When To See Your Doctor
Tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious medical condition. Talk to your primary care doctor if you are unable to sleep, work, or hear normally. Your doctor will probably examine your ears and then provide you with a referral to an audiologist and otolaryngologist.
However, if you are experiencing facial paralysis, sudden hearing loss, foul-smelling drainage, or a pulsating sound in sync with your heartbeat, you should go to your local emergency department.
Tinnitus can be extremely distressing for some people. If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, you should go to the emergency room right away.
What To Expect From Your Doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- What does the noise you hear sound like?
- Do you hear it in one or both ears?
- Has the sound you hear been continuous, or does it come and go?
- How loud is the noise?
- How much does the noise bother you?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you been exposed to loud noises?
- Have you had an ear disease or head injury?
After you’ve been diagnosed with tinnitus, you may need to see an ear, nose and throat doctor . You may also need to work with a hearing expert .
You Really Need To Turn The Tv Down: Loud Noises Are Bad For Tinnitus
Its nearly impossible to avoid loud noises. Thats a fact. It doesnt matter whether its part of your job, youre mowing the lawn, enjoying a fireworks show, or just listening to the TV a little too loudly.
These and other loud noises cause permanent hearing loss. For many people, tinnitus, which is characterized as a ringing in the ears, is an early sign of hearing loss.
The good news is that you can take steps now to prevent further hearing damage from loud noise. You can start by wearing protection for your ears such as earplugs or earmuffs if you work in a loud environment or spend a lot of time at loud concerts. When you have a choice, try to spend less time in noisy places like nightclubs. And most importantly, never try to drown out noise with music, because that really just makes things worse.
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Is A Healthy Diet A Cure For Tinnitus
Myth: Certain foods can make tinnitus go away.
Fact: No food has been scientifically proven to treat tinnitus, but a healthy diet can help limit its intensity and side effects.
Theres no official tinnitus diet guaranteed to reduce its effects. Some people find that eating certain foods makes them feel better, while others may find those same foods make them feel worse. However, sticking to a healthy diet can benefit your overall wellbeingand in turn, positively impact your tinnitus.
A healthy diet can increase blood flow, reduce hypertension and improve energy levels, all of which may limit the perceived intensity of tinnitus.
Did you know? Some vitamins and minerals are particularly beneficial to hearing health! Look for foods rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate and vitamins A, C and D.
How To Prevent Tinnitus
Tinnitus is an auditory disturbance where the sufferer hears a ringing, buzzing, humming or other noise in their ears that isnât there. It can be caused by problems with your ears or your brain. Sometimes tinnitus can happen temporarily, such as after a loud concert. Other times it can be a chronic condition that happens 24/7, or comes and goes. For people who suffer from this type of chronic tinnitus, it can range from a minor annoyance to a debilitating condition. Tinnitus affects about 15-20% of the population. Although there are multiple causes of tinnitus and sometimes it is unavoidable, there are steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that you will experience tinnitus. Here are some tips to lessen your chance of getting tinnitus:Â;
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Can Tinnitus Be Prevented Or Avoided
To prevent tinnitus or keep it from getting worse, avoid long-term exposure to loud noises and activities that put you at risk for hearing loss. If you know youre going to be around loud noises, take precautions by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. If you listen to music through headphones, keep the volume low.
If you have tinnitus, avoid things that seem to make it worse. These may include nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.
Noise Exposure And Tinnitus
As stated above most people develop tinnitus through exposure to loud noise that also, unfortunately, causes hearing loss; the loud noise exposure that is. Tinnitus can be developed a number of different ways such as medication, ear infection, brain injury, head or neck trauma, disease, genetics, problems or trauma to the ear, aging and smoking. So with that being said there are of course a number of ways in which to prevent tinnitus, such as quitting smoking, however, there are also a number of ways in which you may not be able to prevent it, such as genetics.
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Is Tinnitus A Disease Or A Symptom
Myth: Tinnitus is a disease.
Fact: Tinnitus isnt a disease or disorderits actually a symptom of an underlying health problem.
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound with no external source. Several health conditions can cause tinnitus, but its usually a sign that something is going on in your auditory system.
Common tinnitus triggers include:
- TMJ disorder
- Menieres disease
Most tinnitus results from damage to the inner earwhether caused by loud noise exposure, an untreated middle ear infection or ototoxic medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
When sound enters our ear, nerve cells in the inner ear send electrical signals to the brain; the brain then interprets those signals as sound. When those delicate inner-ear nerve cells become damaged, they can leak random electrical signals to the braincausing the brain to hear sounds with no external source.
