Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed trying to sleep after a long tiring day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a ringing sound inside your ears. You’re certain 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 situation has happened to you, then chances are that you’re one of the 50 million people who are afflicted by tinnitus. Buzzing, ringing, and a range of other noises will be heard in your ears when you have this condition. For the majority of people, tinnitus won’t have a substantial affect on their lives beyond being a simple inconvenience. But this is not the case with everyone who is suffering from tinnitus. For some, it can cause them to lose sleep, to disengage socially, and to have a hard time working.
What’s The Underlying Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but this condition has been narrowed down to a handful of causes. It’s most common in people who have damaged hearing, and also people who suffer from heart problems. It’s believed that tinnitus comes about due to restricted blood flow around the ears, which causes the heart to pump blood harder in order for it to get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia frequently suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells do not carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, works the heart harder to deliver nutrients to the right place, often resulting in tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a symptom of other conditions, like ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these conditions affect the hearing and result in scenarios where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. In other cases, there may not be an evident cause of tinnitus, which can make treatment difficult, but not impossible.
What Treatments Are Available For Tinnitus?
There are several treatments available to help stop the ringing in your ears, all dependent on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One significant thing to note, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments can still offer a good possibility for your tinnitus to get better or disappear altogether.
Studies have shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to help people live with the ringing in their ears that doesn’t disappear with other treatments. This type of mental health therapy helps patients turn their negative feelings about tinnitus into more positive, realistic thoughts that will help them function normally on a day to day basis.