Nearly 36 million Americans suffer from ringing in the ears -- called tinnitus, reports the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Various conditions cause tinnitus, which is generally subjective perception of noise, but at times an examiner can detect the noise with a stethoscope. Treatment for ringing in the ears depends upon the cause. In certain situations, particular types of exercise can bring relief. Among the exercises helpful for tinnitus are meditation and temporomandibular joint -- TMJ -- exercises.
When no treatable physical cause of tinnitus is found, meditation exercises can help. Instead of trying to mask the sounds or ignoring the problem, mindful meditation exercises focus on training your brain to accept the ringing. Mindful meditation teaches you to relax and observe the sounds without letting them upset you. It is not just a relaxation technique, but also an exercise in acceptance. To do mindful meditation, sit alone in a quiet place. Breathe deeply through your nose, inflating your abdomen and chest. Pay attention to your breathing as you count down silently from 500. Practice mindful meditation for 20 minutes every day. Acceptance of the noise frees your brain from giving it attention.
Strengthen Your Jaw
TMJ can cause tight muscles in your jaw, which in turn can increases sensitivity in your ear canal, leading to ringing in your ears. One exercise to relieve TMJ involves positioning your head directly over your neck and shoulders while looking straight ahead into a mirror. Slowly open your mouth. Keep your jaw straight as your mouth opens. One side of the jaw is usually weaker than the other, making it difficult to open your mouth evenly. Close your mouth and relax. By doing this exercise regularly, you strengthen your jaw and teach it to open correctly.
Stretch and Slide Your Jaw
Another TMJ exercise that benefits ringing in the ears is the jaw opening and sliding exercise. For this exercise, center your head over your shoulders and then open your mouth as wide as you can. Close your mouth. Then, open your mouth as much as you can to the right. Close your mouth and repeat by opening to the left. Make sure all your movements are slow. Stretch your jaw open as much as possible.
The yoga headstand may relieve ringing in your ears by clearing blockages caused by tension in your neck. Yoga principles are based on the belief that energy, or prana, runs through your body. When an energy blockage occurs, it can cause problems. To perform a yoga headstand, kneel facing a wall and place the top of your head on the floor directly in front of the wall. Place your hands shoulder-width apart next to your head, keeping your elbows bent. Slowly shift weight onto your head and kick your legs up, letting your heels touch the wall. Keep some of your weight in your arms and against the wall to avoid placing too much pressure on your neck.
- American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery: Insight into Causes and Treatments for Tinnitus
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: Tinnitus
- Mail Online; Want to Beat Tinnitus? Try Meditating for 20 Minutes; Pat Hagan; May 2010
- ManageBackPain.com: TMJ and Tinnitus
- ManageBackPain.com: TMJ Exercises
- Yoga Journal: Noise Control: Mind-Body Therapies Help Tinnitus
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.