Do you hear noise in your ears that other people can't hear? Annoying sounds, like ringing, buzzing, whistling, whooshing or hissing? If so, you are not alone. Over 36 million Americans suffer from Tinnitus – a condition characterized by sounds that originate from within, rather than from without, your ears.
The most common “garden-variety” type produces soft-to-loud ringing, humming or rushing-water sounds
Tonal Tinnitus causes a constant chiming sound, like a musical note played over and over again
Pulsatile Tinnitus produces sound that pulsates in time with ones heartbeat
Mixed Tinnitus causes multiple noises to be heard simultaneously
Objective Tinnitus is extremely rare, and produces noise heard not only by the affected individual, but by others as well!
Tinnitus can develop gradually or appear out of nowhere – and its causes are varied and difficult to pin down. Tinnitus is most common among senior citizens. That's because as we age, our auditory nerves begin to deteriorate. This causes changes in the way sounds are heard, and can lead to a perception of “noise”. While Tinnitus does not cause hearing loss or deafness, people with hearing loss complain about the condition more often than people without hearing loss.
Physical blockages, such as ear wax, that make us more aware of the sounds occurring inside our heads
Fluid, infection, or disease in the middle ear or ear drum that causes us to hear noise
High blood pressure & hardening of the arteries
Exposure to excessively loud sound, including workplace noise, high intensity music & firearms
Medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies, vitamin & mineral supplements
Diseases of the inner ear, such as Meniere's syndrome
Too much stress, as well as, over-use of artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, tobacco & caffeine
In very rare cases, brain issues such as aneurysms or acoustic tumors
Although frustrating, Tinnitus is rarely serious and often resolves on its own. But, if you are experiencing constant, unexplained noise, it's important to see a hearing care practitioner for a comprehensive hearing test screening, including an audiogram, medical history, physical ear examination, and tests designed to pinpoint the origin of your Tinnitus.
Tinnitus has no cure, but can be relieved through a few simple steps. Try to avoid loud noise. Control your blood pressure, and decrease salt and nerve stimulants, including coffee, cola, tobacco and aspirin. Monitor your stress level, and make sure to get ample rest and exercise.
Try experimenting with masking noise. Use a competing sound, such as a radio, white noise maker, or fan, to “cancel out” the noise you hear in your ears. Ask your hearing aid practitioner about small hearing aid devices that generate sounds to “offset” the sound your Tinnitus makes. Some Tinnitus patients swear by biofeedback! And, many “habituate” to their condition, meaning they get used to it and notice it less over time.
Try keeping track of what triggers your Tinnitus, and give remedies a chance to work. It can take longer than you expect to experience Tinnitus relief.
Finally, seek out a Tinnitus support group for coping methods, compassion and the latest information on tinnitus relief. Educate your family members and friends if necessary, and ask for their support. And, stay abreast of ongoing research – successful treatments for Tinnitus are right around the corner.
Tinnitus Calmer app for iPhone®, iPad™, iPod touch™ and Android™ devices offers a combination of Sound Therapy and relaxing exercises that aim to distract your brain from focusing on your tinnitus. With Tinnitus Calmer you can choose from a library of sounds or create personalized Sound Scapes using the sound mixer. Fully customizable, the app lets you add your music to the mix, choose background colors, select a relaxation exercise and keep track of how you use the app, so you can discuss it later with your Hearing Care Practitioner.
Download the Tinnitus Calmer app free of charge from the App Store or Google Play.
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