Tips & Remedies for Tinnitus Relief | Wellness Wednesday with Kris Carr

– Hey guys! Happy Wellness Wednesday! Welcome back. I missed you, we were away
for a couple of weeks, and today is a very big day because I have my first Wellness Wednesday
guest, my beloved husband Brian. – Hello. – (laughs) Welcome to the show, honey! – Oh, it's great to be here. – You know, you're
usually behind the scenes, you edit things after the fact, but now you're in front of the camera. How does that feel? – Um, I'll go back over there. (both laugh) – Well, we are excited to have you, and we've got a really
important topic today. And, many of you know that I have been talking about this for a few months, now. We're talking about relief for tinnitus, also known as tinnitus.

And, a few months ago, I
started to share that Brian has gone through his
own tinnitus experience, which he's still experiencing,
going through now. And, he's here to share a
ton of information with us, because, like everything we
do, we roll up our sleeves, we do the research, and then we try to share
as much of it with you. Because, what we learned, and all this is really led by Brian, is that so many people
are dealing with tinnitus. What are some of the
statistics that we discovered? – Well, yeah, it is extremely common, about 50 million Americans
have some form of tinnitus, so that's about one in six, one in five, something like that. And, it's actually the number one issue for vets, at the VA.

You know, because of their
exposure to loud sounds, and things like that. So, it's a problem, and leads
to a lot of other issues. A lot of people cope with severe tinnitus with substance abuse,
and things like that, so. It could be, um– – It can be very debilitating.
– Yeah. – And, today I'm going to talk about ways for you to manage it, if
you're experiencing it, and obviously we are a community,
we are stronger together, so if you guys have some
information and some resources, if you've been dealing with tinnitus.

Many people know it as
tinnitus, ringing of the ears. If you've been dealing with that, and you've found some ways to manage it, we definitely want you to share because so many people watch this show and so many people read the comments, and, again, you're just
as wise as we are, so, definitely make sure to
join the conversation. So, let's take a step back, and talk about how it started for you.

– Well, I've had ringing
in my ear for decades, but it was extremely mellow, like, hardly ever noticed it. Every once in a while, and
I'd be in a very silent room, I'd say like, "Wow, this is really loud!" You know? But it never bothered me.
– Mm-hmm. – Didn't think much of it. I was a drummer, and I
rode motorcycles, so I had a double-whammy in terms
of exposure to loud sounds. But then, a couple of
months ago, I was traveling, and hardly getting any
sleep, it was stressful, I was getting, like,
two, three hours a night for almost a week straight. And, um, I just got off
the plane coming back home, I was ragged, and then the
next day, (snaps) boom! Just, really hit.

– Yeah. – And it hasn't gone away since, so. – But, you've gone from having. We're going to take a
step back in a minute and talk about what it
is, but, since we're here, you went from having pretty
severe panic attacks? – Mm-hmm. – Which were really scary. – Mm-hmm. – To where it's just, kind of, I don't want to say normal, because, I think that would might be– – Well, no, it does get normalized. That's the whole goal, right, yeah. Um, yeah, so before we talk
about, actually, what it is.

Anxiety, and panic attacks, and, um, fear and claustrophobia, those are extremely common
initial reactions to tinnitus, and you can imagine why,
those of you out there who experience this know
exactly what I'm talking about. Like, there's nothing more personal than something going on
inside your own head, that you can't get away from. It's terrifying.

So, that was my initial experience, until, started to uncover some,
uh, some coping tools. Some relief processes, so. – Which we'll talk about in a minute, but let's take a step back for the people who don't know what it is. I know some people are like, "What is it?" But I'm already seeing comments where so many of you do know what it is, and you're already sharing
things that help you. But, for the folks who
don't know what it is, can you tell us a little bit more? – Yeah, so basically,
in the broadest sense, tinnitus is a sound
that only you can hear. No one else can hear detect it. It's coming from inside your head, and so that's an important distinction, because it's actually not, when people say, "ringing in your ears", it's actually not coming from your ears, it's coming from your brain. And, so, they don't
know that much about it, and they certainly don't
know how to cure it. And, I want to make a distinction
right now, between, like, chronic tinnitus, and some other forms of short term ringing in the ears.

