Nearly 36 million Americans suffer from tinnitus (head noises). It may be an intermittent sound or an annoying continuous sound in one or both ears and its pitch can go from a low roar to a high squeal or whine. Prior to any treatment, it is important to undergo a thorough examination and evaluation by your otolaryngologist to ensure your understanding of tinnitus and its causes.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are many causes for subjective tinnitus (the noise only you can hear). Some causes are not serious such as a small plug of wax in the ear canal might cause temporary tinnitus. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of stiffening of the middle ear bones (otosclerosis).
Tinnitus may also be caused by allergy, high or low blood pressure (blood circulation problems), a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, injury to the head or neck and medications such anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants and aspirin. If you take aspirin and your ears ring, talk to your physician about dosage in relation to your size.
How Is Tinnitus Treated?
What Are Some Other Tinnitus Treatment Options?
- Alternative treatments
- Amplification (hearing aids)
- Cochlear implants or electrical stimulation
- Cognitive therapy
- Drug therapy
- Sound therapy
- TMJ treatment
What Can Help Me Cope?
Masking out the head noise with white noise at a constant low level, such as a ticking clock or radio static, may make it less noticeable. Tinnitus is usually more bothersome in quiet surroundings. Products that generate white noise are available through catalogs and specialty stores.
Hearing aids may reduce head noise while you are wearing them and sometimes cause the noise to go away temporarily, if you experience hearing loss. It is important not to set the hearing aid at excessively loud levels, as this can worsen the tinnitus in some cases. However, a thorough trial before purchase of a hearing aid is advisable if your primary purpose is the relief of tinnitus.
Tinnitus maskers can be combined within hearing aids. They emit a competitive but pleasant sound that can distract you from head noise. Some people find that a tinnitus masker may even suppress the head noise for several hours after it is used, but this is not true for all users.
Can Other People Hear The Noise In My Ears?
Can Children Be At Risk For Tinnitus?
Tips To Lessen the Severity of Tinnitus
- Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
- Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, seek the help of a physician.
- Decrease your intake of salt as it impairs blood circulation.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea. cola and tobacco.
- Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Stop worrying about the noise. Recognize your head noise as an annoyance and learn to ignore it as much as possible.