Let’s set the scene: you’re in your bed at night attempting to chill out after a long, stressful day. Your eyelids are getting heavy and you recognize that sleep is right around the corner. Then as you’re lying there in the quiet of the night, you begin to notice the sound of ringing in your ears. You’re certain it’s nothing in your bedroom because the radio, TV, and phone are all off. Unfortunately, this noise is in your ears and it won’t stop.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people that suffer from tinnitus. This condition makes you hear ringing, buzzing, and whooshing sounds, among others, in your ears. The majority of people who have tinnitus consider it a mere annoyance; they notice it now and again but it doesn’t really affect their daily lives. But this is not the case with everybody who has tinnitus. For some, it can cause them to lose sleep, to disengage socially, and to have a hard time working.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but specialists have narrowed down a few triggers for this problem. It’s most common in individuals who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals who suffer from heart conditions. It’s believed that tinnitus happens due to reduced blood flow around the ears, which causes the heart to pump blood harder in order for it to get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia often suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, works the heart harder to get nutrients to the right place, often resulting in tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a result of other conditions, such as Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Situations where tinnitus becomes more pronounced happen with all of these condition because they all affect the hearing. At times treatment can be difficult when the cause of tinnitus isn’t evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
What Treatments Are Available For Tinnitus?
Depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus, there may be several possible treatment options. 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 vanish completely because of these treatments.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in people who suffer from hearing loss.
If masking the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people live with the ringing in their ears that does not go away with other treatments. This kind of mental health treatment helps people change their negative feelings about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on a day to day basis.