Tinnitus is an extremely common hearing problem affecting as many as 50 million people in the United States. 25% of those patients say the condition has a great impact on their daily lives. With massive statistics like these, it’s more than likely that you or someone you know lives or will live with a constant ringing in the ears.
Even if it’s too late for you to prevent the onset of tinnitus, the team at Francis Audiology wants you to know that this chronic condition doesn’t have to leave you helpless. Here are ten tips from us on how to effectively prevent, treat, and cope with tinnitus:
1. Practice Prevention. The best way to avoid tinnitus (and other forms of hearing damage) is to protect your hearing in the first place. If you’re exposed to loud noises on a regular basis, wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and always be aware of volume levels when listening to music. Even if you’re already suffering from tinnitus, these preventative measures can help ensure that your condition doesn’t become more severe.
2. Understand Your Symptoms. The symptoms of tinnitus can vary between patients - some experience a buzzing in the ears, some hear ringing, and some hear roaring. Sometimes the noise is continuous, and sometimes it’s intermittent. These differences in symptoms can be a helpful clue to your audiologist when developing a treatment plan, so come to your appointment prepared to describe your experience.
3. Don’t Wait to Seek Help. While some patients find their tinnitus goes away on its own, it’s more likely that the condition will persist without treatment. If you’re experiencing any symptoms you think may be tinnitus, make an appointment with your ear doctor as soon as possible - the quicker therapy and damage prevention begin, the less likely it is that your condition will worsen.
4. Have Your Ears Cleaned. In some cases, tinnitus is simply caused by earwax blockage. If your ear exam shows an excess of ear wax, you may be able to stop the ringing by having your ears cleaned. Remember - all ear cleanings should be performed by a professional, as improper technique used at home can cause damage to your ear canal.
5. Consider Underlying Conditions. Tinnitus itself is not a disease. Instead, it’s usually a sign of an underlying condition in your ears or even your brain. The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss; scientists believe the brain will produce its own noise to make up for a lack of sound signals when hearing declines. Mental health struggles such as depression and anxiety can also contribute to the onset of tinnitus.
6. Know Your Treatment Options. While there is no “cure” for tinnitus, you don’t have to live with the symptoms without hope for relief. Your audiologist can offer you several options, including hearing aids and masking devices to cover up the phantom sound.
7. Practice Stress Management. Stress can exacerbate symptoms of tinnitus, and the stress caused by tinnitus itself can contribute to a vicious cycle. Try to practice stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises to cope with this symptom long-term.
8. Cut Back on Stimulants. Consuming stimulants like coffee, cigarettes, and energy drinks can worsen your tinnitus symptoms. With this in mind, it’s worth trying to replace these products in your diet.
9. Stay in the Know. Scientists continue to research tinnitus with the goal of finding more effective therapies and possibly even a cure. Additionally, new technologies are always being developed to help people cope with hearing loss. Your audiology center can help you stay up to date with the latest options to help you treat your tinnitus.
10. Build a Support Group. Any form of hearing loss can be an isolating experience, and tinnitus is no exception. In fact, the mental and emotional toll of constant noise can make tinnitus especially difficult to deal with. Try connecting with other people who share your condition, and perhaps even consider cognitive behavioral therapy to help you cope in a healthy way.
Suffering from symptoms of tinnitus? While some of these tips can be implemented at home, you shouldn’t wait to seek professional help as well. Begin developing a therapy plan with the team at Francis Audiology as soon as possible. You can request an appointment from us online or contact us at 412-123-3456. We can then help you find relief from your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life!