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A look into the causes and tips to manage the symptoms of ringing in ears (tinnitus).
SEE ALSO: Types of Migraines and what you need to know about them.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that represents any ringing, humming or buzzing noise in the ear when no such sounds are present . There are several forms of Tinnitus all which are very disrupting to the person with this condition.
Tinnitus is a symptom related to the auditory system than a disease. Research states that 25% of adult population in the USA experience tinnitus that lasts at least 5 minutes in the past year.
What Are the Causes of Tinnitus?
There are many different reasons or common causes of tinnitus and trying to diagnose the exact cause may not always be easy. However, knowing the cause is vital when it comes to deciding the right treatment approach to take for tinnitus.
Atherosclerotic Carotid Artery Disease – Likely to occur in the elderly, people with diabetes history, hypertension, angina, pectoria and those with high blood pressure .
This is when a person’s arteries become narrow usually from the buildup of heavy cholesterol. The result is uneven blood flow in the neck and head area.
This condition produces an agonizing heartbeat sound that is heard by the patient.
Benign Intracranial hypertension – This condition is more prone to occur in young obese females. Due to the heightened pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid that covers the brain, Pulsatile Tinnitus also may occur .
Damaged nerve – Common with the nerve that runs between the brain and the ear.
Intracranial vascular lesion  – Known to cause tinnitus of an aneurysm and arteriovenous malformation or deformity that is usually typified by an abnormal or irregular connection between the artery and the vein.
The result is often arterial blood entering straight into the vein without going through the capillaries. The situation, as may be appreciated is rather grave, not only resulting in Tinnitus but also turning towards hemorrhage in the brain causing fatal consequences.
Old Age Hearing Loss – It is normal that a person begins to experience some hearing loss after the age of 60. As a person’s hearing begins to diminish the likelihood of tinnitus to develop is common .
Loud Noise Exposure – This is a growing problem today leading to tinnitus.
There are far too many loud noises in the world to mention that may lead to tinnitus, but many new cases of tinnitus are occurring from individuals who regularly listen to loud music or conversations with the use of iPods, cell phones, and MP3 players.
To make matters worse many people use some headphones with increased volume while using these devices.
Earwax Blockage – Earwax is a vital defense unit that protects a person’s inner ear from dirt and bacteria.
However, when too much earwax builds up, it affects your hearing and causes eardrum irritation and allowing tinnitus to set in.
Ear Bones Changes – This is when the bones within your inner are beginning to stiffen as you age. Usually considered to be heredity as abnormal bone growth is common in some families. When this happens, tinnitus has a chance to develop.
Not everyone hears the same noise…
Every person with ringing in ears has a different case of tinnitus. If you happen to have tinnitus, do not expect to hear the same ringing noise that another person with tinnitus might hear.
Each sufferer can be affected by an ear-ringing differently. The intensity and characteristic of the noise will all depend on the cause and some other contributory factors.
The younger generation is catching up fast.
Tinnitus is more common in elderly adults diagnosed with presbycusis.
The younger generation is now coming up fast with the statistics. There is an increase in the number of tinnitus victims coming from as young as the teenage years.
This rise in the statistics of younger victims of tinnitus can be the result of their fondness with listening to music using headphones.
A lot of them become victims because they are not aware that listening to music at full blast can bring damage to their ears.
They damage their hearing, and before they know it, the damage has become irreversible.
The ringing in ears happen as a reaction of the brain because of the missing sound signals that the ears fail to send, but you still hear the tinnitus.
The characteristics of this ringing have different variations, from the volume to its duration, and to its causes. The type of sound or ringing that is heard also has a wide variety.
Each person also has a different trigger that can make their ear ringing sounds appear or sound much louder than the usual.
There are different treatments available for tinnitus which would depend on the cause of the symptom. It affects both the young and old, and there are also times when a person experiences so-called temporary tinnitus.
Temporary tinnitus can arise from temporary hearing loss. Listening to music can be relaxing, but it can also cause us trouble when we tend to forget that we are damaging our ears every time we turn up the volume high.
Loud music is just one of the many causes of ringing in the ears. It is a matter of not abusing our ears so as not to cause damage to it. Not unless of course if the cause would be physiological.
So if you experience a weird ringing sound, it’s better to go and have it checked with your physician so that they can diagnose you as early as possible.
