Signs for Look for in a Family Member or Friend

Tinnitus can be enormously frustrating, tiring, and anxiety-producing, all of which can add to the stress, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. 

If you have a friend or family member that seems to be getting easily annoyed or seems to be avoiding social situations regularly, it may be due to tinnitus. The constant ringing in the ears creates an increasingly frustrating situation for the sufferer who may become irritable or short-tempered and, due to lack of restful sleep, can become worse as time goes on.
elderly couple with grandson
In the worst cases, which luckily are rare, tinnitus is debilitating, with a person feeling desperate for tinnitus relief at any cost. However, in most cases, people with tinnitus are dealing with a persistent nuisance that can be hard to describe and that most of us can’t entirely understand.

What Can I Do to Help?

Here are some practical suggestions on being helpful when someone close to you is experiencing tinnitus or seeking tinnitus relief:
  • Be the person who knows what they are going through so that when they feel out-of-sorts because of tinnitus, they can count on your understanding.
  • When you’re going out together or arranging a meeting, ask if there is a place they prefer. They may have a preference for a location or venue that has good sound quality.
  • Should they start showing signs of fear or anxiety about their tinnitus, be patient and listen.
  • Offer to help remember circumstances in which their tinnitus gets worse and then help them remember situations to avoid.
  • If the person with tinnitus is your spouse or significant other, the tinnitus has the potential of becoming an issue in your relationship. Establish a policy of straightforward honesty about how dealing with the situation is making each of you feel.
  • Encourage them to have their tinnitus professionally evaluated by a doctor or a certified hearing specialist. Understanding the source of tinnitus is the first step in managing it effectively.
The most important thing — be optimistic. Tinnitus can be managed very effectively. If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with tinnitus, or if you are struggling with trying to understand and help, encourage them to seek help. 

Video: Your Pulsatile Tinnitus Questions, Answered

Can Lifestyle Changes Bring Tinnitus Relief for a Family Member?

Lifestyle changes can certainly bring tinnitus relief but, unfortunately, eliminating it entirely is difficult. 

Tinnitus, in most cases, is caused by inner ear damage that cannot be reversed. The great thing about lifestyle changes is that they can draw attention away from the sound your loved one thinks they’re hearing and/or relieve certain stressors that tend to increase the intensity of tinnitus.
couple sittiong on the floor at the kitchen
Eat Healthy Foods
There is no conclusive research saying that specific foods bring tinnitus relief, but there is no denying the overall benefits of a healthy diet. And if your loved one’s tinnitus is connected to a condition such as hypertension, a diet that is blood-pressure friendly may help with tinnitus relief. 

The connection between a healthy cardiovascular system and healthy hearing is well documented.
Don’t Smoke
Cigarette smoke contains a laundry list of chemicals many people may not even realize they are taking into their bodies. Among these are chemicals that can adversely affect hearing. 

The most well-known component of cigarette smoke, nicotine, has been linked to the shrinking of blood vessels in the body. That includes the ones that supply blood to your inner ear. Cutting down the blood supply for the portion of the inner ear that sends impulses to the brain can lead to tinnitus as impulse-generating hair cells become damaged or die.
Reduce stress
Whether or not stress is a primary cause of tinnitus has yet to be determined, however, many have reported increased tinnitus when stress is present. For instance, someone with both hearing loss and tinnitus can find themselves with exacerbated tinnitus due to stressing about their hearing difficulty. 

In the same way, tinnitus caused by an illness such as high blood pressure may also be made worse by stress over one’s blood pressure numbers.  Anything you can do to reduce stress for your family member is a potential help. 

Whether it’s physical exercise, meditation, or a relaxing hobby, look for ways to help them take the edge off life.
Help Them Maintain Social Contacts
Another source of stress that deserves its own mention is the social isolation that can develop due to hearing loss. The frustration of trying to communicate with people, coupled with the emotional aspects of cutting oneself off from people are both major stressors. Getting your family member out among people and socializing can be very relaxing and can also put create sound-rich environments that distract from their tinnitus.
Recreational Activities and Hobbies
Giving your family member the opportunity to focus on anything other than their tinnitus is helpful. For instance, when they are focused on a task, they may very well tune out tinnitus as one might tune out someone trying to get attention. 

Also, anything that involves using hearing or putting someone amid distractions, but not overly loud sounds, can be very helpful in taking their mind off tinnitus. Filling one’s time with activity and/or pleasant sound can prevent the annoying experience many tinnitus sufferers have when faced with absolute quiet. 

At such times, it’s only natural for the body to zero in on that unwanted noise, which can lead to more unhealthy stress.
Does someone you love have tinnitus? Let us know about your experience in the comments section!