The ringing of tinnitus is annoying whether you only hear it occasionally 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 aggravating? That noise that you can’t turn off is an issue however you choose to describe it. What can you do, though? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?
Understand Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Start by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the buzzing, ringing, clicking or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a sign of something else. Hearing loss is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline frequently comes with tinnitus as a side effect. It’s not really clear why tinnitus appears when there is a change in a person’s hearing. Currently, the theory is that the brain is filling the void by creating noise.
Thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered 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 obvious. Your brain decides you don’t really need to hear these sounds.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Turn half those sounds off and how would the brain act in response? It becomes perplexing for the part of your brain that hears sound. It is possible that the phantom sounds that come with tinnitus are the brain’s way of producing noise for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. Severe health issues can also be the cause, such as:
- Head or neck tumors
- High blood pressure
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Meniere’s disease
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Poor circulation
Tinnitus can be triggered by any of these. You might experience the ringing despite the fact that you hear fine or after an injury or accident. It’s essential to get get a hearing exam to determine why you’re experiencing tinnitus before looking for other ways to get rid of it.
What to do About Tinnitus
Once you know why you have it, you can determine what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants might be the only thing that helps. If the lack of sound is causing your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing may be able to be turned off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.
Technology such as a white noise generator is designed just for this purpose. Ocean waves or falling rain are soothing natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some have pillow speakers, so you hear the sound when you sleep.
Another thing which also works is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain has no further need to produce phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
For most people, the solution is a combination of tricks. For example, you could use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
There are also medications that you can get if soft sounds are not successful or if the tinnitus is severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus
Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. Determining if there are triggers is a good place to start. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s happening and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- Is there a specific noise that is triggering it?
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just drink a cup of coffee or soda?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
The more accurate your information, the faster you’ll see the patterns that might be inducing the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the correct steps to prevent tinnitus from the start. Begin by doing everything you can to protect your hearing like:
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Using ear protection when 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. To rule out treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.