So, if anybody's had a recent onset, I would definitely go to a
doctor, get your ears checked, because it could be just an
infection where, you know, people who get clogged sinuses and things, that could cause ringing, and stuff, but. Um, and, other people, uh,
I don't want to say no cure, there's lots of people out there who anecdotally have tried so many things, and get relief in different kinds of ways. But, for a huge number of
people, chronic tinnitus is something going on
neurologically in the brain, they're starting to understand why, but they don't quite know how to crack it. So, basically, what they think it is, is these little tiny hairs
in the inner ear get brittle and broken through noise
exposure, through age, and also through exposure to some drugs you have to be careful of, so don't overdo the NSAIDs, the things like Advil
and things like that.

Those can contribute,
and if you have tinnitus, try to stay away from those. – Yeah, like when you,
let's just talk about that, when you have a headache,
you used to go for Advil, but now you'll go for, you know, if you really need something,
you'll go for Tylenol. – Yeah, and I haven't really been– – Yeah.
– Doing much of anything. But, and also, some chemotherapies, and actually, there's
a few antibiotics that are known to be very bad for. But, not that many of them,
so don't panic about it. I'd definitely look into it, though. So, um, those are causal, but
they're also exacerabators if you already have it, so. There's other things, there
can be head and neck injuries, things like that. But for chronic, um, tinnitus, it's sort of like a phantom limb syndrome, where there's this, those
little hairs get broken, and they're not sending
the electrical signal to the auditory part
of the brain any more, so your brain's just sitting there wired and ready to do all that, and it's just making up–
– Waiting.

– Yeah, and so it's just
making up the sounds that it's expecting to get. And, so, it's just gone a
little haywire, so it's, um. So, that's kind of what it is, um… – So, in the early stages,
when you were going through the panic attacks, we're gonna talk about a couple of things that really helped you, and then we're gonna talk about what really took it to the next level.

So, first and foremost, it
was sharing your feelings. You know, we would stop, I
could see it coming over him, because panic attacks are
something that I've dealt with, on and off my whole life. And, we would sit there,
and we would be together, and we would just dive in. We used tapping, and so,
I would either lead you through a tapping
meditation, or you would go, and listen to our friend Nick
Ortner's, um, tapping app. And then, Nick created a
special tapping meditation just for you, but then he
shared it with everybody else, because we–
– It's great. – It was amazing, so, that
helped an enormous amount. You also were working
with an EMDR practitioner. – Right, won't go too far
into all that right now but that was really great. If anybody knows anything about it, it's sort of like this back and forth retrain the brain thing. But actually what I
found even more valuable was that when we were working together she helped me with some
very, very specific visualizations for a positive experience but also the negative experience about when my panic
attacks were happening.

So I've referred back to those. I have a little transcript. She kind of got my relaxed
and talked me through. So it's kind of like what
all of your six senses are experiences in your
moment of total bliss. So that's really, really helpful. But that's not necessarily,
I guess, EMDR per say. – Yeah, but these are all
things in the early stages and honestly, some people may find benefit to these suggestions regardless of whether it's about tinnitus or not because those of you who
live with chronic illness or you're going through a
really tough time right now, the most important thing
is to take the stress down around the experience.

That's something we talk about all the time on Wellness Wednesday. And so I'm gonna hit one more thing and then we'll talk about Bruce. We just share everything here with you because we love you and
we'd wanna help you. But you started to see my therapist and a big part of it was to deal with the stress and the grief and all of the emotions
that were coming up and I think that was a massive part of your early relief, let's say.

– Mm-hmm, yeah. – Go, Carol. Go, Carol. – Yeah, at the beginning
I was just desperate. I'm not the biggest
self-help seeker out there. – I am.
– But when this kicked in, I was just like, "I'll take it all." – "I'll take it all." I was like, "And I'll dump it all on you." – Well I thought I was gonna go insane, you know?
– I know you did.

– So that was the thing and I'm sure you guys can relate to that
if you're experiencing it. So, some of what you just
said is a perfect segue into what I think is for me the most important part
of living with tinnitus and that is cognitive behavioral
therapy and habituation. So cognitive behavioral
therapy in a general sense and sorry for those of
you who are practitioners, I may butcher the definition here.

