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Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Whether or not you hear it periodically or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. Maybe annoying isn’t the correct word. Makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk aggravating and downright frustrating might fit better. Whatever the description, that sound that you can’t get rid of is a serious issue in your life. Can anything be done? How can you prevent that ringing in your ears?

Why do You Have Tinnitus And What Exactly is it?

Start by finding out more about the condition that is responsible for the buzzing, ringing, clicking or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus per se is not a condition but a symptom of something else. That something else is hearing loss for many. Tinnitus is a side effect of hearing decline. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. That the brain is producing the sound to fill the void is the present theory.

Every day you experience thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of sounds. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air coming through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less noticeable. These types of sound are not generally heard because the brain decides you don’t need to hear them.

It’s “normal” for your brain to hear these sounds, is the point. Switch half those sounds off and how would the brain react? It becomes bewildering for the part of your brain that hears sound. It may be possible that the phantom sounds linked with tinnitus are its way of producing noise for it to interpret because it knows it should be there.

Tinnitus has other possible causes as well. Severe health issues can also be the cause, like:

  • Head or neck tumors
  • Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
  • Head or neck trauma
  • Turbulent blood flow
  • High blood pressure
  • Meniere’s disease
  • A reaction to medication
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Poor circulation

Any of these things can cause tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you could experience this ringing. It’s essential to get checked out by a doctor to find out why you’re experiencing tinnitus before searching for other ways to get rid of it.

Can Anything be Done About Tinnitus?

You can figure out what to do about it after you determine why you have it. The only thing that works, sometimes, is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is the cause of your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as basic as a fan running in the background.

A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is made just for this purpose. Ocean waves or rain falling are relaxing natural sounds that these devices simulate. You can hear the sound when you sleep if you get one with pillow speakers.

Hearing aids will also help. With quality hearing aids, you are turning up the volume of the sounds the brain is listening for like the AC running. Because your hearing is normalized, phantom sounds are no longer produced by the brain.

A combination of tricks works the best for most people. For example, you could use a white noise generator at night and hearing aids during the day.

If the tinnitus is more severe and soft sounds don’t work there are also medications available. Certain antidepressants can silence this noise, for example, Xanax.

You Have to Alter Your Lifestyle if You Want to Handle Your Tinnitus

Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. Begin by determining if there are triggers. When the tinnitus starts, note what’s going on and write it down in a journal. Be specific:

  • Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
  • What did you just eat?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
  • Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?
  • Did you just have a soda or a cup of coffee?

You will begin to discover the patterns that induce the ringing if you record the information very precisely. You should find ways to relax such as biofeedback, exercise, and meditation because stress can also be responsible.

An Ounce of Prevention

Take the appropriate steps to prevent tinnitus from the start. Protect your hearing as much as you can by:

  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system
  • Wearing ear protection when around loud noises
  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Turning down the volume on everything

If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. To eliminate treatable problems that increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.