Tinnitus: The Everything Guide to Managing the Ringing in Your EarsPublished On: June 19, 2019
According to research, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of tinnitus. This condition, known as “ringing in the ears,” can be quite debilitating and affect your quality of life.
Not only does tinnitus affect your well-being, it also leads to problems such as insomnia, because the noise affects your ability to sleep. Unfortunately, there is no proven cure for this annoying condition.
Thankfully, there are some remedies to dealing with it.
So the problem is, how do you get relief from the constant noise inside your head? And if you do, how do you know that the tinnitus will not come back?
Keep on reading to learn how to manage all forms of tinnitus, so you can get back to living your life without the noise.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that causes constant or intermittent sound inside your head. It can manifest with clicking, swooshing, roaring, whistling, hissing, buzzing, and ringing. 30% of people suffering from tinnitus also experience sleeping problems.
It affects your ability to focus and enjoy life, causing 45% of people to develop some form of anxiety or depression.
In some extreme cases, it can even sound like music within your ears. Even if you like the song, having it constantly playing will affect your mental well-being, leaving you desperate for relief.
There are different categories of tinnitus, each one with a different cause:
This is the most common form of tinnitus and is usually caused by excess exposure to loud noises, such as music or construction.
Subjective tinnitus is typically treated with special hearing aids that play calming music that distracts you from hearing the ringing in your ears.
Objective tinnitus is when the noises are heard from the outside, usually with a tool like a stethoscope. Thankfully, this type is rarer and not experienced by the majority.
Sensory tinnitus is a form of subjective tinnitus and is the most commonly diagnosed for people who suffer from this condition.
This is typically neurological. Various disorders in the brain can affect the brain’s ability to process sound, failing to receive signals. This causes the neural circuits to “chatter,” leaving your brain to think that it is registering sound, causing you to hear those noises.
Somatic tinnitus, also known as conductive tinnitus, is usually caused by external movements such as muscle spasms in the ear or neck. Physical movements or even dental conditions can manifest the noise in your ears.
What Are the Main Causes of Tinnitus?
Now that we have covered what tinnitus is, it is important to know what can cause it to happen. That way you can deal with the root of the problem and reduce the chances of it getting any worse.
There are a variety of reasons why you could be experiencing tinnitus:
- A buildup of wax in the ears causes hearing loss; your brain will create sounds to compensate for the loss
- Ototoxic medications such as antibiotics, NSAIDS, cancer meds, etc.
- Injury to the ears
- A change in the bone structure within the ear
- Aggressive sports such as martial arts, rugby, football, hockey, etc.
- Neurological conditions causing the brain to misinterpret sounds
- Head or neck injuries
- Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, hearing loss, and ringing in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Loud noises such as music concerts, military, air traffic, loud headphones, shooting ranges, or construction. This destroys the cilia (hair cells) in the inner ear
- Ear infections
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
- Disorders such as anxiety, depression, Fibromyalgia, Hyperthyroid, Hypothyroid disease
- Heart conditions
As you can see, there are a plethora of reasons why someone would be experiencing any level of tinnitus. This is part of the reason why it is so difficult to cure, because there are so many variables to the root cause.
How You Can Manage Tinnitus
Now that you understand tinnitus and what may have caused it, it is important to figure out how to manage the noise.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the intensity of tinnitus. Certain lifestyles can aggravate it, so try to limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, loud noises, and smoking.
Since tinnitus is also linked to obesity, eating healthier can also help reduce the symptoms.
Massage and physiotherapy can help to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus by relieving the tension in the upper back, neck, and jaw. Get regular appointments to really notice the differences.
Adjust the Noise in Your Bedroom
People who suffer from tinnitus find it therapeutic to have a not-so-quiet bedroom. The simple act of placing a fan in your bedroom can help reduce the distractions of tinnitus while you are sleeping. You can also place a sound system in your bedroom to play soothing music and nature sounds while you sleep.
Meditation and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels and anxiety, which could be a culprit of the tinnitus. By focusing on your breath, you are able to block out the sounds within your ears.
Tinnitus-Masking Hearing Aids
There are some incredible hearing aids that have been specifically designed to play soothing sounds which cancel out your brain from registering the aggravating noises of tinnitus.
Sound therapy can change the way your brain registers the noise. These special sounds can be played in a clinical setting, or even on your smartphone. The more you listen to sound therapy, the more it can help you.
Learn More About Managing Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be very hard to live with, so by following these tips for managing your tinnitus, you can go back to enjoying your life the way it was before all the noise.
If you would like to learn more about tinnitus, or special hearing aids designed to help you deal with the noise, check out our free resources for more information.