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Woman with tinnitus trying to muffle the ringing in her ears with a pillow to overcome challenge.

You hear a lot of talk these days about the challenge of living with chronic ailments like diabetes or high blood pressure, but what about tinnitus? It is a chronic illness which has a strong psychological element since it affects so many aspects of a person’s life. Tinnitus presents as ghost noises in both ears. Most folks describe the noise as ringing, buzzing, clicking or hissing that nobody else can hear.

Tinnitus technically is not an illness but a symptom of an untreated medical problem like hearing loss and something that over 50 million individuals from the U.S. deal with on a day to day basis. The phantom sound will begin at the worst possible times, too, like when you’re watching a favorite TV show, attempting to read a magazine or listening to a friend tell a great story. Tinnitus can worsen even once you attempt to go to sleep.

Medical science has not quite pinpointed the reason so many folks suffer with tinnitus or how it happens. The accepted theory is that the brain creates this sound to counteract the silence that accompanies hearing loss. Regardless of the cause, tinnitus is a life-changing issue. Consider five ways that tinnitus is such a problem.

1. Tinnitus Impacts Emotional Processing

Recent information indicates that individuals who experience tinnitus also have more activity in their limbic system of their mind. This system is the portion of the brain responsible for emotions. Up until now, most doctors thought that people with tinnitus were worried and that is the reason why they were always so sensitive. This new research indicates there is much more to it than just stress. There’s an organic component that makes those with tinnitus prickly and emotionally delicate.

2. Tinnitus is Tough to Explain

How do you explain to somebody else that you hear weird noises that they can’t hear and not feel crazy when you say it. The inability to discuss tinnitus is isolating. Even if you can tell someone else, it’s not something they truly understand unless they experience it for themselves. Even then, they might not have the same symptoms of tinnitus as you. Support groups are usually available, but that means talking to a lot of people that you aren’t comfortable with about something very personal, so it’s not an appealing choice to most.

3. Tinnitus is Bothersome

Imagine trying to write a paper or study with noise in the background that you can’t escape. It is a diversion that many find disabling if they are at the office or just doing things around the home. The ringing changes your focus which makes it tough to stay on track. The inability to concentrate that comes with tinnitus is a true motivation killer, too, which makes you feel lethargic and useless.

4. Tinnitus Hampers Sleep

This might be one of the most crucial side effects of tinnitus. The ringing will get worse when a person is attempting to fall asleep. It’s not certain why it worsens during the night, but the most logical explanation is that the absence of other noises around you makes it worse. Throughout the day, other noises ease the noise of tinnitus such as the TV, but you turn off everything when it’s when you lay down for the night.

A lot of men and women use a sound machine or a fan at night to help alleviate their tinnitus. Just that little bit of ambient sound is enough to get your mind to reduce the volume on the tinnitus and permit you to get some sleep.

5. There’s No Permanent Solution For Tinnitus

Just the idea that tinnitus is something that you have to live with is hard to come to terms with. Though no cure will stop that noise for good, there are things can be done to help you find relief. It starts at the physician’s office. Tinnitus is a symptom, and it is essential to get a correct diagnosis. By way of instance, if you hear clicking, maybe the noise isn’t tinnitus but a sound related to a jaw problem such as TMJ. For many, the cause is a chronic illness that the requires treatment like high blood pressure.

Many people will find their tinnitus is the consequence of hearing loss and coping with that health problem relieves the noise they hear. Getting a hearing aid means an increase in the amount of sound, so the brain can stop trying to create it to fill up the silence. Hearing loss may also be quick to treat, such as earwax build up. When the physician treats the underlying issue, the tinnitus fades.

In extreme cases, your physician may attempt to reduce the tinnitus medically. Antidepressants may help reduce the ringing you hear, for instance. The doctor may suggest lifestyle changes that should alleviate the symptoms and make life with tinnitus simple, such as using a noise machine and finding ways to handle stress.

Tinnitus presents many struggles, but there is hope. Science is learning more every year about how the brain works and ways to make life better for those struggling with tinnitus.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.