Tinnitus and swimming: Hi there, I've... - British Tinnitus ...

British Tinnitus Association
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Tinnitus and swimming


Hi there, I've had tinnitus since April 2017 in my left ear. I did notice it after self syringing my ear. I visited the GP who referred me to Lewisham ear nose and throat department - afraid I found them useless, went back to the GP, and asked to be referred to the Royal Throat, Nose Ear hospital at King's Cross - they were excellent, sent me for an MRI - all good there. I was prescribed hearing aids, which I find do make a difference, as I'm finding with the tinnitus, I'm also suffering hearing loss. I'm ok in quite situations, but in the street, and loud noises, I'm finding my speech to others is muted slightly.

The TNE hospital also provide a meditation, mindfulness group, that is one day a week for 8 weeks. I've put my name down for that, so we'll see..

Anyway, the main point of this post - is that I swim a lot, and when underwater with ear plugs, I notice my tinnitus disappears, I have total silence? Just wonder why this is,. as if it's from the brain, then surly I should still hear it?

On another note, I do find playing natural noise at night helps, I have Alexa, and ask her to play natural sounds in the rainforest. However I have to be careful now - as on a couple of night, I've been woken up at 2am, thinking I'm in the bloody forest, after hearing the shriek of a cockatoo!!!!!!

I do notice my tinnitus every day, and sometimes it is unbearable, but I find that treating it with humour and trying to remain calm - helps - easier said than done I know.

I'm in London SE1 area, and if anyone local wants to get in touch, maybe we can help each others with tips etc.


23 Replies

Morning Dan,

What an interesting post , which I was drawn to when I read 'swimming ' .

I have a constant battle with tinnitus and hearing loss ,but definitely attitude/mindset is the road to survival. When I pluck up the courage to swim again ( have been waiting for hole to heal on eardrum) I will endeavor

to experiment with the underwater test .

I also play mindful sounds on the iPod to help me sleep , ( I get what you mean about the bird in the forest 😉) the other night I had rain sounds ,I woke in the night so excited thinking it was actually raining ...fool !!

Best of luck ,and thanks for the uplifting read .

Regards Sandy

Thank you Sandy, I hope when you get into water, you have some relief

Hi Dan, I got a similar tinnitus since 9 months and I also notice that when I swim, I hardly hear it. Sometimes not even hear it. I think water has a calming effect. My TRT audiologist advised me first to take frequents baths and it helped. I dont waar hearing aids, but play Amazon nature/whitenoise on my smartphone 24/7....I Did neuromodulation in the Antwerp University hospital in Belgium. It Did Not lower the loudness, but I have now more calmer moments.

Take care,

Ivan Milliau

Thank you Ivan, very interesting regarding your water experience...

Very helpful ive been refered to see an ENT on the 10th of August cant wait. Thanks for sharing. Dee

All the best for the 10th Dee

Hi, Thanks so much for posting, it is nice to hear from someone who is suffering but keeping their sense of humour, It can be tough! 😊 But I had a thought about the swimming... My doctor said that our ears are exceptionally sensitive to pressure change, so I wonder if there is something in that? I will be going underwater asap to test the theory!

Hi Dan very interesting post,thank you.I love swimming and body boarding.I have had tinnitus for 10 years,probably occupational all the banging and drilling having been a builder now retired.

I habituated quite well to my original tinnitus and carried on my life as usual.3 years ago i developed pulsatile tinnitus that is so loud and intrusive,it has pretty much destroyed a normal life for me,every day is like waking up in a torture chamber.

I try to get back to doing everything i was and would love to get back swimming.I wear hearing aids.

I wonder if you could recommend the ear plugs you use.My ears tend to wax up very quickly so i try to avoid getting water in them.

Thanks Eddie

in reply to Lioned

Hello Eddie,

I stopped using wax earplugs, as I felt sometimes the residue from the wax, could enter my ear...

I use the blue rib shaped ones from Boots - but basically any earplugs apart from wax should be ok -even the silicone clear ones... the key for me, is swimming a little fully underwater - the tinnitus seems so stop... Ver odd...

Good luck Eddie, the pulsating you mention sounds horrendous - I’m so sorry...


I've had tinnitus for 4 yrs now. Started as chirping in one ear, then a solid ring, then to the other ear. I'm considering hearing aids because it's getting unbearable at times. I find relief with this notch therapy. I use it at work sometimes when I am alone in my office and at night and it helps alot. I also swim and experience the same reduction in sound. Swimming is very calming to me and therapeutic. Sometimes I wonder why we dont see stories of people jabbing their ears out because I consider myself a pretty stable person and its intolerable at times. No one in my family understands how loud it is. Here is a link to the notch therapy.


in reply to cmowen

Hey there,

Thanks for the message...

I can only image what it’s like to have it in both ears - I’m so sorry for you...

Mine is now coming up to two years, and thankfully only in the left - thanks for the tinnitus notch link....I will look into it....

