Have you ever experienced a periodic or constant ringing in your ears? Or perhaps a hissing, roaring, or whooshing sound? If so, there is a good chance that you are experiencing the symptoms of tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no external noise occurring around you. While some people label it as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus can appear in several different ways, such as buzzing, clicking, hissing, whooshing, and whistling. There are even rare cases of some people hearing musical notes.
Tinnitus can be either a temporary or permanent condition and can appear in either a single ear or both of them. However, this ear issue is not always a condition, but more commonly a symptom of hearing loss. It’s a sign that your auditory system has been damaged in some way. That includes your ear, the auditory nerve that links the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of your brain that process sound. There are a variety of ways a person can acquire tinnitus.
A large percentage of people have experienced tinnitus for a short time after being exposed to very loud noises. For instance, going to a loud concert can cause short-term tinnitus if proper precautions are not taken to safeguard your ears. It’s even possible to get it from taking medication such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs in high doses. But it can potentially go away once the medication is discontinued.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, an estimated 15% of the general public (over 50 million Americans) have some form of Tinnitus. The condition is even more prevalent in people over the age of 55 and is often connected to hearing loss. Plenty of people are concerned about tinnitus since it’s an indicator of them potentially losing their hearing or having another more severe medical issue.
Unfortunately, for most of these people, there is no single cure for the various types of tinnitus. However, there are ways for people to manage their tinnitus better. By managing your perception of the sound in your head, you’ll be able to make it through the passing days much better. After all, tinnitus can have a profound impact on the way we go through life. At times, the sounds you hear can interfere with hearing actual sounds around you, which can lead to a constant feeling of frustration and annoyance. Tinnitus can even lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Let’s go over some innovative ways to manage your tinnitus.
One of the common reasons people develop tinnitus is as a symptom of hearing loss. When a person starts to develop hearing loss, the brain commences changing the way it processes sound waves. Hearing aids are diminutive electronic devices made up of a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. This combination allows it to increase and amplify the volume of any external sound around the wearer.
The sounds in our external environment become quieter when dealing with hearing loss. When that occurs, the ringing inside the ears becomes more pronounced, making it the loudest sound you hear because it’s not affected by hearing loss. However, the ringing or buzzing sounds that were previously evident become masked when wearing hearing aids since it heightens the external sound. As the hearing aid helps you tune out the tinnitus, the less of an issue it becomes.
The Hearing Review published a survey that showed how effective hearing aids were against tinnitus. According to the survey, they discovered that around 60% of people with tinnitus experienced at least some relief from using a hearing aid. Additionally, approximately 22% of the participants found significant relief from wearing hearing aids.
Furthermore, whenever someone is experiencing hearing loss, the section of the brain that translates sound will suffer from stress, fatigue, and atrophy. Hearing aids are capable of keeping the auditory nerves healthy, which can lead to reducing some of your tinnitus symptoms.
Plenty of research papers have shown how beneficial physical exercise can be for a person’s overall health. Exercise is an ideal way to manage stress and is an excellent way to maintain your brain and body health. For instance, if your tinnitus is being caused due to high blood pressure, taking up exercising can assist you with getting your blood pressure under better control and minimize your tinnitus. Other things that tinnitus can be aggravated by include stress, anxiety, depression, illness, and lack of sleep.
By frequently exercising, you can manage your stress, sleeping pattern and remain healthier overall. Of course, there is some caution you need to undertake to make sure your tinnitus does not worsen. Although many people crank up the volume for their music while they exercise, high volume music can contribute to the chances of your ears experiencing hearing loss and developing or aggravating your tinnitus over time. So make sure to keep it at a moderate level and allow your ears to take frequent breaks from the headphones.
Meditation has shown to have some effect on managing tinnitus, according to many studies. There are several styles of meditation out there, each of them having a different approach, technique, and method. Essentially, meditation is a mental exercise that has you concentrate your attention on a single point of focus, such as your breathing pattern, or parts of your body, for a certain amount of time.
One of the primary sources of distress caused by tinnitus is due to the attention given to it by the individual. Practicing meditation allows you to distract yourself from tinnitus and focus your attention somewhere else. Meditation has been known to help you experience a deep sense of relaxation and calmness. When you are concentrated on a single point of awareness, such as your breathing, you are not concerned about the constant worries in your life, including tinnitus.
