The ringing of tinnitus is annoying whether or not you just hear it occasionally or all of the time. There might be a more suitable word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? Whatever the description, that sound that you can’t turn off is a big problem in your life. So what can be done? Can that ringing actually be stopped?
Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Start by learning 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 suffers from tinnitus, which is the medical term for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus per se is not a condition but a symptom of something else. Hearing loss is often the primary cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline frequently comes with tinnitus as a side effect. It’s not really evident 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, maybe even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. There is conversing, music, car horns, and the TV, for example, but those are only the obvious noises. How about the spinning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air blowing through a vent. 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 switched off, what happens then? The part of your brain responsible for hearing gets bewildered. It might generate the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it recognizes sound should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. It can be connected to severe health problems like:
- Meniere’s disease
- Head or neck tumors
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck trauma
- Poor circulation
- High blood pressure
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
Any of these things can cause tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you may experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before trying to find other ways to get rid of it.
What Can be Done About Tinnitus?
You can figure out what to do about it when you determine why you have it. The only thing that works, sometimes, is to give the brain what it wants. If tinnitus is due to the lack of sound, generate some. It doesn’t have to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background may generate enough noise to shut off that ringing.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. They simulate soothing natural sounds like falling rain or ocean waves. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.
Another thing that also works is hearing aids. With quality hearing aids, you are turning up the volume of the sounds the brain is listening for like the AC running. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer produced by the brain.
A combination of tricks is most effective for the majority of people. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this approach.
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 quite this noise.
You Have to Alter Your Lifestyle if You Want to Manage Your Tinnitus
Making a few lifestyle changes will help, as well. A good starting place is determining what triggers your tinnitus. Keep a record and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Is there a specific noise that is triggering it?
You will begin to notice the patterns which induce the ringing if you record the information very precisely. You should find ways to relax such as biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the correct steps to prevent tinnitus from the start. Start by doing everything possible to protect your hearing like:
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Wearing 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
That means eat right, get plenty of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.