Anyway, just off for a swim now - take care, and hope you have a good day ahead.... Dan

Hey Dan. I was drawn to your underwater claim. Was watching a movie wherein the one of the show's characters claimed the same effect — googled the subject and there you were. I'm going to have to explore this. I think that Becaboo22 is on to something with her theory about air pressure, sounds logical. When I first developed my tinnitus, it literally happened over night. Woke up the that morning and there it was! A pulsating constant ring! I thought I was going to go mad to the point that it brought on a panic attack, which thankfully has not appeared again. What really saved me (and my sanity) was a trip to my sister's place in the desert in Arizona. It just so happened that they were experiencing more wind than usual for that time of year and it was constant. It never let up for a moment. Because it was sunny I spent all of my time outside and the wind was constantly whooshing through my ear canal. After a couple of days I didn't hear the tinnitus nearly as much when inside, and outside in the wind I would forget about it completely. It's been about 4 years now and although it does bug me, I have learned to accept it (this is key), and of course, can't wait to get back to Arizona every year! Also, along the same line of thought, I took up bicycling wherein I experience the same relief, due not only to the wind in my ears while riding, but also the intense exercise as well. Consequently, I may have tinnitus, but I'm in better shape than I have ever been in! Hang in there Dan. Acceptance is the cure. Best!

What a great email Tinitistic, thank you - would you remember the film you mention?

Have a great weekend....

Yes, it's a series on Netflix called The OA. Interesting multidimensional travel / suspense plot. There isn't a lot of time spent on the tinnitus subject, just used in passing conversation. So, Studios222 . . . are you a designer?

in reply to Tinitistic

I am watching The OA right now this minute. When the lady said sittting at the bottom of the pool can relieve tinnitus I googled it and landed here. Although it does not appear to be a thing as there are no other google hits.

in reply to Gjones88

Hey Dan and Tinitistic .. I am watching OA now and googled the pool thing and that's how I landed here too. I've had tinnitus for about 30 years now. I'm 51. I've done the rounds. There's no cure, and very little effective help for tinnitus. Argh. I have the extremely loud one now. Profound hearing loss on the top range. Hearing aids are in my future (in 2 weeks actually). Ive avoided them for a decade. Honestly though, I very rarely let it get to me. I ignore it. I don't even tell people I have it. Bit just every now and then I wish I could hear silence again. Or soft Birdsong. But... In the grand scheme of rubbish things that happen to our bodies.. Guess it could be worse. I once learned a meditation technique. It helps. "Listen for the quiet underneath the ringing" ..I cant explain how it works. Maybe it's a focus thing? When it sometimes gets too much, I listen for the quiet underneath".

Thanks for sharing you guys... I needed to connect somewhere, somehow today... I'm in Australia or id join the coffee for tinnitus club 🙂

No, not a designer - thanks for the info. will look out for it....



I have had same experience with tinnitus essentially disappearing when I’m submerged in water! I was trying to look into why, and found this post. I had an air horn discharged near my left ear four years ago and struggled with no medical treatment being helpful. I found Veterans ‘ Administration technique of meditating and focusing on ringing somewhat helpful. (Used for GI’s exposed to mortar/shelling noise) I wanted to know why this happens in water, since I have been told it’s a cognitive distortion/therapy issue... I am glad someone else is out there with similar experience (although do not want people to know how maddening it can be) Thanks for posting!

in reply to Hidden

Hello Amber,

So sorry to hear of your experience - regarding the air horn - horrible experience no doubt ...

I will look into the veterans administration technique for meditating...

Yes, swimming is the only time I experience total quite, under water - very odd indeed

I tried going under in the bath, but it doesn’t produce the same results...

Anyway, glad you’re finding swimming helpful...

Enjoy the rest of your day...



I think some ringing or tinnitus is like an echoe from whats outside vibration"" wise so it relies on the air to carry. Water has a different acoustic so will not resonnate to skull ears blood brain inner tissues in same way. Ive noticed acute inner ronging in certain rooms of a building and not others. I believe it reflects higher acoustics due to internal walls concrete pipes etc metallic elements through air. It soinds complex bit really its a case of a kind of audio channel. Like a radio reveiver picking up certain frequencies which resonnate then through the structures of ear or head!!! So underwater will not carry sound in that way....!! A bath is close to the container which is surrounded by air and will be an amplifier in a different way...its a different setting. I get a sense my auditory experiences do correspond to externals but i guess theres different kinds of audio acuity and tinnitus. P.s.I think chlorine may exacerbate my sensitivity to certain sound phenomena... it is an irritant afterall.

I have also noticed my tinnitus disappears when I swim under water . Have to go about 1 meter down before it goes . I am wondering if pressure has anything to do with it .

I think that's possible. The eustachian tubes do the job of balancing pressure behind the ear drum. I read about this when I began having interesting 'hollow' sensations in my left ear. Info is available online: search 'eustachian tubes balancing ear pressure' and read on with a cup of tea. An olbas oil steam session (basin, hot water, a few drops of olbas oil in water and towel over head) for 10 mins each day is thought to help relieve a mucus blockage problem.

Also, it's recommended to drink water regularly; the swallowing action is beneficial - and hydration is a good thing in itself.

Bear in mind though; swimming can sometimes cause ear problems...…..

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