Tinnitus is a buzzing or ringing sound in the ears. Tinnitus is subjective, which means that only you can hear it. About one out of 10 Americans has tinnitus, veterans are especially likely to have it. Read on to find out more about tinnitus, including what it is, why it occurs and how to treat it.

Symptoms Of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be caused by ringing, buzzing or whirring sounds that don’t go away. It can be loud or quiet, steady or pulsing. You might have the feeling that your ears are ringing or that your head is full. But the signs of tinnitus are different for everyone. Some people’s tinnitus seems to get louder at night, right before they go to sleep when there are no other sounds around.

Tinnitus can be constant, or it can come and go from time to time. In severe cases, the ringing in the ears can be loud enough to get in the way of work or other daily activities. In mild cases, the ringing can be soft and just a minor annoyance. You may also have spikes in your tinnitus.

Causes Of Tinnitus

While the underlying cause of many instances of tinnitus is unknown, there are several common risk factors, which include age, loud noise exposure, certain unhealthy behaviors and a variety of health disorders, such as hypertension or Meniere’s disease. Hearing sensitivity might begin to worsen around the age of 60.

Exposure to occupational loud noise from heavy machinery, chainsaws or weapons is a typical cause of tinnitus. Even if you do not work in a noisy setting, you may still be exposed to noise by listening to loud music through headphones, attending live music events on a regular basis and indulging in noisy hobbies.

Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating certain meals and drinking caffeinated drinks may all contribute to tinnitus, according to researchers. Common medical diseases that might cause tinnitus include anemia, allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, circulation issues, diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland.

How To Treat Tinnitus

Even though there is no proven way to get rid of tinnitus, there are many ways to make it easier to ignore. For example, hearing aids can be very helpful because tinnitus is so common among people who have trouble hearing. Modern hearing aids not only have ways to cover up tinnitus, but they also help the brain retrain itself to focus on the sounds you want to hear. This is called sound therapy.

People with tinnitus often think of their condition as something they have to deal with every day. Because many cases of tinnitus aren’t bad enough to be treated by an audiologist, some people try alternative therapies.

People with tinnitus often feel better when they take care of their overall health. This means keeping your blood pressure under control, getting rid of stress and drinking less caffeine. Some other ways to deal with tinnitus are cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation exercises, meditation and visualizing.

Another option is tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), which is meant to help you get used to the ringing sound in your ear so that you don’t notice it. A white noise generator is used to make environmental sounds that are louder than the tinnitus. This is done in addition to counseling.

Have you recently noticed any symptoms of tinnitus? If so, get in touch with our office at (703) 297-8715.

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