It can be safely stated that tinnitus is, to some extent, a prevalent medical condition in the US, wherein 45 in every 1000 Americans are affected. This data is reported in the National Health Interview Service of 1995. With this figure, there are approximately 12 million Americans who suffer from ear ringing and a good number of them are looking, if not quite desperately, for effective tinnitus treatments.
Helpful tinnitus treatments are those which are able to deal with the root cause of the problem. Most of the time tinnitus is linked to psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. In these cases, applied relaxation is an approach worth considering. A four-step relaxation technique adapted from Ost (1987) which allows the tinnitus sufferer to rest, reduce tension in the muscles, and boost general well-being.
Step one. Progressive Relaxation – In this step, you learn to distinguish the difference between tensed and relaxed muscles. You learn to be aware of your body and not achieve a perfectly relaxed state. Do your exercise twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not attempt to do your exercise in a hurry if you feel you do not have enough time to perform it.
Step two. Short Progressive Relaxation – You will learn to decrease the time you need to achieve a relaxed state in this second step of the technique. This step also initiates some imagery techniques. Quite different from step one, here you are to learn to relax without tensing the muscles first. The recommended time for this exercise is from five to seven minutes but you are free to set up your own pace.
Step three. Cue-controlled relaxation (controlled breathing) – In the third step, you will learn to associate your cue word to a given breathing pattern. With proper practice, relaxing as prompted by your cue word will become automatic. You have to learn to fill your lungs fully by breathing from your abdomen. This step will help you relax and control your breathing in two to four minutes using your cue word.
Step four. Rapid relaxation – The final step is further divided in two sessions. There are two goals for this step: one is for you to be able to relax in non-stressful situations and to decrease the time for you to relax in 30 to 60 seconds. It is important to note that there are stress causing tinnitus factors.
This technique will help you relax and tolerate your ringing in the ears. However, there are also other more proactive tinnitus treatments if you have a severe case of tinnitus. Before you take any measures to deal with your ear ringing you have to seek medical advice. An appointed with your ENT should be scheduled as soon as possible.