It doesn’t matter if you hear it occasionally or it’s with you all day and night, the ringing of tinnitus can be annoying. There might be a more suitable word than annoying. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating and downright frustrating may be better. That noise that you can’t get rid of is an issue no matter how you choose to describe it. What can you do, though? How can you stop that ringing in your ears?
Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it
Begin by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the clicking, ringing, 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 per se is not a condition but a symptom of something else. That something else is loss of hearing for many people. Hearing loss often comes with tinnitus as a side effect. 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 creating noise.
Every single day you come across thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds. There is talking, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are only the obvious noises. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are not as obvious. These types of sound are not typically heard because the brain decides you don’t really need to hear them.
The point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. Now, what happens if you shut half of those sounds off? It becomes confusing for the portion of your brain that hears sound. It is possible that the phantom noises associated with tinnitus are the brains way of producing noise for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.
Tinnitus has other possible causes as well. It can be connected to severe health problems like:
- Turbulent blood flow
- Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- High blood pressure
- Meniere’s disease
- Head or neck tumors
- A reaction to medication
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
- Poor circulation
Tinnitus can be caused by any of these things. You may get the ringing even though you hear fine or possibly after an injury or accident. Before searching for other ways to get rid of it, you need to schedule an appointment with a doctor to get a hearing exam.
What to do About Tinnitus
You need to know why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. Sometimes, the only thing that helps is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is causing your tinnitus, you need to create some. A sound as simple as a fan running in the background could generate enough sound to shut off the ringing, it doesn’t need to be much.
A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is made just for this purpose. They simulate a natural sound that is relaxing like the ocean waves or rain falling. Some include pillow speakers, so you hear the sound when you sleep.
Another thing that also works is hearing aids. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain doesn’t need to generate phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.
For most people, the solution is a combination of tricks. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this strategy.
If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is severe, there are medications that might help. 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. A good starting place is identifying what triggers your tinnitus. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a log. Be specific:
- Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
- Is there a specific noise that is triggering it?
- Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?
- Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
- What did you just eat?
You will begin to discover the patterns that trigger the ringing if you record the information very accurately. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.
An Ounce of Prevention
The ideal way to get rid of tinnitus is to prevent it from the start. Start by doing everything possible to protect your hearing like:
- Taking care of your cardiovascular system
- Turning the volume down on everything
- Wearing 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 problems which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes along with it.