Can Meditation Help With Tinnitus?

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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.

 

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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37 thoughts on “Can Meditation Help With Tinnitus?”

  1. Jerry Henderson – Pownal Maine – Thank you for coming to my space. This is where I post thoughts, opinions and commentary on a variety of subjects at irregular intervals. I try to do something weekly, but have not nailed down a rigid schedule, like every Wednesday, yet. If you would like email notifications of new posts, you can make that happen right on the site. Simply enter your email address to subscribe. Also, if you would like to comment I welcome that. Just do so in the space at the bottom of any selected post. Sharing thoughts, opinion and commentary is a peculiarly human characteristic. It must be exercised to be enjoyed. Jerry Henderson
    Jerry says:

    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!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks Jerry! I will keep you posted. Fingers crossed big time!

  2. Cathy – United States – My passion is writing and being a health advocate. The marriage of the two is what I've decided to do now during my "Second Chapter." My blog, An Empowered Spirit, is for people age 50+ who want to live a vibrant and healthy life. I am a writer for several health websites focusing on Multiple Sclerosis. I enjoy "paying it forward to others" as an MS Peer Advocate for Teva Neuroscience. I am happily married with one wonderful son and 3 adorable cats. I am crazy about classic black and white movies. My perfect weekend would be to hang out with Robert Osborne at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. I'll have to work on that.
    Cathy says:

    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!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks Cathy! I hope it works for you too. Please keep me posted and thanks for your comment.

  3. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
    Kathi Mestayer says:

    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….

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Absolutely. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Due to arthrosis I can’t do yoga anymore but I liked it. I do have trouble meditating though, my mind is constantly walking away. But I sure believe in its effects on the Tinnitus (which I have too for a long time).

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Meditating is hard!. My mind still wanders constantly, but each time it does, I try to bring it back to quiet. I think that must be part of the process. The effort has definitely been worth it so far. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Kathy Gottberg – La Quinta, CA – A curious, green-and-growing, open-minded explorer of all things cool and amazing--my mission is to write about ideas and experiences that help to make life more happy, peaceful and rewarding for each of us.
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com says:

    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

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Glad it is helpful for you too, in different ways. It really is such a wonderful investment of time. All best to you.

  6. Ulf – In my prime years (born 1972), I find myself going deaf and in need of an CI-operation fast. My blog will focus on this process and other aspects of my life as well... I have 15 years of experience as a computer expert. Internet and PC-related stuff is also a hobby for me. I'm a practical man who like to fix things and understand how things work and hang together (not only practically)... Curious by nature. Used to read a lot of books. Still read, but more picky about what I read these days. I have been fortunate to see a bit of the world we live in: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Libya, Poland, Germany, GB, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Malta, scandinavia, former Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras. I enjoy science, technical stuff, politics & world happenings, philosophy, biology, environmental issues, scuba diving, swimming, outdoor activities etc. etc. I have a great wife who means the world to me. She is the best!
    Ulf says:

    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.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      That is great to hear! So glad it worked so well for you. Thanks for sharing your experiences — that helps a lot to know it has also worked for others.

  7. 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?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      That is the crazy thing — when I meditate the room is silent, which usually aggravates my tinnitus, but when I am involved in this activity, it goes away / is reduced. Here is a link to a post I wrote about how I learned to meditate at the yoga retreat, which might help. I simply sit quietly in the meditation posture for 20 minutes and try to clear my mind. Sometimes I count my breaths. http://hotoffthemat.com/2015/11/17/do-you-know-the-three-rules-of-meditation/

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks Carol! Let’s hope it continues. : )

  8. 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. 🙂

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Glad it works for you too. A little bit of relief goes a long way. Thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing your thoughts.

  9. 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

  10. Katherine Bouton – New York – Katherine Bouton is the author of "Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss." (2018) available at Amazon.com or B&N.com in paperback or ebook. It updates and amplifies the now-out-of-print "Living Better with Hearing Loss." Her first book, "Shouting Won't Help," tells the story of her hearing loss and her bumpy and sometimes hilarious journey to acceptance. She is a former editor at The New York Times, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America. She is President of the New York City Chapter of HLAA. Her blog can be found at katherinebouton.com. She has had progressive bilateral hearing loss since she was 30.
    Katherine Bouton says:

    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.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks Katherine. I don’t use guided meditation, although I have tried it. I prefer to guide myself using the technique I learned at my yoga retreat. Glad you do not have to deal with tinnitus at this point.

  11. 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.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. 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 🙂

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  13. Michael Graeme – Blogger, writer of romantic, mystical, and speculative fiction. Window on the world: England's rural North West. Mostly harmless, you can talk to me.
    Michael Graeme says:

    Yes, meditation certainly helped me, also Qigong. I hope your recovery continues to gather pace. Well done.

    Regards

    Michael

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Glad it works for you too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. That’s super interesting!

    Can i ask you what meditation you do?
    There are so many kinds: transcendental, focus on breath, focus on hearing, choicless awarenes,…

    Could you elaborate on this, because i really would like to try this method.

    Thanks!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Here are some more details on what I do. I hope this helps! In the end it doesn’t matter which method as long as you stick with it I think. Good luck to you! https://hotoffthemat.com/2015/11/17/do-you-know-the-three-rules-of-meditation/

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