Self help tips
Different things you can do including relaxation techniques, exercise and diet, to help improve the quality of your life with tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a very common condition. Some people do not find tinnitus bothersome, but for some, it can be very distressing. Talking to your GP is a good first step if you are finding it hard to cope with.
There are also things you can do to help yourself. There’s no cure for tinnitus but these tips may make living with tinnitus more manageable. It may take time to find what works for you. This might change over time.
Our Tinnitus Support Team is available if you want to talk with someone.
It’s quite common to feel worried when you first experience tinnitus. Relaxing may help to reduce your stress, making your tinnitus less noticeable.
Relaxation techniques include yoga, tai-chi and meditation. You may find that you prefer one type of relaxation over another.
Going to a class in your area or online could help you focus, or you may prefer to do something yourself using a CD or app. Some of these feature a voice taking you through a series of exercises, while others just offer pleasant, natural sounds or soothing music designed to complement relaxation.
Using simple relaxation techniques regularly may help you to improve your quality of life and make a real difference to living with tinnitus. It does take practice. You may need to vary your methods, so don’t give up if at first it does not seem to help.
Read more about relaxation techniques including three exercises to try.
Doing regular exercise helps the body to achieve a higher level of wellbeing. In most cases this helps people to ignore and cope with their tinnitus better. Doing more exercise can also help you to sleep better.
If you are not used to exercise, begin gently with a swim or a walk. Build this up to doing a regular range of exercises.
Some people report that particular foods or drinks can affect their tinnitus. If you suspect that something is making your tinnitus worse, try cutting it out for a couple of weeks to see if there is any improvement. If there is, repeat the trial again after a couple of weeks, and if you get the same result, avoid that substance in future.
Only give up things if you are sure it helps. Avoiding food and drink you enjoy could make you feel miserable for no reason. Do not give up several things at once as you won’t know which one was the trigger.
Read more on food, drink and tinnitus.
If your mind is occupied with something absorbing, it can be easier to forget about your tinnitus. Work, leisure activities and interests can all help to provide a good distraction. If you don’t have a hobby, now might be the time to start. Many people say that painting or writing helps. Bear in mind however, that trying to do too much may produce stress, so take time for relaxing activities and social interaction where possible.
Some people find that using background sound can help reduce the intrusiveness of their tinnitus. Some listen to the radio or play music, others prefer to use more ordinary sounds from around the home, like a clock ticking or a fan blowing gently. Using these sounds through the night can be helpful.
If you prefer natural sounds such as waves or rain, there are free podcasts and YouTube videos available as well as CDs or table-top devices you can buy.
For more information, please see our page on sound therapy.
It can be very helpful to talk to someone who understands how you are feeling, someone who can reassure you about anxieties and answer questions.
Find a tinnitus support group near you. Most of the people who run groups have tinnitus themselves and have lots of experience of supporting people with the condition.
Our <helpline> is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. It is for anyone experiencing tinnitus themselves as well as their family and friends. The number is 0800 018 0527. You can also contact us via our webchat, text and email.
If you use a smartphone or tablet, there are many mobile apps designed to help people with tinnitus. We can’t recommend a particular app. Simply go to the app store for your phone (eg Google Play, App Store) on your device and search for “tinnitus”. Try a few to see which one, if any, you prefer.
Some people find guided meditations or relaxation exercises useful in reducing the intrusiveness of their tinnitus. This is a 20 minute session led by Audiologist Pete Byrom. We hope you find it helpful.
Self help – easy read
Easy ways to help your tinnitus and improve your life
Many people feel anxious and afraid when they first experience tinnitus.
A good way to feel better is to relax. Here are some ways you can use to learn to relax.
Exercise 1: complete muscle relaxation
Find a peaceful place where you feel comfortable and where people won’t disturb you.
Choose a good time, maybe in the morning, or early evening.
Sit in a comfortable chair or lie on your back on a firm surface.
Don’t cross your arms, legs or ankles.
Think about your breathing. Notice that it has a natural rhythm.
Breathe in a steady, even rhythm. Breathe in through your nose, hold for a moment, then breathe out through your mouth.
