The ringing of tinnitus will be annoying whether or not you just hear it periodically or all of the time. Annoying might not be the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating? However you decide to describe that noise that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s a problem. So what can be done? Is even possible to stop that ringing in your ears?
Understand Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Begin by learning more about the condition that is causing the clicking, ringing, 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 itself is not a condition but a symptom of something else. That something else is hearing loss for many. Hearing decline frequently comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. When a person’s hearing changes, it is still not clear why tinnitus occurs. Presently the theory is that the brain is filling the void by producing noise.
Thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. There are the obvious sounds like a motor running or someone shouting, and then there are sounds you don’t even notice. What about the turning 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.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. If half of those sounds are turned 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 generates the noises associated with tinnitus to fill in the blanks.
Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, however. Severe health problems can also be the cause, like:
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Meniere’s disease
- Poor circulation
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck tumors
- A reaction to medication
- Turbulent blood flow
Tinnitus can be triggered by any of these things. You might experience the ringing even though you hear fine or after an injury or accident. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before trying 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 begin 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 causing your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing might be able to be shut off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.
There is also technology made specifically for this purpose such as white noise machines. Ocean waves or falling rain are relaxing natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound when you sleep.
Another thing which also works well is hearing aids. With quality hearing aids, you are turning up the volume of the sounds the brain is looking for like the AC running. The brain no longer needs to produce phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
For many people, the answer is a combination of tricks. 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 more severe, there are medications that could help. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. Determining if there are triggers is a good place to start. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s happening and write it down in a log. Be specific:
- Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
You will begin to discover the patterns which induce the ringing if you record the information very precisely. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Start by doing everything you can to protect your hearing like:
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.