This week we’re on holiday with my family in the stunning Yorkshire Dales. And it has thrown up an unexpected challenge.
We live in an old mill town at the edge of the Peak District. I’ve always thought where we lived was reasonably peaceful. Sure, we get cars up and down the street but nothing like you’d see in the suburbs of Manchester.
But coming away here has made me realise how much quieter it can be when you’re really out in the countryside. And not in a good way. Why? Because my tinnitus seems worse.
I spent the first full day in our cottage wandering around the kitchen with my ear cocked at various electrical appliances trying to work out where the hum I could hear was coming from. Have you ever done that?
It took a long time for it to dawn on me that it was my tinnitus I could hear!
I’m not ill or stressed, so my tinnitus hasn’t flared up. I’m simply noticing it more because of the silence of my surroundings.
This week I’ll be putting into action my top 5 self-help strategies for times when we’re in the cottage:
Hearing aids. When I was last at my audiologists getting my hearing aids tweaked I asked them to add a tinnitus program. This is a program that can play white noise or pink noise to help you notice your tinnitus less. I am so grateful for that program this week! It adds in enough noise to balance the tinnitus I’m experiencing. Have you thought about asking your audiologist to add a tinnitus program to your hearing aids?
Background noise. I’ve been creating some ambient noise by playing music. Soothing classical tracks or easy listening music is keeping my brain engaged in that rather than focusing on the tinnitus.
Distraction. I’ve also been distracting myself with TV and playing with the dog. Her play growls drown any noise out!
Sound asleep. My tinnitus always seems worse at night, but especially at the moment. So I’ve been playing gentle classical music into my better ear via my Roger Select (see photo above) while I fall asleep. It means keeping my hearing aid in so I don’t keep my husband awake by playing music in the room, but it is completely worth it! Does anyone else do this?
Relaxation. I’ve made sure to practise my mindfulness every day to help keep any tinnitus-related stress or anxiety at bay.
So far it seems to be working. My tinnitus is still there (at the moment it’s having a party because I’m not only thinking about it but writing about it!) But I know I am managing it as proactively as I can, and can tolerate it.
How do you manage when your tinnitus flares up or you simply become more aware of it? Let us know in the comments so we can share our top tips.