More factors to consider
As mentioned earlier, if you’re suffering from tinnitus, you need to find out what’s causing it or get yourself diagnosed by your doctor so you can conclude on what treatments to go for.
The purpose of knowing what causes ringing in ears is not merely for identification of treatment but also for those who still do not have ringing in the ears to be warned and to take some precautionary measures to avoid having ringing in the ears.
Tinnitus can often be confused with hearing problems, but we also need to look at several factors especially if no problem can be found in the ears.
The head and neck must also be examined for problems that may lead to ringing in the ears most especially if the person recently got involved in a vehicular accident.
Although most of what causes a ringing in the ears are not serious medical problems, it is imperative for a person who will just suddenly hear a ringing in the ears to have a thorough medical check-up just to rule out some serious problems that may causing it or simply to be able to avoid whatever it is that is causing the annoying noises.
A simple case of ear wax impaction is an example of what causes ringing in the ears, and the remedy is the immediate removal of the impacted ear wax.
Loud noise, often disregarded as causing harm to the ears, is another leading cause of ringing in the ears most especially amongst the youth who love listening to music using their portable mp3/mp4 players.
Very few people are aware of the damage that loud noise can do to our ears, and they are just merely surprised once they discover that they already have hearing problems because of this.
If you want to keep yourself from having tinnitus, know what causes ringing in the ears and merely take all precautionary measures to preserve your hearing. It is often our recklessness that brings us into trouble when we can avoid them by being extra careful.
Natural Ringing Ears Treatment
Natural ringing ears treatment is a hit among those who suffer from it because most people now prefer using natural methods in addressing illnesses.
When we say natural, we refer to the process of treating illnesses that do not require the intake of medications which may have undesirable side effects or the use of invasive surgeries which can also be too risky if the operation is very delicate.
For those who have ear ringing problems, there are natural ways to manage the ringing in the ears which do not require procedures or intake of medicines. Dietary adjustments can be made to lessen the salt content of the food usually eaten.
Salt causes water retention, and this can be evident to those who may experience tinnitus as a result of aural fullness. Caffeine and alcohol intake must also be regulated and minimized as much as possible to prevent causing problems in the circulatory system.
Vitamin supplements help in keeping our bodies healthy. This is most especially needed by those who are feeling ill. We will feel healthier and energized when our bodies are nourished with essential vitamins.
Even if we eat nutritious foods, some vitamins are still lost during the process of storing and cooking certain foods. Therefore it’s crucial to take some vitamin supplements on a regular basis to make up for any vitamin deficiencies.
Making sure that we are free of stress is also a natural way to avoid ringing in the ears. Stress has become a part of human life. Even the fittest and super healthy people go through stress now and then.
Knowing what it is that bothers you, where it comes from and what to do with it, can help minimize their chances of getting stressed.
Aside of course from natural treatments, the best way is always to avoid illnesses as much as possible.
The first best thing to do for your ears is to start taking care of them properly.
And that’s certainly not by sticking a Q-tip in your ears!
Ringing in Ears Remedies
If you are one of those unfortunate individuals who suffer from tinnitus, stop blaming yourself for making a mistake with the improper care of your ears.
Yes, it can be frustrating to learn that most cases of tinnitus do not have a cure, but there are several remedies to get relief from it.
There are herbal medicines which you can use to help minimize the ringing in your ears. Ginkgo biloba is the most popular herb used as a remedy for tinnitus.
Aside from herbal medicines, homeopathic remedy is also another popular choice for ringing in ear remedies. The most important thing is to have the cause of your tinnitus diagnosed so that you can make use of the proper remedy.
It has to be understood that tinnitus is just a symptom and there is a problem causing it which can either be coming from the ears, head or neck.
This is the reason why a medical diagnosis has to be done immediately when a person experiences ringing in the ear. It is not an excuse not to undergo a medical examination if the tinnitus is just a mild ringing.
This is, in fact, the best time to have it diagnosed to have immediate damage control to whatever it is that is causing the irritating condition.
The most common complaint of people who have tinnitus are sleep problems and concentrating at work. If this is the case, they can make use of masking therapy.
It is a ringing in ear remedy which can temporarily take a person’s mind off the noise while they are listening to the white noise produced by the masker.
The only disadvantage of this type of treatment is that once the masker is removed, the ringing immediately returns.
For most tinnitus sufferers, temporary relief is better than nothing at all.
