How to Stop Tinnitus
Prevention and Treatment Most people would be surprised to learn that there is an internal alarm system located within their brain that is constantly monitoring the world around them.
Basically, our central nervous system is idling in a state of readiness to respond to any type of “red alert” it may encounter. This idling causes “brain noise” that runs in the background. The majority of us are completely unaware of this brain noise until something triggers it to cross a threshold to become audible. To some, the form is called tinnitus.
Tinnitus is an auditory perception of a sound in the ear that can only be heard by the person experiencing it. Each person who has tinnitus describes it in their own way. Many report that it sounds like a ringing, buzzing, humming, clicking, whistling, or roaring. It can be loud or soft, constant or intermittent, can change in pitch, and be heard in one or both ears. About 15 percent of the population experiences tinnitus, with 5 percent reporting severely intrusive tinnitus that affects their day-to-day activities.
It’s important to understand that tinnitus itself is not a disease, but a symptom. It’s your body’s internal alarm system going off and telling you that something is not quite right. Tinnitus can be caused by a number of health conditions including high blood pressure, head trauma, dental problems, certain types of tumors, hearing loss, and much more.
“It’s important to understand that tinnitus itself is not a disease, but a symptom. It’s your body’s internal alarm system going off and telling you that something is not quite right.”
Your ears are always working, but they relax when they find a soothing sound to listen to. They are geared to naturally want to listen to sound and are always scanning the environment for it. For people with hearing loss, the amount of environmental sound they are exposed to is reduced. This causes their ears to strain to hear what’s around them. All of this straining increases their sensitivity to their internal brain noise which manifests as tinnitus.
If you do have tinnitus, you should avoid silence as it only intensifies your sensitivity to your internal brain noise. For this reason, hearing aids are often recommended as a front line defense against tinnitus because hearing aids expose people with hearing loss to sound. For those who experience tinnitus but don’t have hearing loss, custom ear sound generators may be recommended. In a nutshell, external sound decreases your sensitivity to internal sound.
How to protect yourself
As much as your ears love sound, they are vulnerable and can be damaged by loud sound or noise. In fact, at least one-third of all hearing loss is caused by loud noise. Establishing sensible listening habits can help protect your hearing. Whether it is recreational, sporting, or occupational noise, wear ear protection. Turn down the volume on radios and personal listening devices, such as MP3 players and iPods. Always try to distance yourself from the source of any loud noise and reduce the amount of time you spend in noisy environments.
Whether you need a hearing aid, assistive listening device, tinnitus therapy, or strategies for communication, an audiologist can help you get reconnected to the world around you.