You may not know this, but millions of people deal with tinnitus and ringing in their ears on a daily basis. It can be both embarrassing and debilitating – some people go to great lengths to hide the ringing. Unfortunately, tinnitus is very common, especially as we age. For some, tinnitus is a minor annoyance, but for others, it can be profoundly disruptive to daily life. Here is an overview explaining the symptoms of tinnitus, what causes it, and how it can be treated.
Tinnitus is the sensation of sound in the ears or head when no external sound is present. It isn’t a disease, but rather a symptom of another underlying condition. When having tinnitus, you may hear any number of sounds, including buzzing, ringing, clicking, hissing, roaring, or whistling. These noises are associated with abnormal activity in the auditory nerve caused by injuries and other disruptions to the delicate structures of the inner ear. When left untreated, tinnitus can be incredibly disruptive to patients’ lives.
Identify the causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different things, including damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, an accumulation of earwax, age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, ear infections, TMJ disorders, and cardiovascular disorders.
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Hair cells in the ear convert sound energy into electrical signals, which the brain interprets as noise. Being exposed to extremely loud sounds, like music blaring from loudspeakers at concerts or being around heavy machinery without hearing protection, causes damage to hair cells leading to tinnitus. The level of noise that each sufferer of tinnitus hears varies from person to person. But tinnitus is not just about the noise. Part of the tinnitus experience is how it makes you feel.
Think about all of the situations where you would be distracted, or unable to hear, like having dinner with family and friends, walking down a busy sidewalk, or entering a classroom full of students. Most tinnitus sufferers are not happy with it, and don’t want to have to deal with the symptoms for the rest of their lives. Though tinnitus is not curable and you can’t avoid loud noises entirely, you don’t have to let tinnitus impact your quality of life.
Find a tinnitus treatment that works for you
A variety of options are available for treating tinnitus, including hearing aids, surgical procedures, and devices that produce artificial external sounds (tinnitus maskers). Natural supplements like Tinnitus911 can provide meaningful amounts of relief. A doctor can help you figure out which treatment is right for you by doing a detailed examination of your tinnitus symptoms, medical history, and other factors that may affect your tinnitus experience.
Biofeedback is a process that helps patients learn to recognize, reduce, and control stress through the use of monitoring devices and training. Medical professionals use electronic devices that measure the body’s physiological reactions to stress, which are fed back to the patient, stimulating the brain to alter its perception of the stressor.
Tinnitus can be a frightening and uncomfortable part of life that many will experience at some point in their lives. See if any of your friends or family members have tinnitus and ask them what they’ve found to be the most effective treatment for them.
Remind yourself that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and the most important thing is to recognize how you feel. Focus on the positive steps you can take to alleviate your symptoms. You are more than your illness, and there are more treatments available today than ever before.