Most people who suffer from tinnitus complain of a ringing in their ears, but this ringing can also sound like clicks, hissing or even buzzing. From high pitched sounds to low pitch, in one ear or both, really loud or just a quiet hum, tinnitus affects every individual differently. Tinnitus currently affects around 10 percent of the U.S. population, and it can be the first sign of hearing loss.
Dr. Nikki, an ear specialist in Omaha NE says that tinnitus is not a disease, but it can be a symptom of something wrong with your hearing system. Annoying at best, and debilitating at worst, there is, unfortunately, no “cure” for tinnitus, but there are some tricks you can utilize to lessen the symptoms.
1. Looking at the bigger picture
Since tinnitus is usually a symptom of something else, your first course of action should be to look at the bigger picture. When you first go to see an ear specialist in Omaha NE, they first will perform a hearing test and compare it to the range for normal hearing. The pattern of any hearing loss found can help to rule out possible causes. They may also ask you to perform different movements like clench your jaw and see if this worsens your tinnitus. Sometimes, even the type of noise you hear can be indicative of a certain condition, such as pulsating noise versus steady noise. Tinnitus can also be due to treatable medical conditions such as Meniere’s disease or otosclerosis (fixation of the middle ear bones).
2. Hearing aids
Most tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss due to loud noise exposure or age. So when a hearing aid is used, outside noise is amplified and placates the brain's auditory processing system into behaving normally. This can lead to a decrease in tinnitus symptoms, or make the ringing more easily ignored. One study showed that around 60 percent of people found some relief from tinnitus from hearing aid use.
3. Stress management
Stress can take a hard toll on your body and worsen any tinnitus symptoms you may be experiencing. Mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises and intentional stress relieving activities can then in turn help to take focus away from your pain. It can alter your perception of your symptoms or make them easier to ignore.
4. Some medications
For the most part, medications used to decrease tinnitus symptoms are prescribed to decrease some of the behavioral symptoms those with tinnitus experience. These drugs will help to decrease depression, anxiety and stress and break through the cycle of these conditions making tinnitus worse. However, it's important to recognize that these antidepressants and antianxiety medications do not treat tinnitus itself.
5. General wellness
Exercising more, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and other general wellness tips can help to relieve some of your tinnitus symptoms. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, eating balanced meals, and using ear protection to protect your hearing from further damage. It can also be helpful to become familiar with common tinnitus triggers and avoid them when possible.
Dr. Nikki is an incredible ear specialist in Omaha NE, and she can help you to understand your tinnitus, and help you to find a solution that helps relieve your symptoms! Make an appointment today and take control of your ear health!