But it's a talk therapy that
works on very specific issues like, say, a phobia and highlights negative feelings and tries to transform
those and build a framework for how to cope better. – I think you're doing a good job. And we found, well, you
know, I was panicked doing research, he was doing research, and we found this incredible practitioner, do you wanna share information about him? And we have it in the notes
in the description too.

– Doctor Bruce Hubbard, he's a cognitive behavioral therapist who also has been dealing
with his own tinnitus for three decades or so so he's seems like the go-to guy and he has tons of great material. There's a webinar on his site and you can contact him and work with him and get a ton more. I have a bunch of worksheets I've gotten through working with him
and they're really great for just working your way through these, what is this negative thought I'm having? Let me try to understand, like, how rational and real is that? And you basically work your way through this recovery statement in any given moment when the
stress starts to kick in.

But, anyway, the whole basic concept is, again, presuming there isn't a cure, what you're trying to do is
make a distinction for yourself between experiencing
the symptoms, the sound, and your (coughs), pardon me, and your emotional reaction to the sound. Most people think of
them as one in the same. Anybody who's ever dealt
with pain management, it's like, there's pain
and then there's how I'm feeling about it and
they're all part of one thing. So this is why, as you said, this cognitive behavioral
therapy approach to tinnitus, like you've said, just
take out the word tinnitus and put in anything else
you've ever dealt with and it's like the perfect framework for how to deal with anything, really. So, it's really important that you, that you work on your emotional reaction to the sounds you're experiencing.

And so over time, the goal is to habituate and so habituation is, we're
all habituated right now to tons of environmental stimuli, whether it's sights, sounds, right now there's crickets outside and there's the hum of our refrigerator but we're habituated to it. It's there, hasn't gone away,
but we're not focused on it and that's the goal.
– Meaning it's not in the forefront of our consciousness. – Right, right. And so that's the goal. And so, like, you consciousness
only has so much bandwidth for all the different inputs
it's getting from your senses. And so the important thing is to catch the negative feelings early if you're starting to
get a little panicky, and what you wanna do is try to have as neutral of an emotional response because that will help
the habituation process. It's basically telling the brain over and over, "This is not a threat," because the truth is tinnitus
is not life-threatening whereas, like, say pain, for example. Pain is probably an indicator
of something serious going on whereas tinnitus is, like, it's really just a phenomenon, right? And if you could train your
brain to just not care about it, I know that's easier said
than done and it's a process and it often takes anywhere
from 12 to 24 months to slowly habituate and you
have setbacks along the way.

And again, those setbacks
aren't necessarily how loud it seems or how
often I'm hearing it, it's how you're responding
to it emotionally. That's the key. So, if you're having a fear response, you get caught in a resistance loop. You're resisting it in some way and that actually reinforces the brain and keeps telling it, "This is a threat. "This is that tiger jumping out," you know, that's that sound. So again, you're trying to get the brain to habituate over time little by little and that's what a lot of
these little therapies are. – And that's what's helped
you working with Bruce, and again the link is in the comment. The comment and also in the
description of this show. And he works over Skype. But there's other therapists
who do CBT therapy so you can find somebody if you wanna work with them in person. And it's so funny because
you've had all of these different worksheets and exercises and like you said earlier, I've looked through them
and was reading them and I was like, "Oh, my goodness.

"I can slot in just about anything. "Cancer. "I can slot in anxiety." You know, things that I experience. It's something that we talk about a lot on our Wellness Wednesday
episodes together which is how can we be the creators of our thoughts, you know? We may not be able to
choose our first thought but we can choose our second thought. And I think that's what
habituation is about. How do you catch that thought before it, like, sinks into your tissues and turn it around and
choose a better thought and work your way up the
better thought ladder, as Abraham would say.

– Yeah. So in the case of the tinnitus, my particular thing is,
and again those of you who have it probably can relate to this, when it's hitting you hard, you just can't believe
it's ever not gonna be. You just feel like it's permanent,
it's forever, oh, my God. But you realize, wait, five minutes ago I didn't even experience it so you're constantly
working yourself through, well, if that's true in the past, what evidence do I have
that it's gonna be forever? And you go, "Oh, okay, I
guess that's really not true." So, um… – Let me just change, I got
a low battery sign here. I gotta plug in something.

