on a daily basis, it was time for me to start taking my own advice. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, it certainly can be managed. Diet and health style choices can have a positive impact.
Limiting caffeine and restricting salt can help curb tinnitus. Anything that restricts blood flow can potentially exacerbate tinnitus. Aerobic exercise or walking are easy ways to make a positive difference. I have to remind myself to relax, and taking deep cleansing breaths does help. Making time for myself became a priority. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else.
Now that my family is back on track and headed towards good health, my tinnitus has improved. The crickets have left but the soft high pitched noise remains as a reminder of my youth. Listening to loud music without ear protection has its consequences. Tinnitus and hearing loss are the gifts we get when we crank up the volume.
If you experience tinnitus and haven't had your hearing tested, put that on your 2020 calendar. An Audiologist is waiting to meet you. We can help.