Tinnitus is known for the ringing, clicking, buzzing, or hissing sounds you might experience. However, it isn’t really a disease itself, but rather a symptom of a problem somewhere in your ear or the nerves that run through it.
About 10 percent of people in the United States experience tinnitus each year, even if just for a few minutes. Sounds can show up in one ear or the other, and they can be loud or soft.
People with severe tinnitus may have problems hearing, working, or even sleeping.
Tinnitus that lasts for just a few seconds isn’t necessarily unusual. Something as simple as a blockage can create these sounds, but more serious conditions can also be the cause.
Finding out what’s causing your tinnitus is the first step in treating it. A doctor can determine if there’s an underlying cause, and then address that issue through medications or surgery.
A large percentage of people won’t have an identifiable cause. This is referred to as “idiopathic tinnitus.” While there’s no cure for idiopathic tinnitus, there are remedies that can help reduce its intensity.
This article will explore a variety of remedies from sound-based therapies to lifestyle changes that can help you manage tinnitus and improve your quality of life.
One way to tackle tinnitus is to treat the underlying cause, primarily when that cause is hearing loss. When hearing loss isn’t the issue, sounds-based therapies can still help by distracting you from the symptom itself.
Most people develop tinnitus as a symptom of hearing loss. When you lose hearing, your brain undergoes changes in the way it processes sounds.
A hearing aid is a small device that uses a microphone, amplifier, and speaker to increase the volume of external noises. This can help the brain learn new ways to process sound.
If you have tinnitus, you may find that the better you hear, the less you notice your tinnitus.
One survey of 230 healthcare professionals found that about 60 percent of people with tinnitus experienced at least some improvement with a hearing aid, and roughly 22 percent found significant relief.
Sound-masking devices provide a pleasant external noise that can help drown out the internal sound of tinnitus. There are many of these types of devices available, from tabletop sound machines to small devices that are placed in your ear.
These machines can play:
- white noise
- pink noise
- nature noises
- other ambient sounds