Your hearing is of vital importance to you as you navigate relationships in your life as well as the world around you. When you find you have trouble hearing or you are dealing with tinnitus, it can only make your life more difficult.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus symptoms are characterized by a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans experience some form of this sensation. There are various causes of tinnitus but often, tinnitus is the permanent damage and loss of the tiny sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner parts of the ear. While sometimes found in the younger generation, it tends to happen as people get older. A common cause is prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise. Additionally, hearing loss may coincide with tinnitus.
A lot of people who don’t struggle with long-term tinnitus will experience transient tinnitus when they go to a concert or performance where the music is too loud. This will cause ringing in their ears that will often go away on its own. Prolonged exposure can cause lasting damage though, and it’s advisable to seek medical or audiological advice should the problem persist.
Some people, however, experience tinnitus in a more long-term fashion. It isn’t a disease or issue in and of itself, but it is instead a symptom of other hearing-related disorders and issues or can be associated with age-related hearing impairment.
The causes of tinnitus are many and include:
- Exposure to loud sounds
- Blockages of the ear
- Ear infections
- Dental or temporomandibular joint problems
- Injuries to the inner ear following surgery
- Neck and shoulder issues
- Blood flow and nerve problems
Tinnitus takes two primary forms:
This form of tinnitus results when you can hear your muscle contractions or pulse. The noise heard in the ear is caused by the sounds created by muscle movements in the ear, changes in the ear canal, or vascular problems in the face or neck.
This form of tinnitus may be caused by problems inside the hearing nerves and beyond. Tinnitus is often intermittent, making medical treatment complicated.
Most tinnitus goes untreated, with users developing effective coping mechanisms. However, if tinnitus does not improve over time, or if accompanied by other medical symptoms, then visit your doctor or audiologist to develop improved coping techniques.
Tips on Dealing With Tinnitus
Living with tinnitus, no matter how long you deal with it, can be distracting and debilitating. However, there are a few ways you can learn to live with or eliminate tinnitus if you’re struggling with it: here we list a few common methods for tinnitus management.
One tip is to watch your diet. Some tinnitus sufferers claim that certain foods and drinks can actually increase their tinnitus. It is best to eliminate these foods and drinks, which consist of caffeinated drinks, aspirin, salty foods, and alcohol to name a few.
While you’re cutting out the alcohol, try to stop smoking as well. Not only can smoking be dangerous to your lungs, but it can also cause your blood flow to change which can make the ringing in your ears louder than normal.
You can also slow your blood flow by practicing meditation or extreme relaxation. This will help to calm your body down. Some forms of meditation and relaxation that you can try include Tai-chi, yoga, self-hypnosis, and so on.
If you want to minimize the ringing sounds in your ear, you can opt to listen to soft music or nature sounds to help mask the ringing. This can include soft music playing from your radio or the sound of an ocean breeze on a bedside sound generator, and everything in between.
As you can see, while living with tinnitus can be deafening, there are a number of ways to help reduce your symptoms and improve your coping strategies.
The use of a hearing aid to amplify sounds has proven to help cover up the tinnitus and make it less distracting. NexGen Hearing carries several hearing aids that come with a built-in tinnitus sound generator feature. NexGen Hearing offers additional flexibility in treating both hearing loss and tinnitus, so make sure to talk to one of our professionals to discuss your options.