I’ve found that some activities help me focus less on my tinnitus, giving me some peace and quiet from the ringing in my ears. I would hope that some of these activities could also work for you.
Here are my top tips for distracting yourself from your tinnitus.
I’m fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the Scottish countryside. Whenever I leave my home I’m treated to splendid views, including rich bird life, horses, cows, sheep, hares and rabbits. There’s always something to see, whether it’s animals, the views, the rich tapestry of fields, the colourful wildflowers nodding their heads in the hedgerows. I give myself over to what I can see, smell and hear and I don’t think about my tinnitus at all.
When I’m playing with my dog, walking her or grooming her, she gets 100 percent of my attention, so there’s no room for my tinnitus to intrude. She makes me laugh at least once every day and she makes my heart melt even more frequently. Dogs just make life better!
I find reading to be an all-absorbing pastime, so when I’m reading, I’m not aware of my tinnitus. As a child, I was an avid reader, regularly devouring 4 to 8 books a week from our local library. I remember many times when my Mum would open my bedroom door way past my bedtime and find me still reading. I’d beseech her with cries of, “But I only have six pages left!” Or, “I’m nearly at the end of the chapter.”
I get this inability to leave chapters half-finished from my father. He too has to see books and films to the end. My Mum, on the other hand could leave a row of knitting half-finished and go to bed! I mean, who does that? Anyway, Mum mostly indulged my love of reading late into the night and as it was she who got me into reading in the first place, it’s easy to understand why she couldn’t find it in her heart to restrict me to ‘when’ was a good time to read.
I like to really lose myself in a book and on the rare occasion when I have the time, I like nothing more than to read a book from cover to cover in a day. It’s a day of total peace and quiet for me and the perfect way to relax.
Another pastime I’ve picked up from my parents is a love of gardening. I love visiting gardens, but I also enjoy working in the garden, dead-heading the flowers as they die off, or pottering around doing the odd bit of weeding or whatever. Last weekend, I was taking lots of cuttings and getting them planted and in the greenhouse where, over the next six to eight weeks, I’m hoping they’ll take root. All the time I was selecting where to make the cut, which leaves to remove, which pot to use, I was totally absorbed – and my tinnitus took a welcome backseat.
Over the past few years, adult colouring books has become a popular trend. Last year, I bought ‘Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book’ by Johanna Basford as a gift for a friend and I thought it looked so nice, I bought a copy for myself too. Since then, I’ve ‘colored in’ with felt-tip, coloured pencils, Caran d’ache water soluble pencils and event painted one with water colors. I enjoy the way the coloring relaxes me, but I do find that unless I have music playing in the background, I sometimes start to notice my tinnitus. It’s as though the coloring doesn’t quite occupy my mind enough. However, several of my friends with hearing loss say this type of art therapy does wonders for taking their minds off their tinnitus so, you might like to give it a try.