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Tinnitus is regrettably very difficult to diagnose and treat. While scientists are hard at work to discover a cure, a great deal about the causes and characteristics of tinnitus remain unknown.

If you have tinnitus, it’s imperative to first seek professional assistance. First, tinnitus is sometimes a manifestation of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. In these cases tinnitus can be cured by addressing the underlying problem.

Second, a variety of tinnitus therapies are presently available that have proven to be highly effective, such as sound masking and behavioral therapies that help the patient to adjust to the sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids have also been proven to be effective in many cases.

With that being said, some cases of tinnitus endure in spite of the best available treatments. Thankfully, there are some things you can do independently to lessen the severity of symptoms.

Here are 10 things you can do to independently manage your tinnitus.

1. Uncover what makes your tinnitus worse – every case of tinnitus is distinct. That’s why it’s important to keep a written record to identify specific triggers, which can be particular kinds of food, drinks, or medications. In fact, there are a number of medications that can make tinnitus worse.

2. Stop smoking – smoking acts as a stimulant and restrains blood flow, both of which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Studies also show that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some form of hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers.

3. Limit consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks – although some studies have questioned the assertion that caffeine makes tinnitus worse, you should track the effects yourself. The same goes for alcoholic beverages; there are no conclusive studies that prove a clear link, but it’s worth monitoring.

4. Try using masking sounds – the sounds of tinnitus may become more conspicuous and disturbing when it’s quiet. Try playing some music, turning on the radio, or purchasing a white-noise machine.

5. Use hearing protection – some instances of tinnitus are short-term and the result of short-term exposure to loud sounds, like at a concert. To avoid further damage—and persistent tinnitus—make certain to use ear protection at loud events.

6. Try meditation – outcomes can vary, but some individuals have found meditation and tinnitus acceptance to be highly effective. Here’s an article by Steven C. Hayes, PhD, the co-founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

7. Find ways to relax and unwind – easing your stress and elevating your mood can help minimize the severity of tinnitus. Try meditation, yoga, or any other activity that calms your nerves.

8. Get more sleep – sleep deficiency is a recognized trigger for making tinnitus worse, which subsequently makes it harder to sleep, which makes the symptoms worse, and so on. To guarantee that you get an adequate amount sleep, try using masking sounds at night when dozing off.

9. Get more exercise – researchers at the University of Illinois found that exercise may lead to lower tinnitus severity. Exercise can also lower stress, enhance your mood, and help you sleep better, all of which can help with tinnitus relief.

10. Join a support group – by signing up with a support group, you not only get emotional support but also additional tips and coping methods from other people who suffer from the same symptoms.

What have you discovered to be the most reliable technique of dealing with tinnitus? Let us know in a comment.