Tinnitus worse after driving - British Tinnitus ...

British Tinnitus Association

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Tinnitus worse after driving


Went to the coast last Mon/Tue driving in total about 200 miles in the 2 days, not drove that long in the last 6 months and since coming home my Tinnitus as got a lot worse, what ever I do unable to take my mind off my Tinnitus. As anyone else experienced this?

11 Replies

Hello bantams and I’m sorry your T has got worse. That’s the thing about T - it can change! Driving that sort of distance can be stressful in such a short time, and we do know, don’t we, that stress make the T worse. Which makes the stress worse. And so it goes on.

So we’ve got to find a way to reduce the anxiety and to habituate ourselves to this horrible noise,

Personally I find guided breathing very helpful. Concentrate on your breath, feeling it go in and out, and when intrusive thoughts come into your head (as they inevitably will) quietly tell them to go away. Just doing this for two minutes will be helpful. Personally I do this outside if I can, with the noise of birds and trees, and I take a timer (Like on your phone?) so that my mind isn’t constantly worrying whether I’ve had my two minutes. I also do this to help me sleep. If you can tell your mind that it can have this kind of peace and tranquillity at any convenient time of day or night, it can quieten things down.

The road noise/vibrations sometimes aggrevates my tinnitus, especially on a long journey

bantams in reply to daverussell

Hi Dave, Thanks for your reply, next time I drive for long period I am going to try some earplugs, just hoping and trying to get my T back to a lower level. Going to try Happyrosie `s tips today, Alan

daverussell in reply to bantams

As Happyrosie says, it's about habituation. An unusual situation/noise may trigger your tinnitus.

Good luck!

Hi Bantams, my tinnitus gets so much louder when I am driving. I believe that this is from the "hyper alertness" that I feel while driving, driving is usually not a relaxing experience. When I'm a passenger in a car I don't experience an increase in tinnitus.

I agree with the comments made in the previous posts. Driving these days undoubtedly increases our stress level and as we know, stress ramps up the tinnitus level. I hope things calm down for you soon.

I experience this when in a car. It takes about a day for the tinnitus spike to decrease after even a short drive. If you have to be in a car I suggest wearing noise cancelling headphones with or without a very low podcast in the background. No music. As that itself can cause a spike.

Wishing you better drives in future and strength to get through your tinnitus spike. It is important to remember that spikes end and in the meantime listen to something calming low in your environment. To avoid focusing on the spike. Which will just stress you more. As I'm sure you know.

I experience the same thing after driving, even short distances. I don't think it's due to stress; I think it has something to do with all the sounds associated with driving, such as the engine, tires on pavement, interior fans and vents, braking, wind, radio, other traffic, and hearing some or all of this while enclosed in a small space where the surfaces are reflecting and amplifying the sounds and vibrations back at you. Maybe there are certain pitches, tones, or harmonics involved in these sounds that exacerbate tinnitus. Wish we had answers.

Hi, Bantams,

Anything physically or mentally demanding can be exhausting and stressful which can make tinnitus seem worse. Just think of the positives - you can clearly drive a car and over long distances and, no doubt, you were probably able to complete your tasks before and after your journey.

Next time you are faced with this kind of travel, remember that experience and try a different approach - start earlier or take longer breaks between stages. Try and think of your journey as an enjoyable adventure.

Safe driving!

Respectfully submitted,


Hi Bantams. Sorry you're struggling with your tinnitus at the moment; it will get better, it always does, but it just takes time. I find keeping busy helps enormously. I first noticed my tinnitus became louder after driving many years ago, but that was 450 odd miles to Cornwall. As time has gone on the tinnitus has got significantly worse with some horrible spikes from driving much shorter distances. So now if I'm driving anything over 5 miles or so I wear earplugs with ear defenders over the top of them. Don't care that it looks a bit ridiculous, we've got to protect our ears. On the upside, I've noticed that there is significantly less noise when driving on the new tarmac that's laid these days.

Hi Chris, Thanks for your reply, glad to tell you that my T is now a lot lower and more manageable, but it was over a week before it eased. I think the reason it spiked might have been driving on the M1 north Leeds towards York there is long parts of concrete road. Next time driving for long period I will be using earplugs

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