Turning down the volume on tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that affects many people in Britain today and it is believed that up to 30% of the population will be affected at some point by it. If you are concerned that you have Tinnitus but are not totally sure, it is generally characterised by hearing a sound in the absence of any external sound.


The symptoms can vary but generally involve a ringing or whooshing or humming noise in the ear.  If you are a person bothered by Tinnitus you may look to seek out alternative therapies to deal with this problem and, in this article, I will look at how hypnotherapy can help with it, but first I will look at how Tinnitus occurs.

How does Tinnitus occur?

There is evidence to suggest that Tinnitus occurs due to mental or physical change that happens within us that relates to our hearing. When sound enters the ear canal it signals to the brain what is happening and, from there, the brain tries to make sense of the sound and prioritise what it is hearing.

The ear in itself cannot decipher this so it sends a lot of information. If there is a sudden change in the person, for example from an infection or hearing loss, the brain in turn signals for more information. The extra information it receives is the sound we call Tinnitus. 

There are three types of Tinnitus:

  • Objective: It is a real sound you are not imagining it.
  • Subjective: The sound is produced by the brain.
  • Pulsatile: the client is tuned into their own heartbeat. 

If you are affected by Tinnitus or know someone who is this can be a daunting experience. It can lead those with it to seek out their own ways to manage it. Often, people use background noise such as music or the TV to try and drown it out and make it less noticeable. The practice of acupuncture is also a common method in trying to manage the condition.

I will briefly describe how hypnosis can lead to positive results in terms of managing symptoms but also bolstering the resilience needed in enduring a problem like Tinnitus. 

The key to fixing it is within you, it just needs to be unlocked. 

How can hypnotherapy help with Tinnitus?

Hypnotherapy uses the influence of positive suggestions whilst a client is in a hypnotic relaxed state. In hypnotherapy, you are addressing a person's subconscious which accounts for the majority of your decision-making and of which people are mostly unaware.

Sigmund Freud referred to our subconscious mind as the part of the iceberg submerged underwater, but which is always there. Hypnotherapy is particularly helpful with the psychological effects of Tinnitus and can help manage the resulting emotions that stem from the issue. 

The hypnotherapist you seek out may use what is called an Eriksonian approach in that they use metaphor and symbolism whilst you are in a trance-like state and trust your subconscious to make the connection.  This is derived from the name of a famous American Psychotherapist called Milton Erickson. For example, in the case of Tinnitus, they might describe to you the scene of being on a large passenger ship setting sail on a journey out to sea and your Tinnitus is all the noise and chatter at the Quayside. They might get you to picture yourself distancing from the noise like the boat as it departs from its moorings out to the open water. They might offer a suggestion of you listening to a radio in a quiet space somewhere and you can turn the volume down on the dial when that familiar noise starts up.

In my hypnotherapy practice, I often use what they call a Post-Hypnotic Suggestion in that I will give the client a cue in real life to use if the problem arises. For example, when you hear that familiar ring just momentarily close your eyes and hear the volume going down. 

The hypnotherapist you see may also whilst in trance suggest to you things that can happen throughout our day that we are not consciously aware of but we know happens, such as changes in our breathing or even the grass growing outside our door. This is to cause a feeling of dissociation with the problem so that you are less consciously aware of it as, often, the more we focus on something the worse it becomes as we ruminate on it. 

In clinical research of how hypnotherapy can be applied to treating Tinnitus, it has been found to be a benign intervention with no side effects from the treatment. In a comparison study with counselling, it was found that there was a significant difference in those who underwent hypnotherapy.

This could be attributed to the relaxed nature of hypnosis that in itself reduces the stimulus for the Tinnitus as it often originates from changes in the body, and also gives those participating a feeling of control over the Tinnitus. In another study, it was found that, although for some people it did not offer symptomatic relief, it made it more manageable to cope with the condition. This is partly to do with ego -strengthening which can be a big part of hypnosis - boosting the client's resolve and reminding them in some cases of when they have coped with chronic problems in the past, and that, in some cases through sessions, clients also report a change in how they perceive the problem. 

In summary, Tinnitus is a very common and often distressing condition but one that is manageable with the right approach. There is not a great deal of evidence to support medication in managing the issue which often leads people to try different things like hypnotherapy.

It is worth noting that your hypnotherapist may notify your GP with your permission that you are attending due to the medical nature of the issue. Indeed I would say that it is just good practice. So why not explore what is available in your local area if you are bothered by this problem? The key to fixing it is within you, it just needs to be unlocked. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Troon KA10 & Glasgow G3
Written by Iain Lawrence, (BA) Dip Hyp
Troon KA10 & Glasgow G3

My name is Iain Lawrence I am a Hypnotherapist Based in South Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire. I am a caring empathetic practitioner and I have experience of a wide range of issues from Phobias to Anxiety. I use Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Therapy and NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming in my practice. I believe change happens starting small.

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