Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed attempting to sleep after a long tiring day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a ringing sound in your ears. Your TV, radio, and phone are all turned off so you’re sure it’s nothing in your room. Unfortunately, this sound is inside your ears and it won’t go away.
If this situation sounds familiar, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people that have tinnitus. Buzzing, ringing, and a variety of other noises will be heard in your ears when you suffer from this problem. Most people who have tinnitus think of it as a mere irritation; it comes and goes but doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives. For others, however, tinnitus can be debilitating and cause them to lose sleep and have a hard time engaging in work and recreational activities.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but specialists have focused in on a few triggers for this condition. It’s most prevalent in people who have damaged hearing, as well as people who have heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus happens due to reduced 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 because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, works the heart harder to get nutrients to the right place, often resulting in tinnitus.
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 challenging when the cause of tinnitus isn’t easily discernible, but that doesn’t mean treatment is impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
There are a few treatments available to help stop the buzzing in your ears, all depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One important thing to take note of, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. Despite this fact, there’s still a good possibility that your tinnitus will improve or even fade away altogether because of these treatments.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
If masking the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people deal with the ringing in their ears that does not go away with other treatments. This mental health type of treatment can help individuals who have tinnitus to function more normally on an everyday basis by helping them change their negative thinking into a more positive outlook.