Every time you breathe out, let go of a little bit of your tension. Do this for a few minutes.
Then, make your toes as tight as you can. Really scrunch them up. Hold, then relax.
Now do the same with your ankles, calves, thighs…work all the way up your body to your head.
Notice your breathing. It should be calm and even.
Exercise 2: imagine a peaceful place
Make sure you are comfortable and not likely to be disturbed.
Imagine you are leaving the room. You walk out of the door and down a path.
You come to a beautiful garden.
You can hear birds singing, and children playing happily in the distance.
You feel a cool breeze on your skin.
You hear the rustle of the wind through the leaves on the trees.
The colours of the leaves – green, gold and red, dance across a calm pond in the middle.
You feel the soft grass under your feet.
Spend some time in the garden (or imagine a different peaceful place) then slowly come back to the room where you are, feeling more relaxed.
Exercise 3: meditation
Sit comfortably in a chair.
Relax your eyes.
Feel your feet on the floor.
Feel your legs and arms resting on the chair.
Hands are soft and relaxed.
Shoulders and face are relaxed.
Breathe in a steady, even rhythm.
Now… invite other areas of your body in. Focus on where you may have pain or tension. Relax and soften any tight muscles.
Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and mood.
Now… start to move gently. Make any small movement that you can manage and that feels calming, maybe moving your feet or fingers in a circle.
Be aware of being back in the room, but more relaxed and at peace.
Doing some exercise at the same time each day or each week will help you to feel much better.
Try to have a gentle walk or a swim.
Maybe do more as you get fitter.
What you eat
Some people find that a particular food or drink affects their tinnitus.
If you think that something you eat or drink makes your tinnitus worse, try not to have that food or drink for two weeks.
If your tinnitus gets better when you cut out the food or drink, maybe try cutting it out completely.
Make sure that the food or drink really is causing the problem before you cut it out, especially if it is something you enjoy!
For more information, see the Tinnitus UK leaflet ‘Food, drink and tinnitus’ or call the Tinnitus UK helpline on 0800 018 0527.
Some people find that having the radio on or playing music really helps their tinnitus.
A lot of people find that background sound helps them. A clock ticking, fan blowing, or natural sounds like rainfall or the waves of the sea.
You can buy CDs of natural sounds.
For more information on the use of sound, see the Tinnitus UK leaflet ‘Sound therapy’.
If you are doing something you enjoy, it is easier to forget your tinnitus.
Work, hobbies, and interests provide a focus.
Painting or writing might help.
Relaxing activities and seeing friends will also help.
The internet has lots of information, but some of the information about hearing aids and tinnitus is not right or helpful.
Information from Tinnitus UK comes from experts, and you can rely on it to be right.
For more information about tinnitus, call the Tinnitus UK helpline on 0800 018 0527.
Tinnitus UK is the only national UK charity that just helps people with tinnitus.
We are an independent charity supporting hundreds of thousands of people who have tinnitus, helping to make their lives better.
As we get no government or NHS funding, the support we provide can only be offered with the help of donors and supporters who give us money.
If you would like to help us support others with tinnitus please donate online.
Other leaflets in Easy Read
- All about tinnitus
- Tinnitus services
- Tinnitus and hearing aids
Tinnitus UK tries very hard to make sure our information is right, but it cannot tell you everything. You should always check with your doctor.
The booklet you can see below was written when we were called the British Tinnitus Association. You will see that name instead of Tinnitus UK, but all the other information is the same.
Hopefully these self-help tips will help you to feel better about your tinnitus so you are able to carry on with the things that you enjoy. Don’t try to do everything at once. Find what works for you.
Remember that different techniques work for different people at different times. If you are finding it difficult to cope, please talk to a tinnitus professional. Endlessly searching for a solution yourself can also cause stress.
Our support team can answer your questions on any tinnitus related topics:
- Helpline: 0800 018 0527
- Web chat: – click on the icon
- Email: email@example.com
- Text/SMS: 07537 416841
We also offer a free tinnitus e-learning programme, Take on Tinnitus.
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