It doesn’t matter if you hear it sporadically or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. There may be a more suitable word than annoying. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating and downright frustrating might be better. No matter how you choose to describe that sound that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s an issue. What can you do, though? How can you get rid of that ringing in your ears?
Know Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is
Start by finding out more about the condition that is responsible for the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences tinnitus, which is the medical term for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition itself. Hearing loss is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline commonly 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. That the brain is producing the sound to fill the void is the present theory.
You encounter thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds each day. There is conversing, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are only the obvious noises. The sound of air coming through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less obvious. Your brain decides you don’t really need to hear these sounds.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. If half of those sounds are switched off, what happens then? Confusion occurs in the portion of the brain that hears sound. It may create the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it realizes sound should be there.
Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, though. It can be connected to severe health issues like:
- Turbulent blood flow
- A reaction to medication
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Meniere’s disease
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck tumors
- Poor circulation
Tinnitus can be triggered by any of these things. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you might experience this ringing. Before you go looking for other methods of dealing with it, you should see a doctor to have a hearing exam.
What Can be Done About Tinnitus?
You need to understand why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants might be the only thing that helps. You need to produce some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. The ringing might be able to be turned off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.
There is also technology made specifically for this purpose such as white noise machines. Ocean waves or falling rain are relaxing natural sounds which these devices simulate. Some have pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.
Another thing that also works is hearing aids. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is looking for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain no longer needs to produce phantom noise.
For the majority of people, the answer is a combination of tricks. For instance, you might use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.
If the tinnitus is more severe and soft sounds don’t work there are also medications that you can get. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can silence this noise.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
Making a few lifestyle changes can help, too. Identifying 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 have a cup of coffee or soda?
- Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- Are you smoking or drinking alcohol?
- What did you just eat?
Be very precise when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. Stress can also be the cause, so look for ways to relax including exercise, meditation or even biofeedback.
An Ounce of Prevention
The ideal way to get rid of tinnitus is to prevent it in the first place. Start by doing everything you can to protect your hearing like:
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
- Wearing ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
That means you have to eat healthily, get plenty of exercise and take high blood pressure medication if it’s prescribed. Finally, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes along with it.