Can Meditation Help With Tinnitus?

I have been reluctant to write this post. I don’t want to jinx myself. But the impact has been meaningful enough, that I wanted to share it. I have had tinnitus for a long time, and in recent years it has grown louder and more persistent. But since I started meditating regularly in August, my tinnitus has seemed a little bit better. In fact, a lot better. Is it good luck? A change in the weather? Or is the meditation? I can’t be sure. Here is my story.

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I have been practicing yoga for many years — Bikram yoga in particular. I even write a blog about it which you can read here if you are interested. I love yoga because it is a quiet exercise — no booming music in the background to drown out the teacher’s voice. And Bikram yoga uses the same sequence of postures each time, so I can always follow along in class, even if the teacher happens to be a mumbler.

My yoga practice is important to me. It strengthens my body to help ward off hearing loss exhaustion, and calms my mind so I can better cope with the frustrations of my hearing loss. But meditation had always eluded me.

I became interested in meditation a few years ago because of its well-known health benefits like improved focus and an enhanced ability to ignore distractions. I thought it might help me in similar ways to my yoga practice, but what I didn’t expect was its profound effect on my tinnitus.

I had tried various types of guided meditation — different smartphone apps mostly — but nothing stuck, until I attended a yoga retreat in August at a beautiful Zen Center. The days were filled with yoga and hiking, but in the early mornings, we had the opportunity to meditate with the monks in residence. Something finally struck a chord.

The meditation was quiet. It was peaceful. There was nothing much to do, other than sit silently in the meditation posture and clear your mind. Easier said than done, but worth the effort. As I became more practiced, I found it to be wonderfully relaxing and eerily silent. When I was meditating, my tinnitus would cease. When I was done, it would return. This remained true as I continued meditating at home after the retreat.

I didn’t give it much thought, until after several weeks of this, I walked into my bedroom one night and it was silent. I literally froze in my tracks. Usually moving from the noisier part of my home into my bedroom makes my tinnitus much more noticeable. But not that day, and much less often since. It’s not perfect, but it is better.

I’m not sure if the meditation is the reason, but just in case, I continue to meditate everyday. Fingers crossed. And my toes too.

Readers, have you tried meditation to cope with your tinnitus?

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30 thoughts on “Can Meditation Help With Tinnitus?

  1. Shari, I really will be anxious to follow your experience with meditation. I understand your hesitancy “jinx” what seems like a miracle to you – and to me as well. My tinnitus “seems” not as intense as it was a few years back, but it’s constant and it absorbs sounds in the same frequencies. silence would be golden indeed.

    I have practiced yoga in the past but have let that slip into neglect. My ancient arthritic body can’t achieve those real positions anyway. No one would ever imagine that I was doing actual yoga by observing me in action :-). I have had some satisfying experiences meditating but that too has slipped into disuse over the years.

    I believe there is amazing power in meditation AND it requires a commitment that flies in the face of our usual hectic lives.

    I look forward to hearing more about this. You are inspiring me!

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  2. That is amazing, Shari! I am so happy for you. And that retreat? Sigh. I wish I could go on that. To do yoga and learn to mediate would be a dream come true. Good for you and thanks for sharing this. I have to give it a try for my tinnitus. I’l keep you posted. You are so inspiring!

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  3. Honestly, that makes perfect sense. At least as perfect as the fact that my husband’s tinnitus only presents itself when he hears the word, “tinnitus.” Seriously. There’s obviously a lot going on here, and if you find a way to intervene that works, do it. And there are other benefits of meditation, too….

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  4. Hi Shari! I don’t have tinnitus so I can’t say but I do meditate and I have heard/read that it does help with things like tinnitus. I actually think meditation helps with more things than we usually recognize and STRONGLY recommend it for all people. So glad to hear it helped you and that you found some relief. ~Kathy

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  5. Hi! I have severe tinnitus, and in the beginning, when I thought I would go crazy, and was willing to try anything, I tried meditation. The effect was rather strong almost immediately. Now, a few years down the road, I can meditate if the tinnitus is worse or so strong that it troubles me. I can say that meditation has helped me to learn to live with the tinnitus. Tinnitus is no longer a cross to bear, more like a nuisance now and then… Actually my tinnitus sometimes tells me that I am about to get sick, it worsens when I have an infection in my body, it’s like a new superpower 😉 I don’t need meditation on a daily basis anymore.

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  6. I have only just recently started suffering from tinnitus. When the room goes quiet there it is, so I run a fan and listen to something peaceful on my iPod when I go to bed at night.

    When you meditate, is the room silent? Doesn’t that make the ringing louder?

    I’d like to try on my own — it’s something I have always done in the past in a yoga class, which I haven’t had access to since my move — so I’d love to know. Do you simply focus on your breath in a silent room?

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  7. Shari, all I have to say is, yes, it helps. In my experience not tons, but some and some is good. I think yoga and Tai Chi works as well. Thanks for posting this, I hope it helps others. I’m off to share this, hope this week treats you kindly. 🙂

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  8. Hello there

    I use a mindful/hypnotherapy approach with tinnitus clients and this is pretty much the same state you reach with meditation.

    The trick is to find a means of carrying this into everyday life. I use a gestalt ‘zones of awareness’ approach to this. It works wonders when combined with other approaches designed to ameliorate anxiety, depression and the other bugbears suffered by those who have tinnitus.

    Best wishes

    Paul

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  9. Interesting observations, Shari. How do you follow guided meditation? Can you hear the instructor? – Or is that a misunderstanding on my part. Perhaps there are no spoken words to follow.
    I don’t have tinnitus, miraculously, since I have severe fluctuating hearing loss, vertigo, and fullness of the ears — all symptoms of Meniere’s.
    But I do find my hearing and balance are affected by stress. And perhaps what I experience under stress is a form of tinnitus — the inability to hear through the chaos in my brain.
    Thanks for writing this.

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  10. Hi,

    Glad to hear about your personal experiences and take on yoga and meditation. I have met many people suffering from tinnitus, and have listened to their experience and thoughts on yoga and meditation. Most of them had agreed that yoga and meditation are helpful with tinnitus. I’d say it’s eminently possible to reach some degree of accommodation with your tinnitus, no matter how you go about it. You may even come to see your tinnitus as significant, instead of a nuisance.

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  11. Tinnitus is nothing more than hiperactivity of neuron in brain. When we lose some range of hearing brain fill it by phantom noise. Meditation will downcrase activiti. Im meditating with fireplace sound on youtube but that cannot be louder than tinnitus. Volume must be as high as tinnitus. Two of this things must be hearable, and u have to focus on other sound (im my case fireplace). Brain will learn to focus on other sounds automaticly by time when u meditate. Tinnitus will by quiter than before and than u have to downcrase sound of fire place. I belive that tinnitus will go away and it will be hearable only if we wish that. Sorry for my english 🙂

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