Hi, we're just going to do
some tech stuff here today. But I wanna move on, while I plug that in, I wanna move on to sleep hygiene because sleep has been
so, so important for you and it was really difficult in the beginning with the sounds. So, while I plug that in,
tell me what you're doing. – Well, I had chronically bad sleep and it was really mostly
probably my fault. I wasn't very disciplined about all the things I knew I
was supposed to do, right? So, um… One of the– – I'm back, you took over
the show for a minute.

– Well, one of the things that I've done which is important for
habituation to tinnitus is to distract myself with other sounds while I'm sleeping. Nighttime is particularly
tough for people with tinnitus because that's when
everything quiets down. There's nothing else going
on and all of sudden, it's just like you in an empty room, staring at the ceiling
and a screaming sound. So I have been listening to audiobooks. Listening to, like, my favorite
Ken Burns documentaries, listening to nature sounds, listening to super mellow music. – Bilateral beats, is
that what it's called? – Yeah, playing around with, some of you may know
about the bilateral music which kind of shifts
slowly from side to side, it's supposed to reprogram your brain.

It's part of the EMDR thing
we were talking about earlier. – We're gonna do show and tell now. – Show and tell?
– Show them what you found. – All right, so this seems a little corny. – It's so amazing.
– I bought it on a little risk but it's been an absolute
lifesaver for me. And it's this headband
with these little, skinny headphones in them so that
you can sleep on your side and you don't even feel them. All right, because earbuds, no way. So here you go. There's little speakers in there. – Looking sexy, guy. – If I got the wired one, I'd
get all tangled up at night. – A little bit, not good. No you can stop that.
– They have a Bluetooth one but I haven't tried that out yet.

Anyway, I love it. – So you found those. You can take that off now. – Wait I wanna do, like, the little… The little beach hair. No, I don't have long enough hair. Anyway, we have link to, there's
a couple of brands of them, I just bought another brand
that I haven't tried yet. – You're testing out. You can be the spokesmodel
and spokesperson for these. – Yeah. – But sleep hygiene is so important and of course it's
something that we talk about here on Wellness Wednesday. Some of the things that we've done is we have got good curtains but we invested in blackout shades too and you've gt your
wonderful headphone there where you're listening to stuff like some of my favorite teachers, Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn, all of these
beautiful books on tape about mindfulness.
– Books on tape.

– Yeah.
– Yeah. Little cassette? – Well I think that band looked so 80s so I went back in time, I was like, "Hey, put my cassette in my Walkman." So that's helped you. We've also been using
aromatherapy which I adore because he comes over every night with a little bit on my side of the bed with a little lavender and he'll be like, "Are you ready for you lavender?" and I'm like, "Yes,
please, I'd love some." So that's helped. – Well my theory is if you can keep as many of your senses
stimulated as possible, it's that much less room
left over for the sounds. So it's like if I rub
lavender all over the place. – It's not quite like that. But it is quite lovely. But again, these are all of the things that can help you sleep better but also one of the things
that we have for you, and those of you who already have it, maybe you've tested it and
you wanna share about it. But what inspired us to
create the wellness tracker that we created for you
guys and have shared and we have it here if you
wanna grab it for free, it's what we use, you can go to or just click the link in this post.

We started to track our self-care and track our lifestyle more. Are we drinking enough water? You know, are you being mindful about your alcohol consumption? How much sleep are you getting? Are you exercising? All of the things that we
know are so, so important but when you're going
through a health crisis, when you spend more time
focusing on that self-care you are doing what? You are taking your stress down, you're boosting your immune system, you're boosting your overall resilience. And so that's where that came from. – Absolutely, if there's one thing that contributes to, like, I noticed a correlation between my stress and my ability to, what's the word I use? – Manage.
– Manage, there's another word I use all the time. But anyway, yeah, being able to handle it. – Okay, so we've talked about that. We talked about tapping, EMDR. With talked about Bruce. I'm just looking at some notes here because we have so much
information for you guys and you'll probably, maybe
you'll blog about this on some
time, will you come back? – Yes, I'd love to come back.

