People with tinnitus hear phantom noises that include ringing, hissing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, and clicking. Noises can be intermittent or continuous, can vary in pitch and volume, and can affect one or both ears.
Hearing loss can cause tinnitus, which is why it’s more common in people over 65. It can also be caused by medications, head injuries, earwax blockage, allergies, abnormal blood pressure, tumors, diabetes, and thyroid problems.
Most tinnitus comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the auditory nerve in the inner ear. It’s a symptom, not a disease, but although there’s no cure, here are some tips and tricks to reduce tinnitus:
• Hearing aids. If you hear more clearly, you will experience less tinnitus.
• Maskers. These small electronic devices use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Tinnitus is generally more bothersome in a quiet environment. White noise machines are useful for falling asleep.
• Medicine. Certain medications can relieve tinnitus, including medications prescribed for depression, anxiety, and alcoholism.
• Therapy. Join a support group or seek advice. Sharing your experience with other tinnitus sufferers can be helpful. To ensure that the information you get in the group is accurate, choose a group led by a physician, audiologist, or other qualified healthcare professional.
• Music. Focusing on the music helps you ignore tinnitus.
• Remove noise. If you can’t escape a noisy environment, wear earplugs.
• Cut the salt. Sodium has been proven to make tinnitus worse. Reduce your salt intake for better blood circulation, which can help relieve tinnitus.
• Pay attention to your blood pressure. High blood pressure can exacerbate tinnitus.
• Avoid stimulants. Avoid coffee, tea, colas and nicotine.
• Exercise improves blood circulation.
• Relax. Fatigue and stress can intensify tinnitus.
• Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Ginkgo biloba, melatonin and zinc supplements have been used as treatments for tinnitus, although there is little evidence of their effectiveness.
If you suffer from tinnitus, talk to your doctor. Come prepared with a list of signs and symptoms, your medical conditions, and any medications you are taking, including herbal remedies.
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