WHAT IS TINNITUS HABITUATION?
Tinnitus Habituation refers to having tinnitus but being accustomed or used to it. If you have habituated to tinnitus you might still have some tinnitus but you will not have a negative reaction to it. It comes into awareness less often and when it does come into your awareness you are not bothered by it. Tinnitus habituation is the goal of Tinnitus Counselling & Tinnitus Retraining therapy.
A Practical Example To Explain Tinnitus Habituation
An example of habituation might be when you move into a new home. You are standing in the bedroom unpacking boxes when you notice the rumble of a passing train. You knew that the train line was behind the house but did not notice any trains when you viewed the property. You panic thinking you have bought the wrong house. As the days pass however you realise that you have not noticed the trains pass by. This is because you have become accustomed to the noise of the trains or habituated to them. Tinnitus is very similar in that you become accustomed to the noise of tinnitus and no longer notice it most of the time.
How Do I Habituate To Tinnitus?
Tinnitus Habituation is perfectly achievable for anybody experiencing tinnitus symptoms. It comes easier to some than others for a wealth of different reasons. It is easier to habituate to tinnitus with the right help. The mainstream treatment for tinnitus is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy involves a combination of approaches. These include a psychological, somatic and sound therapy approach.
One of the difficulties that people experience with regard to tinnitus habituation is avoiding tinnitus symptoms and fixating on getting rid of the tinnitus noise. Although this is a perfectly understandable stance it is not helpful. It sets up an all or nothing approach which leads to disappointment when symptoms are re-experienced. It is more helpful to try to understand what triggered the tinnitus in the first place and find ways of relaxing with tinnitus symptoms rather than trying to avoid them. This makes habituation a realistic possibility and means that you will not experience tinnitus symptoms most of the time. When you do experience tinnitus symptoms you will not have a negative reaction to them.
Why Is It Easier To Habituate To Tinnitus With Professional Help?
It is easier to habituate to tinnitus with professional help because they will work with you practically, psychologically and somatically. Having a specific approach for a specific problem makes the process quicker and common pitfalls can be avoided. It is easier to let go of tinnitus when your mind and body are working with you to help you with the difficulty of tinnitus. Tinnitus is sometimes accompanied by secondary difficulties. These might include stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and addiction. Getting professional help for these problems is essential when habituating to tinnitus. For example it is very difficult to habituate to tinnitus if you are experiencing trauma symptoms.
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What Makes It Difficult To Habituate To Tinnitus?
- No getting the right support
- Taking an all or nothing approach
- Difficulties with associated conditions like PTSD and Trauma
- Adrenal lifestyle
- Experiential avoidance through addiction
- Problematic thinking
- Difficulty surrounding the onset of tinnitus
- Initial stress response when tinnitus first started
- Trying to find a solution to your tinnitus rather than your reaction to it
What Makes It Easier To Habituate To Tinnitus?
- Learning to relax whilst experiencing tinnitus symptoms
- Having some background noise can help relax the nervous system
- Unravelling unhelpful thinking patterns in relation to tinnitus
- Processing any unresolved trauma
- Getting professional help for associated conditions of anxiety, stress or depression
- Consuming less stimulants like tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol
- Having some psychological and somatic therapy by someone who specialises in tinnitus
- Distracting yourself away from tinnitus symptoms
The Role Of Sound Therapy For Tinnitus Habituation
Tinnitus Sound Therapy refers to the activity of covering or masking tinnitus symptoms with a more pleasant sound. Tinnitus Sound Therapy can make tinnitus symptoms much more bearable especially in the early onset of tinnitus. Partial or complete tinnitus masking can help you relax, provide a respite from tinnitus and help you sleep. Partial masking means that you can still hear the tinnitus as well as the pleasant sound and complete masking means you only hear the pleasant sound. Partial tinnitus masking is sometime used as part of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Anything that can help bring your system back into homeostasis and a state of relaxation will be of benefit.
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