Let’s set the stage: you’re lying in bed at night trying to unwind after a long, exhausting day. You feel yourself beginning to drift off to sleep. Then you start to hear it: a buzzing 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 within your ears and you don’t know how to make it stop.
If this situation has happened to you, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people that have 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 inconvenience; it comes and goes but doesn’t really impact their daily lives. For other people, however, tinnitus can be devastating and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty engaging in work and recreational activities.
What’s The Main Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but specialists have focused in on a few causes for this condition. It appears mostly in people who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who suffer from heart conditions. Reduced blood flow around the ears is generally considered to be the main cause of tinnitus. This causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood to where it’s needed. People who have iron-deficiency anemia commonly experience tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, works the heart harder to deliver nutrients to the correct place, often leading to tinnitus.
Tinnitus also happens as a symptom of other conditions, like Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. All of these conditions affect the hearing and lead to scenarios where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. In some cases treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus isn’t evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment is impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Managed?
There are a few treatments available to help stop the ringing in your ears, all depending on the root cause of your tinnitus. One relevant thing to note, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still present a good chance for your tinnitus to improve or disappear altogether.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help cover up tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If covering up the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people deal with the ringing in their ears that doesn’t fade away with other treatments. This type of mental health therapy helps patients change their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on a day to day basis.