When I first developed tinnitus, I felt the same panicked feelings that many people do. I thought of years of high-pitched ringing in my ears. I mourned the feeling that I’d never hear silence again. I imagined my career would be ruined because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.
I saw my doctor and the first thing he told me was that there’s no cure for tinnitus. But the second thing changed my view on tinnitus entirely: “The best way to deal with tinnitus is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You’re a psychologist. You’ll be fine.”
With a little research of my own, I found out that CBT is the most researched, most effective approach to treating the distress caused by tinnitus. I started applying the tools and skills I knew from my own training in CBT and in time, my tinnitus faded into the background. My brain has habituated and I no longer notice the ringing in my ears. I’m back to living my normal pre-tinnitus life.
Studies have shown that up to 98% of people with tinnitus eventually stop noticing the noises that previously bothered them. But before this happens, many people find tinnitus incredibly distressing, and sometimes the ways they cope with tinnitus can actually prolong their suffering.
CBT can help you manage your emotional reactions to tinnitus. By teaching you tools to manage your negative emotions, you can rejoin your life. You’ll learn how to feel comfortable in situations you’ve been avoiding since your tinnitus began. In time, you’ll adjust to life with tinnitus. And in doing so, you’ll help your brain adapt, speeding along your own process of habituation. In time, you won’t notice your tinnitus either.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Tinnitus Distress (Anxiety and Depression Association of America on-demand webinar)
Habituation to Tinnitus Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Conversations in Tinnitus podcast)
H.E.A.R (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers)
Psychotherapy Helps People Tune Out The Din of Tinnitus (National Public Radio)