Let’s set the scene: you’re lying in bed at night trying to chill out after a long, stressful day. Your eyelids are starting to get heavy and you recognize that sleep is right around the corner. Then you hear it: a buzzing sound inside your ears. You’re certain it’s nothing in your bedroom because the radio, TV, and phone are all off. Unfortunately, this noise is in your ears and it won’t go away.
If this situation sounds familiar, then odds are that you’re one of the 50 million people that suffer from tinnitus. Buzzing, ringing, and a range of other sounds will be heard inside of your ears when you have this problem. For most people, tinnitus will not have a substantial impact on their lives besides being a simple irritation. For other people, unfortunately, 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 this condition has been narrowed down to a few causes. It’s most common in people who have damaged hearing, and also individuals who have heart conditions. It’s believed that tinnitus occurs due to limited blood flow around the ears, which makes the heart pump blood harder so that it can get where it needs to go. People who have iron-deficiency anemia frequently experience tinnitus symptoms since their blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen throughout their body, which, again, works the heart harder to get nutrients to the correct place, often leading to tinnitus.
Tinnitus also occurs as a symptom of other conditions, such as Meniere’s disease, ear infections, and ear canal blockages. Situations where tinnitus becomes more pronounced occur with all of these condition because they all affect the hearing. At times 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 several treatments out there to help stop the buzzing in your ears, all depending on the root cause of your tinnitus. One relevant thing to take note of, however, is that there is presently no known cure for tinnitus. But these treatments can still present a good possibility for your tinnitus to improve or disappear completely.
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 proven to help people deal with the ringing in their ears that does not disappear with other treatments. This mental health type of therapy can help people who suffer from tinnitus to function more normally on an everyday basis by helping them change their negative thoughts into a more positive mindset.