Yoga is one of many possible ways to effectively control or manage tinnitus. Tinnitus affects 15 percent of all adults, and as a result, has inspired many creative approaches to treatment. Though yoga should not be relied on to be the end-all, be-all tinnitus treatment, studies and personal testimony consistently suggest it be beneficial.
Yoga was originally developed in India in roughly 6,000 BCE. Since then, the practice has spread all across the world and has recently gained a significant level of interest in the West. People enjoy yoga because it is relaxing, increases flexibility, and can create a lasting sense of grounding. However, it was not until recently that yoga has been used to help address the effects of tinnitus and other hearing disorders.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about yoga and how it can impact tinnitus. While yoga should not replace traditional tinnitus treatment options, such as sound therapy or retraining therapy, it is certainly something that all individuals suffering from tinnitus could use as a tool during their tinnitus treatment process.
How Yoga Can Be Used to Help Treat Tinnitus
To date, several studies have demonstrated that yoga can, in fact, have a positive impact on an individual suffering from tinnitus. In 2018, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a study called “The Effects of Yoga in Patients Suffering from Subjective Tinnitus.” Subjective tinnitus, by definition, is the rattling, ringing, hissing, or buzzing sounds in the ear, when there is no external (objective) source of sound present.
The study followed a diverse group of 12 individuals who were instructed to practice guided yoga over the course of 3 months. The yoga sessions involved “body exercises (asana), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (Shavasana and Yoga Nidra).” In the study’s abstract, the team claimed that “because tinnitus is thought to be related to stress, we aimed to investigate the effects of yoga in patients with chronic subjective tinnitus.”
This study was not without its challenges—such as measuring the intensity of tinnitus in each individual—but the team worked to eliminate as many outside variables as they could. The published conclusion of the study stated: “This study indicates that yoga practices may reduce life stress and symptoms of subjective tinnitus.” Ultimately, reduced stress and regulated breathing practices were both contributing factors. Furthermore, one of the reasons yoga has become a popular tinnitus treatment option is that not only is the practice itself easy to do from home, but there are many other benefits as well.
The Best Yoga Positions for Treating Tinnitus
As you might expect, certain yoga positions are much more effective in treating tinnitus than others. While any pose you feel relaxed and comfortable with is probably worth trying, it will certainly help to have some guidance along the way. These poses specifically address some of the common causes of tinnitus such as stress, neck stiffness, low blood circulation, and many others.
According to the yoga community, the best yoga poses for treating tinnitus include:
- Trikonasana (triangle pose): This pose helps circulate “fresh” blood into your head and neck and you may even begin to feel your ears “pop open” as a result.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog): this pose focuses on strengthening and lengthening the whole body, ultimately increasing the oxygenation in your head.
- Gomukhasana (cow face pose): this pose, which can often be held for longer periods of time, improves the circulation in your body and can also help reduce some of the pain associated with tinnitus.
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose): the cobra pose helps open your chest and throat areas, eventually having positive effects on your entire system. This pose can reduce the noise levels of subjective tinnitus and also improve concentration.
- Matsyasana (fish pose): while the fish pose is a bit more difficult than the others in this list, its stress relieving and blood flow benefits make it a particularly appealing tinnitus treatment option.
These are just a few of the yoga poses that you may find beneficial. While the NCBI study mentioned above took place over the course of three months, you may be able to start experiencing the benefits of yoga after your first few sessions.
Combining Yoga with Other Tinnitus Treatment Options
Tinnitus is a symptom that can have many different underlying causes. Physical damage to the ear, exposure to loud noise, stress and anxiety, and excessive earwax are just a few of the reasons you may be currently experiencing subjective tinnitus. If you have been experiencing tinnitus for more than a few days, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with an audiologist.
Because tinnitus has such a diverse array of possible causes, naturally, there are many different treatment options available (in addition to yoga). Sound support, for example, helps provide sound stimulation that can help mitigate the effects of tinnitus. Zen therapy treatments, which can even be integrated with yoga, can also create a sense of relaxation and sound stability.
Other possible tinnitus treatments include white noise therapy, hearing/tinnitus mobile apps, hearing aids, and various others. Upon your first visit to your hearing center, you will undergo a series of hearing tests, making it possible for the audiologist to issue a full diagnosis. Fortunately, each of these dynamic treatment options can be combined with yoga to help alleviate your tinnitus. If you are able and comfortable doing yoga, your audiologist will certainly support your decision, and will also help develop personalized management strategies for tinnitus rehabilitation.
Conclusion – Yoga for Tinnitus
If you are currently suffering from tinnitus and are experiencing buzzing, ringing, hissing, or rattling noises in your ears—yoga may be an effective management technique. While visiting an audiologist will still be in your best interest, yoga is a supplementary treatment option that many people tend to overlook. Studies and testimony all suggest that yoga can help treat tinnitus with very little downside.
Sound Relief Hearing Center is a family-owned and operated audiology practice serving Colorado and Arizona. For more information on tinnitus management techniques, tinnitus treatments, or to speak with a licensed audiologist, schedule an appointment or call (720) 259-9962