Experienced by 50 million Americans, tinnitus is more common than we want to admit. With an uncomfortable noise playing in your ears 24/7, this is a debilitating condition requiring professional help.
Tinnitus isn’t the end of the world, and with the right help, you can get back to living your life and enjoying all the beautiful sounds life has to offer.
What Causes Ringing In The Ears?
The condition that causes ringing in the ears is called tinnitus. It’s the sensation of hearing a ringing, buzzing, whistling, or humming sound that no one else hears. It may be a constant sound, or it may come and go.
Usually, the sound is most noticeable in quiet environments – such as when you lie down to sleep at night.
Most people experience some tinnitus from time to time. Others experience such a loud, constant sound in their ears that they cannot acknowledge sounds they would rather hear, such as speech.
What Is Tinnitus And How Is It Caused?
Many things cause tinnitus. Sometimes, if a person has an ear infection or wax blocking the ear, tinnitus may occur. When the ear canal is cleared, or the infection is resolved, the tinnitus disappears.
Often, though, tinnitus is caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds. About 80%-90% of people with tinnitus have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. It is widespread for pilots, musicians, people who use loud tools, or those who have served in the military to experience some degree of tinnitus.
Sudden exposure to loud sounds, such as fireworks or a gunshot, can also cause tinnitus. This is not to say that EVERYONE who experiences tinnitus has a hearing loss.
Many commonly prescribed medications, such as aspirin, some antibiotics, loop diuretics, and anti-depressants, may lead to tinnitus. For others, a concurrent medical condition, such as Meniere’s disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, or diabetes, may cause tinnitus.
Tinnitus is often made worse by consuming alcohol, caffeine, smoking, or something as familiar as fatigue. More recently, tinnitus has been reported as secondary to COVID-19 and may be a permanent long haul symptom.
What Can Be Done To Treat Tinnitus?
Because there are so many different causes of tinnitus, it’s difficult to find ONE thing to help it. Physicians will first recommend cutting caffeine, alcohol, and sodium from the diet and cessation of smoking.
Sometimes, medications can be changed to something with similar treatment effects that do not trigger tinnitus. Of course, if the tinnitus is caused by an infection or wax blocking the ear canal, the tinnitus may cease when the condition is resolved.
For those whose tinnitus is related to hearing loss, the use of hearing aids is about 60% effective in masking the tinnitus when they are wearing hearing aids. For others, it may be necessary to use a sound generator or masking device to distract the brain from focusing on tinnitus.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is available for severe cases and often involves the combination of a masking device and counseling. There is no “one-size-fits-all” remedy.
Are There Any Home Remedies To Stop The Ringing In The Ears?
There is a plethora of over-the-counter supplements, drops, and pills that is marketed to those who suffer from tinnitus. However, there is very little scientific evidence that any of these things effectively get rid of it.
The best option is to always speak to your physician and audiologist about ways to deal with tinnitus.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Tinnitus?
The first thing to do is to contact us right away so we can discuss your symptoms. Having a comprehensive hearing exam done will be the best way to diagnose any issues you may be having.
Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s never too early to get a check-up to see your hearing status. Prevention is the best way to combat hearing loss, and we are always ready to help.
Contact us at your earliest convenience to have a friendly and no-obligation discussion about how we can improve your hearing and your lifestyle.