Approximately 50 million Americans have experienced the phantom sounds of tinnitus according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is estimated that less than 16 million people seek medical help for this condition, the number one disability among veterans returning from conflict. Tinnitus can be a maddening and debilitating condition, commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” but can sometimes manifest as high-pitched ringing, buzzing, clicking, swooshing, or whistling.
An article in The Journal of Medicine from 2010 states that, though tinnitus can affect anyone, males, older adults, and former smokers are most afflicted. It can affect one or both ears, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For some it can be a sound as loud as a chainsaw that happens sporadically and without reason. For others it can be a pulsing in the ear timed to the beat of the heart.
Though no cure exists, one path that some have taken for treatment is meditation. In meditation, there is a meeting, a coexistence with silence, which could mean that someone suffering from tinnitus would only have the phantom sounds on which to focus. But mediation invites one to clear the mind and in doing so people have found peace, and also respite from tinnitus.
A Few Notes on Meditation
There are many sources of information on meditation practice: for the beginner who may want peace of mind in the busy work week, people looking to be more connected through their mind, body, and spirit, and many people in between.
The organization The Art of Living has suggestions of best practices to make space for meditation and develop it into regular practice. Before meditation, a shower and fresh clothes are suggested before meditation, to be free of the dirt and grime of the day. If you meditate in the morning, it is better to do so after you bathe. Meditation on an empty stomach is also preferred as it is a common practice in many parts of the world. A high metabolism does not allow the mind to relax.
During meditation, the three golden rules are stated:
- “I Do Nothing” Meditation is not about doing, just breathing.
- “I Am Nothing” Carrying identities into a meditative mind does not allow it to settle down. Drop all notions about the self (rich, poor, male, female, or any other) to settle down into the deepest core of the being.
- “I Want Nothing” Not the newest tech gadget, not a movie or expensive meal. For the 20 minutes of meditation, you don’t want anything.
After the meditation, a few minutes of silence and calmness is recommended, as opposed to rushing back to a computer or television; this could be a jarring to the mind. Easing back into work and building momentum to your day is also recommended.
Pacific Hearing Care
If you find that a respite from your regular routine could be helpful in managing your tinnitus, a meditation practice could be worth looking in to. There are beginner meditations that are often paired with yoga classes (another recommendation from The Art of Living organization), which can be beneficial to your overall health.
Check with your hearing health care professional at Pacific Hearing Care about treatments for managing tinnitus. We provide solutions to help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus and are here to help!