What Can be Done About The Annoying Ringing in Your Ears?
It doesn’t matter if you hear it on occasion or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. Maybe annoying isn’t the correct word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? No matter how you decide to describe that noise that you can’t turn off, it’s an issue. So what can be done? How can you prevent that ringing in your ears?
Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Begin by finding out more about the condition that is responsible for 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. Loss of hearing is often the primary cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline commonly comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not well understood. That the brain is creating the sound to fill the void is the present theory.
You experience thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds every day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. What about the spinning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air coming through a vent. Your brain decides you don’t really need to hear these sounds.
The point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. If half of those sounds are turned off, what happens then? The part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes bewildered. Your brain knows the sound should be there so it’s possible that it produces the noises connected with tinnitus to fill in the blanks.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. It can be connected to severe health problems like:
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Head or neck tumors
- A reaction to medication
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck trauma
- Turbulent blood flow
- Poor circulation
- Meniere’s disease
Tinnitus can be triggered by any of these. Despite the fact that you can hear fine, after an injury or accident, you could still experience this ringing. It’s essential to get checked out by a doctor to determine why you’re experiencing tinnitus before looking for ways to deal with it.
Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?
Once you know why you have it, you can determine what to do about it. The only thing that helps, sometimes, is to give the brain what it wants. If tinnitus is due to the lack of sound, create some. It doesn’t need to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background could generate enough sound to turn off the ringing.
There is also technology made specifically for this purpose such as white noise machines. They simulate relaxing natural sounds like rain falling or ocean waves. You can hear the sound as you sleep if you get 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. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain has no further need to produce phantom noise.
A combination of tricks is most effective for the majority of people. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this strategy.
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.
Manage You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
It will also help if you make a few lifestyle modifications. A good starting point is determining what triggers your tinnitus. Keep a record and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?
- Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- What did you just eat?
Be very specific when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. You should find ways to relax like biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take the appropriate steps to prevent tinnitus in the first place. Begin by doing everything possible to protect your hearing like:
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Using ear protection when around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Turning the volume down on everything
That means 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 which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.