That ringing sensation in your ear is not abnormal — this is the first and most important fact you need to understand about tinnitus. 50 million Americans struggle with some form of this ear ringing, so you are not alone. While there is no actual cure for tinnitus, its symptoms are often treatable, so a trip to an audiologist could do a world of good for your quality of life.
The truth is, tinnitus is an entirely normal condition and, in most cases, is treatable with one or more solutions that can get you back to life as normal in no time. The real worry with tinnitus is the lasting mental strain it leaves behind once the ringing stops. In order to treat tinnitus, make a commitment to fighting the entire spectrum of issues that present themselves as quickly and firmly as possible. Here are a few things to know about tinnitus so that you can handle its symptoms and get back to enjoying life.
What is tinnitus?
Subjective tinnitus is caused by ear problems in one or more places in the ear or by damaged auditory nerves. This type is most commonly associated with the loud noises of a concert, a day out at the gun range, or work in the yard with heavy machinery. Any of these loud noises can cause temporary ringing in the ears and, if prolonged, can create longer-term damage to the inner ear or ear canal, and leading to severe tinnitus. This type of buzzing or hissing sound also tends to afflict older adults from about the age of 60. However, good ear care and regular visits to the audiologist can eliminate or dramatically reduce the discomfort caused by tinnitus.
Objective tinnitus means that your doctor can hear the ringing or buzzing as well. It is caused by blood vessels or bone changes in the jaw. Although rare, these issues are often hereditary and require a different course of action.
Therapy and hearing aids are great ways to begin treatment for tinnitus, and your audiologist will be able to prescribe the best course of treatment. First, though, you need to identify the root cause of your hearing trouble. Tinnitus comes in two major forms, objective and subjective tinnitus, so it’s important to consult a health professional for diagnosis as the two require different medical approaches.
Develop mental fortitude
Tinnitus can affect your mood if it persists for long enough. The audible sensation of hearing damage at work coupled with the annoying soft buzzing sound that remains in your head as you go about your day can really affect people suffering with this condition. Hearing loss and your body’s response to loud noise exposure are natural, but many people struggle with anxiety symptoms, depression, irritability and related disorders as a result. While hearing aids and therapies can improve the underlying condition that causes the noisiness, they cannot do anything to ward off the mood changes left behind. If you are struggling with something bigger as a result of your ear ringing you should also consider seeing an anxiety therapist get you back on track. A therapy session or some other form of counseling can do wonders for handling anxiety symptoms, especially since these are very treatable conditions.
Keeping mentally tough is an essential part of your recovery from tinnitus, and requires you to tackle the related issues head-on in order to get your life and outlook back on track as quickly as possible. Your mind is your greatest asset, so trying to function with it wracked by anxiety symptoms or sadness can really affect your quality of life above and beyond the simple yet powerful troubles caused by the initial ear condition. You owe it to yourself to think positively and overcome the issues keeping you down.
Tinnitus is entirely beatable. Stay positive and visit your doctor to create a treatment plan for your tinnitus that tackles the whole issue and you will be back to normal in no time.
Claire Peters is a contributor to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner and Baltimore Post-Examiner.