Let’s set the stage: you’re lying in bed at night attempting to unwind after a long, exhausting day. Your eyelids are getting heavy and you know that sleep is right around the corner. Then you start to hear it: a ringing sound in your ears. Your phone, TV, and radio are all off so you’re sure it’s nothing in your room. No, this sound is coming from inside your ears and you don’t know how to make it stop.
If this scenario has happened to you, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people who have tinnitus. This problem causes you to hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, inside your ears. For the majority of people, tinnitus will not have a substantial affect on their lives beyond being a simple inconvenience. For other individuals, unfortunately, tinnitus can be devastating and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty doing work and recreational activities.
What’s The Primary Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but experts have narrowed down a few causes for this condition. It’s most prevalent in people who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who have heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus occurs due to limited 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 commonly experience tinnitus symptoms since their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, works the heart harder to deliver nutrients to the correct place, often resulting in tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a symptom 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 impact the hearing. Sometimes treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus isn’t evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment is impossible.
What Treatments Are Out There For Tinnitus?
There are a few treatments available to help stop the buzzing in your ears, all depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One significant thing to take note of, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still offer a good chance for your tinnitus to get better or disappear altogether.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in people who have hearing loss.
If masking the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people deal with the ringing in their ears that does not go away with other treatments. This kind of mental health therapy helps patients change their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, realistic thoughts that help them function normally on a day to day basis.