Can That Annoying Ringing in Your Ears be Stopped?
Whether you hear it periodically or it’s with you all day and night, the ringing of tinnitus can be annoying. Annoying may not be the best word. 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 an issue however you decide to describe it. What can you do, though? Is even possible to prevent that ringing in your ears?
What is Tinnitus And Why do You Have it?
Begin 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 is a symptom of something else, not a condition in and of itself. That something else is hearing loss for many. Hearing loss often comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. It’s not really evident why tinnitus occurs when there is a decline in a person’s hearing. The latest theory is the brain generates the noise to fill a void.
You experience thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds every single day. There are the obvious sounds like a motor running or someone shouting, and then there are sounds you don’t even notice. How about the spinning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air coming through a vent. You don’t normally hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.
The point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. Switch half those sounds off and how would the brain react? Confusion occurs in the part of the brain that hears sound. It may produce the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it recognizes sound should be there.
Tinnitus has other possible causes also. It can be attributed to severe health issues like:
- Meniere’s disease
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck trauma
- Head or neck tumors
- Poor circulation
- A reaction to medication
- Turbulent blood flow
- High blood pressure
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
Tinnitus can be caused by any of these things. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you could experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before attempting to find other ways to get rid of it.
What to do About Tinnitus
You need to understand why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. The only thing that helps, sometimes, is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to create some. It doesn’t need to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background might generate enough noise to turn off that ringing.
There is also technology made just for this purpose such as white noise machines. They simulate a natural sound that is relaxing such as the ocean waves or falling rain. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you buy one with pillow speakers.
Investing in hearing aids is also a good solution. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is looking for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer generated by the brain.
For most people, the solution is a combination of tricks. You might use hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for example.
There are also medications that you can get if soft sounds are not working or if the tinnitus is more severe. Certain antidepressants can quiet this noise, for example, Xanax.
You Have to Change Your Lifestyle if You Want to Manage Your Tinnitus
Changing your lifestyle a little bit will help too. Start by determining what the triggers are. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s happening and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Did you just drink a soda or a cup of coffee?
The more precise your information, the faster you’ll notice the patterns that might be inducing the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the correct steps to prevent tinnitus from the beginning. Start by doing everything you can 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 you have to eat healthily, get lots of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues that increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes along with it.