Do you sometimes have a problem with a high-pitched scream in your ears? This can affect your daily life and bring physical tension between your shoulder blades and neck and leave you distracted and anxious.
Doctors will probably tell you that you are experiencing tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing noise that can come and go or be constant. And there is no exact cause or cure for the condition.
Year after year, as the ringing grows more disruptive, you may try listening to soundscapes to mask the sound, but it wouldn’t be long before the noise broke through again.
How can humming help tinnitus?
A singer who had the problem for a long time, was preparing for a singing workshop and decided to tell the participants how humming can calm the nervous system. Thinking of exercises, she could bring to the event; she began one wherein she hummed a consistent tone, moving it throughout her body. Starting at the base of her spine, she pictured the hum draining into the area and swirling around, taking note of whether the sound moved through or if it felt “stuck.”
As she moved the noise to her stomach and chest, she paid attention to where her mind wandered. If she began thinking about her shoulder, for instance, she asked herself why and tried to be mindful of how the hum felt in that area. If she felt the sound get stuck, she made a mental note, staying mindful of its presence.
When she reached her ears, she noticed the frequency of the ringing there and naturally matched the tone with her hum. Within seconds, she was astonished: Humming the same frequency had completely stopped the ringing in her ears. As a wave of relief washed over her, she waited for the tone to return. When it did a short time later, she again matched the frequency to her hum, and the sound again disappeared.
Over the next few weeks our singer friend practiced this exercise, which she called “recalibration,” when the ringing came, getting more creative each time. If the tinnitus didn’t cease after humming a matched frequency, she would hum in dissonance, harmony, short pulses, or loud harsh tones.
The more she practiced, the easier it became to stop the ringing and today she is almost completely tinnitus-free.
What are other strategies for treating tinnitus?
- Try ginkgo.
Taking 120 milligrams of ginkgo biloba extract reduces inflammation in the cochlea, the part of the ear crucial for healthy hearing. A study in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found gingko dials back ringing to help you hear 36 percent better.
- Add in jaw stretches.
Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center say stretching the jaw muscle reduces tension on ear structure that play a role in tinnitus to stop ringing.
To do: Slowly open and close your mouth 10 times. Bend your index finger and place the middle knuckle between your upper and lower teeth. Hold for 30 seconds. Once you can do this easily, open your mouth wider, and stack your middle finger atop your index finger, hold for 60 seconds. Repeat 6 times daily.
It sounds a bit complicated but give it a try.
That’s it for now; see you all the next time.