A study conducted by Dr. Jennifer Gans showed encouraging results for meditation and tinnitus. The early pilot study introduced participants to a mindfulness-based tinnitus stress reduction treatment. The research showed some promising results, with symptoms like anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation significantly lowered. The participants reported a boost intolerance to the condition, which allowed them to better manage their tinnitus.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Tinnitus has shown indications of being correlated to large levels of emotional stress. Tinnitus can often be exacerbated by individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, or insomnia. CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psycho-social intervention that assists individuals with tinnitus to learn how to manage their symptoms better. Rather than diminishing the internal noises experienced as tinnitus, CBT teaches you how to accept the situation. The primary objective of this therapy is to better your quality of life and prevent tinnitus from causing frustration or lowering your quality of life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy includes working alongside a counselor or therapist on a regular basis, usually once per week. During these sessions, the therapist or counselor will assist you in identifying and transforming your negative thought patterns into positive ones. Formerly, CBT was created as a means of treatment for depression and other psychological issues, but it has since been transformed into something that can assist people dealing with severe bouts of tinnitus as well. According to several studies, CBT can significantly reduce the annoyance and irritation that can constantly bother a person when they have tinnitus.
Medication is unable to cure a person of their tinnitus, but in some cases, it can assist with reducing the severity of symptoms or complications. To assist you in relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend medications to treat underlying conditions or to help treat depression, anxiety, or insomnia that often accompanies tinnitus. The Medical Science Monitor published a survey that shows how anti-anxiety drugs known as Alprazolam offered some relief to people with tinnitus. Furthermore, the American Tinnitus Association claims that anti-depression is one of the most common ways to help someone manage their tinnitus. However, some medications can also aggravate your tinnitus, so use caution and always consult your medical professional before taking any new medication.
The food you consume has a way of impacting your tinnitus since the type of food you eat can affect other parts of the body that are connected to tinnitus in some way. For some people, caffeine can affect blood flow and overall health. For example, consuming too much coffee or soda frequently can heighten your blood pressure, which can aggravate your tinnitus. Alcohol and tobacco also cause similar problems to your body, so make sure to limit the amount you use, but it’s usually best to decrease or cut these unhealthy habits from your life.
Some people have even shown signs of managing their tinnitus better by reducing the amount of salt they consume and introducing healthier choices to their diet. For instance, people who have Meniere’s disease are often affected with dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus. By lowering the amount of salt, the impact of these issues can be lessened allowing individuals to manage the tinnitus better.
Sound-masking devices can offer you an enjoyable or pleasurable external sound that moderately reduces the internal sounds of tinnitus. The more traditional sound-masking devices are sound machines placed on your tables, but there are some that you can fit inside of your ears. These electronic devices can play several sounds, such as white noise, nature noises, pink noise, music, and other ambient sounds.
Most people dealing with tinnitus prefer using a level of external sounds that are somewhat louder than the noises made by their tinnitus. However, others prefer something capable of masking sounds that can smother out the constant buzzing noise. Some people purchase sound machines that are made to assist people in relaxing or falling asleep. These devices usually produce sounds reminiscent of static or environmental sounds such as raindrops or ocean waves. Fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners also generate white noise and can help reduce the effect of tinnitus while falling asleep.
According to Frontier in Aging Neuroscience, a study conducted in 2017 discovered that masking was one of the most effective methods when using broadband noise, such as pink noise or white noise. However, nature sounds were revealed to have a lesser effect of the three varying sounds.
There are also customizable sound machines you could use to help better manage your tinnitus. The standard masking devices may be capable of masking your tinnitus, but they provide no long-lasting effects. Most modern medical-grade devices use customized sounds tailor-made for your tinnitus. Unlike the common sound machine, these devices are only used periodically. You will continue to reap the benefits long after you have turned off the device and may even see long-term improvement in the perception of the sounds caused by tinnitus over time.
Furthermore, with the advancement of technology, most households have smart speakers scattered throughout the house. If you are one of the many that have a smart speaker in your home, consider playing pink noise or white noise. Experiment with a variety of types of noise to find something that can help dampen your particular type of tinnitus.
As we mentioned before, headphones can also be used to assist with managing your tinnitus. There are plenty of sound therapy apps out there that can provide you with the sounds you need to manage your tinnitus. AudioCardio is one of these sound therapy apps that are capable of assisting you in finding relief from your tinnitus. AudioCardio’s mobile app delivers data and science-backed sound therapies designed to maintain and strengthen your hearing by stimulating the hair cells inside of your ears.
The clinically tested Threshold Sound Conditioning (TSC) technology creates a personalized sound therapy in hopes of helping people maintain and strengthen their hearing. The mobile app swiftly assesses your hearing and distributes a once-a-day, one-hour inaudible sound therapy for your ears. AudioCardio’s TSC technology is able to detect the fundamental frequencies that have been damaged and lost sensitivity and exercises them with a personalized sound signal just below the perceivable level. If your tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss, AudioCardio is certainly worth a try.
Tinnitus has become a significant source of distress for millions of people. While tinnitus isn’t always a sign of a severe medical condition, you should still reach out to your primary care doctor if the ailment remains persistent. The doctor can examine your ears and provide you with the subsequent required steps you need to take to help manage your tinnitus. The need to constantly deal with noise only you can hear inside your head can drive anyone crazy. However, there is still hope as there is a great deal of research and work dedicated to helping people suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus. Try these simple techniques and solutions to help find relief.