Mindfulness for Tinnitus Relief

Discussion in 'Treatments' started by Carol, May 6, 2014.

    1. Carol
      Fine

      Carol Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13
      It's been a while since I last posted. Things are going better for me now. The persistent tinnitus is still there but I'm generally enjoying life again. It does get me down some days though so I've still not completely habituated which is frustrating.

      I've been reading a bit about Mindfulness on the internet. It's really interesting. It seems to help stress and depression in anyone - no matter what the trigger is. I think it might be worth a try...

      Carol
       
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    2. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Hi everyone,

      People who are interested in mindfulness meditation for tinnitus--as offered by Dr. Gans--might want to examine the videos below which feature Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn is the founder of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). Dr. Gans, of course, adapted this specific methodology for tinnitus. But everyone could also use his information to create their own DIY guide.

      This is an interesting video with some neurocognitive information on it. :)

      Mindfulness Stress Reduction And Healing

      This video is MBSR in action for pain. It's probably something like Dr. Gans' course.

      Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD – Mindfulness...

      Besides the videos, here are CDs and book references to Dr. Kabat-Zinn.

       
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    3. Tara721
      Depressed

      Tara721 Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/01/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
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    4. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
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    5. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Although I've always believed that meditation could help with tinnitus--since it reduces stress--I confess to never having tried it successfully. My mind is always busy: thinking, planning, organizing, revising, etc. Every time I've tried to meditate, my "thinking' always got in the way. And thoughts such as "why am I doing this" and "this is really boring" would invariably intervene and ruin my efforts.

      How to overcome my mind's inability to just "be" in the moment? I considered buying the books and CDs listed in this thread, but had not yet gotten around to it. My only attempt to be mindful was to mark "learn mindfulness" on my to do list. But I gave the task no due date--perhaps waiting for inspiration or just procrastinating.

      That said, I kept reading studies about mindfulness' effect on the brain: increasing our white matter, increasing our gray matter, decreasing the amygdala, decreasing pain areas in our frontal cortex, etc. Such are the positive brain changes that mindfulness produces and are being analyzed in various brain scanning techniques.

      Then I came across this site: headspace.com. It is a site for guided meditation, and it takes just 10 minutes a day. The first ten days are free, and then there is a small monthly fee. Given my reluctance to try mindfulness on my own, I decided to give this site a chance. The meditations are brief, but also change daily. Combined, this helps to prevent boredom. And the site has a small social component for members (meditation buddies).

      I'm now in the test period. I don't expect a miracle in 10 days, but I am curious if it will have any affect. And, if so, I'll probably continue for a few months since the price is cheap and the mediations are--well--not as boring as if I were to do them by myself. Indeed, after a week, I'm already getting used to them. Perhaps, in a few weeks, I'll even like them. Who knows? Even if they don't reduce my noise--which is the goal--but they help with focus and other cognitive tasks, I will continue using the site. In any event, I will report in a few weeks--good or bad.

      Here is a link to a review about the site. And beneath that are two more links to brain imaging examples of mindfulness.

      http://www.themetropolist.com/play/gaming-app-reviews/review-headspace/

      BBC News Scans 'show mindfulness...


      How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara...
       
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    6. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
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    7. marqualler
      Nerdy

      marqualler Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Minneapolis, MN
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection / Mild Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      I will check this Headspace out. Thanks @jazz! I myself have always been a fan of meditation/yoga types of things but have always been self-conscious about going into it for some reason. Well, one positive affect of T is it has made me a lot less tentative and a lot more assertive to do things that I want to do. So I will check this out.
       
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    8. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
    9. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I am going to check this web site out, @jazz. I have guided meditations loaded on my phone and they helped tremendously with my T anxiety. Thanks.

      And happy new year to you. You are such a calming and steady light in our TT community, a beacon of reason. You have helped me and many this past year. Blessings to you.
       
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    10. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
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    11. Frédéric

      Frédéric Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Marseille, France
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/19/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      The effect of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Tinnitus Burden. A Systematic Review.

      Background: Tinnitus can be a disabling condition. Limited treatment options exist. Little is known about the effect of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI) on tinnitus. Our objectives were to assess the effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on 1) tinnitus burden and 2) depression and/or anxiety.

