Let’s set the scene: you’re in your bed at night attempting to chill out after a long, tiring day. Your eyelids are getting heavy and you recognize that your about to fall asleep. Then you start to hear it: a ringing sound in your ears. You know it’s nothing in your room because the radio, TV, and phone have all been turned off. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you don’t know how to stop it.
If this situation sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people that have tinnitus. This problem makes you hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, inside your ears. The majority of people who have tinnitus think of it as a mere irritation; they notice it now and again but it doesn’t really affect their daily lives. But this is not the case with everybody who suffers from tinnitus. For some, it can cause them to lose sleep, to disengage socially, and to have a hard time working.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but this problem has been narrowed down to a handful of causes. It appears mostly in individuals who have damaged hearing, as well as people who suffer from heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus happens due to restricted blood flow around the ears, which causes the heart to pump blood harder so that it can get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia frequently experience tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, makes the heart work extra hard to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also happens as a symptom of other conditions, like Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Situations where tinnitus becomes more pronounced occur with all of these condition because they all affect the hearing. In other situations, there might not be an evident cause of tinnitus, which can make treatment challenging, but not impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Managed?
Depending on the root cause of your tinnitus, there might be several possible treatment choices. One important thing to take note of, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still present a good possibility for your tinnitus to improve or disappear altogether.
Studies have shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If masking the noise doesn’t help, 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 kind of mental health therapy helps people turn their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that help them function normally on an every day basis.