Tinnitus can be incredibly hard to live with and difficult to explain to people who’ve never experienced it. Most people who have it say they hear ringing in the ear, buzzing, roaring, hissing or clicking. Some people experience more than one of these sounds at the same time. If you’re one of those people, you’ll know it can really interfere with sleep and daily activities, and contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Some people experience this condition (also known as tinnitus) all the time, and others will have it intermittently, for example when they are tired or stressed. What everyone agrees upon is that currently, there’s no cure for tinnitus. Now we’ve got the bad news out of the way, let’s look at the good news, which is that there are steps you can take to ease your tinnitus symptoms and lessen its impact upon your daily life.
There are lots of reasons why you might suffer from ringing in the ear, including hearing loss, stress, poor sleep, depression, cervical spine issues, and anxiety, to name a few.
What can I do to help myself?
Taking a proactive approach to managing ringing in the ear is a positive step. You may not be able to cure yourself, but you can practice self-care and look at all the treatment options available to you. The three most common treatments are:
Many people suffer from ringing in the ear because they experience hearing loss. If you struggle to hear well, it can have a huge impact on how you communicate and interact with others.
If you have ringing in the ear as a result of hearing loss, you may benefit from wearing a hearing aid behind or in your ear. A hearing aid masks the ringing because it uses an amplifier, speaker and microphone to increase what you can hear externally. This means your brain focuses on this external sound and less on your tinnitus.
In some instances, if your ringing in the ear is causing you to feel anxious or depressed, a medical professional may prescribe an antidepressant such as Amitriptyline or Xanax, or other medications like anti-convulsants – these medicines can also help you sleep. You may also want to consider taking medication in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Apart from hearing aids and medicine, there are a few techniques you can employ at home too:
Focusing on feeling relaxed and stress-free is a positive way of helping reduce the ringing in the ear. Taking part in activities such as yoga, gentle exercise, meditation and listening to gentle music, or nature sounds and white noise, can help.
Because ringing in the ear can disrupt your sleep pattern or make it tough to even get to sleep. Try reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake, which may hinder a good night's sleep.
When you lie down to go to sleep, the silence in your bedroom can act as a big contrast between the quiet and the noise in your head, making it hard for you to get to sleep. Playing some low-volume sounds in the background can act as a distraction from the internal noise of tinnitus. For example a fan, gentle music, or nature sounds like birdsong or sounds of the sea or white noise can sometimes help.
It is estimated that between one-half and two-thirds of people with severe ringing in the ear experience depression or anxiety. If you are one of that group of people, you may benefit from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a form of talking therapy that can help you manage your tinnitus and related depression or anxiety by changing the negative way that you think about them. It helps you deal with overwhelming feelings associated with ringing in the ear in a more positive way so that it becomes less at the forefront of your mind. Changing your beliefs about the condition can help you get used to it and accept it as part of your life.
It's important to remember that there is action you can take if you suffer from tinnitus. First off, get a professional diagnosis from a licensed hearing care professional. They can help diagnose you correctly and suggest the best treatments for you so that you can better manage your symptoms and have the best quality of life possible. Talking about your symptoms and how you currently feel about them is the first step to managing your condition.
It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.