Head Pressure And Ringing In Ears
From our experience, it is not uncommon for people who experience tinnitus to feel uncomfortable or unsure about the way in which psychological techniques can improve their condition. You may also be wondering what assistance these methods can provide for a medical symptom that is located in your ears! Indeed, many people react to the mere suggestion that psychological methods might be helpful as a means of managing tinnitus by insisting that their tinnitus is real and that it is not "something in their minds."
Visiting a psychologist, using psychological techniques, or even reading this blog does not imply that your tinnitus is simply imagined, or that you have some "psychological problem," or that you are "crazy." People consult psychologists and use psychological techniques to assist them in dealing with a range of problems of everyday living, including dealing with stress, phobias (fears), low mood, anxiety, worry, poor sleep, stopping smoking, or weight management.
People also see psychologists to learn techniques to deal with a variety of medical problems, ranging from headaches, chronic pain, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, or a physical disability. Medical specialists assist in the medical aspects of a problem, but psychologists have a role in assisting people in adjusting to a problem and maintaining a high quality of life. Although tinnitus itself is not a psychological problem, a substantial body of research now indicates that psychological approaches to the management of this invisible symptom may help reduce tinnitus-related distress and improve the quality of a person's life.
Senses and Emotions: Partners in Perception
Tinnitus is both a sensory experience and a sensation to which a person responds. In this regard, it is rather like pain. When you are in pain, you are aware of the physical or sensory experience of the pain. It hurts or aches, and you use words such as piercing, burning, dull, and tearing to describe the pain. People also react to pain in an emotional sense, as reflected in other words that can be used to describe pain, such as nagging, unbearable, excruciating, and torturing. Notice how the words in this last list have an emotional flavor – they are words that people use to describe other unpleasant experiences, and the words vary in the implied magnitude of the discomfort.
These words neatly capture those sides of people's experiences of unpleasant sensations – the physical or sensory part and the emotional or psychological part. Tinnitus, like pain, is both a medical and a psychological phenomenon. The sounds are described as whistling, roaring, and rumbling; the reactions are described as irritating, unbearable, and uncontrollable. A person's perception of the world contains a sensory and an emotional component. As will be discussed later, it also contains a "cognitive" (thought) component – that is, people think about what they experience and it is the content of their thinking that brings about the emotional reactions.
Parallels between Tinnitus and Pain
We have described tinnitus and pain in very similar terms. In fact, there are many similarities between the two experiences. Both pain and tinnitus are physical conditions that take a chronic course. A broad range of medical and alternative treatments have been applied to the management of both conditions, but most of these approaches are beneficial to only a small proportion of people. The consequences of pain and tinnitus are parallel: negative emotional states, such as depression, anxiety, and anger; sleep difficulties; and interference with interpersonal, leisure, and occupational activities.
It is also quite common for people who experience either tinnitus or pain to complain about the fact that other people do not understand their problems because the symptoms are invisible. All of these difficulties have an impact on the person's psychological well-being. Many advances have been made in the management of chronic pain through the application of CBT. In a similar fashion, a great deal has been learned about psychological aspects of tinnitus, which has led to the development of interventions that can have a significant impact on the well-being and quality of life of people who are distressed by their tinnitus.
Common Problems Associated with Tinnitus
It is not surprising that you might experience considerable distress if you are aware of a constant ringing, buzzing, or other type of sound in your ears or head. The precise effect that tinnitus has on people varies widely from one person to another. There are, however, a number of common problems reported by people who experience tinnitus. Some of these problems might sound very familiar to you. Let's discuss some of them more specifically.
Summary Of Common Problems Associated with Tinnitus
1. Distressing Emotional Problems
- Tinnitus causes feelings of depression, tension, irritability, anger, annoyance, and frustration.
- Tinnitus is worse during periods of stress.
2. Sleep Difficulties
- Tinnitus causes problems in falling asleep.
- Tinnitus makes it difficult to remain asleep.
3. Detrimental Effects on Hearing and Communication
- Tinnitus makes it difficult to follow conversations or to hear what is being said against background noise.
- Tinnitus causes problems in quiet environments.
- Tinnitus causes problems in noisy places.
4. Intrusiveness on Daily Activities and Lifestyle
- Tinnitus disrupts one's ability to concentrate on work activities and other mental tasks.
- Tinnitus causes negative changes in relationships with spouse, partner, family members, and friends.
- Tinnitus leads to reduced participation in work, social, and recreational activities.
- Tinnitus leads to reduced pleasure from social, leisure, and recreational activities.
Hearing Ability and Communication
People with tinnitus often say that the internal noise reduces their ability to listen to and understand meaningful sounds. A person may describe a difficulty in locating the source of sounds, in hearing what is being said when the background noise level is high, or in concentrating on some mental task. The effect of the tinnitus on hearing ability may be worsened if there is also some hearing loss. These problems may be a source of much frustration and distress, leading some individuals to stop participating in previously enjoyed activities and social events. Going to parties, restaurants, or the movies may become a source of annoyance rather than pleasure.
This tendency toward reclusiveness and lack of opportunity to participate in enjoyable activities can lead to a lowering of mood and to feelings of helplessness and frustration. To learn more, you can check out Head Pressure And Ringing In Ears.
- My Ears Are Ringing All The Time – Time To Take Control
- What Is The Ringing In Your Ears – Questions And Answers About Tinnitus (Part 3)
- My Ears Are Ringing What Does That Mean – Tinnitus Studies
- Is There A Cure For Ringing Ears – Searching For A Cure
- Natural Cure For Ringing Ears – Recovering From Tinnitus