Tinnitus is when you hear a buzzing or ringing sound in one or both ears. Tinnitus is usually a sign of a more serious health problem that can be hard to find and diagnose. The Hearing Health Foundation says that at least 10% of people in the U.S. deal with tinnitus regularly and that 16 million people seek medical help for it.
The first thing you should do to treat this symptom is to see your regular doctor. They will check your ears for an infection or earwax buildup. If the problem is more complicated, they will probably send you to a doctor specializing in ears and hearing.
Tinnitus can be caused by several things, from long-term health problems to injuries to infections. Some of the most common reasons are:
Hearing loss: One in eight people has a medical condition that makes them lose their hearing. Hearing loss can be caused by health problems like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and dementia, in addition to having specific genes and being exposed to loud noise.It can be caused by other health problems, getting older, having a family history, or being exposed to loud environmental noises.
Exposure to loud noise: Taking in loud noise can give you short-term symptoms or damage your hearing in the long run. The hair cells in the inner ear can be hurt by things like going to concerts, sporting events, using loud machinery, listening to music with headphones, etc. These hair cells help the brain figure out what sounds are by turning them into electrical signals. When there is a loud noise, these tiny hair cells can lose their sensitivity. This can be temporary, or if the loud noise is always there, it can cause long-term damage. Tinnitus is a common side effect of being around loud noises for a long time.
Earwax buildup: When earwax builds up in the ear canal, it can make bacteria grow, which can cause irritation or infection.
Even though these are common reasons for tinnitus, they can also be caused by less common conditions. This includes injuries to the head or neck, problems with blood vessels, spasms in the ear muscles, and some medications. It is essential to get a thorough evaluation to treat the cause of your tinnitus.
Dealing with tinnitus
Having tinnitus can be a bad thing. The sound is usually described as buzzing or ringing, but it can also be hissing, clicking, or a humming sound. It can be not very pleasant. You may find that your tinnitus is affecting how well you sleep, how well you can focus, and how well you can do daily tasks. You might feel tired, irritable, and stressed out more. There are helpful ways to deal with tinnitus so that it doesn’t bother you as much and doesn’t get in the way of your daily life.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Reduce stress: Getting rid of stress and finding good ways to relax can help. Meditation, yoga, or other activities that make you feel calm can help you relax your muscles and slow down your breathing, making your tinnitus less bothersome.
- Use distracting noise: Tinnitus can seem louder and more intense in quiet (or silent) environments. Using background noise can stop this from happening and cover up the tinnitus. You can do this by using a white noise machine, playing soft music, turning on the TV, etc.
- Protect your hearing: Reducing how much loud noise you take in can help reduce tinnitus. You can protect your hearing by wearing headphones, earmuffs, earplugs, etc., making loud sounds less likely to reach your ears.
- More sleep: Tinnitus can affect how well you sleep, making your tinnitus even worse. Try to break this cycle by putting yourself where you can sleep well (adjust lights, use essential oils, use a comfortable bed, pillows, etc.).
- Be active: Exercise not only helps you forget about your tinnitus but also improves your mood, helps you sleep, and reduces stress, all of which can make your tinnitus disappear. Exercise can also make you less likely to get sick with one of the diseases that can cause tinnitus.
- Limit certain foods: Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can worsen tinnitus. It might help to cut back on how much you drink and see how that affects your tinnitus.
Tinnitus is nobody’s idea of a good time, but the symptoms can be improved if the underlying cause is found and treated. Also, using helpful strategies can help you deal with tinnitus in a good way! If you’ve been having trouble with tinnitus, contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help.