Regardless of whether you hear it periodically or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. Annoying may not be the best word. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating and downright frustrating may be better. Whatever the description, that noise that you can’t turn off is a big problem in your life. What can you do, though? Can that ringing actually be stopped?
Understand What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Begin by finding out more about the condition that is causing 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 name for that ringing. But why?
Tinnitus itself is not a condition but a symptom of something else. Loss of hearing is often the main cause of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a result of hearing decline. When there is a change in a person’s hearing, it is still not clear why tinnitus happens. At this time the theory is that the brain is filling the void by generating noise.
You come across thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of sounds every single day. Some noticeable examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the rotating blades of a ceiling fan are not as obvious. These types of sound are not normally heard because the brain decides you don’t need to hear them.
It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Switch half those sounds off and how would the brain act in response? The part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes confused. It might be possible that the phantom noises linked with tinnitus are the brain’s way of generating noise for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.
There are also other possible causes of tinnitus, however. Severe health problems can also be the cause, such as:
- A reaction to medication
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Poor circulation
- Turbulent blood flow
- High blood pressure
- Head or neck tumors
- Meniere’s disease
Tinnitus can be caused by any of these things. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you might experience this ringing. It’s essential to get get a hearing exam to find out why you’re experiencing tinnitus before looking for ways to get rid of it.
Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?
You can figure out what to do about it when you determine why you have it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. If tinnitus is because of the lack of sound, generate some. Something as basic as a fan running in the background could generate enough noise to turn off the ringing, it doesn’t have to be much.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed for this purpose. Ocean waves or falling rain are calming natural sounds which these devices simulate. You can hear the sound as you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.
Another thing which also works well 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. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain doesn’t need 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.
There are also medications available if soft sounds are not successful or if the tinnitus is severe. Certain antidepressants can silence this noise, for example, Xanax.
Handle You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes
It can also help if you make a few lifestyle modifications. Start by determining what the triggers are. Keep a journal and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:
- Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a particular noise that is triggering it?
- What did you just eat?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
You will start to discover the patterns which induce the ringing if you record the information very specifically. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be responsible.
An Ounce of Prevention
The best way to get rid of tinnitus is to prevent it from the beginning. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Using ear protection when around loud noises
- Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
Eat right, exercise, and if you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Lastly, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.