      Methods: a systematic search was conducted in PubMed Medline, EMBASE and PsycInfo combining the terms and synonyms of ‘’Tinnitus’’ and ‘’Mindfulness’’. The most recent search was performed on December 4th 2018. This systematic review was written according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Two independent authors identified studies, assessed the risk of bias and extracted data. Studies were considered eligible if they included adults with tinnitus, performed a protocolled Mindfulness Based Intervention and measured tinnitus burden with a validated questionnaires. Studies were appraised with either the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool or the MINORS criteria, depending on their design.

      Results: The systematic search yielded seven articles. Three randomised controlled trials, three cohort studies and one comparative controlled trial. Two of three RCT’s showed a statistically significant decrease in tinnitus burden scores directly after treatment in the mindfulness group compared to the control group. One of three RCT’s showed a statistically significant effect of mindfulness therapy compared to the control group on a depression questionnaire directly post treatment.

      Conclusions: A decrease of tinnitus burden in Mindfulness Based Interventions can be observed directly post-therapy. No effect was observed for depression and anxiety in tinnitus patients. Long term effects remain uncertain. Mindfulness may have a place in tinnitus therapy, however the long term effects need to be researched.

      Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.01135/abstract
       
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    12. Mister Muso
      Alone

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I've been practicing mindfulness for years before I got tinnitus and I find it a great relief. See some of the meditations from Andrew Johnson in my post linked below this thread, like "Managing Pain", "Deep Sleep" and "Don't Panic".

      Also the following book has been helpful to live in the present moment and to question the negative thoughts that come to mind, so that they don't hold sway:

      https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/A-Guide-to-the-Present-Moment-Audiobook/B00UMD9RQI

      The #1 Best Selling Counseling Book on Kindle… Downloaded by over 100,000 people

      A Powerful 5-Step Process That Can Immediately Bring You More Peace

      Do you want to stop living with stress, shame, social anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, or sadness? It certainly seems as though these emotions are inevitable, and directly created by our circumstances. However, it is possible to discover that all your unwanted emotions are actually created by thoughts – and each of these emotions can vanish in an instant if you just stop believing the thoughts that create them.

      When You Don't Believe Words, Those Words Don't Create Emotions

      If a random person tells you, "The world is going to end tomorrow", and you believe them, what would you feel? Fear. But if you didn't believe them at all, then how would their comment make you feel? You almost certainly wouldn't feel afraid. This demonstrates that when you believe someone's words to be true, those words create emotions. But if you don't believe someone's words, those same words don't have the power to create emotions.

      The same is true of the words (thoughts) in your mind. If you believe a negative thought about yourself or your life, that thought will create an unwanted emotion. However, if you don't believe that thought, it quite simply won't create the unwanted emotion.

      The Impact Of Disbelieving The Thoughts That Create Your Emotions

      When you disbelieve a thought that is creating one of your unwanted emotions, that emotion will instantly dissolve. As you disbelieve more of the thoughts that create your suffering, you will be happier in more situations, and the more you will be living in the moment.

      This Book Will Help You To:

      • Stop worrying about others' opinions
      • Lose your anxiety about the future
      • Stop feeling sad, angry, or guilty about the past
      • Lose your sense of lack or loneliness
      • Stop feeling ashamed or unworthy
       
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    13. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      I'd posit that for people for whom these strategies are useful or helpful, no evidence is really necessary, and for people who are either not neurologically compatible with this kind of work, or who are not willing to actually put the time in to find out, no amount of peer-reviewed white papers is going to move the needle.

      I'm a lot more interesting in controlled, blinded, long-term brain and CNS imaging studies of meditators vs nonmeditators, than any of this stuff that just uses subjective "how do you feel?" criteria. There has been some amount of this work done and it's fairly fascinating: meditation can reduce the size of the amygdala in as little as a couple months, and then 10-year studies have shown some really really interesting differences between meditators and non-meditators, which would be a lot more fascinating if they were RCTs which included and followed non-meditators as well.

