I was on vacation a few years ago in Croatia in an awesome 5-star hotel which just opened a month before. We had a little bit of stress organizing the trip because we combined attending a wedding in Hungary with visiting Bosnia and finally enjoying the seaside in Croatia.
We spent 3 lovely days in Szeged in Hungary celebrating the wedding of our close friends, followed by 5 amazing days visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia. We headed to the seaside for a week in Croatia afterward and it was our last night there when after yet another relaxing day at the pool and a nice 5-course dinner I suddenly noticed a ringing sound in both of my ears. I never had any symptoms before and this took my completely by surprise. I expected it to stop after a few minutes but it didn’t and I eventually spent the entire night on the balcony trying to patiently wait it out and stay calm.
Because the ringing sound persisted also the next day and I totally panicked when I saw the search results on Google for my symptoms (lesson learned: never ever search for medical issues on the internet), we quickly hurried home and I went to the doctor early on the next day.
They made a bunch of tests and I was naïve enough to ask during the hearing test where I had to make a sign when I heard the sound in the headphone why I can’t hear some of the sounds with my left ear and whether the equipment is broken. I was diagnosed with acute hearing loss so that kind of explained it then.
I had to immediately go to the hospital and 5 days of drip infusion followed and also some medicine (which now I think were only some vitamins as there is no cure for this). I was shocked to see how many people were there for the same reason as me and some of them were even for the second or third time in the hospital.
I went back to my doctor after the 5 days in the hospital were over and after some more tests I was diagnosed with tinnitus. I was told that this will remain long-term and I was advised to just try to live with it. That seemed impossible to me back then but now after so many years living with tinnitus I barely notice it anymore (this is what everybody said to me back then too) and even if not completely but the ringing sound disappeared with time.
I had a relapse only once and went back to the doctor again, we did again some tests but I was sent home because the ringing was within the normal limits. With all this modern medicine it is still unknown if the cause of tinnitus is the brain or the ear and how to cure it.
So why do I write all this? What does this have to do with fitness and technology? Well, I gained some experience during these years on how fitness and technology helps with tinnitus and I would like to share them with you.
Stressful situations are a trigger for the tinnitus and, while it’s sometimes difficult to avoid stress, I found some ways which help me avoid or reduce the symptoms. Listening to music is relaxing and I noticed that the ringing gets quieter.
The worst time of the day is (for me at least) the evening when I am trying to fall asleep. It’s so quiet in the room that I can hear even the smallest noises but luckily I found the Naturespace iPhone app, a catalog of tracks with sounds like the ocean or the river with a calming effect.
Exercising helps too. The ringing noise is completely gone in the last 6 months and I realized just now that during these months I have been consistently working out. I trained for a 5K in the second half of the last year and I moved my workouts to the gym during the winter, regularly doing weight training and going to Yoga classes. Also I started taking longer walks more often. Exercising has not only physical but also mental benefits. I try to disconnect from everything, forget the bad things and just enjoy the workout and I feel completely relaxed afterwards.
Last but not least, nutrition is also important. I noticed that some food and drinks are triggers for me, this is why for example I reduced my daily coffee intake and drink more tea instead.
With the time I managed to get my tinnitus under control by trying to avoid the triggers (less coffee, stress, conflicts and fights). I also realized that there are so many nice things to enjoy in life that I just pick the fights worth fighting and ignore the rest. I also learned to just live with tinnitus and not to worry and panic if it does get worse, this is absolutely crucial because the more I worry or panic the worse it gets.