Do you suffer from tinnitus or ringing ears? Tinnitus can take many forms such as roaring, hissing, buzzing, humming, and the common high-pitched ringing. 10-15% of the global population are affected by tinnitus and as many as 50 million Americans are affected. Most of those who are affected have adapted to the symptoms of tinnitus, but a small group are severely affected to the point where their daily lives are disrupted. Some of the symptoms of tinnitus include:
- Poor concentration
- Disrupted performance at work or school
- Sleeping problems such as insomnia
- And more.
Often, this group that has been severely affected have been driven to despair and would try almost anything to find a cure.
Is There a Cure for Tinnitus?
There are many causes of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is a symptom of an underlying disorder and is not a disease itself. There can be many causes of tinnitus such as:
- Exposure to loud noises due to lifestyle or occupational hazard
- Head or neck injuries
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Allergies (such as allergic rhinitis)
- Meniere’s disease / syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- And many more
The cure for tinnitus is very much dependent on your underlying cause for tinnitus. There is no quick fix but there are treatment options available that can help improve the severity of tinnitus for those who have not adapted to it. If it has been confirmed that your tinnitus is indeed caused by an underlying issue, resolving the issue would at least lead to an improvement if not total alleviation of tinnitus. For example:
- Patients with glomus tumors can undergo surgery to have the lesion removed and many have found that their tinnitus have at least improved if not totally cured.
- Patients with an earwax build up that causes tinnitus can have an ear irrigation or use eardrops to remove the buildup of earwax
However, there are also many causes where the underlying issue for tinnitus cannot be found. In these cases, treatment to address the symptoms of tinnitus can be given (symptomatic relief).
Other Options To Help Provide Tinnitus Relief
If you are one of those who have just recently started experiencing tinnitus, it is imperative that you see your doctor to ensure that there is no maleficent underlying disorder. Most individuals with tinnitus have no serious underlying issues but an appointment should be made to ensure that this is the case.
Correction of hearing loss
You should see a specialist or an audiologist to ensure that you do not have any hearing loss as any degree of it can cause you to strain to listen and this leads to the aggravation of tinnitus. The correction of even a minor degree of hearing loss ensures that the parts of the brain involved in hearing no longer has to work as hard and no longer pays as much attention to tinnitus. After the examination of your hearing is performed, a specialist will recommend appropriate treatment which may involve the fitting of a hearing aid and in some cases, surgery. By improving your hearing, sounds that you did not use to hear will now become audible and this can help as it overrides the sound of tinnitus.
Have you ever noticed that your tinnitus gets much more noticeable when you are in a quiet environment? The aim of sound therapy is to ensure that the sounds available can help you fill the sounds with neutral sounds that can help to distract you from the sound of your tinnitus. This is one of the simplest steps to take out there as it can be as easy as opening a window to hear the breeze and birds outside, or listening to the rain, leaving the radio or television on or listening to soothing sounds from a soundscape app that is now in abundance through our phones. You can also purchase sound generators from organizations such as the British Tinnitus Association or Hearing Link as they have a shop that sells these products where profits go on to fund their charity work. The sound generators available produce natural sounds such as rain, waves, or even white noise (continuous shushing sound) that can be both comfortable and soothing.
This is useful to help patients understand how to cope with their condition ad to manage it more efficiently so there is minimal disruption to their daily lives. Counseling is usually carried out by a doctor, audiologists, hearing therapists, or sometimes a psychologist.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This method has been used efficiently to help patients with anxiety and depression. Since many patients with tinnitus also experience both anxiety and depression, CBT can be useful as it helps to retrain the way you think so you can change your behavior. By changing how you perceive tinnitus and helping you to find ways to cope with it, you may be able to feel less anxious and adapt better to the noises you hear.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
This is a method that helps to retrain the way your brain responds to the sound you perceive so you adapt, tune it out, and eventually become less aware of it. This technique involves a combination of intensive sound therapy and long-term counseling. TRT is widely available mostly privately for patients with severe or persistent tinnitus. It should be performed by someone who is experienced and trained in this field.
Remember the saying, the best person to help you is yourself? It is also the most important step to take if you are serious about reducing your symptoms or looking for a potential cure for your tinnitus. Self help techniques can seem trivial, but it is also one of the most important steps to take. Self-help techniques include:
- Taking time to relax – In todays hustle and bustle, many of us forget that we need time for ourselves to relax. Stress can worsen and aggravate your tinnitus. Take a minimum of an hour a day to relax to read your favorite book, listen to your favorite music, or sign up for a meditation or yoga class. You would be surprise at the benefits you see in about 2-4 weeks.
- Sleep – Adhere to a regular sleeping pattern and try your best to avoid alcohol or caffeine several hours before sleep.
- Network – Remember your old friends? Ever wonder what they’re up to these days? Why not catch up with them? If you are not looking forward to that, consider joining a support group where you can share similar experiences and learn new ways to cope. You should also consider picking up an old or new hobby as any activity that you find enjoyable can help distract you from tinnitus.
Conclusion On If There’s A Cure For Tinnitus
There is no one cure for tinnitus. As previously mentioned, the cure for tinnitus largely depends on the underlying issue that caused your tinnitus. By visiting your doctor, you can rule our serious issues and move on to try out the treatment options mentioned above to see if it helps alleviate your tinnitus. Remember that there is no one method that works for everyone.