One out of ten Americans experiences tinnitus. And of those who deal with the symptoms almost all of the time, about one in five describes their tinnitus as disabling or nearly disabling. It is a troubling condition that has many causes and can even be associated with other serious medical conditions. Although common, tinnitus should never be ignored. A hearing care professional can help you rule out any underlying medical conditions, or identify external factors, such as ototoxic drugs.
Fortunately, even when a cure for tinnitus is not always possible, there are numerous ways for patients to find relief. One solution, which is also good for your general health, is regular physical exercise.
Exercise relaxes and relieves stress
Although it is still debated whether stress directly causes tinnitus, most professionals agree that reducing stress can alleviate the annoyance of tinnitus. Toward this end, physical exercise is a great way to reduce everyday stress and help relax the mind. It can help divert attention from the annoyance of tinnitus and produce feel-good endorphins that also help to restore us to a more positive mindset.
Exercise boosts circulation
Even moderate exercise helps increase heartrate and blood flow throughout our body. Certain kinds of tinnitus have been associated with low blood supply to the inner ear. By establishing a regular exercise routine, you can improve cardiovascular health and ensure that the fragile cells responsible for hearing stay healthy with sufficient oxygen and nutrients.
Exercise improves general health
Tinnitus is often associated with other serious medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and depression. The risk of many of these same medical conditions can be reduced with regular exercise. Furthermore, many tinnitus patients find their tinnitus to be worse at night, making it difficult to fall asleep. Exercise promotes better sleep quality and may also help patients fall asleep faster.
Start exercise slowly
If you are new to regular exercise, it is a good idea to start slow and gradually increase the intensity. For example, start with a walk around the park or a weekly yoga class. Depending on the nature of your tinnitus, you may experience a slight worsening of your condition at the beginning of a new exercise routine. But, by sticking to a more active lifestyle, you will find that the eventual benefits outweigh the initial discomfort.
Sometimes, even with lifestyle changes, tinnitus can be difficult to conquer. In such cases, your hearing care professional is again your source for help. Whether through further counseling, coping strategies, or hearing aids with tinnitus therapy features, they can point the way to help you push tinnitus into the background.