Let’s set the stage: you’re in your bed at night trying to unwind after a long, exhausting day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then as you’re lying there in the quiet of the night, you begin to notice the sound of ringing in your ears. Your TV, radio, and phone are all turned off so you know it’s nothing in your room. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you’re not sure how to stop it.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people that suffer from tinnitus. This problem makes you hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, within your ears. For the majority of people, tinnitus won’t have a substantial impact on their lives beyond being a simple irritation. For other people, unfortunately, tinnitus can be debilitating and cause them to lose sleep and have a hard time engaging in work and social activities.
What’s The Primary Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but this condition has been narrowed down to a few causes. It appears mostly in individuals who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals who have heart conditions. It’s believed that tinnitus comes about due to restricted blood flow around the ears, which makes the heart pump blood harder so that it can get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia commonly suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, makes the heart work overtime to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also occurs as a result of other conditions, such as Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Scenarios where tinnitus becomes more pronounced happen with all of these condition because they all affect the hearing. In some cases treatment can be difficult when the cause of tinnitus isn’t evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment is impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Managed?
There are a few treatments available to help stop the ringing in your ears, all dependent on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One important thing to note, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. Despite this fact, there’s still an excellent possibility that your tinnitus will get better or even fade away altogether due to these treatments.
Research has revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people deal with the buzzing in their ears that does not go away with other treatments. This type of mental health treatment helps people turn their negative ideas about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on a regular basis.