If you hear a noise that you hate, you usually move as far away as possible to get rid of it. Unfortunately, not everyone’s that lucky. There are some people that cannot get rid of annoying noises because they’re in their heads. This condition is known as tinnitus. Many veterans fall victim to tinnitus due to the overexposure of war sounds while in the battlefield.
Although veterans are more likely to suffer from this condition, anyone can be impacted by the illness. According to a 2010 study, 50 million Americans have tinnitus – if you consider the statistics, this figure represents 17% of the total population.
How it Happens
If you’ve tinnitus, you hear ringing, whooshing, buzzing, whistling, humming, and hissing sounds caused by hyper nerve firing in the sensory system. The condition is also triggered by loud sounds and medications. Although tinnitus is often considered incurable, there are treatment options to help you manage the condition. They include:
1. Hearing Aids and Noise Suppression Devices
If you have a hearing loss problem and tinnitus at the same time, you can wear certain hearing aids to help control the sounds that you hear. Alternatively, if you can hear well, but are disturbed by random ringing noises in your head, you can wear noise suppression gadgets to mask the tinnitus triggering noises.
2. Progressive Tinnitus Management (PTM)
With PTM, you work with a health expert to create an individual action plan that will help manage your response to tinnitus, for example, you can decide to read a book every time you hear ringing sounds.
Although this treatment method is new, it shows great promise because otolaryngologists take their time to understand and treat you as the patient; thus, increasing your chances of a quick recovery.
3. Treatment of An Underlying Condition
Sometimes, the effects of tinnitus are made worse by a pre-existing ear condition. In such a case, the doctor needs to treat the underlying disease to improve your tinnitus condition. Examples of interventions are removing ear wax, treating a vascular problem through surgery, and changing your medication if they’re responsible for the condition.
4. Lifestyle Changes
If loud noises and sirens trigger your tinnitus, it’s time for you to stay away from areas associated with such sounds. You can start by avoiding noisy crowded venues such as carnivores and night clubs. I know that it’s not easy to make certain lifestyle changes because once you get used to something, it becomes difficult to let it go. However, when it comes to your health, you must compromise.
5. Maintain the Right Posture
Avoid slouching or bending your back when sitting or standing because it damages your nerve-neck muscles. Surprisingly, these muscles have an impact on your ears – if they’re interfered with, they increase the frequency of ringing noises in your head.
Nutritional supplements such as ginkgo, zinc, and B vitamins have been known to decrease the incidence of background noises. However, please note that before taking these supplements, you need to consult with your doctor to avoid any complications. Some people are allergic to certain nutritional compounds.
7. Alternative Medicine
Neuromodulation is the process of stimulating neurons using magnetic fields. It’s often used in the treatment of depression. Studies show that this method can also be used to help tinnitus patients control their condition. Other alternative medicine options include acupuncture and hypnosis.
8. Anxiety Medication
Anxiety has been known to catalyze tinnitus effects. To control such feelings, you need to ask your doctor to prescribe the appropriate medication for you. Depending on the prescription, anxiety medication can help mask the effects of background noise.
9. Get Sufficient Sleep
A goodnight sleep can cure anything. Having a regular bedtime and avoiding distractions before going to bed should help you sleep well. Sleep allows your body to rest and get rid of tinnitus-related anxiety. Therefore, the next time you feel as if the background noises are too much, close your eyes and rest a bit.
10. Use White Noise Machines
Tinnitus tends to become worse when you are in a quiet space; therefore, it’s advisable that you listen to some background sounds to help you block the ringing noises in your head. White noise machines are devices that play environmental background sounds, such as ocean waves and a flowing river, and shield the wearer from tinnitus effects.
11. Join A Support Group
One of the most effective ways of coping with a condition is sharing your experience with others. Find tinnitus support groups within your area to help you deal with the disorder. Sharing can make the experience less worrisome and painful.
Although tinnitus does not completely go way, it can be managed to help you live a comfortable life. If you experience any tinnitus symptoms, visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Once the physician determines the cause of the tinnitus, he or she will advise you on a method that you can use to cope with the condition.
Lindsay Engle is the pet expert at MedicareFAQ, a healthcare learning resource center for seniors. Lindsay loves working in the senior healthcare industry and writing about the many benefits pets offer our elders. Aside from her job, she has a great passion for animals and loves boating. In her spare time, she enjoys snuggling on the couch with her pets as well as fishing with her boyfriend.