Approximately 10%-17% of the global population live with tinnitus. Of those people, 65% have tinnitus influenced by the somatosensory system. The somatosensory system is responsible for perceiving touch, pressure, pain, temperature and position of the body.
Unlike other forms of tinnitus ringing, which may arise from caffeine, stress, loud noise exposure and other sources, somatic tinnitus often has a physical component, where the movement of the head, neck and body muscles can trigger or alter the sound. Let’s take a look at a few techniques for managing stress and reducing the symptoms of somatic tinnitus.
Techniques for Managing Stress When Living with Somatic Tinnitus
The constant ringing of tinnitus can cause sleeplessness, frustration and stress. Stress can, in turn, lead to muscle tension and spasms, jaw clenching and more. If stress, dental or musculature issues are causing your somatic tinnitus to flare up, consider a few of the following Mayo Clinic relaxation tips:
- Breathing exercises: Simple breathing exercises can help alleviate your stress. If you start to feel stressed, take a few long, deep breaths to help center yourself.
- Meditation: Regular meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you refocus your brain away from the stress of tinnitus. Apps and online resources can guide you through beginner meditation practices focused on breath, body or sound to reduce tension and bring calm into your life.
- Yoga: Try taking in a couple of classes at Yoga on Central. With postures and breathing exercises, yoga can help reduce stress and improve flexibility and muscle tension.
- Do something you love: Whether you love reading, jogging, hanging out with friends or watching a little TV, doing things that bring you joy can help alleviate your tinnitus stress.
Seeking Help for Somatic Tinnitus
Managing somatic tinnitus often requires a multi-faceted approach, which may involve consulting with multiple healthcare professionals:
- Dentist evaluation: Somatic tinnitus can sometimes be related to dental conditions, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Your dentist can evaluate your jaw and bite alignment to determine if any dental issues contribute to your tinnitus.
- Orthopedic consultation: If your tinnitus is suspected to be of a muscular or skeletal origin, an orthopedist can perform a detailed assessment to rule out any underlying conditions and provide further insight into the possible causes and courses of treatment.
- Audiologist assessment: An audiologist or hearing specialist can evaluate your hearing and provide recommendations for managing your tinnitus. This may include using hearing aids with tinnitus masking features or undergoing tinnitus retraining therapy.
Remember that tinnitus management is personal. What works for other people may not immediately work for you. Try out posture corrections, dental treatment, stress reduction and more to find the best symptom management for you.
If you’re struggling with somatic tinnitus, the first step is to reach out for support. Contact Massachusetts Hearing Group today to make an appointment with one of our specialists for a tinnitus consultation.