There are few things more annoying than having an irritating ringing noise in your ear. It’s persistent, it’s distracting, and it feels like it will never let you sit in silence again. What you’re experiencing is tinnitus, and it isn’t any fun. Learn how to treat tinnitus, so that you can get back to the life you love without that annoying sound pestering you all day.
Tinnitus is the Latin word for “to ring” or “to tinkle.” And how appropriate — the term refers to hearing a constant ringing or buzzing sound when there’s no such noise actually occurring. Many people experience mild tinnitus after going to a concert or being in an especially loud public place. This kind of tinnitus might last for a few hours or a day, but anything longer can be much more frustrating and serious.
What most people don’t know is that tinnitus is generally caused by a problem within the ear or hearing system. That means it itself is not a disease; it’s the symptom of another health problem — often hearing loss or other nerve damage in your ears.
Because tinnitus can indicate a separate condition, it’s best to have a medical profession evaluate and treat the cause. Your audiologist may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Acoustic Therapy/Sound Therapy: Sound therapy uses external noise to help the brain re-focus and reduce the emotional impact of the tinnitus. For example, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) utilizes sound therapy to retrain the brain, so that it hears tinnitus in a different, less bothersome way.
- Ear Wax Removal: If you have impacted wax in your ear canal, removing it can reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. This isn’t something you should try yourself with a cotton swab or any other instrument — leave it to your doctor.
- Hearing Aids: If your tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss, your doctor may suggest hearing aids. A hearing aid can amplify external noise, masking tinnitus and increasing auditory stimulation.
- Medications: In some cases, medication can be used to treat the underlying condition causing the tinnitus, relieving the symptoms. Unfortunately, no medications have been approved specifically for the treatment of tinnitus.
Of course, the kind of treatment you receive will depend on the condition causing the tinnitus and the severity of the condition.
Making Life with Tinnitus Easier
Although the best way to cope with tinnitus is consulting your doctor and using a proven treatment method, you can also try home remedies to make your life with tinnitus more comfortable and less distracting. You might want to try the following methods:
- A White Noise Machine: The noises of tinnitus can become especially frustrating at night when you’re trying to sleep. Using a white noise machine to play sounds like ocean waves or rain can drown out the ringing and let you fall asleep more easily. Sometimes even turning on a fan can help.
- Changing Your Diet: Believe it or not, you might be consuming foods or beverages that worsen your tinnitus. Substances like caffeine, salt, and alcohol can all contribute to tinnitus, so try reducing or eliminating your intake of them.
- Smoking Cessation: If you need another reason to quit smoking, now you’ve got one. Nicotine is a stimulant, so cigarette smoking can ramp up the ringing in your ears.
- Ear Protection: If you know you’re going to see live music or be somewhere with a lot of noise, have earplugs made for you or pick up some disposable ones from the drugstore. Protect your ears to prevent your tinnitus from getting worse.
- Psychological Support: A hearing specialist may refer you to a psychologist for treatment or support to help you deal with the stress, frustration, and anxiety that tinnitus can cause. You may also benefit from a tinnitus support group.
Do you need more information regarding how to treat tinnitus? If you live in Colorado, check out Apex Audiology. In addition to tinnitus treatment, we offer a number of hearing-related services. Whether you’re a musician looking to protect your ears at gigs or a patient exploring hearing aid options, we can help you. Our Doctor of Audiology can conduct a simple hearing test, increase your understanding of your hearing loss, and offer solutions for treatment. Browse our website, take our hearing survey, or, if you’re ready, schedule your appointment today. We look forward to serving you!