Tinnitus, also known as persistent ringing in the ears, is one of the most commonly occurring hearing issues in the United States. The CDC estimates that 15% of the population, 50 million Americans have experienced some tinnitus, 20 million have chronic tinnitus, and 2 million have cases that seriously impact their quality of life.
Unfortunately, tinnitus is one of the symptoms and diseases that don’t have a known cure. There are, however, treatment options that can reduce symptoms and allow those suffering from the condition to get on with their lives.
For one, there are things that are known to exacerbate symptoms of tinnitus in some patients. This isn’t true for everyone, but if they make your symptoms worse, you should try to reduce or avoid them:
- Sleep deprivation or lack of appropriate rest
- Anxiety and stress
- Stimulants such as coffee, tobacco
- Certain foods, like foods high in MSG
Many patients find hearing aids helpful in the treatment of their tinnitus, particularly if the tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss. By amplifying external sounds, these hearing devices can help patients focus less on the internal sounds as well as providing necessary amplification to aid the hearing loss. These function on the same basis as other “masking” devices such as noise machines, etc. Even playing music at a low volume can help to take your mind off the tinnitus. It’s in the empty spaces between external sounds that tinnitus usually lives.
Finally, the value of mental exercises can’t be overstated. Stress management, relaxation techniques, yoga, and meditations have all been proven to help many patients with tinnitus symptoms.
Another important thing to remember is that any approaches you use to treat your tinnitus should be viewed as a long-term solution and be attempted for at least a year. Tinnitus is typically the result of long-term hearing damage, and patients shouldn’t expect the symptoms to be reversed overnight either.
If you are experiencing tinnitus, contact us for a hearing evaluation. Dr. Marie Vetter will diagnose and help you find a solution to manage your tinnitus.