Let’s set the stage: You’re lying in bed trying to sleep after a long exhausting day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a buzzing sound inside your ears. Your phone, TV, and radio are all switched off so you’re sure it’s nothing inside your room. Unfortunately, this sound is inside your ears and it won’t stop.
If this situation has happened to you, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people who have tinnitus. This problem causes you to hear ringing, buzzing, and whooshing sounds, among others, in your ears. For the majority of people, tinnitus will not have a significant affect on their lives besides being a simple annoyance. For others, unfortunately, tinnitus can be unbearable and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty engaging in work and recreational activities.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is still a bit of a mystery, but this condition has been narrowed down to a handful of causes. It shows up commonly in people who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals who suffer from heart problems. Restricted blood flow around the ears is generally considered 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 commonly suffer from tinnitus symptoms because their blood cells do not 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 happens as a result of other conditions, such as ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these conditions affect the hearing and lead to situations where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. In some cases treatment can be challenging when the cause of tinnitus is not easily discernible, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
There are several treatments available to help stop the ringing in your ears, all dependent on the root cause of your tinnitus. One relevant thing to note, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments will still offer a good chance for your tinnitus to get better or go away completely.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in people who have hearing loss.
If covering up the noise isn’t helpful, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to help people live 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 change their negative thoughts into a more positive mindset.