Tips for Managing Tinnitus

Tips for Managing Tinnitus

Are you experiencing an uncomfortable or annoying buzzing in your ears? That’s called tinnitus, and it can make you stressed. Tinnitus also affects your concentration and your sleep. There are a few things you can do to reduce your experience of tinnitus, so here are some of the best tips for managing tinnitus.

What Exactly Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound you hear in your ears. It’s not a sound in the environment around you, so none of your friends can hear it. You’ll experience tinnitus when the cells in your ear send signals to your brain even though there isn’t anything making that sound around you.

Each person will experience tinnitus differently, and tinnitus can be experienced as:

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Whooshing
  • Hissing
  • Squealing
  • Humming
  • Whistling
  • Pulsing
  • Clicking

Tinnitus can be in one or both of your ears. Tinnitus sometimes comes and goes at random, or it can be a constant sound that appears the moment other sounds around you stop. You’ll probably notice tinnitus the most when you’re in a quiet place, such as in bed at night.

Tinnitus is usually caused by damage to the cells in your inner ear. These cells take sound waves and convert them to electrical impulses that are sent to the brain. When the cells are damaged you can’t hear all the sounds around you. Not only that, but the damaged cells can sometimes send erratic signals to the brain. Your brain interprets this as sound, causing tinnitus.

Visit Your Doctor

If you’ve been noticing tinnitus, visit your doctor. They’ll check for any signs of an ear infection or a buildup of earwax that could be causing your tinnitus. Antibiotics can treat an infection and stop the tinnitus, or removing the ear wax can put an end to the ringing or buzzing noise.

Ask your doctor to review your medications and look for any that can trigger tinnitus. A number of medications can cause tinnitus, so make sure your medications aren’t hurting your ears.

Sound Therapy

One of the best ways to manage your tinnitus is with sound therapy. If you’ve turned on the TV to mask your tinnitus, or you sleep with a noisy fan in the corner, you have a good idea of how sound therapy works. 

Many of our top hearing aids offer tinnitus management programs based on sound therapy. These programs are set to perfectly mask your experience of tinnitus. You can choose to play white noise, pink noise, or nature sounds. Some programs will even allow you to play your own music. When your tinnitus is very noticeable, all you have to do is turn on the program to have your tinnitus fade into the background. Your brain will pay attention to the sounds, and you won’t notice your tinnitus. 

Reducing Stress

Tinnitus can lead to sleep problems, frustration, irritability, and stress. When you can’t get away from the sound of tinnitus your stress levels will rise. As you feel more and more stressed, you’ll start to notice your tinnitus even more! That’s why reducing stress is a great way to manage tinnitus. 

You can try a meditation or mindfulness practice to reduce stress, or work with a counselor. You can also practice self-care by doing things that make you feel more relaxed. This could be enjoying a bath while listening to music, making time to go for a walk, or reading a good book.

Treating Hearing Loss

If you have tinnitus there’s a good chance you also have some hearing loss since both tinnitus and hearing loss are caused by damage to the cells in the inner ear. Treating hearing loss is another way to manage tinnitus. When you treat your hearing loss by wearing hearing aids, your ears will hear more of the sounds around you. 

When you hear all the subtle sounds in your environment, this can help mitigate your tinnitus. Hearing aids also make it easier to follow conversations. You’ll be able to hear clearly without straining to hear over the sound of your tinnitus.

As you shop for the perfect hearing aids, be sure to ask about hearing aids with tinnitus therapy programs. These programs can help you manage tinnitus, reduce stress, and provide great sound therapy. Contact us today to learn more!

Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Do you think that hearing loss isn’t really affecting your life? While many Americans think their hearing loss isn’t a big deal, even mild hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia. Studies show that if you have a moderate or severe hearing loss, you’re far more likely to experience rapid cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

Hearing loss is caused by damage to the cells in your inner ear, but hearing loss isn’t just in your ears. It also has a profound impact on your brain. When the cells in your ear are damaged, they can’t send signals to the brain, and your brain doesn’t receive information about all the sounds around you. There are several ways hearing loss affects your brain:

– When you’re living with untreated hearing loss, your brain is straining to hear, and it works overtime trying to fill in the blanks in your hearing. You struggle to follow conversations, hear on the phone, or understand the speaker at an event. Hearing loss can tire the brain, making it hard for you to focus on tasks or maintain your cognitive abilities.

– Hearing loss can also lead to social isolation. It can be embarrassing to mishear what’s been said, and you may avoid meeting friends rather than spend the evening asking people to repeat themselves. Social isolation is also linked to cognitive decline, since without a lot of social interaction, your brain isn’t getting enough simulation to stay healthy.

– Finally, hearing loss can lead to brain atrophy. When your ears aren’t sending signals to the brain, the auditory regions of the brain aren’t stimulated. These areas can be damaged, leading to changes in learning, memory, and cognition.

