What You Need to Know About Tinnitus
As you grew up, you noticed your older family members slowly losing their hearing. They may have lost their hearing for a number of reasons. They could have lost it through hard work at an industrial plant. They may have lost it because they went hunting without earplugs. They may have even lost it due to a disease, and they report a number of different symptoms, like deafness or tinnitus. Since hearing problems often run in families, you might want to familiarize yourself with their symptoms so you can catch them early and halt their progression. Below,is an overview of what you need to know about tinnitus.
How You Know You Have Tinnitus
People commonly report having a ringing in their ears, but this condition’s symptoms often prove more complex. You can hear phantom noises like the following:
These noises can happen in number of pitches depending on the range of hearing that sustains damage. You could experience a low, deep, base-like sound, or you could hear high-pitched shrieks and squeaks. You may feel some pressure when these noises occur, and these noises may occur constantly, occasionally, or in short bursts.
If you have objective tinnitus, which means you have abnormalities in the blood vessels, bones, or muscles around your ear, then other people may also hear the noises. But if you have subjective tinnitus (which accounts for 95% of cases), then nobody else will hear it.
Tinnitus may also cause these other symptoms:
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating due to the noise
- Prolonged feelings of depression, anxiety, or stress
- Difficulty hearing over the noise
Both objective and subjective tinnitus can cause these symptoms.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus has a variety of causes. If you have objective tinnitus, you simply have a genetic abnormality in the tissues and structures around your ear. You can often get surgical treatment for this kind of tinnitus.
However, if you have subjective tinnitus, this condition probably stemmed from these causes:
Loud noises, including heavy machinery, loud appliances, weaponry, and loud music (or even music at a moderate volume in ear buds).This can damage the nerves or receptor hairs inside your ear. They can misfire, causing the phantom sounds.
- Earwax blockage. As earwax hardens, it can block sounds or irritate the ear drum, which can cause tinnitus.
- Ear bone abnormalities such as Otosclerosis. These develop over time and tend to run in families.
- Meniere’s disease. This disorder involves abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder. Your jaw connects to your skull near your ears, and abnormalities at this connection can cause tinnitus.
- Head injuries. A hard blow could injure your ear or the nerves in your skull. You’ll usually only notice tinnitus in one ear.
- Medications. Some antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics, quinine medications, antidepressants, and aspirin can cause tinnitus.
In some cases, like earwax blockage, your hearing expert can easily solve the problem. However, others require surgery. And if you have nerve or inner ear hair cell damage, you might only have the ability to mask the noise. For this reason, you have to do everything you can to prevent this condition.
How You Can Prevent Tinnitus
To prevent ringing in your ears, take the following steps:
- If you work around loud machinery or people, wear over-the-ear hearing protection when you can. Use earplugs when you can’t, but remember to switch out pairs often to prevent infections, which can also damage your ears.
- Turn down the volume in your headphones or ear buds (especially your ear buds).
- Wear earplugs at concerts.
- Do everything you can to keep your ears healthy.
- Boost your cardiovascular health. The healthier you keep your body, the healthier your ears will stay as a result.
Sometimes you still develop this condition through genetic factors or exposure to a single loud noise. When that happens, you’ll need to take steps to treat this condition.
How You Treat Tinnitus
At home, you can do the following to treat your tinnitus:
- Treat any underlying hearing loss first
- Utilize sound masking technology to drown out the unwanted noises
- Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
- Stay away from aspirin and other NSAIDs.
- Stay away from loud noises, and don’t listen to loud music in your headphones or ear buds.
- Practice relaxation techniques, like yoga or meditation.
- Drink relaxing herbal teas or take herbal supplements like Ginkgo Biloba. Herbs may help in some cases.
If your tinnitus remains, you may have to turn to professional treatments, which may include masking the noise or training your brain to not notice it. If you have it as a result of medications, TMD, or earwax blockage, your hearing expert will simply treat the underlying condition. Your tinnitus should dissipate after that.
Talk with our tinnitus experts if you experience this condition. Our specialists can help you find viable treatment options. Contact us today.