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Are There Real Solutions to The Ringing Sounds in Your Ears? Yes!
What is Tinnitus? Those that experience tinnitus, hear high pitch, clicking, hissing, roaring, whistling, or chirping like sounds in one, or both ears. For the majority, those that suffer from tinnitus will never know the exact cause of their symptoms. And after diagnosed they will also understand their symptom has a direct link to age related hearing loss, circulatory system disorder, or an ear injury.
Just about half of our population will experience tinnitus in their lives. And approximately 10-15% of the population will experience long-term tinnitus that will require medical evaluation. Almost 12 percent of men who are 65 to 74 years of age are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is also more prevalent in white individuals within the United States and near twice as frequent in the South of the country as is in the Northeast. [National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “NIDOCD”]
The way tinnitus cause was explained to me by an audiologist… Is that parts of the hearing range is lost for the majority of those that suffer with the symptoms of tinnitus after being exposed to continuous loud noises for long periods of time. For many that begin to lose their hearing, they’ll experience a constant ringing sound in the ear(s). And you’ll note, when you plug your ears you can still hear the sound. The reason you hear the sound regardless of whether your ears are plugged, or not, and the way further explained, “This high pitch ringing sound is being produced by the brain.” That in itself is hard for most to comprehend.
An easy way to think about it is, when you begin to lose your hearing, the brain attempts to compensate this loss by bringing back the frequency loss. The brain therefore attempts to correct the problem by recreating the hearing range loss frequency by a sound only you can hear. What you hear and no one else can is the brains attempt to maintain that normal hearing loss frequency functionality. The tinnitus won’t go away because the hearing loss is permanent and the brain will continue to try to repair the hearing damage indefinitely. This type of tinnitus is also known as subjective tinnitus where the subject is the only one that can hear the noise.
Yet there are others that have what is called pulsatile tinnitus where every time the heart beats, one hears noise in the ear when the heart beats. And then the most uncommon sort is when a doctor can hear the sounds you hear when the examining physician listens closely.
I know, you’re thinking I said the sounds are produced by the brain. In most cases this is true. But hearing loss can also be caused by a mechanical, or circulatory problems brought upon by injury, or anatomical mechanical medical problems.
Some mechanical problems that may occur are caused by damaged ear bones through injury and/or jaw tendons and muscle complications. And these things can also impinge upon the nervous and circulatory systems next to the hearing center. Any compromises in anatomical integrity can produce snapping and popping like sounds. These are actual audible sounds that an examining physician can hear from inside and outside of the ear canal.
Listed below are conditions that may cause tinnitus:
Loud noise exposure
Drugs, or medicines
Specific types of tumors
Wax in the ear
Ask your physician which condition may be the cause of your tinnitus and if you stop the exposure would it reduce your tinnitus symptoms.
And one last thing you should know about subjective tinnitus, there is no cure for it. I know this is not what you wanted to hear. However, it should be noted there are ways in which you can learn to embrace your tinnitus. It doesn’t seem possible at first to think about embracing this thing. But take it from me, it is possible and there are ways to manage and alleviate the annoyance and stress you experience on a daily basis.
In some cases tinnitus is a medical issue that can be resolved. But unfortunately in most cases this is not the case for the majority of those that suffer with subjective tinnitus. Fortunately, tinnitus can still be managed successfully with the management techniques listed below.
Tinnitus management techniques include:
Self Help Group, Contact:American Tinnitus Association (ATA).
Tinnitus maskers (hearing aids that produce masking sounds)
You may also note that your tinnitus is not as noticeable during the day because the daily sounds mask, or drown out the inner brain sound. And during the evening where it is usually very quiet, this will be the time you hear the ringing sounds that just will not stop. However, all is not lost if you actively participate in managing your tinnitus by trying some of the techniques listed above. Maskers and sound machines appear to work very well for those that learn to focus on relaxing background noises. And once an individual with tinnitus focuses on something other than the high pitch, humming sounds, a relaxing and stress free effect becomes a positive low stress result that allows you to easily fall asleep, or concentrate on your work, etc.
Don’t forget to ask your doctor(s) about these management techniques to see which one(s) might be best for you to try. Otolaryngologists (ear, nose, throat specialists) and Audiologists often work together to determine the best course of treatment management action. In working with your primary care physician, be sure to ask for referrals to see an Otolaryngologist and Audiologist for the best treatment possible to alleviate, or remove your tinnitus.