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Tinnitus, Hyperacusis & Isolation 

The times we currently find ourselves living in are indeed strange and very different and many ear-related conditions remain present and consistent. Tinnitus and Hyperacusis (sound sensitivity) can remain difficult and troubling experiences for those isolating for many reasons, including silent environments, disruption to routine and heightened anxiety. It is important therefore that help, understanding and support are still available to those who may need it. 
The most important message to remember is that you are not alone with your tinnitus, whether you are experiencing this for the first time or the current climate is increasing your awareness of the sounds in your ears, there are ways to help. 

 What should I do? 

If you are new to tinnitus, this may well have been brought to your attention due to the increased stress and disruption to usual activities and it is important not to worry. Tinnitus effects currently more than seven million people in the United Kingdom and many manage their tinnitus with the right support. 
If your tinnitus or sound sensitivity has gotten worse, spiked or become more constant during the current situation, this can be the bodies normal reaction to a different, stressful time. It is important to contact your Tinnitus Specialist if you have had help previously to recap and use the tools provided. If you have yet to seek advice or help, then it may be useful to contact a Tinnitus Specialist for advice and a guided way to help control the tinnitus. 
Social distancing & managing Tinnitus and Hyperacusis 
We are all aware that social distancing is a large part of how we are managing our current situation and with social distancing brings isolation from friends and family. People may be tempted to continually watch the news or use social media more to fill time, but it is important for tinnitus to manage stress, as we know tinnitus can be more intrusive if we are driven by emotion. I would suggest limiting viewing of Covid-19 related news to one useful update per day and avoid speculation and unhelpful articles. 
It is vital to remember and focus on the things that we can control, like washing hands, keeping up with tinnitus management and trying to maintain aspects of your daily routine such as sleep. We know and need to acknowledge that there may well be changes and so it is important that you keep on doing where possible the things you love, do not let tinnitus restrict you. Watch the television, colour or paint, go for your allowed walk per day to clear those thoughts and breathe. 
It is helpful to remain connected to your loved ones at this time. For your own wellbeing chatting to family and friends via phone call, texts or video chat will help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, contact your GP, NHS 111 or Samaritans on 116 123. 

    Who can help? 

Currently, the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Network remains open to offer private, professional, remote support (via assessment and management of tinnitus and sound sensitivity), but also the British Tinnitus Association offers a free helpline you are able to call: 
The Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Network 
Free phone: 0800 028 8411 
British Tinnitus Association 
Helpline: 0800 018 0527 
My name is Aimee Cooke and I specialise in Tinnitus and Hyperacusis at Holt Hearing and Balance Services. I have put together a few useful tips to help, that I use with my patients and would always encourage some form of clinical input in addition to the guidance on our website. 
Tips for keeping a 'new normal' routine 
Remember that sleep is crucially important for our mental health and wellbeing, and so trying to keep a 'new normal' sleep routine and meal time routine is still very important. For sleep advice it is best to speak to someone (as listed above), as disrupted sleep can require more of a structured process to address. The most basic advice for helping are: 
Aim for no less than 6 hours per night 
Reduce screen time before bed 
Get out of bed as you normally would and get dressed  
Do not let the sleep environment become a negative place 
Try to avoid napping during the day 
For further tips on Stretching, relaxation and breathing click below: 
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