Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no noise present. The condition, described as a ringing in the ears sensation, may also present as a buzzing, hissing, or whistling sound. According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus is an audiological and neurological condition experienced by almost 50 million Americans. Meditation may be able to help. Although not a cure for tinnitus, meditation may lessen the symptoms of tinnitus.
Think about having a conversation in a noisy place and not being aware of the touch of your clothes against your skin. Your brain is adept at tuning out meaningless background noise and sensory stimuli from your conscious awareness. Tinnitus is not as bothersome when you are engaged or distracted with some activity. We use sound to alert us to threats, so when tinnitus is being annoying, the brain interprets it as something dangerous and we are wired to react in a specific manner. Over a period the mind becomes conditioned to respond to tinnitus with stress and anxiety. The answer is to change the way you interpret and react to the sound, and meditation is the way to do it.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on a single point of awareness like the sensation of breathing. The goal of meditation is not to establish a clear focused mind. Meditation is the ability bring the focus back to a wandering mind. An immediate benefit is a state of deep relaxation and calmness.
The idea behind meditation therapy for tinnitus is a retraining of the brain. The treatment works by training the mind to come to terms with and accept tinnitus. The technique is the opposite of traditional approaches which seek to avoid the problem of tinnitus altogether. Researchers believe that the more the brain attempts to fight the problem, the more it tunes into it. Meditation teaches people with tinnitus to stop and confront their thoughts and concerns about the issue and realize it is harmless to their hearing.
Mindful meditation focuses on deep breathing, relaxation, and concentrating on the rise and fall of the chest and abdomen. However, instead of emptying the mind, you observe your thoughts, which include your worries about tinnitus. It is learning how to accept things the way they are. A session should last between 15 and 20 minutes and requires a quiet place, a proper position, and deep breathing exercises. Over time, you will sense a shift in the perception of the sounds you usually hear. Although the technique will not cure the condition, it will help you cope with tinnitus more effectively.
If you are willing to give meditation a try and have an open mind, it may lessen the impact that tinnitus has on your life. There is a significant amount of literature and videos available to teach you the proper technique and to help you get started meditating. The following directory is a great starting place for information.