      There's some evidence (from imaging) that people with years of meditation experience actually have reduced nociceptor activity; if that's true, we should be trying to understand the mechanism and devise specific techniques to maximize gains along those lines. I would also sort of suspect that anything which reduces nociception also reduces the distress associated with tinnitus percepts, because the emotional processing of pain is deeply tied to the limbic system. So, you're tweaking the same dials.
       
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    14. Helheim
      Stressed

      Helheim Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection
      Lol all these threads and my mindfulness therapist basically ended things in the middle of the course because things just weren't working out...
       
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    15. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I've mentioned this elsewhere but there are three states that relieve tinnitus the most for me:

      1) sleep (since it mentally cuts off the incoming signal. I can even feel it seeping back when I'm gradually waking up)
      2) flow-state
      3) sex (this also seems to mentally cut my awareness of the signal off and then it turns on again)

      Beyond that it's just your usual combination of masking and trying to keep mentally occupied/distracted.

      I'm all for 3 but it has its share of challenges and complications. 2 is something people can be in more control of, but it requires finding what it is you have an affinity for. I don't think I ever truly entered flow until about 9 years ago. The only thing that allows me to enter flow is to do a very peculiar brand of computer animation. Unfortunately over time I outgrew the tool and didn't have anything else to replace it. Ever since I stopped animating on a regular basis my emotional health has deteriorated (hence pursuing 3 with nothing left to show for it).
       
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    16. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      Hope you don't mind me asking: what is flow-state?
       
    17. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      he made it a link, just click it :)

      people I know who work in science/tech and are also into meditation see a big link between professional or athletic flow states, and meditation
       
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    18. Emma33

      Emma33 Member Podcast Patron

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Hi all,

      I want to do a 30 day mindfulness challenge, where I spend 20 to 30 mins a day doing guided mindfulness meditation focusing on sound, mainly on my tinnitus.

      I feel like I’m in fight or flight a lot with my tinnitus - I’m scared and panicked. I think that using mindfulness to explore the sensations and move towards them gently, rather than resisting them, might be very helpful for my emotional state. But, it is hard to stick to the meditation, because my moods are going up and down a lot!

      So, I was wondering if any other people would like to do an informal 30 day challenge with me, and we could keep each other a bit accountable?! I’m happy to post links to some guided meditations - I found some on an app called Insight Timer (a free app) which have clear instructions and good audio quality.

      And, if anyone is curious about how mindfulness meditation differs from other kinds, here is an article:

      https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320392.php#types-of-meditation
       
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    19. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      Hmmm, seems to me the same as what he describes as "trying to keep mentally distracted/occupied".
       
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    20. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      No, I'd say it's not, at all -- "trying" to do something is what I'd describe as a striving state; flow states manage to disconnect from the basic impulse towards striving/attraction/aversion. I am no expert on this but I'd call that a defining characteristic.

      For me meditation is also not at all, "trying to keep distracted/occupied". Much more "focus acutely on whatever is happening", which has made it a difficult thing to try to learn in the midst of shrieking ears.
       
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    21. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Flow should probably be its own thread. I know what it is from personal experience and so when I go researching it it's telling me stuff I can of already know, regardless of the clinical deconstruction, but for those who don't, and want to know why it might be good at easing tinnitus suffering, here's one video on the subject.

      What The Science Of Flow Can Teach Us About...


      Most salient quotes:

      We get 5 of the most potent neurochemicals the brain can produce during flow
      All of these are performance-enhancing chemicals but they're also feel-good neuro-chemicals.
      These are basically the most addictive drugs on earth and flow is the only time when you get five of them at once which means flow is the most addictive state on earth.
      These 5 chemicals jack up the immune system and reset the nervous system.


      The 5:

      Norepinephrine
      Dopamine
      Endorphines
      Anandamide
      Serotonin

      Now, if you're wondering, yes, you can experience flow during sex. I think that's what tantric sex really amounts to, and that will add oxytocin.
       
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    22. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Same for me. Being in the zone blocks T. And sex, that's good for everything haha
       
    23. JohnAdams
      In love

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Nasty Swamp
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      Tinnitus robs you of mindfulness, so.......
       
