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Clinical Mindfulness All articles & news relating to clinical mindfulness, meditation and yoga in relation to the treatment of tinnitus-related-stress, and hearing loss treatment.

21

Aug
2018

In Clinical Mindfulness

By Rosie Williams

The Psychology of Tinnitus

On 21, Aug 2018 | In Clinical Mindfulness | By Rosie Williams

We talk about tinnitus a lot and that is because tinnitus is one of the most prevalent symptoms that humanity faces and it often causes increased levels of unhealthy psychological distress in those who experience it.

It sounds daunting to people to hear that tinnitus does not have a cure, but there are ways to manage and live well with tinnitus, without any suffering or stress.  At Cubex, and with the guidance of the British Tinnitus Association, we utilise mindfulness and meditation practices to learn to live with tinnitus in a positive and calm way.


 

Habituating to the sounds of tinnitus

Over time, people with tinnitus tend to habituate to it, meaning their brain naturally adjusts to the presence of it and eventually becomes less aware of it. However, different things can get in the way of this habituation process which can cause some people to experience distress associated with tinnitus for longer.

According to the BTA, two of the biggest obstacles to habituation are worry and attentional focus. Sometimes the tinnitus experienced can be so intrusive that it causes severe stress in the person experiencing it, affecting their day-to-day lives. Sometimes this means that the person focuses a lot of attention on the noise which actually slows down the process of habituating to it.

People employ various efforts to try to drown out the noise of tinnitus, such as using sound generators, avoiding quiet places, keeping themselves distracted, or perhaps even avoiding noisy environments so as not to make it worse. These efforts are all aimed at fighting and attempting to ignore the tinnitus which ironically, has, for some people, been shown to make the experience of tinnitus worse. The demanding mental effort required to push tinnitus away is tiring and the increased cognitive load can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, low mood and less chance of habituating to tinnitus.
 

Mindfulness for tinnitus

At Cubex, we utilise clinical mindfulness techniques to learn to recognise tinnitus and allow it to be present, which can lead to a new and positive relationship with it. Mindfulness is not a “cure” for tinnitus but it is a powerful lifestyle practice that strengthens our capacity to make tinnitus less intrusive, reducing the associated stress and psychological fatigue. It does not aim to change the nature or sound of tinnitus, but rather to help people develop a better relationship with it which can aid the process of habituation.

What we learn from utilising mindfulness as a cognitive therapy for tinnitus, we can also apply to just about every other part of our lives. We can learn to recognise when we are having negative thoughts and recognise how they sometimes spiral into patterns of particular emotions or behaviours. Meditation can help people to learn how to respond to these negative thoughts and prevent them leading to patterns of negative emotions and behaviour.

mental health 2018 meditating

CALM at Cubex

Whilst the experience of hearing loss and intrusive tinnitus is different for everyone, there is no doubt that it reduces the quality of life. In some instances, in addition to receiving support from our Audiologist, guidance from our wider team of clinical wellbeing experts is essential to support people with strategies to improve mental wellbeing. At Cubex, our Clinical Psychologist, Certified Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher and Tinnitus Advisors work together with our Audiologists to help people make positive lifestyle changes for long-term cognitive health.

Learn more about CALM > Contact Us

 

 

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