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Living with untreated hearing loss isn’t just about straining to hear, it’s closely linked to cognitive decline. A recent study by Dr. Frank Lin and colleagues shows that adults with hearing loss have a 24% higher risk of cognitive decline than adults who can hear. Even those with mild hearing loss risk more rapid cognitive decline.

Dr. Lin tested hearing and cognitive abilities in nearly 2,000 older adults, and his study revealed that adults with untreated hearing loss experienced more rapid cognitive decline. Adults with hearing loss have a harder time completing thinking and memory tasks, and show an earlier onset of cognitive decline. The rate of cognitive decline for adults with hearing loss was 40% faster than for adults without hearing loss!

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Help

Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can improve your quality of life in a number of ways. You’ll be able to follow conversations with loved ones and enjoy meeting friends in places with background noise. Hearing aids minimize distracting sounds to help you focus on what you want to hear. Hearing aids can even wirelessly connect to your phone so you can stream audio directly to your ears.

When you treat hearing loss, you can slow cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia. Hearing aids help your ears and your brain hear all the sounds around without putting a strain on the brain. You can feel confident meeting friends and being social, knowing that you’ll be able to hear each and every word. Finally, when you treat your hearing loss with hearing aids, you’ll keep your brain active and healthy.

Getting a Hearing Test

Have you been avoiding getting a hearing test? Maybe you don’t want to find out that your hearing isn’t as good as it once was. However, putting off your hearing test doesn’t change your hearing abilities, and avoiding treating hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline.

Schedule a hearing test with our team and find out more about your hearing loss. During the hearing test we’ll play a number of tones at both high and low pitches. All you have to do is let us know when you’ve heard a sound. Your results are displayed on an audiogram that shows you exactly which sounds you can hear, and which sounds you’re missing. With this hearing test, you’ll be able to find the perfect hearing aids to treat your hearing loss, and slow cognitive decline.

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Do you have hearing loss, and struggle to communicate with your family and friends? You can share these tips with your loved ones, and make it easier to communicate with hearing loss.

Getting Your Attention

Ask your family and friends to get your attention before they start a conversation. If you miss the first sentence, you will have a harder time understanding what they’ve said. Your family can say your name, touch your arm or even wave. Once they have your attention, you’ll have an easier time following the conversation.

Turn Off Any Background Noise

When you have hearing loss, it’s much harder to hear speech sounds in places with a lot of background noise. Even at home, the sound of the radio or TV can be very distracting, and make it even harder for you to hear what’s being said. Ask your friends and family to turn down the music or turn off the TV. You can also move to a quieter room in the house if there are several conversations happening in the living room.

When you’re at a restaurant, ask for a table along a wall, and away from the kitchen or the main door. This will help reduce background noise, and make it easier for you to follow conversations. You can also ask your waiter to turn down the volume of the music. Chances are you aren’t the only one having a hard time hearing, and others will appreciate it being a bit quieter during dinner.

Ask Your Conversation Partner to Face You

It’s hard to hear what someone is saying if they speak with their back to you. Ask your family and friends to face you when speaking. Even when you can’t quite hear all the words, their facial expression and their body language will help you understand what they’re saying.

Ask them to keep their hands away from their face. Not only will the hands muffle the words they’re saying, it also stops you from reading their facial expressions clearly. If you have hearing loss, you probably also use speechreading to help you hear. Speechreading is a way to improve your understanding of what’s being said by watching the speaker’s face closely. For example, certain consonant sounds like /s/ or /k/ are harder to hear but easy to see.

Ask your loved ones to avoid talking with food in their mouth or while chewing gum. You’ll have the easiest time understanding them if they face you while talking, and keep hands and food away from their faces.

Speaking Normally

If you have hearing loss, you’ve had your friends or family shout at you. Remind your loved ones that speaking loudly or exaggerating the words doesn’t actually help you hear. It can even distort the words, and make it harder for you to understand your loved ones.

Ask your friends and family to speak normally, not too fast or too slow. Rather than exaggerating speech, it’s better if they can get in the habit of leaving pauses between phrases, and give you a moment to catch up to what they’ve said.

Rephrase Sentences

If you have a hard time hearing a word, it doesn’t always help to have someone repeat the exact word. You may not understand it the second or third time either. Instead, ask your loved ones to rephrase sentences to help you catch the meaning of what’s been said. They can also ask you what part of the sentence or phrase you didn’t understand, and they can simply rephrase that one part of the sentence.

Communicating with Hearing Loss

If you have hearing loss, it’s important that you’re honest with your family and friends. Tell them when you’re struggling to hear, and work together to make it easier for you to understand what’s being said. Your loved ones want to communicate with you, and they’ll be happy to do what it takes to help you communicate easily.

You should wear your hearing aids when having a conversation with your loved ones. Hearing devices make it easier to hear in places with a lot of background noise, and help you focus on speech. With your hearing aids you’ll hear the softer consonant sounds, and have an easier time following conversations.