Master Hypnotist Bret Freeman was a guest speaker at our recent Tinnitus Support Group event and has written us an article, “Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy,” about how hypnotherapy can help tinnitus. Read the article below, where you’ll also see Bret has a special offer for Help in Hearing clients.
Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy
For many, tinnitus can be a tricky thing. That constant sound that only you can hear and seems to come from nowhere, the whining, rattling, humming, buzzing or however it manifests itself to you. It’s tricky because the more you talk about it the worse it seems to get (so, I assume by reading this article you are aware of that sound right now)
I have had many people in my hypnotherapy practice achieve good results as a result of our sessions. The thing with tinnitus is that it is entirely a personal experience and is different for everyone. My clients have described the sound in a variety of ways, a variety of intensities and a variety of locations in their heads. For some it is like constant a rattling of chains in the right side and front part of their head, for others it is a high pitched whistle that seems to be coming from the back left, and I have heard many other descriptions. How about you? Have you ever tried to place your tinnitus? Where is it in your head? Left, right, centre? Front, middle, back? High or low? This is often one of the first techniques I use with my clients, because once it is identified, we can begin to manipulate it.
Tinnitus is a personal experience
In my experience, tinnitus usually responds very well to hypnotherapy. This is primarily because tinnitus is such a personal experience. In much the same way, hypnotherapy is also a very personal experience. By understanding the client, the circumstances and triggers around the tinnitus, and how to apply a variety of tools and techniques, my clients have been able to turn down the volume, change the intensity and move location of the sounds in their heads.
The mind magnifies what it focuses on
The fundamentals of how hypnosis can help tinnitus sufferers manage their symptoms have to do with helping the unconscious mind learn to tune out the noise associated with tinnitus. There are noises all day long that we simply do not pay attention to. Much like when you are at a dinner party and there are several conversations around the table, you are tuned into the conversation you are having and not the others, even though they are taking place in close proximity. There are traffic noises, birds singing, noises associated with household appliances and many others that we “hear but don’t pay attention to” all day long. We simply tune these noises out because they are unimportant on irrelevant to us. We tend to place all of these sounds in the “hear but don’t pay attention category”. This is why the more we think about tinnitus the more tinnitus is present, subconsciously, it becomes an “important” noise (the mind magnifies what it focuses on). With all of this in mind, one of the aims of hypnosis can be to move the tinnitus associated sound into the “hear but don’t pay attention” category.
Subconsciously, our brains form habits. These habits control things like our internal state, our reactions to certain stimuli etc… The thing is, we all create a set of “default” habits, or behaviours and for some, tinnitus becomes the default. This is one of the reasons it may be more prevalent during certain times of the day (i.e. at bedtime). Settling into habits requires less work than to break these habits and because for the most part, the human brain is a lazy organ, it will always choose the path of least resistance.
Communicate directly with the unconscious mind
We all have a conscious and subconscious mind. These two parts of our minds are separated by what is known as the critical faculty. This is essentially the “boundary” between these two parts. The critical faculty compares everything we see and everything we experience with our own internal existing knowledge base (which includes our self-beliefs, limitations and challenges we face). If the experience doesn’t fit within the confines of our knowledge base, we dismiss it and label that thing as inaccurate. This is partially why hypnosis is so effective with tinnitus. Hypnosis allows the hypnotist to communicate directly with the unconscious mind of the subject and by bypassing the critical faculty allows new learnings and behaviours to be adopted. Many of my clients (particularly the clients that suffer from depression and/or anxiety) tell me that they notice behaviour changes in themselves and are able to deal with situations in very different, more constructive ways than they use to as a result of our sessions. The same holds true for smoking cessation. By bypassing the critical faculty, new learnings and habits can be adopted and change old behaviours.
Hypnotherapy tools and techniques
The key to living with tinnitus is to learn to use the tools and techniques provided by the hypnotherapist to manage it. For some, simply changing the priority of the sound helps. For others, it is a change in the location, for others it is associating the sound with an object and moving that object off into the distance and for others it is dealing with sources of anxiety and stress.
Hypnotherapy, like tinnitus, is different for everyone and there are many tools and techniques available. The key is finding the right hypnotherapist, finding the right tools and techniques, and applying them effectively to your situation.
About Bret Freeman
Bret Freeman is an ABH certified Master Hypnotist, ABNLP Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and TLA Certified Master Time Line Therapist. He is a registered therapist with the Complimentary National Healthcare Council, Hypnotherapy Association, and General Hypnotherapy Register.
Taming tinnitus with hypnotherapy – where to find out more
A Brighter You is currently offering a Help in Hearing discount. Just mention Help in Hearing when you call or write to us for this special offer.