The ringing of tinnitus will be annoying whether you just hear it occasionally or all of the time. Perhaps annoying isn’t the best word. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating and downright frustrating may be better. No matter how you choose to describe that noise that you can’t turn off, it’s a problem. So what can be done? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?
Why do You Have Tinnitus And What Exactly is it?
Begin by learning more about the condition that is causing 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 term for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a sign of something else. That something else is hearing loss for many people. Hearing loss often comes with tinnitus as a side effect. When a person’s hearing changes, it is still not clear why tinnitus happens. At this time the theory is that the brain is filling the void by producing noise.
Thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. Some noticeable examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. How about the spinning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air blowing through a vent. You don’t really hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Switch half those sounds off and how would the brain react? It becomes bewildering for the portion of your brain that hears sound. It is possible that the phantom sounds that come with tinnitus are the brains way of creating noise for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. Severe health problems can also be the cause, such as:
- Head or neck tumors
- A reaction to medication
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck trauma
- Turbulent blood flow
- Poor circulation
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Meniere’s disease
Any of these can cause tinnitus. Despite the fact that you can hear fine, after an injury or accident, you may still experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before attempting to find another way to get rid of it.
Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?
You need to find out why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. Sometimes, the only thing that works is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to generate some. Something as simple as a fan running in the background may produce enough sound to turn off the ringing, it doesn’t need to be much.
Technology such as a white noise generator is designed just for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are relaxing natural sounds that these devices simulate. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.
Hearing aids will also do the trick. The sounds the brain is listening for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain has no further need to produce phantom noise.
For the majority of 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.
There are also medications available if soft sounds are not working or if the tinnitus is severe. Certain antidepressants can quiet this noise, for example, Xanax.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
It will also be helpful if you make a few lifestyle changes. Begin by determining what the triggers are. Keep a diary and make a note of what’s going on when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Did you just drink a cup of coffee or soda?
The more precise your information, the faster you’ll notice the patterns that might be triggering the ringing. You should find ways to relax such as biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus from the beginning is the best way to deal with it. Start by doing everything possible to protect your hearing like:
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Using ear protection when around loud noises
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise also. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.