A good support network is important whether you have tinnitus or not, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone, or a group of people you can reach out to when you need them. Likewise being that support for someone else can help build powerful emotional connections and further empower your own wellness.
Support networks can require a give and take relationship and someone being there for you, will often mean you will need to be there for them too.
It can be difficult for those who haven’t experienced tinnitus to understand its effects, however empathy doesn’t require you to have been through something, to see the effect it is having on the other individual. It can be incredibly powerful just to be there to listen, non-judgementally and offer emotional support. You don’t have to have all the answers, know the cure or be a professional counsellor, you can just be there.
The first great challenge to discussing tinnitus is that most people with the condition don’t want to talk about it!
It’s completely normal for your focus to turn back to your tinnitus once it comes up in conversation and your perception of it to then go up. However, as with any problem that gets ignored or pushed under the rug, it is unlikely to ever get better when it is just left there.
It can also be difficult to discuss tinnitus with those who are not able to comprehend its impact. Not everyone can do this and that is ok, because there are plenty of people out there who do understand or can empathise well with what you are going through.
If you are struggling, it’s important that you reach out to your doctor and seek support from professionals. You may be referred to an ENT consultant, audiologist or hearing therapist, who can all provide clinical information and support in the early stages.
Since many do not have a physical or treatable cause to their tinnitus, it is important that you learn the techniques and best practices to self-manage the condition on an ongoing basis, this is an empowering step on the road to wellness.
The medical systems around the world are not ideally set up for the regular interactions you may seek with a condition like tinnitus, so your support network becomes important to fill in those gaps.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone in your friends or family, or you do not want to burden them, then you will likely be able to find support groups in your location.
T-Minus host monthly zoom calls to chat with others going through the condition, to share wisdom and an hour of positivity. These can be a fantastic opportunity to share, unload or just be around others who are going through the same thing as you.
Head to our Events Page to book on to the next call.
I absolutely loved attending my first meeting tonight! Very helpful and friendly! Thank you 👏
Thanks for that Rupert, was struggling with a spike and just listening to everyone talking calmed me down
If you are in the UK, you can find a local support group near you via the British Tinnitus Association website.
When someone comes to you for help, it can be easy to be dismissive, or to just offer a sympathetic view point, trying to find positives that outweigh their negatives. Usually if someone is suffering then this isn’t what they need.
Instead, the most effective course of action should be to listen unjudgementally to where they are in that moment, try to understand from their perspective rather than approaching it from your own. It is also ok to tell someone in your network that this is what you need on occasion.
Below is an award winning short animation from The RSA that outlines the difference between listening sympathetically and listening empathetically.