Natural Ways to Reduce Tinnitus
You want to know Natural Ways to Reduce Tinnitus? These tips are not what you will find at your ENT clinic. This video explains seven natural methods.
Hey guys! Happy Wellness Wednesday! Welcome back. I missed you, we were away for a couple of weeks, and today is a very big day because I have my first Wellness Wednesday guest, my beloved husband Brian.
– Hello. – (laughs) Welcome to the show, honey! – Oh, it’s great to be here. – You know, you’re usually behind the scenes, you edit things after the fact, but now you’re in front of the camera.
How does that feel? – Um, I’ll go back over there. (both laugh) – Well, we are excited to have you, and we’ve got a really important topic today. And, many of you know that I have been talking about this for a few months, now.
We’re talking about relief for tinnitus, also known as tinnitus. And, a few months ago, I started to share that Brian has gone through his own tinnitus experience, which he’s still experiencing, going through now.
And, he’s here to share a ton of information with us, because, like everything we do, we roll up our sleeves, we do the research, and then we try to share as much of it with you. Because, what we learned, and all this is really led by Brian, is that so many people are dealing with tinnitus.
What are some of the statistics that we discovered? – Well, yeah, it is extremely common, about 50 million Americans have some form of tinnitus, so that’s about one in six, one in five, something like that.
And, it’s actually the number one issue for vets, at the VA. You know, because of their exposure to loud sounds, and things like that. So, it’s a problem, and leads to a lot of other issues. A lot of people cope with severe tinnitus with substance abuse, and things like that, so.
Dealing with tinnitus
It could be, um– – It can be very debilitating. – Yeah. – And, today I’m going to talk about ways for you to manage it, if you’re experiencing it, and obviously we are a community, we are stronger together, so if you guys have some information and some resources, if you’ve been dealing with tinnitus.
Many people know it as tinnitus, ringing of the ears. If you’ve been dealing with that, and you’ve found some ways to manage it, we definitely want you to share because so many people watch this show and so many people read the comments, and, again, you’re just as wise as we are, so, definitely make sure to join the conversation.
So, let’s take a step back, and talk about how it started for you. – Well, I’ve had ringing in my ear for decades, but it was extremely mellow, like, hardly ever noticed it. Every once in a while, and I’d be in a very silent room, I’d say like, “Wow, this is really loud!” You know? But it never bothered me.
– Mm-hmm. – Didn’t think much of it. I was a drummer, and I rode motorcycles, so I had a double-whammy in terms of exposure to loud sounds. But then, a couple of months ago, I was traveling, and hardly getting any sleep, it was stressful, I was getting, like, two, three hours a night for almost a week straight.
And, um, I just got off the plane coming back home, I was ragged, and then the next day, (snaps) boom! Just, really hit. – Yeah. – And it hasn’t gone away since, so. – But, you’ve gone from having.
We’re going to take a step back in a minute and talk about what it is, but, since we’re here, you went from having pretty severe panic attacks? – Mm-hmm. – Which were really scary. – Mm-hmm. – To where it’s just, kind of, I don’t want to say normal, because, I think that would might be– – Well, no, it does get normalized.
Anxiety, and panic attacks
That’s the whole goal, right, yeah. Um, yeah, so before we talk about, actually, what it is. Anxiety, and panic attacks, and, um, fear and claustrophobia, those are extremely common initial reactions to tinnitus, and you can imagine why, those of you out there who experience this know exactly what I’m talking about.
Like, there’s nothing more personal than something going on inside your own head, that you can’t get away from. It’s terrifying. So, that was my initial experience, until, started to uncover some, uh, some coping tools.
Some relief processes, so. – Which we’ll talk about in a minute, but let’s take a step back for the people who don’t know what it is. I know some people are like, “What is it?” But I’m already seeing comments where so many of you do know what it is, and you’re already sharing things that help you.
But, for the folks who don’t know what it is, can you tell us a little bit more? – Yeah, so basically, in the broadest sense, tinnitus is a sound that only you can hear. No one else can hear detect it.
It’s coming from inside your head, and so that’s an important distinction, because it’s actually not, when people say, “ringing in your ears”, it’s actually not coming from your ears, it’s coming from your brain.
