Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Whether or not it’s only with you periodically or you hear it all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus in your ears is annoying. There might be a more suitable word than annoying. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk infuriating? However you choose to describe that sound that you can’t turn off, it’s an issue. So what can be done? Can that ringing really be stopped?

Understand What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it

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 endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition itself. Loss of hearing is often the leading cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline commonly comes with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. The current theory is the brain generates the noise to fill a void.

Each and every day you come across thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of sounds. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. What about the turning of the blades on the ceiling fan or the sound of air blowing through a vent. You don’t really hear these sounds, but that’s only because your brain decides you don’t need to.

It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Turn half those sounds off and how would the brain react? Confusion takes place in the portion of the brain that hears sound. It may produce the phantom tinnitus noises to compensate because it recognizes sound should be there.

Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, though. It can be attributed to severe health problems like:

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

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 searching for other ways to get rid of it, you should consult a doctor to have a hearing exam.

What Can be Done About Tinnitus?

You can decide what to do about it when you determine why you have it. Giving the brain what it wants might be the only thing that helps. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.

Technology such as a white noise generator is made just for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are soothing natural sounds that these devices simulate. You can hear the sound as you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.

Hearing aids also do the trick. The sounds the brain is looking for can be turned up using quality hearing aids. The brain doesn’t need to produce phantom noises because hearing aids normalize your hearing.

A combination of tricks is most effective for the majority of people. You could wear hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.

If the tinnitus is more severe and soft sounds won’t work there are also medications that you can get. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.

You Have to Alter Your Lifestyle if You Want to Handle Your Tinnitus

It will also be helpful if you make a few lifestyle modifications. Identifying if there are triggers is a good place to begin. Keep a record and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:

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

You will start to notice the patterns which 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 best way to get rid of tinnitus is to protect against it from the start. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:

  • Using ear protection when around loud noises
  • Turning the volume down on everything
  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system

If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise also. Finally, schedule a hearing exam to rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and the tinnitus that comes with it.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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