Tinnitus can also affect those without permanent hearing loss. Symptoms may occur as a result of a sinus infection, earwax buildup, head or neck injury or jaw disorder.;;
Did you know? Most tinnitus is subjective , butin rare casescan be objective .; ;
Youre Taking Drugs : These Medications Make Tinnitus Worse
Many medications can cause and worsen tinnitus. These include drugs most people think are harmless like over-the-counter pain medications, as well as prescription opiates like Oxycontin or morphine.
In addition to these, research has shown that some diuretics, antidepressants, antibiotics and cancer drugs can make tinnitus worse and cause permanent hearing loss. These drugs are known as ototoxic medications, which means that they can cause hearing loss. The good news is that tinnitus symptoms usually only last for as long as youre taking the medication the bad news is that some people need to take these drugs on a regular basis for other health reasons.
If you have to take these drugs, talk to your doctor about alternatives that may have less of an effect on your tinnitus. When possible, make lifestyle changes to reduce your need to take these drugs long-term.
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Can Tinnitus Be Prevented
Because there are so many causes of tinnitus, it is impossible to protect yourself against the disorder. Since many of the causes are physiological, there is really nothing you can do to keep yourself from getting the disorder. But you can protect your ears to avoid one common cause of tinnitus – loud noises, and more commonly, persistent loud noises. Using noise protection over your ears and carefully monitoring the amount of time you spend using music headphones can help you avoid the disorder. Simply living a healthy lifestyle, like eating healthy foods and exercising, can also lower your risk.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
How To Know If It’s Too Loud
Anything over 85 decibels;can cause hearing loss. That’s roughly equivalent to standing in city traffic or pushing a lawnmower. If you’re out and about and have a smartphone, these apps can help you measure the sound around you. And the following guidelines are good to keep in mind:
If a situation feels too loud, it probably is. Beyond that, watch for these signs:
- You need to raise your voice to be heard
- You are unable to hear someone three feet away from you
- Speech around you sounds muffled or dull after leaving a noisy place
- You experience pain or ringing in your ears after being in a noisy place
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Wear Earplugs At Loud Events
The roar of a crowd or the thump of a loudspeaker can be a fun part of an event in the moment, but they arent exactly safe for your ears if youre looking to prevent damage that may cause tinnitus in the future. Even socially distant events can become dangerous to your ears — while you may be keeping six feet apart from the people next to you, you may still be standing too close to a speaker.;
Additionally, some peoples professions involve standing around loud machinery on a day-to-day basis, posing just as much of a risk as a concert, tractor pull, or another high-volume event. If you cant avoid exposure to high volumes, be sure to wear a pair of earplugs to protect your ears from damage that can eventually cause tinnitus and other hearing loss down the road.
How Can I Tell If An Activity Is Loud Enough To Damage My Hearing
Most people do not carry a decibel meter with them, making it hard to tell when they are at risk of hearing damage. A good rule of thumb is that you should use hearing protection in any environment where you have to shout to be heard by the person standing next to you. If this happens when you are not able to wear earplugs or muffle the sound, try to find a quieter area where you can go to give your ears a break every fifteen to twenty minutes.
If you have noticed a ringing in your ears that wont go away, we can help you find a solution to the problem. Call us at 202-8517;to set up an appointment with one of our hearing care professionals today!
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Often, tinnitus can’t be treated. Some people, however, get used to it and notice it less than they did at first. For many people, certain adjustments make the symptoms less bothersome. These tips may help:
- Use hearing protection. Over time, exposure to loud sounds can damage the nerves in the ears, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. To keep your tinnitus from getting worse, take steps to protect your hearing. If you use chain saws, are a musician, work in an industry that uses loud machinery or use firearms , always wear over-the-ear hearing protection.
- Turn down the volume. Listening to music at very high volume through headphones can contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Use white noise. If tinnitus is especially noticeable in quiet settings, try using a white noise machine to mask the noise from tinnitus. If you don’t have a white noise machine, a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static also may help.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. These substances, especially when used in excess, can affect blood flow and contribute to tinnitus.
How Is Tinnitus Diagnosed
Your doctor will probably take a detailed medical history. They will want to know about any medical conditions you may have and any history of infections. Your doctor also needs to know what medicines youre taking, including herbal products or supplements. They will check your ears. They may give you a hearing test. They may also order other tests to find out what is causing your tinnitus. These could include a head CT scan, a head MRI scan, or blood vessel studies. Your doctor might refer you to an otolaryngologist. This is a doctor that specializes in the ear, nose, and throat .