And, so, they don’t know that much about it, and they certainly don’t know how to cure it. And, I want to make a distinction right now, between, like, chronic tinnitus, and some other forms of short term ringing in the ears.
Get your ears checked
So, if anybody’s had a recent onset, I would definitely go to a doctor, get your ears checked, because it could be just an infection where, you know, people who get clogged sinuses and things, that could cause ringing, and stuff, but.
Um, and, other people, uh, I don’t want to say no cure, there’s lots of people out there who anecdotally have tried so many things, and get relief in different kinds of ways. But, for a huge number of people, chronic tinnitus is something going on neurologically in the brain, they’re starting to understand why, but they don’t quite know how to crack it.
So, basically, what they think it is, is these little tiny hairs in the inner ear get brittle and broken through noise exposure, through age, and also through exposure to some drugs you have to be careful of, so don’t overdo the NSAIDs, the things like Advil and things like that.
Those can contribute, and if you have tinnitus, try to stay away from those. – Yeah, like when you, let’s just talk about that, when you have a headache, you used to go for Advil, but now you’ll go for, you know, if you really need something, you’ll go for Tylenol.
– Yeah, and I haven’t really been– – Yeah. – Doing much of anything. But, and also, some chemotherapies, and actually, there’s a few antibiotics that are known to be very bad for. But, not that many of them, so don’t panic about it.
I’d definitely look into it, though. So, um, those are causal, but they’re also exacerbators if you already have it, so. There’s other things, there can be head and neck injuries, things like that.
But for chronic, um, tinnitus, it’s sort of like a phantom limb syndrome, where there’s this, those little hairs get broken, and they’re not sending the electrical signal to the auditory part of the brain any more, so your brain’s just sitting there wired and ready to do all that, and it’s just making up– – Waiting.
– Yeah, and so it’s just making up the sounds that it’s expecting to get. And, so, it’s just gone a little haywire, so it’s, um. So, that’s kind of what it is, um… – So, in the early stages, when you were going through the panic attacks, we’re gonna talk about a couple of things that really helped you, and then we’re gonna talk about what really took it to the next level.
So, first and foremost, it was sharing your feelings. You know, we would stop, I could see it coming over him, because panic attacks are something that I’ve dealt with, on and off my whole life. And, we would sit there, and we would be together, and we would just dive in.
We used tapping, and so, I would either lead you through a tapping meditation, or you would go, and listen to our friend Nick Ortner’s, um, tapping app. And then, Nick created a special tapping meditation just for you, but then he shared it with everybody else, because we– – It’s great.
– It was amazing, so, that helped an enormous amount. You also were working with an EMDR practitioner. – Right, won’t go too far into all that right now but that was really great. If anybody knows anything about it, it’s sort of like this back and forth retrain the brain thing.
But actually what I found even more valuable was that when we were working together she helped me with some very, very specific visualizations for a positive experience but also the negative experience about when my panic attacks were happening.
So I’ve referred back to those. I have a little transcript. She kind of got my relaxed and talked me through. So it’s kind of like what all of your six senses are experiences in your moment of total bliss.
So that’s really, really helpful. But that’s not necessarily, I guess, EMDR per say. – Yeah, but these are all things in the early stages and honestly, some people may find benefit to these suggestions regardless of whether it’s about tinnitus or not because those of you who live with chronic illness or you’re going through a really tough time right now, the most important thing is to take the stress down around the experience.
That’s something we talk about all the time on Wellness Wednesday. And so I’m gonna hit one more thing and then we’ll talk about Bruce. We just share everything here with you because we love you and we’d wanna help you.
But you started to see my therapist and a big part of it was to deal with the stress and the grief and all of the emotions that were coming up and I think that was a massive part of your early relief, let’s say.
– Mm-hmm, yeah. – Go, Carol. Go, Carol. – Yeah, at the beginning I was just desperate. I’m not the biggest self-help seeker out there. – I am. – But when this kicked in, I was just like, “I’ll take it all.
” – “I’ll take it all.” I was like, “And I’ll dump it all on you.” – Well I thought I was gonna go insane, you know? – I know you did. – So that was the thing and I’m sure you guys can relate to that if you’re experiencing it.
