Whether or not it’s only with you periodically or you hear it all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus in your ears can be annoying. There might be a more suitable word than annoying. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating and downright frustrating might fit better. No matter how you choose to describe that sound that you can’t turn off, it’s a problem. Can anything be done? How can you 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 clicking, ringing, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition itself. That something else is loss of hearing for many. Tinnitus is a result of hearing decline. Why tinnitus occurs when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. That the brain is creating the noise to fill the void is the current theory.
You encounter thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds every single day. There is talking, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are just the noticeable noises. How about the turning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air blowing into a vent. These kinds of sound are not generally heard because the brain decides you don’t really need to hear them.
The point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. So what happens if you turn half of those sounds off? Confusion takes place in the part of the brain that hears sound. It might produce the phantom tinnitus sounds to fill in the blanks because it knows sound should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. It can be connected to severe health problems like:
- Turbulent blood flow
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Meniere’s disease
- Poor circulation
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck trauma
- Head or neck tumors
- A reaction to medication
Tinnitus can be triggered by any of these things. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you could experience this ringing. Before you look for other methods of dealing with it, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor to have a hearing exam.
Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?
You can decide what to do about it after you determine why you have it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to create some. It doesn’t need to be much, something as simple as a fan running in the background could generate enough sound to switch off the ringing.
Technology such as a white noise generator is designed just for this purpose. They simulate a natural sound that is calming like the ocean waves or falling rain. Some include pillow speakers, so you hear the sound when you sleep.
Hearing aids will also do the trick. The sounds the brain is listening for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain has no further need to create phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
A combination of tricks works best for most people. You might wear hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.
There are also medications that you can get if soft sounds are not successful or if the tinnitus is severe. Certain antidepressants can quiet this noise, for example, Xanax.
You Have to Change Your Lifestyle if You Want to Manage Your Tinnitus
Making a few lifestyle modifications will help, as well. Begin by determining if there are triggers. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- Is there a particular noise that is triggering it?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
Be very specific when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which 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:
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Turning down the volume on everything
- Using ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise also. To rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.