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

If you have tinnitus, it’s critical to first seek professional assistance. First, tinnitus is occasionally an indication 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 highly effective, including sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adapt to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in several cases.

Even so, some cases of tinnitus persist despite the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do on your own to lessen the severity of symptoms.

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

1. Learn what makes your tinnitus worse – every instance of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to maintain a written record to identify specific triggers, which can be certain kinds 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 restricts blood flow, both of which can make tinnitus worse. Research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some form of hearing loss compared to non-smokers.

3. Reduce consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – while some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should keep track of the effects yourself. It’s the same for alcoholic beverages; there are no definitive studies that demonstrate a clear link, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Use 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. Utilize hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are temporary and the consequence of brief exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To prevent further damage—and persistent tinnitus—make certain to use ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – results might vary, but some people have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be 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 – alleviating your stress and elevating your mood can help minimize the intensity of tinnitus. Try yoga, meditation, or any other activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more and better sleep – sleep deficiency 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 guarantee that you get plenty of sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

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

10. Enroll in a support group – by joining a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping techniques from other people who suffer from the same symptoms.

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