Why Are My Ears Ringing: 6 Best Ways to Stop It

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What is Tinnitus?

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Tinnitus is the condition in which you hear ringing in your ears or other noises in one or both of your ears. Other people usually cannot hear the sounds you hear when you have tinnitus since an external sound does not cause it.

Tinnitus is a pretty common condition. About 15% to 20% of people experience it, and people can develop tinnitus irrespective of their age, but it is commonly found in older people.

Tinnitus is typically brought on by an underlying ailment, such as hearing loss brought on by aging, an ear injury, or a circulatory issue. When the underlying cause of tinnitus is treated or some therapies are used to treat the condition, most of the patients often feel better.

Types of Tinnitus

1) Subjective Tinnitus

If you are the only one who can hear the noise, ringing sound, or unwanted noise, you are said to have subjective tinnitus. No matter how loud the noise seems to you, it is undetectable to others. The sort of tinnitus that occurs most frequently is subjective.

2) Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is a less frequent type that develops when a disorder affecting the mechanical structures close to the ears, such as elevated blood pressure or muscle contractions, is the noise source.

Although it cannot be heard at a distance, it can be picked up with a sensitive microphone or stethoscope. During an ear examination, a doctor typically detects objective tinnitus.

3) Pulsatile Tinnitus

An ear condition called pulsatile tinnitus causes a rhythmic sound to be heard, which may be related to the blood vessels close to your ears. This pulsing, rushing, or roaring sound usually corresponds to the beat of your heart.

A vascular tumor, similar to blood vessel disorders like atherosclerosis, in which deposits of plaque or other substances constrict the arteries, or idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a buildup of pressure inside the skull, can all result in pulsatile tinnitus.

Types of Tinnitus Symptoms

Tinnitus is most usually described as an ear ringing, even when there is no external sound. However, tinnitus can also cause a variety of phantom noises to occur in your ears, including:

  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Hissing

In rare cases, a person with tinnitus can hear a pulsing or whooshing sound, frequently synchronized with the heartbeat. The term for this is pulsatile tinnitus. Your doctor might be able to hear your tinnitus during an examination if it is pulsatile tinnitus (objective tinnitus).

If your tinnitus is pulsatile (objective tinnitus), your doctor may be able to hear it while performing an examination. The most typical type of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus or tinnitus that only you can hear.

Tinnitus may affect one or both of your ears, and the sounds can be anything from a quiet roar to a high shriek. Sometimes the sound can be so loud that it makes it difficult to focus or hear outside sounds. Tinnitus could be continuous or it might come and go.

Sometimes the sound can be so loud that it makes it difficult to focus or hear outside sounds. Tinnitus could be continuous or it might come and go.

Major Reasons for Tinnitus

1) Hearing Loss

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Sound waves cause your inner ear, or cochlea, which includes small, sensitive hair cells, to vibrate. Electrical signals are set off by this movement and travel up the nerve from your ear to your brain (auditory nerve). Our brain perceives these signals as sound.

The hairs in your inner ear may twist or break as you age or are repeatedly exposed to loud noises, which can “leak” random electrical impulses to your brain and cause tinnitus.

2) Ear Infection or Ear Canal Blockage

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Your ear canals may get blocked due to an accumulation of fluid (ear infection), earwax, debris, or other foreign things. A block that changes the pressure in your ear might cause tinnitus. If you seek treatment to address the underlying reason, your tinnitus that is brought on by ear infections, earwax buildup, or ruptured eardrums will stop.

This can involve taking antibiotics to treat infections or having wax removed from your ears with a syringe. Make sure to regularly clean your ear canals with earbuds or any other instrument to take care of your ear.

3) Head or Neck Injuries

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Head or neck trauma can have an impact on the inner ear, hearing nerves, or hearing-related brain functions. Tinnitus is typically primarily noticeable in one ear after such accidents.

4) Medications

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Numerous medications, including certain antibiotics, antidepressants, and cancer medications, can cause or make tinnitus worse. As these medications are taken in higher doses, tinnitus frequently gets worse.

The irritating noise frequently stops after you stop taking these drugs. Some medications that have been related to tinnitus include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), certain antibiotics, water pills (diuretics), antimalarial drugs, and antidepressants.

