Let’s set the stage: you’re lying in bed at night trying to unwind after a long, exhausting day. Your eyelids are starting to get heavy and you recognize that sleep is right around the corner. Then you hear it: a ringing sound inside your ears. You’re certain it’s nothing in your bedroom because the TV, radio, and phone have all been turned off. No, this sound is coming from inside your ears and you’re not sure how to make it stop.
If this situation sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people who suffer from tinnitus. This problem makes you hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, inside your ears. Most people suffering from tinnitus think of it as a mere irritation; they notice it now and again but it doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives. For other individuals, however, tinnitus can be devastating and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty performing work and recreational activities.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but experts have narrowed down a few causes for this problem. It shows up commonly in individuals who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who suffer from heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus happens due to limited blood flow around the ears, which causes the heart to pump blood harder so that it can get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia often experience tinnitus symptoms since their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, makes the heart work overtime to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also happens as a symptom of other conditions, such as ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these conditions impact the hearing and result in situations where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. In other cases, there may not be an evident cause of tinnitus, which can make treatment difficult, but not impossible.
What Treatments Are Available For Tinnitus?
There are a few treatments out there to help stop the buzzing in your ears, all depending on the root cause of your tinnitus. One significant thing to note, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still present a good chance for your tinnitus to improve or go away altogether.
Research has revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
If covering up the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people live with the buzzing in their ears that does not fade away with other treatments. This kind of mental health treatment helps patients change their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on an every day basis.