Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed attempting to sleep after a long stressful day. You feel yourself beginning to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a ringing sound in your ears. You know it’s nothing in your bedroom because the TV, radio, and phone are all off. Unfortunately, this noise is in your ears and it won’t go away.
If this scenario has happened to you, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people that are afflicted by tinnitus. This problem causes you to hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, in your ears. For the majority of people, tinnitus will not have a substantial affect on their lives beyond being a simple annoyance. For others, however, tinnitus can be unbearable 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 this problem has been narrowed down to a few causes. It shows up commonly in people who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who have heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus occurs due to limited blood flow around the ears, which makes the heart pump blood harder so that it can get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia frequently experience tinnitus symptoms since their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, works the heart harder to deliver nutrients to the correct place, often leading to tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a result of other conditions, like ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these conditions impact the hearing and lead to situations where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. Sometimes treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus is not evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
How Can Tinnitus be Managed?
Depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus, there may be several possible treatment choices. One significant thing to note, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still offer a good chance for your tinnitus to improve or disappear completely.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in people who suffer from hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people deal with the buzzing in their ears that does not disappear with other treatments. This type of mental health treatment helps patients change their negative feelings about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that help them function normally on an every day basis.