Coronavirus has caused a massive spike in anxiety worldwide. With endless closures, cancellations, travel bans and skyrocketing unemployment, life as we know it has completely changed in a matter of weeks.
With worries about the stock market, shortages of hand sanitizer and empty shelves at the grocery store, it’s no surprise your tinnitus worries and stressors may also be increasing.
Why is Coronavirus Causing So Much Anxiety?
Psychologist Justin Ross from UCHealth Integrative Medicine Center states that Coronavirus anxiety has three key factors:
- Unpredictability. We don’t have a clear sense of what will happen next.
- Lack of Control. We don’t have control over how to manage the outbreak because we haven’t experienced anything like it before.
- Threats to well-being. The coronavirus outbreak threatens people and the things we value.
Anxiety and stress are perceived in the limbic system, the emotional area of the brain that controls our mood, personality, and decision-making. While anxiety is a healthy, normal response from the changes in the world around us, it can also negatively impact our tinnitus and overall sense of well-being.
Why is Coronavirus Anxiety Spiking My Tinnitus?
Because tinnitus is perceived in the limbic system, tinnitus alone can cause stress and anxiety. Due to the emotional response to tinnitus that most patients experience, we know that the limbic system in the brain is being over‐activated as well. This over‐stimulation of the limbic system can increase the unpredictability, lack of control, and threats to well-being that you are already experiencing with coronavirus. You might feel as though you do not have as much control over your emotions, or that your personality is impacted negatively by tinnitus (i.e. short‐tempered, impatient, easily annoyed).
What Can I Do to Relieve My Tinnitus Stress Around Coronavirus?
- Limit the number of times per day you check for Coronavirus updates and stick to trustworthy sources.
Schedule your times to view updates and social media feeds to two times a day. Sources such as the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and your state and city government websites are the best sources for news and virus-containment strategies.
- Continue to practice healthy habits.
Maintain a normal sleep and wake time, practice healthy eating habits, and exercise at least twice a week. Studies show that continuing to get good rest and practicing healthy living standards boost your immune system. With current gym closures, try to get outside and take walks or download an exercise app on your phone to keep you moving.
- Avoid Silence.
Even if your work abruptly stopped or you’re navigating how to now work from home, keep calming, low-level sound on at all times that helps you focus and stay relaxed. If you’re already going through our TRT program, continue to wear your devices all waking hours as you normally would. Also, continue to use bedside sound therapy at night to help you sleep.
- Breathe and relax with exercises.
Try deep breathing exercises for a few minutes, two or three times a day. Progressive muscle relaxation exercises are also very helpful in calming tinnitus. Try these relaxation strategies while using your sound therapy to increase benefits. Just like exercise, these relaxation strategies are a physical skill that requires practice. Do them often!
- We’re here for you. Follow-up with your Sound Relief provider to discuss your symptoms.
Our top priority has always been the health and well-being of our patients and employees, so we are remaining open as of right now under our classification of “essential healthcare personnel” per CDC Guidelines. That being said, we are taking every precaution to keep our staff and patients healthy.
Whether you’ve been a patient of ours for years or if you’re new to tinnitus and our clinics, please reach out. If you’re a new patient considering our practice, we are offering free 30-minute consultations to get your questions and concerns answered. We’ve implemented new, HIPAA-compliant video appointments so we can stay in touch with you in a healthy and safe way. These appointments do not require you to download any programs or subscriptions.
We’re here for you. We know that the change in life we are all experiencing is very stressful and can negatively impact your tinnitus. We care about your well-being and want to continue to support you through the Coronavirus outbreak in every way possible.