This morning I woke up to really noisy tinnitus. It was so loud I couldn’t even hear the combined snoring of Mr Hearing Coach and Ziva, our dog! Yes, that bad!
Do you want to know what I did to help myself?
I didn’t grab my phone and start googling what this might mean and how long it might last.
I didn’t start making a mental list of everything I did or ate yesterday to try and work out what had caused this spike.
I didn’t lie there worrying about how long it would last, and how I was going to be able to hear people during the day.
Instead, I got out of bed and carried on with my usual morning routine.
Because this is what tinnitus does. It has loud moments which can seem quite alarming, and it has quiet days too.
Our natural reaction when we have a spike is to push the experience away. We might spend hours researching how to reduce our tinnitus to its normal volume (which no longer seems as bad as we used to think). Another common tactic is to engage in frenzied activity in order to distract ourselves from the noise, and the anxious feelings that accompany it.
Conversely, when our tinnitus noise improves unexpectedly it’s entirely human to want to cling onto that experience. We find ourselves caught on a seesaw of emotions – desperate for the quieter sound to stay and already worrying about when our normal sound will return.
Both pushing away our louder tinnitus noise and clinging onto our quieter tinnitus noise causes us to suffer. Mindfulness is the key to stopping that suffering.
Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of, and accept, what is happening with our tinnitus from moment to moment. When we have a spike we notice it, recognize that we can’t do anything about it in this moment, and carry on with our day as normal. When our tinnitus reduces we simply enjoy this temporary respite, rather than getting our hopes up that our tinnitus will stay like this.
The irony is, our acceptance that we cannot control when our tinnitus is loud or quiet, actually gives us back control. We no longer allow the natural changes in our tinnitus volume or sounds to dictate how we live. Tinnitus doesn’t get to control how we feel, our mood, our thoughts, or what kind of day we have. Instead, mindfulness training puts us back in the driving seat.
So I choose to do nothing when tinnitus spikes. I choose to relax and go with the flow. I choose to be in control of the way I live my life. If you would like to learn the tools to do the same, check out my Bee Empowered with tinnitus course