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Conditions Related To Tinnitus
Tinnitus can interfere with a persons sleep and mental health, and so the list of tinnitus-associated conditions is quite long. There are also some closely related conditions that stem from damage to or diseases of the ear.
These related conditions include:
For almost 50 years, this nonprofit has provided resources and educational information for people who have tinnitus. Its also a major fundraiser and donor to tinnitus research, and it advocates for greater awareness of the condition through public and science outreach campaigns.
Collette Ramsey Baker lived with substantial hearing loss until age 35, when an operation gave her back the world of sound. In gratitude, and in an effort to help others, in 1958 Baker founded what was then called the Deafness Research Foundation. For the past 60 years, this nonprofit has supported numerous breakthrough research efforts while helping to inform the public about tinnitus and other hearing-related conditions.
A branch of the National Institutes of Health, the NIDCD is the countrys leading authority on the science of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. It oversees and funds major research efforts, and helps guide public policy related to hearing conditions, including tinnitus. It also provides a wealth of up-to-date information on tinnitus.
Ignoring Your Treatment Options
Theres no known cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments and strategies you can employ to manage your symptoms. Knowing what could cause a tinnitus flare-up can help you plan which behaviors, situations, or activities you might feel better avoiding. That kind of planning can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms and maintain your quality of life.
For many, finding tinnitus relief will involve following through with their prescribed treatment options.
To be sure, tinnitus relief is not the same thing as a cure for tinnitusfor the very simple reason that there is no such thing as a cure for tinnitus. But the more you commit to your treatment, the more effective it tends to be. Thats true of:
- Wearing a hearing aid: A hearing specialist can help you find a hearing aid that could minimize some of your tinnitus symptoms.
- Eating well: Certain dietary choices can help you lower your blood pressure or limit inflammationboth of which can be good for your tinnitus symptoms.
- Practicing behavioral therapies: Many tinnitus symptoms rely on cognitive behavior therapies; practicing those therapies can help make them more effective.
Talk to your hearing specialist about other ways you might be able to improve your response to tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus relief might start with not making your tinnitus worse; but with the right treatment, you could find ways to make your tinnitus symptoms better.
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Why Is My Tinnitus Worse When It Rains Might Be The Air Pressure
Does the ringing in your ears get worse right before torrential summer rains? Or maybe its during the warm-up period at the end of winter when the buzzing of your tinnitus is hardest to ignore. Curiously, its not the precipitation or the temperature that might be making your tinnitus worse. Its the air pressure.
The fault lies in your inner ear. The fluid in your inner ear, after all, is designed to help you detect all kinds of changes . But that fluid makes your inner ear especially sensitive to changes in air pressure.
When the pressure suddenly changes, your inner ear reactsand this can cause a flare-up in your tinnitus symptoms. These flare-ups tend to be the worst in the Spring;when drops in barometric pressure are the most extreme. But changes in atmospheric pressure can also be common when youre flying.
Theres no cure for tinnitus, of course, but keeping an eye on the weather could help you better manage any flare-ups in your symptoms. Likewise, if you plan to fly, you can plan some self-care accordingly to try to keep your tinnitus symptoms under control.
Get Relief From Tinnitus
If you are experiencing ringing in your ears it is important to get a thorough hearing evaluation from a hearing care professional. Find an audiologist that specializes in tinnitus treatment near you by visiting our directory of hearing care providers. Please note that not all hearing clinics treat tinnitus, so you may need to browse several clinic pages to find the right provider.
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Foods Can Make Tinnitus Worse For Some People
Tinnitus is a warning sign. Often its telling you that something isnt right. That something could be noise, stress, medications, or something else.
Oftentimes, it might just be the foods youre eating or not eating. To find out if your diet is the cause of the ringing in your ears, try keeping a food journal. Note days when its worse and youll likely find that you have some triggers. For instance, many people find that artificial sweeteners and caffeine make it worse.
Some people may find that the ringing in their ears is worse because theyre not getting enough iron in their diet, which may lead to iron deficiency anemia. This condition makes the blood pump harder throughout the body to make sure all the organs get the oxygen they need and can often result in a rushing sound in the ears.
Because tinnitus can be affected by blood pressure, salty foods can also affect your tinnitus.
