Whether or not you hear it on occasion or it’s with you all day and night, the ringing of tinnitus can be annoying. Annoying might not be the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating? However you choose to describe that noise that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s an issue. Can anything be done? Can that ringing actually be prevented?
Know Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Start by learning more about the condition that is causing the buzzing, ringing, clicking 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 is a symptom of something else, not a condition itself. For many people, that something else is hearing loss. Hearing decline frequently comes with tinnitus as a side effect. It’s not really evident why tinnitus occurs when there is a change in a person’s hearing. The current theory is the brain creates the noise to fill a void.
Each and every day you experience thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds. Some noticeable examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. How about the spinning 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? It becomes bewildering for the portion of your brain that hears sound. It is possible that the phantom noises linked with tinnitus are the brain’s way of generating sound for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.
Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, though. It can be attributed to severe health issues like:
- Turbulent blood flow
- Poor circulation
- Head or neck trauma
- A reaction to medication
- Head or neck tumors
- Meniere’s disease
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- High blood pressure
Tinnitus can be caused by any of these things. You may get the ringing despite the fact that you hear fine or possibly after an injury or accident. It’s important to get get a hearing exam to determine why you have tinnitus before looking for ways to deal with it.
What to do About Tinnitus
You need to know why you have it before you can begin to figure out 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 shut off by something as basic as a fan running in the background.
Technology such as a white noise generator is designed just for this purpose. They imitate soothing natural sounds like rain falling or ocean waves. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Another thing which also works is hearing aids. With quality hearing aids, you are turning up the volume of the sounds the brain is listening for like the AC running. The brain doesn’t need to create phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
A combination of tricks works the best for the majority of people. You might wear hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.
If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is more severe, there are medications that might help. Certain antidepressants can silence this noise, for example, Xanax.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. Figuring out if there are triggers is a good place to begin. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s happening and write it down in a journal. Be specific:
- 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 smoking or drinking alcohol?
- Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
Be very specific when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns which trigger the ringing. You should find ways to relax such as biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing tinnitus from the beginning is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. To eliminate treatable issues that increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.