Have you ever experienced a ringing sound after going to a loud concert? If so, then you’ve experienced tinnitus, the perception of hearing ringing, whistling, buzzing or other sounds that others cannot. For most of the 50 million American adults affected by tinnitus, the condition is only an annoyance. But in severe cases, it can affect a person’s ability to concentrate or sleep.
Prolonged exposure to loud noises is the most common tinnitus cause. Loud noises can cause permanent damage to the cochlea cells, an inner-ear organ. However, other illnesses and conditions can also cause tinnitus:
- The aging process can cause deterioration of the cochlea and other parts of the ear.
- Injuries to the head and neck.
- Blockages caused by earwax buildup or an ear infection.
- Aspirin, several antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants, and certain other drugs
- Neck or jaw problems such as temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease problems, allergies, anemia.
For unclear reasons, stress and fatigue can affect tinnitus. Similarly, people also report that cigarettes can worsen tinnitus symptoms.
How to stop the ringing
We don’t yet have any clinical cures for tinnitus, but patients can find ways to alleviate the perceived volume and live a comfortable life. Avoid worsening the tinnitus with other loud noises, caffeine, and other stimulants. Also, avoid alcohol because it causes blood to flow into the inner ear and enhances the ringing sound. Finally, if you know you’ll be exposed to louder noise wear earplugs.
Meditation and yoga are helpful relaxation strategies to help you de-stress from the strain of tinnitus. You can start an at-home routine with ease thanks to DVDs, online videos, and easily available gear. If you prefer an instructor’s guidance, consider taking local group yoga classes.
- Play calming sounds or white noise
Tinnitus is more noticeable at night because of the silence, and some patients struggle with falling asleep because of the perceived ringing sounds. White noise machines produce sounds that calms the listener with sounds like wind blowing through a forest, rushing water, or other tranquil natural sounds. A fan whirring or a TV in another room can also provide sounds to help muffle the effect of tinnitus.
- Healthy lifestyle and supplements
Although there aren’t any FDA-approved tinnitus cures, dietary supplements like those found on http://www.tinnitus911.com can help patients lead a healthier lifestyle. Exercise and a nutritious diet can help your body in countless ways, so taking care of yourself indirectly helps you manage your tinnitus symptoms.
- Distract yourself
Enjoy a podcast or listen to quiet music to divert your attention from the ringing sounds. Avoid playing music at loud volumes — this can be just as damaging to your ears as attending a concert.
Prevention is a powerful step in keeping tinnitus at bay. Research indicates you may have lasting damage long after the ringing ends, so it’s important to plan accordingly to protect your hearing. Understand which noises lead to permanent damage such as motorcycles, playing music excessively loud, and attending concerts. Wear earplugs when you’re attending a concert and limit alcohol because blood flow increases to your ear in loud settings.
Should I consult a doctor?
Medical professionals help patients deal with the long-term stressors related to tinnitus. Consult a doctor if you suspect hearing loss or if the ringing lasts more than a week. A health care center in Pikesville, MD, for example, could help determine if your tinnitus is a result of an underlying issue. By taking charge of your health, you can learn strategies to help you manage living with tinnitus.