So if you are one of those people suffering from it, do not be depressed and do not isolate yourself.
Life is too short to spend it worrying about tinnitus.
Make use of the natural treatments available and professional treatment (when you need it) and live your life to the fullest.
Those who have tinnitus caused by partial hearing loss tend to have the type of noise which can still be manageable.
The intensity of the ear ringing would usually depend on the extent of damage to the ears.
The ringing noise for these cases are very easy to handle, and there are so many ways to stop it.
Avoiding stress and giving yourself a good immune system boost by eating antioxidant-rich foods is one way to avoid aggravating your tinnitus.
Most of the sufferers who catch a cold often complain they observe the noise in their ears to be very loud.
When we say stop ringing in ears, it may not mean the total absence of noise or complete freedom from ringing in the ears, but rather just a mere improvement from the ringing noise wherein the ringing is still there but the person having it isn’t bothered by the noise.
Lifestyle changes can help
Both the older generation and younger generation can use the same treatments available for tinnitus.
They both are prone to have a ringing in the ears though the causes may be different for each case.
It is understandable that the senior generation becomes prone to having ringing in ears because of an age-related hearing loss referred to as presbycusis.
The younger generation, on the other hand, has only added to the rising population of tinnitus victims with the introduction of various types of tech gadgets.
Of the two population groups, the senior population is more aware of what is happening to them as compared to the younger generation who are too innocent (or ignorant) to figure out that listening to loud music can bring remarkable damage to their ears.
They have this idea that when they continuously listen to their favorite music at loud volumes, they make their ears immune to noise. But in reality, they are slowly damaging their hair cells, a very vital structure in the hearing process.
As a treatment for tinnitus caused by presbycusis, the senior generation may be given hearing aids that can help them restore part of their hearing.
But hearing aids must be used carefully, as they make a person hear the sound in the environment at an excessive volume and may only aggravate the symptoms.
As for the younger generation, they need to stop listening to music loudly as it will only bring a more significant and worst permanent damage to their hearing.
The senior generation may also try a treatment for tinnitus that focuses on fixing their diet, avoiding foods that are known to worsen their suffering.
Salt, caffeine, and food that contain too much cholesterol must be eliminated in their diet. They also need full vitamin supplements to keep their bodies healthy and make it easy for them to adjust to the noises they’re hearing.
Why professional diagnosis helps
The ringing of the ears may be a prevalent condition, but most people do not readily recognize it as a problem especially during the onset of the situation.
The person who experiences mild tinnitus usually ignores the symptom that they have, as it does not bother them at all.
There are cases of tinnitus, which are just temporary since it is caused only by a temporary partial hearing obstruction that can give a person a temporary partial hearing loss and also result in this condition.
A very classic example of a partial hearing obstruction is one that is caused by impacted earwax.
Some people ignore the problem that impacted earwax can bring to one’s hearing, and they fail to clean their ears regularly, causing the earwax to be deposited in the ears and be affected.
But there are also some cases of tinnitus which may be caused by a more significant problem and would even start with a mild ringing.
This is the reason why doctors would advise people to immediately seek consultation no matter how slight the ringing of the ears is. Early detection of the problem is vital for the easier management of the problem causing the noises you’re hearing.
Serious problems that may be linked to tinnitus are the use of ototoxic drugs, which can ultimately cause an irreversible hearing loss when neglected.
Ear tumors can also be one of the causes of tinnitus, and this can be due to the abnormal growth of a mass in the ears that can obstruct the ear canal.
Frequent exposure to loud noise can also eventually cause tinitus since it can slowly or rapidly damage a person’s hearing depending on the intensity of the volume of the sound.
External and Internal Factors
Since we know it for the fact that millions of Americans and other people around the world are affected with a condition called tinnitus where a person can hear a ringing in the ears.
It may be interesting to know why there are those who have this condition and why there are also some who don’t have it. Is it something hereditary or do we contact it from other people who also have the said condition?
This can be just one of the few questions that interested individuals may ask.
Ringing in the ears has unfortunately affected millions worldwide, and it can be blamed for the lack of an information campaign to help decrease the incidence of this condition.
We can safely say that most of those who have a ringing in the ears were unfortunately not aware of the probable causes of it and they were not able to take some precautionary measures which could have saved them from having the condition.
It is true that tinnitus is a condition which can be avoided if we do not abuse our ears and we take all necessary steps to protect our ears from internal and external harm.
