The ringing of tinnitus will be annoying whether or not you just hear it from time to time or all of the time. Annoying might not be the best word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? However you choose to describe that sound that you can’t turn off, it’s an issue. So what can be done? Is even possible to stop that ringing in your ears?
Understand What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Begin 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 endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a symptom of something else. For many people, that something else is loss of hearing. Tinnitus is a side effect of hearing decline. Why tinnitus happens when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. The latest theory is the brain generates the noise to fill a void.
Thousands, perhaps 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 coming through a vent or the rotating blades of a ceiling fan are less obvious. Your brain decides you don’t really need to hear these sounds.
The point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. If half of those sounds are switched off, what happens then? Confusion takes place in the portion of the brain that hears sound. Your brain is aware that the sound should be there so it’s possible that it produces the sounds associated with tinnitus to compensate.
Tinnitus has other possible causes also. Severe health problems can also be the cause, such as:
- Poor circulation
- Head or neck trauma
- A reaction to medication
- Meniere’s disease
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Turbulent blood flow
- High blood pressure
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Head or neck tumors
Any of these can trigger tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you may experience this ringing. Before you go looking for other ways to get rid of it, you need to see a doctor to get a hearing exam.
What Can be Done About Tinnitus?
When you discover why you have it, you can figure out what to do about it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. You have to make some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. Something as basic as a fan running in the background might create enough sound to turn off the ringing, it doesn’t have to be much.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. They imitate a natural sound that is calming like the ocean waves or rain falling. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Another thing that also works well is hearing aids. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is listening for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain has no further need to generate phantom noise.
A combination of tricks works the best for most people. You might use hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.
There are also medications that you can get if soft sounds are not effective or if the tinnitus is more severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.
Lifestyle Changes to Handle Your Tinnitus
It will also help if you make a few lifestyle modifications. A good starting place is figuring out what triggers your tinnitus. Write down in a journal what’s taking place when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- 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?
- Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
Be very accurate when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus from the beginning is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:
- Using ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
That means you have to eat right, get plenty of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. To eliminate treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.