Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed trying to sleep after a long tiring day. Your eyelids are getting heavy and you recognize that sleep is right around the corner. Then as you lie there in the quiet of the night, you start to notice the sound of buzzing in your ears. Your TV, radio, and phone are all switched off so you know it’s nothing inside your room. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you don’t know how to stop it.
If this scenario has happened to you, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people who are afflicted by tinnitus. This condition makes you hear ringing, buzzing, and whooshing sounds, among others, within your ears. For most people, tinnitus won’t have a significant impact on their lives besides being a simple irritation. But this is not the case 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’s The Underlying Cause of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but this problem has been narrowed down to a handful of causes. It shows up commonly in people who have damaged hearing, and also people who suffer from heart conditions. Reduced blood flow around the ears is commonly thought to be the underlying 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 often experience tinnitus symptoms since their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, once again, works the heart harder to get nutrients to the right place, often leading to tinnitus.
Tinnitus also happens as a result of other conditions, like Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Scenarios where tinnitus becomes more pronounced happen with all of these condition because they all impact the hearing. Sometimes treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus is not evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
There are a few treatments out there to help stop the ringing in your ears, all dependent on the root cause of your tinnitus. One important thing to note, however, is that there is currently no known cure for tinnitus. In spite of this fact, there’s still a good chance that your tinnitus will improve or even vanish altogether because of these treatments.
Studies have revealed that hearing aids help cover up tinnitus in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people deal with the buzzing in their ears that does not disappear with other treatments. This mental health style of therapy can help individuals who have tinnitus to function more normally on a day to day basis by helping them change their negative thinking into a more positive mindset.