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Have you been suffering from a seemingly inescapable buzzing, ringing or roaring in your ears that seem to be coming from nowhere? This is called tinnitus and is fairly common, affecting an estimated 50 million in just the US, or one in six people.
While a little buzzing every now and then might not seem like a big problem at first, if there is no end in sight to this annoying buzz, it can become maddening. Tinnitus can raise stress levels, anxiety, insomnia and even degrade memory. Fortunately there are viable options for treating tinnitus. While none of these treatments are a cure, they can help calm the effects of tinnitus so you can learn to live with this condition, rather than have tinnitus rule your life.
What causes tinnitus?
While this is not always the case, tinnitus and hearing loss are connected. This is because they are often caused by the same source. Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of damage to your hearing that occurs when the tiny hairs called cilia become damaged or destroyed. Cilia are responsible for transmitting sound information from the inner ear to the brain to be processed. When these hairs become damaged they can no longer do their job.
The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are the natural degrade which occurs due to old age, certain medications classified as ototoxic, head trauma, ear infections and exposure to loud noise. Not only does the damage to cilia create problems hearing and conversing but also creates tinnitus. In fact, the frequency of the tinnitus reliably corresponds to the tones and frequency in which hearing loss is most pronounced. When your cilia become damaged they can send the wrong signal to your brain, creating a feedback that is registered by your brain as tinnitus.
Treatments for tinnitus
Treatment for tinnitus is often related to treating symptoms of stress. This is because stress can make tinnitus more acute. Often at the onset of tinnitus one becomes stressed, but stress only makes the symptoms more extreme, creating a painful cycle. There are many approaches to calming your nerves so you can learn to tune out your tinnitus.
Yoga and meditation
When you are intentional about staying calm and present with yourself then you can often find a calm space in your mind to reduce tinnitus in your ears. Meditation has been reported by many to help them find a quiet place to escape from tinnitus. When people are asked to focus and be present, it gives them a chance to become grounded and reduce stress. Often as people take the time to be still and present the buzzing will slowly fade away. Similarly, yoga allows people to become in touch with their body, stay calm, lower their heart rate, reduce stress and find a quiet break from their tinnitus.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common strategy used by therapists for many emotional conditions. However, CBT is also used to treat tinnitus rather effectively. Instead of attempting to eliminate the auditory perception of tinnitus, CBT addresses the affected individual’s reaction to tinnitus and helps to reduce negative responses to the condition.
Hearing aids to fight tinnitus
Because tinnitus and hearing loss often appear at the same frequency, enhancing your damaged hearing using hearing aids can also help reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. Not only will being able to hear clearer reduce your stress levels, which deeply affect the severity of tinnitus, but many hearing aids are now equipped with tinnitus masking features. These masking features can help you to tune out your tinnitus so it is not front and center in your consciousness.
The newest breakthrough in tinnitus treatment in hearing aids is called Tinnitus Notch Therapy. Rather than adding extra sound to mask tinnitus, Notch Therapy helps you to learn how to ignore tinnitus symptoms, focusing on the tone of your tinnitus. Notch technology targets the frequency of your ringing or buzzing and turns down the amplification of this frequency, making it easier for your brain to ignore.
Deal with your tinnitus today!
If you are dealing with tinnitus and are tired of letting the buzzing take over your precious quiet time, there has never been a better time to act. Contact us today! We can help you explore your options to find the best treatment to make your tinnitus simply an afterthought and so you can enjoy your quiet time in peace.