HEARING TIPS

How to Stop That Annoying Ringing in Your Ears

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

The ringing of tinnitus will be annoying whether you only hear it once in a while or all of the time. Maybe annoying isn’t the correct word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? Regardless of the description, that noise that you can’t get rid of is a serious issue in your life. Can anything be done? Is even possible to prevent that ringing in your ears?

Understand Why You Have Tinnitus And Exactly What it is

Begin by finding out more about the condition that is causing the buzzing, ringing, clicking or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tinnitus, which is the medical term for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus per se is not a condition but a symptom of something else. For many people, that something else is loss of hearing. Hearing loss often comes along with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus occurs when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not well understood. That the brain is creating the sound to fill the void is the present theory.

Every single day you encounter thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of sounds. There are the obvious sounds like a motor running or someone shouting, and then there are noises you don’t notice. What about the turning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air coming into a vent. These sorts of sound are not normally heard because the brain decides you don’t really need to hear them.

It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Now, what happens if you turn half of those sounds off? The part of your brain responsible for hearing gets confounded. It may create the phantom tinnitus noises to compensate because it knows sound should be there.

Tinnitus has other possible causes as well. It can be connected to severe health issues like:

  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
  • Turbulent blood flow
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
  • Meniere’s disease
  • A reaction to medication
  • Head or neck trauma
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor circulation
  • Atherosclerosis

Tinnitus can be caused by any of these things. Even though you can hear fine, after an injury or accident, you might still experience this ringing. It’s important to get checked out by a doctor to determine why you have tinnitus before searching for other ways to get rid of it.

What to do About Tinnitus

When you find out why you have it, you can determine what to do about it. Sometimes, the only thing that works is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to generate some. It doesn’t have to be very much, something as basic as a fan running in the background may generate enough noise to shut off the ringing.

Technology such as a white noise generator is designed just for this purpose. They simulate a natural sound that is calming like the ocean waves or falling rain. You can hear the sound as you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.

Investing in hearing aids is also a good option. The sounds the brain is listening for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer generated by the brain.

For many people, the answer is a combination of tricks. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this approach.

There are also medications that you can get if soft sounds are not successful or if the tinnitus is severe. Certain antidepressants can quiet this noise, for example, Xanax.

Manage You Tinnitus With Lifestyle Changes

It will also be helpful if you make a few lifestyle changes. Start by determining what the triggers are. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s happening and write it down in a log. Be specific:

  • What did you just eat?
  • Is there a specific sound that is triggering it?
  • Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
  • Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?

The more accurate your information, the faster you’ll see the patterns that could be triggering the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.

An Ounce of Prevention

Preventing tinnitus from the beginning is the best way to deal with it. Start by doing everything you can to protect your hearing like:

  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Turning the volume down on everything
  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system
  • Wearing ear protection when you’re going to be around loud noises

Eat right, exercise, and if you have high blood pressure, take your medication. To eliminate treatable problems that increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.

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