Let’s set the scene: You’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep after a long stressful day. You feel yourself beginning to drift off to sleep. Then as you’re lying there in the quiet of the night, you begin to notice the sound of buzzing in your ears. Your phone, TV, and radio are all switched off so you know it’s nothing inside your room. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you don’t know how to stop it.
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 condition causes you to hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, in your ears. The majority of people who have tinnitus consider it a mere irritation; they notice it now and again but it doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives. For other people, unfortunately, tinnitus can be debilitating and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty 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’s most common in individuals who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who have heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus comes about due to restricted blood flow around the ears, which makes the heart pump blood harder in order for it to get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia often suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, makes the heart work extra hard to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also happens as a result of other conditions, like ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these ailments affect the hearing and result in situations where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. Sometimes treatment can be challenging 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 number of treatments out there to help stop the ringing in your ears, all depending on the underlying 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 possibility for your tinnitus to get better or disappear altogether.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help cover up tinnitus in people who have hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people live with the buzzing in their ears that does not fade away with other treatments. This type of mental health treatment helps patients turn their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that will help them function normally on a day to day basis.