Let’s set the scene: you’re in your bed at night attempting to relax after a long, exhausting day. Your eyelids are starting to get heavy and you recognize that sleep is right around the corner. Then as you’re lying there in the quiet of the night, you start to notice the sound of ringing in your ears. You know it’s nothing in your bedroom because the TV, radio, and phone have all been turned off. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you don’t know how to stop it.
If this situation sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people who are afflicted by tinnitus. This condition causes you to hear ringing, buzzing, and whooshing sounds, among others, within your ears. The majority of people who have tinnitus think of it as a mere annoyance; it comes and goes but doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives. But this is not the situation with everybody who has tinnitus. For some, it can cause them to lose sleep, to disengage socially, and to have a hard time working.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but specialists have narrowed down a few causes for this condition. It appears mostly in people who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals who have heart conditions. Restricted blood flow around the ears is commonly believed to be the main cause of tinnitus. This causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood to where it’s needed. People who have iron-deficiency anemia commonly experience tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, works the heart harder to get nutrients to the right place, often resulting in tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a result of other conditions, like Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Situations where tinnitus becomes more pronounced occur with all of these condition because they all affect the hearing. In other cases, there might not be an evident cause of tinnitus, which can make treatment challenging, but not impossible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
Depending on the root cause of your tinnitus, there may be a number of possible treatment choices. One relevant thing to take note of, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments can still offer a good possibility for your tinnitus to improve or go away completely.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in people who have hearing loss.
If masking the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been confirmed to help people live with the buzzing in their ears that doesn’t fade away with other treatments. This mental health type of treatment can help individuals who suffer from tinnitus to function more normally on a day to day basis by helping them change their negative thoughts into a more positive mindset.