How To Get Relief From Tinnitus
If you have ever had ringing or hissing in your ears, you have experienced tinnitus. Tinnitus affects about 12 percent of the population and can be intermittent, occurring once in a while or constant. Some people experience it for a prolonged time, to the point where it starts to bother them or interfere with everyday activities. The audiologist can make a diagnosis of tinnitus, and treatments can be recommended.
What Causes Tinnitus?
- Medications used to treat depression, anxiety, allergies, high blood pressure, heart conditions, colds, and infections can sometimes cause tinnitus.
- Loud noise exposure is also a serious cause of tinnitus. If you have experienced any form of significant loud sound exposure (such as an explosion or gunshot), you should seek medical attention immediately because this type of exposure could lead to permanent loss of hearing if not treated quickly enough.
- Earwax impaction - Earwax impaction is the number one cause of tinnitus. Earwax, or cerumen as medical professionals call it, is a substance that your body produces naturally to maintain the health and protection of your ears.
- Ear injuries such as those caused by aviation can also lead to tinnitus. These injuries usually affect pilots and others who work in similar environments where exposure to loud noise is common during their careers.
- Anemia - Because anemia weakens your blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout your body, you may experience some degree of tinnitus (ringing in the ears). This type of tinnitus usually goes away once treated.
- Ear infections can cause tinnitus because it affects the eardrums. This can lead to a conductive type of hearing loss commonly accompanied by a ringing sound or a roaring sound in the ear.
- Ear blood vessel problems or problems with blood circulation around the head and neck area.
- Ear bone changes, especially when a conductive or sensorineural hearing loss is present. This type of hearing loss occurs in some older adults because exposure to too much noise and aging changes in the ear results in high-frequency hearing loss.
- TMJ: Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition where your jaw muscles and joints cause popping and clicking noises when you open and close your mouth.
- Tinnitus can sometimes be related to other medical issues like Meniere's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS).
What Should I Do If I Have Tinnitus?
Treatment plans may vary depending upon your individual needs and health history. Some treatments include:
- Sound generators - These devices emit sounds that mask the tinnitus noise.
- Behavioral treatment - This treatment includes counseling and sound therapy, 3-D music, or environmental sounds that are pleasant for you to listen to.
- Hearing aids - These devices can sometimes help patients with hearing loss related to their tinnitus. The amplification of ambient/background noise may suppress the tinnitus, thus making it less noticeable.
- Sound therapy - Counseling is used in conjunction with masking (white noise).
How To Avoid Making Your Tinnitus Worse
Other things to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, smoking, stress, and getting too tired.