The ringing of tinnitus is annoying whether you just hear it from time to time or all of the time. There might be a more appropriate word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating? That noise that you can’t get rid of is a problem no matter how you choose to describe it. Can anything be done? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?
Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Start by finding out more about the condition that is responsible for the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences 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 people, that something else is hearing loss. Tinnitus is a common result of hearing decline. When a person’s hearing changes, it is still unclear why tinnitus occurs. That the brain is producing the sound to fill the void is the present theory.
You come across thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of sounds each day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the rotating blades of a ceiling fan are not as noticeable. Your brain decides you don’t really need to hear these sounds.
The main point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. Turn half those sounds off and how would the brain respond? Confusion takes place in the portion of the brain that hears sound. It may produce the phantom tinnitus sounds to compensate because it realizes sound should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. It can be linked to severe health problems like:
- Head or neck tumors
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck trauma
- Poor circulation
- A reaction to medication
- Turbulent blood flow
- Meniere’s disease
- High blood pressure
Any of these things can cause tinnitus. Despite the fact that you can hear fine, after an injury or accident, you could still experience this ringing. It’s essential to get checked out by a doctor to find out why you’re experiencing tinnitus before searching for ways to deal with it.
What Can be Done About Tinnitus?
You can figure out what to do about it after you find out why you have it. Giving the brain what it wants may be the only thing that works. If tinnitus is caused by the lack of sound, create some. It doesn’t need to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background could generate enough sound to turn off the ringing.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. They imitate a natural sound that is calming such as the ocean waves or rain falling. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Getting hearing aids is also a good solution. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer created by the brain.
A combination of tricks is most effective for most people. For example, you might use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is more severe, there are medications that might help. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus
Changing your lifestyle a little bit can help too. Identifying if there are triggers is a good place to begin. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a log. Be specific:
- Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
- Did you just drink a cup of coffee or soda?
Be very specific when you record the information and pretty soon you will notice the patterns that trigger the ringing. You should find ways to relax like biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
Eat right, exercise, and if you have high blood pressure, take your medication. To eliminate treatable problems that increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.