Does Stress Contribute to Tinnitus? Anxiety and Tinnitus

loosing sleep because of tinnitusIf you suffer from ringing in your ears, or tinnitus, keeping stress levels down and inducing relaxation may help you cope better with your tinnitus, promote better sleep, improve your concentration ability, and reduce anxiety and tension.

Stress Can Exacerbate Tinnitus Symptoms

There is a strong connection between tinnitus disturbance and stress level. The human body can respond to stress in physical ways by tensing muscles, increasing the breathing rate and by producing chemicals consistent with a “fight or flight” response.

The response to tinnitus and certain external sounds (loud sounds, unexpected sounds, and even eating and breathing sounds), may also cause a physical “fight or flight” response.

Managing Stress Can Lessen Symptoms of Tinnitus

There are many approaches to managing stress, and many of these can be helpful if you struggle with tinnitus. Some of these methods include:


Meditation can take many forms, but essentially, it involves quieting the mind and facilitating tranquility. A common technique is to concentrate on a word, feeling or an image until the mind slows.

Yoga and Pilates:

Both yoga and Pilates are forms of physical meditation exercises that can lead to decreased tension, increased flexibility and full body strengthening.


Physical manipulation of tissue and muscle can reduce muscle tension and decrease your stress level.

Guided Imagery:

Relaxation is achieved by using your imagination to recreate and enjoy a pleasant situation. Your body reacts to these imagined scenes almost as if they were real.


Biofeedback is a technique that is often used for relaxation by using your thoughts to control your body.


Many people suspect that their tinnitus is loudest when they are in bed while trying to get to sleep. However, the actual loudness of tinnitus does not vary much during the day. Tinnitus can seem more intense at bedtime because there is less environmental noise to cover up the tinnitus.

In addition to reducing stress overall, good sleep habits, such as avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, or sticking to a regular sleep schedule, can improve sleep and reduce tinnitus. Many people also find it helpful to use a sound machine or download a sound therapy app they can listen to that masks the tinnitus.

In addition to following these tips, you may benefit from wearing hearing aids, or if your tinnitus is more severe, an FDA-cleared sound therapy device.

To learn more about tinnitus, download our free e-book.

Call 913-403-0018 to schedule an appointment with our tinnitus specialist.