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Tips for Managing Tinnitus

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Dr. Timothy Teague, AuD
Latest posts by Dr. Timothy Teague, AuD (see all)

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!