Some external factors can harm our ears and possibly cause tinnitus. Those who work using power tools are very prone to having this condition since the equipment that they work with produce a very loud noise, and it can be very harmful to the very sensitive nerve endings in their cochlea which are responsible for delivering sound waves to our brain.
To avoid damaging the hair cells in their cochlea, these workers may use ear plugs and ear muffs to protect their ears while they are at work. Those who also frequent the firing range must never forget to wear ear protection.
If you think only a single exposure to loud noise can damage your ears, think again, because frequent exposure to considerably loud noise and even music can also harm your ears, the only difference is it may take time before you can notice the harm it has done to your ears.
Among the internal factors that can harm the ears and cause tinnitus are the intake of ototoxic drugs, ear infections, allergies, high blood pressure, tumor, and stress.
If only everybody would be made aware of all the factors that can lead to ringing in the ears, then there is a high probability that the incidence of tinnitus would also decline.
What do they hear?
Some people may become curious about the actual sound that may be heard by a person with tinnitus, since there may be a variety of descriptions that may be understood from different persons who already had their ears ringing.
The term that is often used is “ringing,” but the sound that a person with tinnitus is supposed to hear is far from an actual ear ringing which may sound similar to bells ringing.
It is more often described as similar to that humming sound which we hear from an empty seashell when drawn close to our ears.
A lot of those who may have experienced ears ringing, usually do not have an idea about what should be done. What often happens is the condition gets ignored.
Although most cases are caused by something not dangerous, there are some cases which may indicate a medical emergency and must not be neglected.
An example of such is the presence of ear tumors. This is why it is often stressed that a medical examination is needed to check for the exact cause of the tinnitus and avoid complications later on.
For simple cases of tinnitus, like one that is caused by too much exposure to loud noise, the ears ringing may be reduced if earplugs are worn for protection, in case further exposure to loud noise becomes inevitable.
On the other hand, those who may have hearing problems can make use of hearing aids to help them hear better and at least minimize the ears ringing.
Although a lot of people make a big issue about this condition, we must not let it overcome us. There is a solution to every tinnitus problem and people with tinnitus can live a beautiful life, despite a nagging ear ringing.
Those who may have sleep problems can use tinnitus masking therapy. It is a treatment for tinnitus that has given positive results to numerous patients. Living a healthy lifestyle can also help, like eating nutritious foods and staying away from liquor and cigarettes.
Can’t sleep because of tinnitus?
Total silence would seem to be something that a person with ringing in ears will miss.
From the very moment that someone starts experiencing tinnitus, silence may be taken away from them.
The sad part is, they’re not in control of the noises they hear. It is something that does not come from the environment that they’re in, but rather a sound coming from any of the three parts of the ears or the brain.
Sleep patterns often get interrupted because of this widespread problem amongst those who have ringing in ears. The intensity and frequency of the noise make it so unbearable for the person having it, that they cannot sleep with it.
Those having sleep problems have used methods like melatonin treatment, but they can’t seem to achieve what they need really, and they still lack sufficient sleep.
One method that stands out as for those having problems with sleep and concentration at school or work is the so-called tinnitus masking therapy.
With this method of treatment, the noise is toned down as a person listens to the white noise, to mask away the noisy ear ringing that he continually hears, enabling him to sleep or concentrate.
Tinnitus maskers make use of white noise masking CD’s which is played using an MP3 player. Those who cannot purchase tinnitus maskers may also make use of improvised instruments in their household, to serve as their maskers.
Household appliances that may be used as maskers are:
- Air conditioners – whose noisy machine keeps a mild background noise in the environment, thus preventing it from being too quiet. A tranquil atmosphere makes them hear the ringing at a much louder volume.
- Television – tuned in to any channel or an empty channel so it would resemble white noise.
- Radio – tuned in to any station or an empty channel so it would also resemble white noise.
The trick here is to keep your surrounding from becoming too quiet as it only highlights the noise in your ears, making the sound much louder than the usual.
The moment the noise becomes too loud; there is a tendency for the sufferer to be stressed, which will, in turn, aggravate the sound, thus making it a never-ending vicious cycle.
Sleep does not have to be a problem even if you have a ringing in ears. Knowing what to will help you get to sleep and rest and stay healthy.
How long have you been suffering from tinnitus and how are you managing it?
Please share your experience in the comments below.