So, some of what you just said is a perfect segue into what I think is for me the most important part of living with tinnitus and that is cognitive behavioral therapy and habituation. So cognitive behavioral therapy in a general sense and sorry for those of you who are practitioners, I may butcher the definition here.
But it’s a talk therapy that works on very specific issues like, say, a phobia and highlights negative feelings and tries to transform those and build a framework for how to cope better. – I think you’re doing a good job.
And we found, well, you know, I was panicked doing research, he was doing research, and we found this incredible practitioner, do you wanna share information about him? And we have it in the notes in the description too.
Cognitive behavioral therapist
Doctor Bruce Hubbard, he’s a cognitive behavioral therapist who also has been dealing with his own tinnitus for three decades or so so he’s seems like the go-to guy and he has tons of great material.
There’s a webinar on his site and you can contact him and work with him and get a ton more. I have a bunch of worksheets I’ve gotten through working with him and they’re really great for just working your way through these, what is this negative thought I’m having? Let me try to understand, like, how rational and real is that? And you basically work your way through this recovery statement in any given moment when the stress starts to kick in.
But, anyway, the whole basic concept is, again, presuming there isn’t a cure, what you’re trying to do is make a distinction for yourself between experiencing the symptoms, the sound, and your (coughs), pardon me, and your emotional reaction to the sound.
Most people think of them as one in the same. Anybody who’s ever dealt with pain management, it’s like, there’s pain and then there’s how I’m feeling about it and they’re all part of one thing.
So this is why, as you said, this cognitive behavioral therapy approach to tinnitus, like you’ve said, just take out the word tinnitus and put in anything else you’ve ever dealt with and it’s like the perfect framework for how to deal with anything, really.
So, it’s really important that you, that you work on your emotional reaction to the sounds you’re experiencing. And so over time, the goal is to habituate and so habituation is, we’re all habituated right now to tons of environmental stimuli, whether it’s sights, sounds, right now there’s crickets outside and there’s the hum of our refrigerator but we’re habituated to it.
It’s there, hasn’t gone away, but we’re not focused on it and that’s the goal. – Meaning it’s not in the forefront of our consciousness. – Right, right. And so that’s the goal.
So much bandwidth
And so, like, you consciousness only has so much bandwidth for all the different inputs it’s getting from your senses. And so the important thing is to catch the negative feelings early if you’re starting to get a little panicky, and what you wanna do is try to have as neutral of an emotional response because that will help the habituation process.
It’s basically telling the brain over and over, “This is not a threat,” because the truth is tinnitus is not life-threatening whereas, like, say pain, for example. Pain is probably an indicator of something serious going on whereas tinnitus is, like, it’s really just a phenomenon, right? And if you could train your brain to just not care about it, I know that’s easier said than done and it’s a process and it often takes anywhere from 12 to 24 months to slowly habituate and you have setbacks along the way.
And again, those setbacks aren’t necessarily how loud it seems or how often I’m hearing it, it’s how you’re responding to it emotionally. That’s the key. So, if you’re having a fear response, you get caught in a resistance loop.
You’re resisting it in some way and that actually reinforces the brain and keeps telling it, “This is a threat. “This is that tiger jumping out,” you know, that’s that sound. So again, you’re trying to get the brain to habituate over time little by little and that’s what a lot of these little therapies are.
– And that’s what’s helped you working with Bruce, and again the link is in the comment. The comment and also in the description of this show. And he works over Skype. But there’s other therapists who do CBT therapy so you can find somebody if you wanna work with them in person.
And it’s so funny because you’ve had all of these different worksheets and exercises and like you said earlier, I’ve looked through them and was reading them and I was like, “Oh, my goodness.
“I can slot in just about anything. “Cancer. “I can slot in anxiety.” You know, things that I experience. It’s something that we talk about a lot on our Wellness Wednesday episodes together which is how can we be the creators of our thoughts, you know? We may not be able to choose our first thought but we can choose our second thought.
And I think that’s what habituation is about. How do you catch that thought before it, like, sinks into your tissues and turn it around and choose a better thought and work your way up the better thought ladder, as Abraham would say.