“Over 50 million Americans struggle with some form of tinnitus – 20 million of them struggle at a chronic stage and 2 million has extreme cases.”

American Tinnitus Association.

Today is Tinnitus awareness week!

What is tinnitus?

Most people describe tinnitus as a ringing in the ears, but it can also sound loud or soft, buzzing or roaring. There are no right or wrong ways to describe it. Some people hear it in one ear, while others hear it in both. 10%  percent of Americans over the age of 25 have experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a medical condition, more of a sign that something is amiss with the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that links the inner ear to the brain, and the brain areas that process sound. Tinnitus can be caused by anything as simple as a particle of earwax clogging the ear canal. Here, we explore some causes of Tinnitus:

  1. Hearing loss
    and tinnitus are often accompanied by one another, but there is no exact biological link between the two. Additionally, tinnitus is extremely common among individuals with aging-related hearing loss (presbycusis). In a similar manner, tinnitus can accompany hearing loss induced by noise, either over time or by one traumatic event. 

  2. Obstructions in the ear
    Tinnitus can also be caused by obstructions deep in the ear, such as excessive ear wax, dirt, or foreign objects, or hair from the ear canal. These types of conditions may build up pressure inside the ear that disrupts the inner workings of the ear drum, leading to the sensation of tinnitus. Tinnitus is often relieved by removing the blockage.

  3. Trauma

    In certain incidents, significant injuries to the head or neck can cause severe nerve, blood flow, and muscle problems. When a person has experienced such an accident, tinnitus loudness and perceived load typically increase, along with the variability of sound, frequency, and location.

Other causes may also include fluid build-up behind the eardrum, blood pressure, and medication side effects. It is very important that you get it checked up by a medical professional to determine the actual cause of it, or an otolaryngologist (doctor for ear, nose and throat) would be the best option.

tinnitus awareness week

5 Hacks for tinnitus sufferers

Under stress, tinnitus can become more bothersome to people who suffer from it. Tinnitus sufferers can cope better with their frustrations if they learn relaxation and stress-relieving techniques. This can be achieved through mindfulness or meditation.

Hack #1: 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

For a start, try the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

To start, you want to empty the air in your lungs and then breathing in quietly for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds. Next purse your lips into an “o” and forcefully hiss out the air for 8 seconds, through the tight gap between your lips. Repeat cycle for 4 times.

Hack #2: Progressive muscle relaxation

Lie down and focus your attention on the muscles of one part of your body – for example, your right foot. Hold your breath for 8 seconds and tighten only the muscles you’re concentrating on. Let go with a sudden release. Slowly exhale as you let the tension and pain leave your muscles. Repeat this process from your head down to your feet.

Hack #3: Guided imagery

As soon as you are relaxed, close your eyes and continue to breathe deeply while imagining yourself in the most relaxing environment. Picture the scene with your whole senses: the smell of the beach, the feel of the air, the flavor of your favorite beverage. You can even relax with soothing background music.

Hack #4: Multi-sensory distractions

The more severe the tinnitus spike, the more difficult it is to distract yourself from the sound with other sounds. Instead of just listening to white noise, listen to music and play a game on your phone and exercise outdoors in nature with a great playlist. The more senses you can involve in your attempt to distract you will be more effective.

Hack #5: High-fidelity earplugs

When you have tinnitus or hearing loss, it’s vital to protect what hearing remains. Everyone should protect their ears in loud environments. Tinnitus can be exacerbated or changed by noise-induced hearing loss.

Most earplugs muffle and distort sounds in certain environments, making it difficult to enjoy yourself in those situations. In such a situation, conversing, listening to music, and recognizing your surroundings becomes impossible.

These problems can be resolved entirely by using high-fidelity earplugs (also known as musician’s earplugs). With special filters, you can evenly reduce the decibel level of your surroundings instead of simply blocking out as much noise as possible as with traditional earplugs. By doing so, you can still listen to music, converse with friends, and remain aware of your surroundings.


Attenu8 earplugs come with a mesh pouch or a cool obsidian black metal casing for storage, so you can carry them wherever you go. My advice is to keep a set near you at all times so you can take them out just in case some things get too loud for your ears.

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