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Tinnitus, Stress, And Your Brain…

“My ears have been ringing, and I’m about to LOSE my marbles…”

A client recently had a case of tinnitus (a perception of ringing, buzzing, hissing  humming, whooshing, etc. in the ear, where there is no outside source of the sound), which was making it nearly impossible for her to focus while at work and get a good night of sleep. No bueno.

This client had been dealing with an inordinate amount of personal and professional stress at the time, which was likely a trigger for her ‘bell ringing’ tinnitus.

Although I’m not an audiologist, I am a Nutritionist that dwells in the realm of all things brain and nutrition related. And a piece of my job is to support clients in learning how to translate what their brain is telling them.

In this case – intermittent tinnitus was a sign that something was up with my clients brain, and that supporting her brain in a very specific way – might very well provide near immediate relief from her tinnitus.

Relief from tinnitus –>  Return to normal sleep and food routines –> Happy client

Here’s a version of what I shared with my client regarding her stress, tinnitus, and brain:

 When dealing with something like this, you want to support your temporal lobe – which processes (among other things) auditory sounds. There are a number of things you can do to support this area of your brain. In this case, one thing I would suggest involves listening to music.

Human Brain Anatomy

1) Notice if the ringing or sound is on your right side, left side, or both. Then adapt the below accordingly.

2) Listen to music with the earbud on the side that is ringing for the most targeted and direct support.  If this proves too stressful, then simply put earbuds in both ears. Keep the volume only high enough to provide benefit, as it’s not unusual for a person dealing with tinnitus to have decreased sound tolerance.

The basic idea here, is for you to feel relief by ‘crowding out’ the auditory fixation. In other words, once your attention fixates on the ringing or the buzzing in your ear, it can be hard to ‘unfixate’. By introducing another sound, the strength of the tinnitus signal can diminish/disappear.

On a personal note, I have an issue with people chewing. In college, I remember a girl sitting behind me during a lecture. She was smacking & popping her gum… I wanted to punch her in the face (mind you, I didn’t).  Nowadays, if I find I’m ‘auditorily challenged’, I will use my headphones and listen to music that soothes my brain.

In my case, my sound sensitivity is external. For someone dealing with tinnitus, the sound is internal. And if it can be SERIOUSLY agitating. Which then, creates more stress…

3) If the left side is where ringing is happening: listen to music w/a repetitive beat without much pitch or intonation (think rap music or drumming).

* If rap (or drumming) is not your thing, this can indicate a greater need to actually tune in. Usually we don’t enjoy listening to things that are stimulating to our brains (this is kinda like going to the gym, knowing that the one muscle group you loathe to train, is usually one of your weakest muscle groups). That said, a workaround for not digging rap music, would be to use a metronome app on your phone.

Fun Idea: If your ‘ringing’ is on the left side, consider joining a drum circle, or playing the drums. Drumming can be serious brain/body medicine.

4) If the right side is where ringing is happening: listen to music w/a specific pitch & tone. You should be able to find a ‘right brain music’ app online.

Or check out my Relaxed Concentration playlist. I will occasionally listen to this when I need to rest my brain. I find it supports both right and left brain temporal lobe functioning given the music and rhythm. I’ll play it on ‘repeat’ while I’m cleaning or organizing at home or work.

*Tip: Use this app on your computer to block ads through YouTube so you can listen to this or any playlist w/o commercials/ads


What if tinnitus isn’t an issue for you?

If tinnitus isn’t something you deal with, but you do have a hypersensitivity to auditory sounds, you’re still likely to benefit from temporal lobe auditory support & conditioning.

For instance, if you used to like loud music, raucous parties, etc. And now, you long for silence and quiet time in the car. It doesn’t mean you’ve had a personality change. Rather, you might consider that your brain, in particular your temporal lobe – could use some TLC.

Other things to notice that might be indicative of a need for Temporal Lobe (auditory function) support:

  • Reduced function in overall hearing
  • Difficulty understanding language with background or scattered noise
  • Difficulty comprehending language without perfect pronunciation
  • Monotone, unemotional speech
  • Disinterest in music and a lack of appreciation for melodies
And there you have it. Tinnitus, stress & your brain are in a dance with one another.

 

So now what? Well, if you’ve read this far, you’re likely in one of three places:

  1. You got something for yourself out of reading the above, and you’re ready to roll! If this is you, AWESOME. As they say in Aussie land, ‘Off you pop!’
  2. You got something for yourself out of reading the above, and know you could use some support in figuring out what to do next. If this is you, hit me up!
  3. You liked what you read, and want some more. Cool! Please join my newsletter list in the box below. *kaZING*!
To your brilliance,
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Hi! I'm Annemarie

I DIG empowering people to discover their body and its brilliance, using smart, intriguing, and pioneering nutrition.

When I'm not busy swooning over the Colorado mountains, I'm working with clients, speaking at events, and kickin' it online sharing about deconstructing cravings, loving your body, and feeling fanTAStic.

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