Let’s set the stage: you’re lying in bed at night attempting to relax after a long, tiring day. Your eyelids are starting to get heavy and you know that sleep is right around the corner. Then as you lie there in the quiet of the night, you begin to notice the sound of buzzing in your ears. You’re certain it’s nothing in your bedroom because the TV, radio, and phone have all been turned off. Unfortunately, this sound is inside your ears and it won’t stop.
If this scenario has happened to you, then chances are that you’re one of the 50 million people who suffer from tinnitus. This problem causes you to hear buzzing, whooshing, and ringing sounds, among others, in your ears. For the majority of people, tinnitus will not have a substantial affect on their lives beyond being a simple annoyance. But this is not the situation with everybody who suffers from tinnitus. For some, it can cause them to lose sleep, to disengage socially, and to have a hard time working.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but this condition has been narrowed down to a few causes. It shows up mostly in individuals who have damaged hearing, and also people 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 work harder to pump blood to where it’s needed. People who have iron-deficiency anemia frequently experience tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, makes the heart work extra hard to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also occurs as a symptom of other conditions, such as ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these conditions impact the hearing and result in scenarios where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. In some cases treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus isn’t easily discernible, but that doesn’t mean treatment is impossible.
What Treatments Are Out There For Tinnitus?
There are a number of treatments available to help stop the buzzing in your ears, all depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One significant thing to note, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still offer a good chance for your tinnitus to improve or disappear altogether.
Research has revealed that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who have hearing loss.
If masking the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to help people deal with the ringing in their ears that does not fade away with other treatments. This mental health style of treatment can help people who have tinnitus to function more normally on a day to day basis by helping them transform their negative thoughts into a more positive outlook.