– Would you like to come back on the show? – Absolutely.
– Guys, give a thumbs up or some hearts or some, I
don't know, hand movements if you'd like to have
him come back on the show because there's so many
things that we can talk about. We can talk about love and relationships. We can talk about working together, what is it like to be husband and wife running a company together. There's so many things we can talk about. And you're game?
– It'll be great.

– Let's see if people want
to have you come back. Yep, they do. Okay, excellent. But before we talk about another episode, I wanna touch on a few other
thing that you've been doing that have certainly helped me too and that is exploring CBD, and also our being more conscious about
our media consumption. So let's talk about CBD first. – Okay, great but first I just wanna say, I wish you guys could see
all the Monarch butterflies that're hanging around our
hydrangeas and our bee balm right outside these windows. It's amazing.
– It's pretty amazing. – CBD, yeah. So, I've been experimenting
with it before bed, a little eye dropper of the tincture.

Massachusetts is legal so
I've been driving over there so I'm experimenting with some with a little bit of THC in it like a 10 to one, 20 to one, one to one. So, you know, it's very subtle so I haven't really settled
on what I think works but these are highly personal changes for everybody all the time so if you're gonna explore that, definitely, like, take your
time, play around with it.

– Let me ask you two questions about that. So with the CBD and with the CBD slash THC that you have been experimenting with, are you doing that for sleep? Are you doing that for anxiety? Like, what are you doing it for? – All of the above.
– All of the above. – Yeah, I don't really
take it during the day, I take it before bed. So, again, I've improved other
aspects of my sleep hygienes but I think it's helping. – I have been taking CBD more frequently and I'm gonna an episode on that if you guys want to hear more about that and what I'm taking and
it was inspired by you. We wrote a really amazing blog
about CBD many months ago, we did a big deep dive,
and I had been exploring it but not as consistently
as I explore other things. I've kinda been in and out. But in the last few weeks or so, I've been taking it everyday and I have seen a really
big difference in my anxiety and I just feel calmer,
I feel more grounded, I feel less anxious, less nervous.

You know, it's one of the reasons why I practice meditation. It's one of the reasons why we talk about mindfulness so much so it's something that I've had to work with for most of my life. And I'm seeing a big difference and that's as a result of
your practice using this. Okay, so let's also talk about, I'm seeing so many people
saying, "Yes, please, CBD." And we'll cruise through
the comments before we wrap. Let's talk about conscious
media consumption. – Big one, big one. I don't know about you guys but we're…

We were news junkies. Current events, keeping up on
what's going on in the world getting all wound up and upset about it. Sometimes in the morning, like, we'd look back and, say, the
first 45 minutes of our morning was like all pissed off about something that was happening half
way round the world. So, my personal addiction to all that, I just flushed it all down the toilet the minute this all happened to me. I just barely do a
cruise by, dip my toe in. So I have a really healthy
relationship to that now and honestly, I, probably
almost more than anything, it's like really noticeable for me what kind of stress it all gives me and it's hard because you feel like it's your duty to stay informed but you have to find that balance. Especially in today's world, it's pretty toxic out there, so. – I would say the same
thing with the types of TV shows we were watching,
especially in the beginning, like, violence, anything like that was something that we stayed away from. And overall, we've really
reduced our media consumption.

– I'm just laughing because you're– – What? – Well, a little known secret
is she likes scary movies but you've been a little
chicken about them lately. – I'm always chicken about
them but I still like them. – Scary movies.
– 'Cause they're scary. – Creepy kids in the ad
looking out the window. And spies with things blowing up. – I mean, you are the
one with the good taste. I'm basically a teenage boy. Let's just be clear. You're the cinema guy and I'm not. So it's more so that he
hasn't been watchIng, we haven't been watching
the shit I wanna watch which is actually quite good. (laughing) Here we go. This is awesome. Okay, so as we head into
the home stretch here, let's get soulful, baby.