Ways To Minimize Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the ringing in the ears often tied to hearing loss and other medical issues like blood vessel disorders and injuries. While seeking treatment from an audiologist is the best course of action to effectively treat tinnitus at its source, there are lifestyle habits that can either help detract from your tinnitus or make it seem worse. Follow these practical tips for minimizing your tinnitus alongside professional help.
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Ways To Stop Tinnitus
Here is a list of things that you can try to treat your tinnitus. Some items in this list have proven success rates while others have been uses by;people who claim they have been instrumental in stopping or improving their symptoms.;Some causes and cases of tinnitus are clearly more difficult to treat than others but it is always worthwhile to try to find a treatment regimen that will work for you.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the official stance from the medical community is that tinnitus can be treated but not be completely cured. Many people have claimed to have cured their tinnitus and most have followed on or more of these suggestions. Tinnitus is oftentimes an unavoidable complication of the aging process.
1. Turn down the volume Chronic exposure to loud sound is a frequent cause of tinnitus. Occupational noise exposure comes from working in a loud environment, like a factory, without ear protection. Exposure to any type of music at high volume levels is another risk factor for tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
If you are being exposed to loud sounds then always remember to wear appropriate hearing protection, such as earplugs. Do this even if your noise exposure will be for a short period of time. If you work in a noisy environment then be sure to have a yearly hearing evaluation.
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What’s Being Done In Research On Tinnitus Treatments
Tinnitus remains a symptom that affects the lives of millions of people. Research is directed not only at its treatment, but also at understanding why it occurs. Research by doctors at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Dalhousie University , and Southeast China University have published research using electrophysiology and functional MRI to better understand what parts of the brain are involved in hearing and the production of tinnitus. Their research has found that much larger areas of the brain are involved with the process of hearing than previously believed, which may help direct future diagnostic and therapeutic options.
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Relaxation And Meditation For Tinnitus
Relaxation is important in two ways: First, it helps ward off tinnitus. For many people, stress is a trigger for their tinnitus, so learning some relaxation;techniques can help prevent it before it starts. And when you do experience tinnitus, calming your bodyand mindis a vital tool to help keep it from affecting your entire life.
In some cases,;all you need to do is briefly;refocus your attention on something else to find relief from your tinnitus, which can often be achieved by regularly practicing meditation;techniques. These techniques below are best learned when your tinnitus isn’t active, but they’re still worth trying even if you’re in the middle of a tinnitus spike.;
Stop Smoking And Vaping And Limit Drinking
Studies definitively show that;cigarette smokewhether directly, secondhand, or even in uterocan have a big impact on a person’s hearing health. Likewise with heavy alcohol use, which can create a toxic environment in the ear. Vaping and hearing loss isn’t as well-studied, but there are anecdotal reports linking it to sudden hearing loss.
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How To Prevent Tinnitus: Powerful Ways Musicians Can Prevent Ringing Ears
As a musician, youre the envy of the functioning world, and this is for a worthy cause. First, you get to work at your own hours; you get to meet and hang around with other cool musicians and not forgetting the best part, becoming a money management pro. However, being a musician entails making your ears vulnerable to loud noises. Musicians are among the people who are at a higher risk of developing tinnitus and hearing loss. Tinnitus can be prevented by taking precautions that lessens the risk without compromising your career.
Treatment And Medication Options For Tinnitus
Your doctor will likely start by trying to identify and treat any underlying condition, whether its a wax blockage in the ear, a response to medication, or the result of hearing loss. The first thing we do is if the patient has hearing loss, we treat the hearing loss, Frank says. Its kind of a 50/50 chance when we do hearing aids that the person will get relief from the tinnitus as well.
Hearing aids can help with tinnitus because they can make external noises louder and make the internal ones less noticeable. With hearing aids, it makes you more aware of the sounds around you so its not so quiet in your head and you dont hear the tinnitus as much as a result, Frank says. This approach doesnt directly treat the tinnitus, but it can make it less bothersome.
Frank says she sometimes recommends masking devices, which put a sound into the ear that gives you something else to listen to. In other cases, a well-rounded approach to treating tinnitus offers the best outcome. That might include hearing aids plus cognitive therapy or visits with a psychologist, who can help you learn to cope with the tinnitus or address any depression or anxiety it may cause or worsen.
The available evidence suggests that the best way of helping people to cope with their tinnitus is using a combination of education and counseling and sound therapy,;Zitelli;says. Giving the patients tools to help them cope should improve their quality of life, she adds.
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