Tinnitus can be the source of extreme aggravation, stress, irritability, and angst. The problem is, in turn, those negative feelings can exacerbate the tinnitus. This cyclical pattern can result in a downward spiral to the point where the tinnitus cannot be ignored and affects sleeping and concentration. While it remains important to seek help from an audiologist to assess the health of your ears, if all medical complications are ruled out, it becomes very helpful to learn how to cope with the tinnitus in such a way that you manage to ignore the sound. If you think about all the sounds your ears hear throughout the course of a day, you must question what percent of the sounds that enter your ears you actually pay attention to.
My husband, whom is much more attentive to these extraneous sounds, brings my attention to them all of the time when he becomes irritated. For example, he loves to alert me to the neighbor’s barking dog, or the lawn mower that started up early on a Sunday morning. Often times, I don’t notice the sounds, even if they were audible, but after they are pointed out to me, I too become irritable and annoyed.
Dr. Jasterboff lays out the anatomical and physiological process of how and why this happens. Embracing this information makes it easier to help train yourself to “ignore” sounds, including your tinnitus. Masking devices through hearing aids or your smart phone can also aid in the TRT process.
Written by Dr. Donath