Let’s set the scene: You’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep after a long stressful day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then as you’re lying there in the quiet of the night, you begin to notice the sound of ringing in your ears. You’re certain 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’re not sure how to make it stop.
If this scenario has happened to you, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people that suffer from tinnitus. Buzzing, ringing, and a variety of other sounds will be heard inside of your ears when you have this condition. For most people, tinnitus won’t have a substantial impact on their lives beyond being a simple inconvenience. For other people, however, tinnitus can be unbearable 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 specialists have narrowed down a few triggers for this problem. It shows up mostly in people who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals who have heart conditions. Restricted blood flow around the ears is generally thought to be the main 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 commonly suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, makes the heart work overtime to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also happens as a result of other conditions, like Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. 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 challenging, but not impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Managed?
Depending on the root cause of your tinnitus, there might be several 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 an excellent possibility that your tinnitus will get better or even disappear altogether due to these treatments.
Research has revealed that hearing aids help cover up tinnitus in people who suffer from hearing loss.
If masking the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people live with the ringing in their ears that does not disappear with other treatments. This type of mental health therapy helps people change their negative thoughts about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that help them function normally on an every day basis.