The number one thing that makes tinnitus so bad is the fact that there isn’t a cure that makes the condition completely go away. Researches found out though that there are ways to relief the symptoms. Mindfulness seems to be a big one.
That’s what new UK research from the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bath shows. They tested out whether relaxation – or mindfulness therapy would help to reduce the severity of tinnitus. Relaxation-based treatments are often recommended by many tinnitus clinics, but according to this new research, mindfulness is a better way to make the condition more bearable.
Distressed and Disabled
From the people dealing with tinnitus, 1 in 100 are very distressed and disabled by it. As many as 1 in 20 people are at least moderately distressed by it. Tinnitus is associated with complaints of emotional stress, insomnia, auditory perceptual problems and concentration problems.
“In total 75 patients took part in the trial at UCLH’s Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital receiving either MBCT (mindfulness) or relaxation therapy. The study found that both treatments led to a reduction in tinnitus severity, psychological distress, anxiety and depression for patients”, explains dr. Liz Marks.
Live in the moment
Marks and her team found out that mindfulness does much more to the people dealing with tinnitus than the relaxation therapy. The relief was not only bigger but also seemed to last longer. Relaxation therapy provides patients with specific skills to reduce stress arousal levels. In contrast, MBCT, taught by highly-trained clinical psychologists, teaches patients to pay purposeful, present-moment attention to experiences, rather than trying to supress those experiences. Practicing mindfulness meditation in this way can cultivate a more helpful way of responding to tinnitus. People learn how to ‘allow’ and ‘accept’ tinnitus, rather than having to ‘fight it’ or ‘push it away’. Mindfulness does not aim to change the nature or sound of the tinnitus, but the therapy can lead to tinnitus becoming less intrusive, to a point where it is no longer a problem for people.
This is exceptionally good news for the people with tinnitus who can’t find relief in the existing cures. To master mindfulness, an app like Headspace is a great starting point. Sit back, relax, take a few moments for yourself and learn to live in the moment. It’s worth a shot.