Let’s set the scene: you’re lying in bed at night attempting to chill out after a long, exhausting day. You feel yourself starting to drift off to sleep. Then you hear it: a buzzing sound in your ears. You know it’s nothing in your room because the radio, TV, and phone are all off. No, this noise is coming from within your ears and you’re not sure how to make it stop.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then it’s likely that you’re one of the 50 million people that are afflicted by tinnitus. Ringing, Buzzing, and a range of other noises will be heard in your ears when you suffer from this condition. For most people, tinnitus will not have a substantial affect on their lives beyond being a simple annoyance. For others, however, tinnitus can be debilitating and cause them to lose sleep and have difficulty doing work and social activities.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus remains somewhat of a mystery, but specialists have narrowed down a few triggers for this condition. It’s most prevalent in people who have damaged hearing, as well as individuals 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, again, makes the heart work extra hard to get oxygen and other nutrients where they need to go.
Tinnitus also happens as a symptom of other conditions, such as ear infections, canal blockages, and Meniere’s disease. All of these ailments affect the hearing and lead to situations where tinnitus becomes more prevalent. At times treatment can be difficult when the cause of tinnitus isn’t evident, but that doesn’t mean treatment isn’t possible.
How Can Tinnitus be Treated?
There are a number of treatments available to help stop the ringing in your ears, all depending on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. One significant thing to note, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments can still present a good chance for your tinnitus to get better or go away altogether.
Research has shown that hearing aids help mask tinnitus in individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
If masking the noise doesn’t help, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people live with the buzzing in their ears that does not go away with other treatments. This kind of mental health therapy helps people turn their negative feelings about tinnitus into more positive, practical thoughts that help them function normally on a regular basis.