Let’s set the scene: you’re lying in bed at night attempting to unwind after a long, exhausting day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then you start to hear it: a buzzing sound in your ears. You know it’s nothing in your bedroom because the TV, radio, and phone have all been turned off. No, this sound is coming from within your ears and you don’t know how to stop it.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people who have tinnitus. This condition causes you to hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, inside your ears. Most people who have tinnitus consider it a mere inconvenience; it comes and goes but doesn’t really impact their day-to-day lives. For others, however, tinnitus can be devastating and cause them to lose sleep and have a hard time doing work and social activities.
What’s The Primary Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but specialists have focused in on a few triggers for this condition. It’s most common in people who have damaged hearing, as well as people who have heart conditions. Reduced blood flow around the ears is commonly considered to be the underlying 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 frequently suffer from tinnitus symptoms since 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 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. At times treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus isn’t easily discernible, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
Depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus, there may be a number of possible treatment options. One important thing to take note of, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. In spite of this fact, there’s still a good chance that your tinnitus will get better or even disappear completely due to these treatments.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
If covering up the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to help people live with the ringing in their ears that does not disappear with other treatments. This mental health style of treatment can help individuals who have tinnitus to function more normally on an everyday basis by helping them change their negative thoughts into a more positive outlook.