Tinnitus is a very common medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The ‘ringing’ or other internal noise in the ears can be annoying, aggravating, and even physically painful.
Not much is known about what causes tinnitus. In many cases, hearing loss is present in the ears as well. One of the most effective tinnitus treatments around is hearing aids. They can help drown out the tinnitus or reduce it to background noise.
Other underlying conditions, such as PTSD and head trauma, can also cause tinnitus. Regardless of the source, tinnitus can be lonely and isolating because you’re literally the only one who can ‘hear’ it.
Not All Tinnitus ‘Sounds’ the Same
Another aspect of tinnitus that can make it difficult to explain to non-sufferers is that it doesn’t take on the same ‘sound’ for everyone. For some people, tinnitus is simply low-pitched or low-pitched ringing.
But other patients complain of a wide variety of noises. Some common example of what tinnitus can sound like are:
The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) recognizes three types of tinnitus: tonal, pulsatile, and musical. The musical tinnitus, or hearing musical sounds on a loop, is the rarest form of tinnitus.
Most people suffer from tonal tinnitus, which is continuous or overlapping sounds at fluctuating volume.
Pulsatile tinnitus sufferers complain of ‘hearing’ a pulsing noise, often in-time with their heartbeat.
Because the cause and manifestation of tinnitus greatly varies, a cure hasn’t been found for the condition yet. However, there are some treatments that people with tinnitus have found help lessen the noise nuisance.
4 Treatment Options to Ease Tinnitus
In the absence of a cure, patients seek alternative answers to their tinnitus woes. Some of the more successful treatment options for tinnitus include:
- Sound therapy to retrain the brain. Sound therapy uses habituation to retrain the brain into ignoring the tinnitus. The patient uses a device that plays the tinnitus noise constantly. The idea is the brain will eventually get used to the sound and it won’t be as bothersome.
- Masking devices and other methods of drowning out tinnitus. Rather than ignoring the noise, masking devices drown it out completely. Masking devices are often referred to as ‘white noise.’ Their purpose is to make the tinnitus less noticeable.
- Medication to help ease symptoms. Some medications can suppress the noise associated with tinnitus. Some people have also found success with CBD to help reduce the symptoms of tinnitus.
- Self-Care to regain quality of life. Stress, alcohol and other lifestyle choices can act as an irritant and make tinnitus worse. Keeping your stress level low and making other lifestyle adjustments can help enhance your quality of life while living with tinnitus.
Learning to Cope With Tinnitus is Essential to Good Mental Health
Tinnitus can be isolating, annoying and life-altering. In short, it can affect your mental health. Finding a treatment option that works for you is the best way to stay in good mental health. Poor mental health can not only make tinnitus worse, but it can also lead to a decline in physical health.
Counseling and support groups for tinnitus sufferers are available to remind you that you’re not alone in your battle with tinnitus.