During this holiday season, the editors at Hearing Health & Technology Matters (HHTM) are taking some time off. However, we are not leaving you without anything to read on our blog this week. Instead, we are publishing a special holiday edition filled with what we call our Readers’ Choices.
Our Readers’ Choices featured this week are the posts published on each of our individual blogs that drew the largest number of viewers during the year. Whether or not you have read these Readers’ Choice posts before, we think you will enjoy them.
Best wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!
May I be calm and without fear. Tinnitus does not rule me…
If you have chronic head noise, you’ll try almost anything to get rid of it. It follows you everywhere, this tinnitus, like a biting bug that you can’t shake off.
Science can’t figure out how to fix that bug bite that throbs on your arm. It bothers you all the time, drawing your focus over and over again, pulling your attention away from other things that are more pleasant and interesting.
You try drumming the spot with your fingers. You try massaging it. You treat it with topical ointments. You swallow herbal remedies ‘guaranteed’ to get rid of the venom that bug left behind. You drink more wine than usual to dull the feeling.
You acknowledge to yourself that it was one nasty little critter that left its mark on you, but hey, your arm hasn’t fallen off; you can still use it. Then you move your mind to other things, more deserving of your time. You focus on sleeping better, eat delicious food and engage in exercise. You take calming breaths, that expand to the practice of mindfulness and even meditation even though you-can’t-believe-you’re-actually-doing-this. You make new life goals to reduce stress and become as healthy and strong as possible, mentally and physically. How beautiful is that!
And, while you wait for the day when science delivers something to fix the bug bite/tinnitus problem, you learn to love yourself more.
Many people post on tinnitus forums that they are tired of the negativity they find there. Yet, there they are, back again, drawn like moths to the flame. Thoughts of their tinnitus consume them, and they will try anything, including responding to advertisements for every snake oil tinnitus ‘cure’ that comes on the market, even though they read dozens of “don’t waste your money” responses.
Yet others will say, when an attempt at some new cure fails, “At least I tried it and now I know it doesn’t work. What’s next?”
A recent Facebook post by a tinnitus sufferer told how, after months of severe anxiety over his tinnitus—how did this start and what am I going to do—he realized that the anxiety was far worse than the actual tinnitus. When he dealt with his anxiety, he was able to live more calmly with his tinnitus. If we can make it to that stage, we can become more aware of our tinnitus triggers. For me, rainy weather is not optimal, although I live in a semi-rainforest and I like the rain. If I’m tired, tinnitus seems to be worse. Salty snacks are deliciously addictive but seriously not good for head noise. But I’ve also learned that a good, aerobic hike can lower my tinnitus level the next day, at least for a while.
When we find ways to reduce our stress, we are being kind to ourselves. Stress not only maintains the flame of our tinnitus, it can lead to other health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, mental health issues and even cancer.
Why not reframe your goals, making self-care and stress reduction your top priorities. Just think about it because these are things that you can control. As a start, here’s a meditative prayer/meditation that you can address to yourself, the universe or to God. Change it up to make it more ‘you’. Then take a few slow deep breaths before starting. Then start.
May I be calm and without fear. Tinnitus will not rule me.
May I show myself kindness and compassion, because I did not cause this tinnitus.
May I nourish myself through exercise, sleep, healthy food and connecting with those I care for and who care for me. These are the important things in my life.
May I show kindness and compassion to others, expanding the meaning to my life.
Let me be open to new things, knowing that some will help my tinnitus, and many will not.
May I be grateful for those who support me, help me and love me.
May I be happy, because tinnitus does not rule me.
May I be calm and without fear.
PS: This little fir tree (pictured above) is a fighter that won’t give up. It’s growing out of a rock! It keeps its face towards the sun and draws water from the rock wall’s crevices. This little fir tree is my inspiration, as I watch it grow, slowly but surely.