Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Whether or not it’s only with you once in a while or you hear it all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus in your ears is annoying. Annoying might not be the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? That sound that you can’t get rid of is an issue however you decide to describe it. So what can be done? Is even possible to get rid of that ringing in your ears?

Understand What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it

Begin by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the ringing, clicking, buzzing, 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 itself is not a condition but a sign of something else. Hearing loss is often the primary cause of tinnitus. Hearing decline commonly comes with tinnitus as a side effect. When a person’s hearing changes, it is still unclear why tinnitus happens. Presently the theory is that the brain is filling the void by producing noise.

Every single day you experience thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of sounds. There is conversing, music, car horns, and the TV, as an example, but those are only the obvious noises. The sound of air coming through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are not as noticeable. 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? The part of your brain that deals with hearing becomes confounded. It is possible that the phantom noises that come with tinnitus are the brain’s way of producing sound for it to interpret because it recognizes it should be there.

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

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

Any of these things can trigger tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you could experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before trying to find another way to get rid of it.

Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?

You need to know why you have it before you can begin to determine what to do about it. Giving the brain what it wants might be the only thing that helps. You need to produce some sound if your tinnitus is caused by lack of it. It doesn’t need to be much, something as basic as a fan running in the background may generate enough sound to shut off that ringing.

There is also technology made just for this purpose such as white noise machines. Ocean waves or falling rain are calming natural sounds that these devices simulate. Some have pillow speakers, so you hear the sound when you sleep.

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

A combination of tricks works the best for the majority of people. You might wear hearing aids during the day and use a white noise machine at night, for instance.

If soft sounds aren’t helping or if the tinnitus is severe, there are medications that could help. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus

It can also help if you make a few lifestyle changes. A good starting point is determining what triggers your tinnitus. Keep a record and make a note of what’s going on when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:

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

Be very precise when you record the information and pretty soon you will see the patterns that trigger the ringing. Stress can also be the cause, so try to find ways to relax like exercise, meditation or even biofeedback.

An Ounce of Prevention

The best way to get rid of tinnitus is to prevent it in the first place. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:

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

If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise also. 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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