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Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is regrettably rather challenging to diagnose and treat. While researchers are hard at work to discover a cure, much about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.

If you have tinnitus, it’s imperative to first seek professional help. First, tinnitus is sometimes an indicator of an underlying condition that requires medical assistance. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by taking care of the underlying problem.

Second, a variety of tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be particularly effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adjust to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in several cases.

That being said, some cases of tinnitus linger despite the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do on your own to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Below are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.

1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – every instance of tinnitus is unique. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a written record to identify specified triggers, which can be specific types of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are a number of medications that can make tinnitus worse.

2. Quit smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restrains blood flow, both of which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to develop some form of hearing loss compared to non-smokers.

3. Minimize consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have challenged the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should monitor the effects yourself. It’s the same for alcoholic beverages; there are no definitive studies that prove a clear connection, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Try using masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more noticeable and bothersome when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or purchasing a white-noise machine.

5. Use hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are temporary and the result of short-term exposure to loud sounds, like at a live concert. To prevent further damage—and persistent tinnitus—see to it that you wear ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – outcomes can vary, but some people have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be highly effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

7. Find ways to relax and unwind – easing your stress and boosting your mood can help minimize the severity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more and better sleep – lack of sleep is a recognized trigger for making tinnitus worse, which subsequently makes it more challenging to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To ensure that you get enough sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that exercise may lead to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also reduce stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Join a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping methods from others suffering from the same symptoms.

What have you discovered to be the most effective technique of coping with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.