I have met quite a few people who suffer from tinnitus recently. Over the years a few sufferers have come to my meditation class. It is often not until we get to the silent practices .. that it comes up.

I have tried to do some research over the years .. but there doesn’t appear to be much written about meditation and tinnitus. Possibly because for most sufferers .. silence is impossible (and I think some sufferers avoid meditation because of this!).

So, I was happy to receive this weeks newsletter from Wildmind (Buddhist Meditation) with an article Meditating with Tinnitus .. which I would like to recommend for those who do suffer from this ‘persistent ringing in the ears’.

The author is a tinnitus sufferer. She has also been a long time meditation practitioner .. even attending silent retreats! And so it is wonderful to read her thoughts, and hear about some tools that may help come to terms with the ‘white noise inside your head’. One suggestion that the author has found useful (although she does suggest caution as many sufferers might find this counter intuitive and more challenging) is wearing earplugs which act to magnify all inner body sounds together .. so that ‘the tinnitus sounds seem to decrease by comparison, or at least just take their place among my body’s other normal noises. I find I can simply welcome them to the party’.

Similar to pain meditation, people often expect their pain/noise to be in a constant ON/OFF situation which is rarely the case. Noise, like pain, changes all the time and often falls into a pattern or wave .. once we realise this and recognise that in between the noise/pain is no noise/no pain .. then we can relax a little knowing what to expect.

Using sound in your meditation is another popular option. I have a few natural ambient CDs in my collection (the dolphin and mountain river are my two favourites) .. incorporating these sounds into your meditation practice, as another anchor, might allow you to continue with your normal practice (such as breath counnting or mantra). Please do keep trying with your meditation .. whatever our obstacle or challenge, once we find a technique that works for us we should trust in our own experience .. and keep practicing.

Any suggestions would be welcome!