Traveling With Tinnitus
This is the time of year where many of us have travel plans. For someone with tinnitus or chronic ringing/buzzing of the ears there are specific concerns related to travel so as to not make your situation worse.
Over the years I have been a volunteer for the American Tinnitus Association, organizing support meetings and make myself available to offer coping tips to those in need. Generally the advice is to protect yourself without becoming prisoner to your symptoms. In other words, live your life around your life and not the tinnitus.
For example, if you enjoy rock concerts or riding motorcycles go ahead and do so but make sure you wear adequate hearing protection.
Another potential trigger for a tinnitus flare-up is flying due to the changes in barometric pressure. Some ENT's suggest using decongestants to make sure your Eustachian tubes are open and there also pressure equalizing earplugs you may wish to consider using.
Recently I received a note from someone who connected with me previously for advice regarding travel and tinnitus and she agreed to let me share the contents with you.
I wrote to you a few months ago regarding my concern about flying with Tinnitus. While I still haven't been brave enough to step on a airplane, I did decide to go on a cruise. I was really concerned about how the wind on the boat might affect my Tinnitus. Also, I have mild hyperacusis and as a result, I don't enjoy being in loud places.
I am happy to report that I had a great time. The wind on the ship didn't bother me at all. I chose a cabin that was on a floor with cabins above it and below it, so it was very quiet. Some of the entertainment was ear piercingly loud, including the main swimming pool during the day, so I either stayed away or just kept waking thru those venues on the ship. I also carried ear plugs in my pocket, just in case. While there were things I wasn't able to attend, I didn't feel the least bit deprived. Instead, I celebrated the fact that I could go and do most things on the ship. I even went on a glass bottom boat excursion! But, ear plugs during the muster (evacuation) drill were a must!
I wanted to pass this on to you because I'm sure there are others with Tinnitus and hyperacusis that have wondered about cruising and how it might affect them. I really saw little to no difference in my Tinnitus during the cruise. It also probably helped that I was busy focusing on my vacation, not on my Tinnitus. I had a very successful cruise, and hope I get the opportunity to go again.
I believe the takeaway from this is that you got to take some calculated risks along with some prudent preparation and go out and enjoy yourself as she did, you might be pleasantly surprised. Have a great summer!
P.S. I have some free self-help resources on my Tinnitus NJ Help page you may wish to check out. If you feel you may benefit from more intensive private sessions, they are available too. You can connect by calling (732) 714-7040 or filling out the Life Enhancement Strategy Form and I will get back to you ASAP.