The ringing of tinnitus is annoying whether or not you just hear it once in a while or all of the time. There might be a more suitable word than annoying. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating and downright frustrating may fit better. No matter how you choose to describe that noise that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s an issue. So what can be done? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?
What is Tinnitus And Why do You Have it?
Begin 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 itself. Hearing loss is often the main cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline frequently comes with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus happens when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not well understood. The current theory is the brain generates the noise to fill a void.
You experience thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of sounds each day. There are the obvious sounds like a motor running or someone shouting, and then there are noises you don’t notice. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the rotating blades of a ceiling fan are less 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. If half of those sounds are turned off, what happens then? Confusion happens in the portion of the brain that hears sound. Your brain knows the sound should be there so it’s possible that it generates the sounds associated with tinnitus to compensate.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. It can be attributed to severe health issues like:
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck tumors
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Head or neck trauma
- Poor circulation
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
- Meniere’s disease
- High blood pressure
Any of these can cause tinnitus. Even though you can hear fine, after an injury or accident, you could still experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before attempting to find other ways of dealing with it.
What to do About Tinnitus
When you identify why you have it, you can figure out what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants may be the only thing that works. You need to make some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as basic as a fan running in the background.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are calming natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some include pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Another thing which also works is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is listening for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer produced by the brain.
For many people, the solution is a combination of tricks. For instance, you could use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is severe, there are medications that might help. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
Modifying your lifestyle a little bit can help too. Begin by determining if there are triggers. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a specific noise that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
You will start to discover the patterns that induce the ringing if you record the information very precisely. Stress can also be responsible, so look for ways to relax such as exercise, meditation or even biofeedback.
An Ounce of Prevention
The ideal way to get rid of tinnitus is to protect against it in the first place. Begin by doing everything you can to protect your hearing like:
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise also. To eliminate treatable problems that increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.