Can That Annoying Ringing in Your Ears be Stopped?
Whether you hear it on occasion or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus can be annoying. There may be a more suitable word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating? No matter what the description, that sound that you can’t get rid of is a big problem in your life. Can anything be done? Can that ringing actually be prevented?
Know Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Start by finding out more about the condition that is causing the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition in and of itself. For many, that something else is loss of hearing. Hearing decline frequently comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus happens when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not well understood. At this time the theory is that the brain is filling the void by generating noise.
Thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. There is conversing, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are only the obvious noises. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less obvious. You don’t normally hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. So what happens if you turn half of those sounds off? It becomes perplexing for the part of your brain that hears sound. Your brain knows the sound should be there so it’s possible that it generates the sounds connected with tinnitus to compensate.
Tinnitus has other possible causes as well. It can be connected to severe health issues like:
- Head or neck tumors
- Poor circulation
- A reaction to medication
- Turbulent blood flow
- Head or neck trauma
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Meniere’s disease
- High blood pressure
Any of these things can cause tinnitus. You might experience the ringing despite the fact that you hear fine or after an injury or accident. Before looking for other ways to get rid of it, you need to schedule an appointment with a doctor for a hearing exam.
Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?
You need to know why you have it before you can begin to figure out what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants may be the only thing that helps. You have to generate some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are soothing natural sounds that these devices simulate. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you buy one with pillow speakers.
Another thing which also works well is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain no longer needs to create phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
A combination of tricks is most effective for the majority of people. For example, you might use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
There are also medications available if soft sounds are not effective or if the tinnitus is severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.
You Have to Change Your Lifestyle if You Want to Handle Your Tinnitus
It can also be helpful if you make a few lifestyle changes. A good starting point is figuring out what triggers your tinnitus. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
- What did you just eat?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a specific noise that is triggering it?
Be very precise when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. You should find ways to relax such as biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the correct steps to prevent tinnitus from the start. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Using ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
Eat right, exercise, and if you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.