Have you ever been startled by a loud noise? If you have, then you have been threatened by noise and your body has put up its defence mechanisms.
If the noise gets repeated, we develop a ‘conditioned reflex’ and we learn to notice negative sounds more and set up a negative response to it. No one likes too much noise.
Tinnitus is a common condition causing different noises in the head or ears when there are no external stimuli. It is estimated that 10% of people in the UK have tinnitus.
Tinnitus can be caused by hearing problems, some medications, ear wax, Ménière’s disease, exposure to loud noises and some medical conditions such as high blood pressure. Stress may make the condition worse.
As Tinnitus is a medical condition, it should always be diagnosed by a doctor.
Tinnitus is more frequently found in people over 65 years of age but can also be experienced by younger people. It can start suddenly, or the sounds can gradually become noticeable. Often, people describe tinnitus as ringing or hissing, but people may experience humming, buzzing, grinding, whistling and whooshing sounds.
Tinnitus can range from being mildly irritating, to being very distressing and having a huge impact on the quality of a person’s life. Tinnitus can contribute to poor sleep and an inability to concentrate. If it continues and the person finds it difficult to cope it can lead to anxiety and depression.
How can hypnotherapy help?
Hypnosis is a natural phenomenon. It’s not sleep, rather, it includes focused attention and an increase in suggestibility. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis with therapy. Although there is no claim that hypnotherapy can cure tinnitus, there has been research carried out that shows its effectiveness in helping some people to cope and get on with their lives.
Hypnotherapy can help people with tinnitus in several ways:
- Relaxation. As people feel stressed with hearing the sounds they find it beneficial to learn deep mind and body relaxation to reduce tension.
- Learning to mask, distract or desensitise bothersome noises. It’s about changing the response to the noise.
- Dealing with emotional issues. This could be by giving the hypnotised person positive suggestions and a feeling of being back in control.
- Changing negative thoughts that maintain the distress of the noises.
- Working with specific problems related to tinnitus such as insomnia.
- Motivation and control to do the things that sufferers want to do in life.
Some hypnotherapists combine a type of counselling called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with hypnosis during a session to help the sufferer to discuss their tinnitus and change their automatic negative thoughts surrounding coping with their tinnitus.
Face to face hypnotherapy consultations are usually considered the best way to get help from a hypnotherapist as they provide hypnotherapy tailored to individual needs, however, it is also possible to use audio recordings to help to relax and cope with tinnitus.
If you are suffering with tinnitus, contact a professional near you and find out how they could help.