By Barry Keate
Barry Keate, has lived with tinnitus over 40 years and has published 150+ research articles on numerous aspects of tinnitus. He is an expert on the condition and a well-known advocate for those with tinnitus.
Workplaces can be stressful places at the best of times. Whether you answer phones, work on computers, and handle customer accounts or you’re around machinery, tinnitus can make it difficult to function. The ringing, rushing, humming, or chiming sound of tinnitus can make it difficult to hear conversations or instructions or concentrate on the task at hand. It can grow louder or softer, come and go, making it hard to predict or manage. Finding a way to minimize or manage your symptoms can be imperative to continuing success in the workplace.
Is There A Cure?
Yes and No
If your tinnitus has a curable underlying cause, and you correct it before permanent damage is done, then yes, your tinnitus may resolve entirely. The first step is to look for a treatable medical reason.
However, permanent nerve damage from loud or sustained noise, infection, and other causes isn’t curable. The nerves won’t grow back. The best option is to minimize symptoms. The good news is there are ways to mitigate tinnitus in the workplace and life.
Tinnitus is a complex problem; you’ll see the best results if you employ multiple coping techniques.
- Get Proper Nutrition– Inflammation can increase nerve damage and tinnitus symptoms. One of the worst culprits is sugar. People with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, who don’t process sugar correctly, may see increased inflammation and a spike in symptoms around the time they eat sweets.White flour, pasta, and some fruits can also contribute to tinnitus inflammation. Choose foods low on the glycemic index for best results, or focus on foods with fiber to slow sugar absorption.
- Increase Your Activity Level- Living an active lifestyle increases circulation. It may not be able to regrow nerves, but blood flow allows your body to make what repairs it can. Exercise also burns away stress hormones that can increase your symptoms.
- Reduce Your Stress – Tinnitus is caused by stress, or made worse by it, partly because it creates an inflammatory response and partly because it tightens the neck, jaw, and face muscles. However, there are ways to trick your body into relaxing, even during a busy workday.
- Box Breathing – People under stress breathe shallowly. Their chest is tighter, their shoulders hunch forward, and their head lowers. The physical posture and shallow breathing tell your body there’s danger. It releases hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. It helps you in a fight-or-flight situation, but the body isn’t meant to live in that state for long. Deep breathing tells your body that the danger has passed and your hormone levels will normalize.Box breathing is possible anywhere, making it a handy go-to trick for any situation. Simply breathe in for 5-7 seconds, hold for 5-7 seconds, breathe out for 5-7 seconds, hold for 5-7 seconds, and repeat.
- Mindfulness- Stress is a response to our expectations of the future. You’re thinking of past mistakes or consequences if you don’t get the current project done on time and can’t sort out multiple incoming calls or tasks in the time allotted or to someone’s satisfaction. The best way to beat the fear of the future is to be entirely in the moment.If you have a customer in front of you, be focused on that person. If you’re completing a task, break it down into steps and focus on the steps rather than the outcome. You’ll make fewer mistakes and have fewer injuries.
- Sneak In A Massage- A full-body massage may not be practical at work, but you can take a tinnitus massage on breaks. Because tension in the facial and jaw muscles makes tinnitus worse, massaging those muscles can help.Take a tennis ball and roll it along your jaw, cheek, and temple with the palm of your hand. You will quickly notice where you hold tension. Concentrate on these areas.
- Natural Tinnitus Supplements- There are supplements for ear-ringing that create optimal conditions for nerve healing and conductivity and lower inflammation. The most notable among them:
- High quality ginkgo biloba
- Vitamin B Complex
- Deodorized Garlic
For information on how these supplements work with the body to make tinnitus manageable, click HERE.
- Redirect Your Focus- It can take some practice, but you can learn to ignore tinnitus. For example, if you listen to the ticking of a clock, the ticking sound grows louder. If you’re engaged in other activities, you essentially block out the sound of the clock.Your brain filters out information because it would be too many stimuli for anyone to take in all at once. If you repeatedly redirect your attention away from the tinnitus, your brain will take the hint and reprioritize what it pays attention to.
Success Is Possible
If tinnitus is a recent diagnosis, it can be challenging to try to focus on anything else and be productive at work. However, with some planning and practice, you can manage your condition so it doesn’t interfere with your daily activities. With the right approach, you can be successful in your career despite your diagnosis.