We have all heard a slight ringing in the ear at some point, and as annoying as it could be, it usually goes away after a few seconds. That ear ringing stays constant for some people and will have you wanting to rip your ears out. You don’t want to toss it aside and not get it looked at, as constant ear ringing might mean you have tinnitus. It’s a more common diagnosis than you may think, and you can ease your frustration with your ear by learning more about the causes, prevention methods, and how you can get help for your ringing ear.
Where Is the Ringing From?
The ringing in your ear is caused by damage to your inner ear canal, usually by the loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea. Contrary to popular belief, tinnitus is a symptom of other problems instead of being a disease in and of itself. It is often represented through different sounds, such as ocean waves, ringing, buzzing noises, or even a clicking sound. While it isn’t life-threatening, tinnitus can affect your mental health if left unattended, as you can worsen tinnitus through exposure to loud noise and stressors in life. Patients who experience tinnitus left untreated can suffer from anxiety, depression, or difficulty sleeping.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often a symptom of some sort of decline in your hearing. One of the most common causes of tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss from constantly loud external sounds or one large event. Exposure at work — construction or factory work are often responsible — to loud sounds typically damage hair cells in your ear. Your tinnitus can also be a result of other issues such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Earwax Buildup
- Ear Infections
- Neck and Head Trauma
- Cardiovascular Disease (pulsatile tinnitus)
How Can I Treat It?
The first step to knowing how to treat tinnitus is by knowing the cause. Consult an ear health hearing specialist for professional medical advice and a true diagnosis of your condition. You will likely have a set of hearing tests done to understand the severity of the damage to your ears. After this, you want to discuss what options are available for you to help combat the effects and reduce the potential side effects of tinnitus.
In many instances, the best way to combat tinnitus is to avoid the absence of noise. For some, your brain might be good just hearing sounds in the background, such as a ceiling fan or a TV show playing in the background. Hearing aids amplify ambient noises to help take your focus off tinnitus, so reach out to a hearing aid audiologist for more assistance.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help identify the thoughts triggering tinnitus and reframe them, while tinnitus retraining therapy can help your brain ignore the sounds. You can also treat tinnitus through:
- Drug Therapy
- Clearing Earwax
- Playing Gentle Music
- Avoiding Caffeine
Are There Any Preventative Measures I Can Take?
The best way to avoid that ringing sensation in your ear is through prevention, and you can prevent tinnitus by practicing methods that keep damaging sounds from your ears. Playing music with loud headphones and not using ear protection around loud sounds for extended durations can lead to tinnitus, so aversions to these activities can help significantly. You can also focus on lifestyle changes that keep you healthier, such as protecting your cardiovascular system and quitting smoking.
Get Help for Your Ringing Ears From an Experienced Doctor
Ringing ears don’t have to hold you back from enjoying your life, and if you’re suffering from ringing in your ears, a professional like Dr. Goldberg can help get your hearing back on track. Contact Dr. Goldberg and the team if you suspect you have tinnitus and get specialized care for the ringing in your ears today.