Tinnitus is abnormal ear noise. It is a condition that causes constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming, and clicking sounds. The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) estimates there are nearly 50 million Americans who experience the discomfort associated with tinnitus. Tinnitus does not have a cure, and it can be frustrating and challenging to manage. If you experience tinnitus, it is essential to understand the condition and learn ways to alleviate the annoying symptoms that accompany it.
Symptoms Of Tinnitus
Of course, the primary symptom of tinnitus is the abnormal ear noise that accompanies it. However, it may also cause difficulty sleeping or concentrating, feelings of depression or anxiety, and problems at home or work. Other common symptoms include:
Ringing in the ears
Repeating musical tones
Loss of balance
Causes Of Tinnitus
Although tinnitus is a bothersome condition, it usually does not signal something serious. It is a common belief that tinnitus results from some change, either physical or mental. It can worsen with age but can improve with treatment. Treating the actual underlying cause is often helpful in minimizing the symptoms. Many health conditions can cause tinnitus, and finding the exact cause is usually not possible. Harm to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear is a common cause as is chronic health conditions and physical injury. Other possible causes may include:
Exposure to loud noise
Age-related hearing loss
Ear bone changes
Tinnitus may diminish over time or get worse. If your tinnitus is associated with hearing difficulty, interferes with sleep, presents suddenly, is present in one ear only, or impacts your general well-being, it is essential that you seek medical care.
What You Can Do About Tinnitus
A complete examination by a hearing healthcare professional that may include a medical history, testing, and tinnitus-specific testing will determine the cause of tinnitus. Treating tinnitus may be as simple as removing earwax or changing a medication. A course of treatment may consist of:
Stress reduction techniques
Changing one’s lifestyle is an integral part of a successful tinnitus treatment plan. Reduce exposure to things that make tinnitus worse. Loud noise, nicotine, and caffeine can exacerbate the effects of tinnitus. Mask the noise by using a fan, light music, or a low-volume radio. Try reducing alcohol consumption, which dilates blood vessels causing increased blood flow to the inner ear. Manage stress through techniques such as relaxation therapy, biofeedback, or exercise. These tips may help you cope with tinnitus:
Monitor your medications
Reduce exposure to loud noises
Eat foods that promote hearing health
Keep a positive attitude
The aggravation of tinnitus is incurable but treatable. Medications, alternative therapy, and hearing aids can reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. Lifestyle changes, a proper diet, exercise, and reducing noise exposure alleviates symptoms and aids in good hearing health. Learn about tinnitus and take steps to manage the symptoms before they control you.