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    24. HeavyMantra
      Depressed

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones and/or HPPD?
      Tantric sex may or may not involve flow states, but if it does it's just a bonus. Tantric sex is just one approach to tantrism, the spiritual path. It's does not "amount" to flow states unless the practitioner doesn't know what he/she is doing
       
    25. HeavyMantra
      Depressed

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones and/or HPPD?
      I wouldn't have any problems with meditating with my tinnitus as a focus object, in fact when it's at its' worst I find that listening to it in a quiet room is easier than trying to escape it, which is impossible anyway. I'm just scared that it would reinforce the sound in the nervous system thus making the problem worse.
       
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    26. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      It kind of does reinforce it by default in the sense that memory is a data-stream of inputs. So the tinnitus streams into your short term and then into your long-term memory sort of like being forced to listen to a broken record on a loop. There's no way to keep that from having an effect over time because it sort of crowds out or pollutes your memory. This is what makes it hard to meditate because meditation is supposed to be about calming your thoughts. So it kind of forces me to fight fire by competing with the sensory input for dominance via masking or mentally focusing on other tasks.
       
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    27. Daniel Lion
      Ape-like

      Daniel Lion Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      SE Asia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise trauma, hearing loss
      I think that is an irrational fear... I do not believe it will make the problem worse... I think it will liberate you... just my opinion... my humble opinion, feel free to swat it like an annoying fly.
       
    28. HeavyMantra
      Depressed

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones and/or HPPD?
      My hope for starting to meditate again is to simply give in to the fact that life contains tinnitus now, and that arguably life will be suffering from now on. It would be suffering without tinnitus, but probably quite a bit less since tinnitus attacks many avenues of dealing with the challenges in life including meditation. However since my tinnitus fluctuates so much I am wary of anything that might reinforce tinnitus in my nervous system since it feels like the "fight" is still ongoing so to speak.

      I feel that trying to escape my tinnitus creates suffering since it's futile anyway.On my bad days I can get distracted by video games or movies and not think about my tinnitus for a while. Is this a victory? Not really, since I'm wasting my life on digital distractions. A victory for me would be to change my relationship to the sound so that there's nothing to escape from anymore. Not sure if that's possible, and what you wrote Glenn is a daunting and separate problem. Tinnitus isn't just anxiety or negative thoughts unfortunately. There's this whole nervous systemic/brain thing going on that just makes anything you do a gamble since it's so poorly understood.

      I suppose calming your thoughts is one way to describe the goal of meditation. I learnt to do it in a non-secular (vedic) context. I see it more as accepting everything that is and detach from it, leading to a state of dispassion that you can bring more and more into your daily life. Meditation is practice for constantly remembering that everything you are experiencing is happening to someone, but that someone is not "you". Your true self is the observer of the suffering, and an observer of the sufferer which is just an illusion (the ego). Your true self survives when the body and ego dies, because your true self is the universe having an experience.

      Boy was it easier to see life that way before tinnitus struck... It attacks the very vehicle of these kinds of pursuits..
       
    29. Mister Muso
      Alone

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Not for me, having practiced it for years before I got tinnitus. Mindfulness is about noticing your thoughts, and letting them come and go without judging them. I used to practice mindfulness most days by setting aside time to listen to meditations and so on. Lately I don't make as much time as I should, but I've learned a general acceptance of my thoughts and condition where I don't get too stressed about them. I won't say I never get stressed, and no doubt my tinnitus isn't as severe as some people's is. But it's bad enough to have taken way a lot of things I enjoy doing. Mindfulness is good for you anyway, whether it helps with your tinnitus or not. And there's a lot of research and success stories to indicate that it can help many people with tinnitus too.
       
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    30. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I think it's possible to avoid too much fight or flight from tinnitus but to detach it so completely from my conscious thoughts as to achieve meditation? Not gonna happen. Certainly not in a quiet room. If my tinnitus were quiet enough to be masked by birds chirping or a creek or something...maybe. But not at its current level. The second I try to free my thoughts I will mentally lock onto the tinnitus which will just stress me out. It presents an impenetrable barrier. Your mileage may vary.

      There is an upside, though. My need to drown out my tinnitus with other inputs has meant I've taken in a lot more information than the average person. I'm kinda heading towards Jeopardy championship levels of information hoarding.
       
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