Relieving tinnitus with hypnotherapy and BWRT
Monday 8th February sees the start of Tinnitus Awareness Week. This condition is characterised by sounds in the ear itself - ringing, buzzing, whistling - and can cause stress and anxiety for the sufferer.
Sometimes tinnitus can occur as a result of an injury or infection, age, or by prolonged exposure to loud noise. Quite often, though, a person will not show any signs of a medical problem. Since there is nothing in these cases for doctors or ear, nose and throat specialists to treat, it makes the condition very difficult to resolve, and there is as yet no known cure.
Just like chronic pain, an individual's relationship with their tinnitus is personal and subjective. When the brain picks up on loud sounds, it triggers a ‘flight or fight’ response and our bodies response by increasing the level of stress hormones, and very physical responses. Anxiety and stress are our natural responses to this and these are two things that can make tinnitus worse.
So how can hypnotherapy and BWRT (brain working recursive yherapy) help with tinnitus? Both BWRT and hypnotherapy can be very effective in dealing with the psychological aspects - the anger, stress and anxieties resulting from tinnitus. A sufferer will probably already know that focusing directly on the noise can seem to amplify it; on the other hand, distractions can help to ease the noise, especially in those quiet times when it seems more apparent.
I would always insist that a client has consulted a medical professional before commencing treatment to assess whether further medical attention is necessary. Whilst it might not be possible to remove the tinnitus, we have an element of choice in how we respond to it. Hypnotherapy can act on a subconscious level to assist in the reduction of hypervigilance - that habit of constantly looking out for the noise to reappear. Many people with tinnitus see it as a threat and are frustrated at the ability to fight it. Therapy can also help to reframe our attitude towards this condition, allowing us to regain control over our feelings and perceptions, with the overall result being a reduction of the distress that so often accompanies this condition.
Finally, here a few short tips to help in coping with tinnitus:
1. Keep calm - Whilst an increase in stress and anxiety can be a natural response to tinnitus, it can also make the condition worse.
2. Distract yourself - Keep busy as much as possible. When quiet or bored, the mind can look for things to do, and searching for the noise will probably mean finding it.
3. Think positively - Whilst it may seem distressing, tinnitus is not life threatening and giving it more attention than it deserves only serves to make things worse. Try to spend some time each day looking at the positive aspects of life.
4. Understand the condition - Tinnitus is comprised of the physical part and the emotional part. You may not be able to change the physical side, but you can find ways in helping ease the emotional distress it causes.
5. Realise you are not alone - Like any other medical condition, living with tinnitus can seem very lonely. Find a local support group or contact the British Tinnitus Association for more advice at www.tinnitus.org.uk.
About the author
John is an established hypnotherapist and BWRT practitioner with clinics in Northallerton and Skipton, North Yorkshire, specialising in stress and anxiety, confidence building, sleep issues, and smoking cessation.
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