If you’re suffering from a constant noises or buzzing in the ears (also known as tinnitus), it is important to find out whether the cause of this is due to damage or loss of the sensory hair cells in the cochlea. Ringing in your ear can be loud or soft, and is usually more present when you’re sat in silence.
But what causes ringing in the ears? One cause for tinnitus is disruption to the cochlea. This is the part of the inner ear that looks like a snail shell – it’s responsible for transforming sound vibrations into a neural message that heads straight to your brain.
Some symptoms of tinnitus include:
Any of these sounds lasting for five minutes or so at a time (or constantly) are indicative of tinnitus. The severity of tinnitus ranges between soft to loud. The sound can be in one or both ears. In general, it’s more noticeable at night.
There are some dos and don’ts centering around easing the symptoms of tinnitus:
Most often, tinnitus is linked to hearing loss. Other causes can be diabetes, MS, thyroid disorders, anxiety, side effects of certain medications or certain inner-ear conditions (one, specifically, known as Ménière’s disease: causing vertigo and dizziness alongside it).
Other things which may cause tinnitus are:
It really depends on the cause – in some cases, tinnitus can go away on its own. In other cases, it can be more long-term. For such long-term cases, there’s certain options you can take which may help.
Another option, should you pass evaluation by a certified healthcare professional, is to use a hearing aid. These help to boost external noises and essentially mask the noises made by tinnitus.
Hearing aids are the most appropriate treatement option if your tinnitus accompanies hearing loss.
As mentioned above, if your tinnitus is caused by excessive earwax, it’s worth asking a healthcare professional (most of the time, this will be your doctor) to clean out your ear canal.
A microscope and small cleaning tool is used to remove ear wax from the canal. In cases such as these, it’s best to get the ear canal professionally cleaned instead of doing it at home.
Avoid cotton swabs at all costs; these may push the wax even further into the ear canal, worsening the condition.
Alongside these mainstream methods of coping with tinnitus, using headphones, earplugs and listening to soft music have proven to ease symptoms of tinnitus and alleviate anxiety.
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