– Mm-hmm. – Tell me about something
that's been a positive that's come from this difficult situation. – Well I think, um, really
understanding a new, a new way of understanding what
acceptance means, you know? One of the first things I
did was the serenity prayer, I cut that out and put it on my wall because it just says everything about a situation like tinnitus. And also, like, really learning about this whole fight or flight response and really tuning in much, much better to the kinds of feelings, like, way earlier than I ever used to. The kind of unconsciousness, things that would be going on underneath. Now being able to identify some
of the physiological things that start to happen, right?
– Yeah.

– Get a little sweaty, whatever. Everybody's got their
of different response, butterflies in your stomach.
– Your body tells you. – Your heart rate, start breathing. Your body's trying to say– – Messages. – Yeah.
– Yeah. – And so, like, tapping into all that and, you know, that's really been. And again, like we were saying earlier, just stress really seemed, for me, I now have something that, a challenge for me that
is pegged to stress and I can watch it actually
ride the same wave. Which I've never had until now, so. So overall, really making some really positive changes in life. – I think that any chronic condition helps us if we allow it to. It helps us be mindful. And if you're going through something, well, let me just say, if you're going through something that's exacerbated by stress
then stress is your teacher but now I will also say that we are all going through something
that's exacerbated by stress so stress is our teacher.

And when we feel those feelings, when we have those whispers from our body or the roars from our
body or our intuition, that is a sign to tune in and to listen and I have seen you do
that in such a big way and it's been really inspiring to witness and I think that it's also inspired me because that's what we do for each other when you have a partner or a friend or somebody you're really
close to in your life, it's all about growth. Life is growing.

And if you're growing
together, you're gonna go far. And so with your growth, I
could see myself growing more. And our relationship grew in a big way and still continues to grow in a large way 'cause I'm the talker, I'm the one, "I'm feeling things and
I wanna explore," right? "I have feelings." And you were less about
sharing all of your feelings and now I think you're
just far more receptive to sharing what's going on because you know what we talk– (laughing) He's embarrassed now. What we stuff, right? Those issues in our
tissues create more stress and make it difficult
for us to be resilient. So I wanna applaud you for that. You sharing your feelings
has brought us so much closer and given me permission
to share even more. (laughing) – What can I say? – I know. – We'll save my feelings for another. – I know it's embarrassing.

There's a lot of people
watching but, you know, it's good that you're talking, well, that I'm telling you that
he shares his feelings more. All right, let's check in with you guys. Oh, my goodness. So many wonderful comments,
so much love for Brian. Thank you so much, guys. I think that this is a big topic so clearly there's gonna
be a lot of conversation.

I'm gonna go back to it all after we wrap. Some folks have talked about hypnosis. It's not something that you've explored but something we were looking at. – We talked about that, yep. – Because we thought that
that would be quite helpful along with all these, I think that it's in the same vein, right? So that's not something
that we've explored but maybe some of the folks here– – Totally open to that, yeah.
– Have. And then, "Love the dude energy." Daniel, right, you were
waiting for some dude energy and here it is.
– Ugh, Daniel, where have you been?
(laughter) – Meg says we're so loving to each other, it's very nice to see.

Yes, we try. – There is no try. – There's only do. "No media at all?" says Dawn, I love that. She streams NCIS. "Okay," she says, "One thing." Anxiety is not good for tinnitus, right. Do you start your day like that? Let's see. Maria wants to hear, Lisa
wants to hear more about CBD. A lot of folks wanna hear
more about CBD which we'll do.

I feel like I saw, I can't find them now because there's so many comments, but I feel like I had seen some
comments about vitamin B12. So, like I said, share
what's working for you. Though you're four months in, you're still at the top of
your journey in a lot of ways. We'll circle back with you
guys and we're gonna wrap now. Make sure you get the
wellness tracker like I said, it was inspired by this experience. It's something we both use and it's something that we made
for you for free as a gift. The link is in the description, you could also go to We hope that you enjoyed this episode and that you got a lot out of it.

Will you come back?
– I will. – Wonderful. I'm just circling back, I wanna make sure. A lot of people witnessing. And thanks so much for
being on the show, honey. – It was great and I hope
anything we talked about may have helped, there's hope for anybody who has
been struggling with it. – There's always hope. – That's right so keep it up. – I love you. – I love you. – We love you too! Have a great day everybody.
– And scene. – Bye!.

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