The ringing of tinnitus can be annoying whether or not you just hear it sometimes or all of the time. There may be a more appropriate word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating? That sound 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 get rid of that ringing in your ears?
Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Start by finding out more about the condition that is causing the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a sign of something else. Hearing loss is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a common side effect of hearing decline. Why tinnitus happens when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still unclear. Currently, the theory is that the brain is filling the void by producing noise.
Every day you come across thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of sounds. There is talking, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are only the obvious noises. The sound of air coming through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are not as noticeable. 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. If half of those sounds are turned off, what happens then? Confusion happens in the part of the brain that hears sound. Your brain recognizes the sound should be there so it’s possible that it creates the noises connected with tinnitus to compensate.
Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, though. Severe health problems can also be the cause, such as:
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck trauma
- Head or neck tumors
- Meniere’s disease
- Turbulent blood flow
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Poor circulation
- High blood pressure
- A reaction to medication
Any of these can trigger tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you may experience this ringing. Before you look for other ways to get rid of it, you need to schedule an appointment with a doctor to have a hearing exam.
What to do About Tinnitus
When you know why you have it, you can determine what to do about it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. If tinnitus is due to the lack of sound, create some. The ringing might be able to be turned off by something as basic as a fan running in the background.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is made for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are relaxing natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some include pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Getting hearing aids is also a good solution. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain doesn’t need to create phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
For most people, the answer is a combination of tricks. You might use hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.
There are also medications available if soft sounds are not working or if the tinnitus is severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
You Have to Alter Your Lifestyle if You Want to Handle Your Tinnitus
Making a few lifestyle modifications can help, as well. Determining if there are triggers is a good place to start. Write down in a journal what’s going on when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?
- What did you just eat?
- Is there a particular noise that is triggering it?
Be very accurate when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns which trigger the ringing. Stress can also be the cause, so look for ways to relax such as exercise, meditation or even biofeedback.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the correct steps to prevent tinnitus from the beginning. Begin by doing everything possible to protect your hearing like:
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Turning the volume down on everything
Eat right, exercise, and if you have high blood pressure, take your medication. To rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.