Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep after a long stressful day. You feel yourself beginning to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a buzzing sound in your ears. Your phone, TV, and radio are all turned off so you’re sure it’s nothing inside your room. Unfortunately, this sound is inside your ears and it won’t stop.
If this situation sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people who have tinnitus. This problem causes you to hear ringing, buzzing, and whooshing sounds, among others, inside your ears. The majority of people suffering from tinnitus consider it a mere inconvenience; it comes and goes but doesn’t really impact their daily lives. For others, however, tinnitus can be unbearable and cause them to lose sleep and have a hard time performing work and recreational activities.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but experts have narrowed down a few causes for this problem. It shows up mostly in individuals who have damaged hearing, as well as people who suffer from heart conditions. 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 commonly suffer from tinnitus symptoms since 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 occurs as a result 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 impact the hearing. In some cases treatment can be difficult when the cause of tinnitus is not easily discernible, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
What Treatments Are Out There For Tinnitus?
There are a few treatments out there to help stop the ringing in your ears, all depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One relevant thing to take note of, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. Despite this fact, there’s still an excellent possibility that your tinnitus will improve or even disappear altogether because of these treatments.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If covering up 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 fade away with other treatments. This type of mental health therapy helps people turn their negative ideas about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on an every day basis.