5) Loud Noise Exposure

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Loud noises are a typical cause of hearing loss caused by noise pollution, such as those made by chainsaws, heavy machinery, and weapons. If played loudly for extended periods, portable music players like MP3 players can also result in hearing loss connected to noise. Soldiers, musicians, and those who operate in noisy environments, including factories and construction sites, are particularly vulnerable.

6) Tobacco & Alcohol Use

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Nicotine disrupts the auditory nerve’s neurotransmitters, which inform the brain about the sound you hear.  Tinnitus, vertigo, and wooziness are side effects of nicotine. The Eustachian tube and middle ear lining become irritated by smoking.

Any type of alcohol consumption, including wine, beer, or liquor, may worsen tinnitus. Alcohol consumption, contrary to smoking, results in relaxed and expanded blood arteries. When this happens, your body’s blood flow rises throughout, including to your ears, which could worsen your tinnitus.

7) Gender

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Hearing loss affects men roughly three times as frequently as it does women. Both men and women can have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), although men are almost three times more likely to do so. Men are more likely to suffer from hearing loss because they frequently work in louder environments.

8) Age

The amount of active nerve fibers in your ears declines with age, which could contribute to age-related hearing loss that is frequently linked to tinnitus.

9) Problems with Your Jaw or Temporomandibular Joint

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Tinnitus may result from issues with your jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ). When you chew or speak, you might experience popping or pain in the joint.

Your middle ear and the joint have certain ligaments and nerves in common. TMJ problems can be treated by a dentist, who can also prevent ear ringing from getting worse.

10) Certain Health Conditions

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These changes in blood flow have the potential to either create or amplify tinnitus.  Tinnitus has been linked to several illnesses, including diabetes, thyroid issues, headaches, high blood pressure, anemia, and autoimmune diseases including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

How to Get Tinnitus Diagnosed?

Tinnitus is usually diagnosed by your doctor based solely on your symptoms. However, to treat your symptoms, your doctor will also attempt to determine whether your tinnitus is the result of another, underlying condition. Sometimes a cause cannot be identified.

Your doctor will most likely ask you about your medical history and examine your ears, head, and neck to help determine the cause of your tinnitus. Typical tests include:

1) Hearing test

During the test, you’ll sit in a soundproof room while wearing headphones that produce certain sounds in one ear at a time. Your responses will be compared to those deemed normal for your age after you are asked to indicate when you hear the sound. This can help in ruling out or identifying potential causes of tinnitus.

2) Movement

Your healthcare advisor could ask you to move your neck, arms, and legs as well as your jaw, neck, and eyes. Tinnitus can indicate an underlying condition requiring treatment if it changes or worsens.

3) Imaging tests

You could require imaging tests like CT or MRI scans depending on the likely cause of your tinnitus. A CT scan uses a fast series of X-ray pictures to create images of the area being scanned.

An MRI uses strong magnetic fields to create images of the interior of the body. Typically, the initial imaging method of choice is a CT scan. For some disorders that a CT scan cannot identify, MRIs are helpful.

4) Lab tests

To check for anemia, thyroid issues, heart disease, and vitamin deficiencies your doctor can recommend certain blood tests.

How to Prevent Tinnitus?

1. Use Hearing Protection

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Hearing loss and tinnitus can result from long-term exposure to loud noises damaging the nerves in the ears. Limit the number of loud noises you are exposed to. Additionally, if you are unable to avoid loud noises, wear ear protection to assist safeguard your hearing.

Always wear over-the-ear hearing protection if you use a chainsaw, play music, work with loud machinery, or handle firearms (particularly pistols or shotguns).

2) Take Care of Your Cardiovascular Health

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Tinnitus connected to obesity and blood vessel diseases can be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating well, and taking other measures to keep your blood vessels healthy.

3) Limit Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine

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Caffeine is a CNS stimulant in theory, and the direct application of caffeine to the inner ear has been demonstrated to decrease the size of the outer hair cell, which may partially explain the onset of tinnitus.

CNS is a type of drug that raises the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, resulting in increased alertness, attention, energy, and physical activity. CNS stimulants also increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.

4) Listen to Music on Less Volume

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Hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by long-term exposure to amplified music without ear protection or listening to music at extremely high volumes through headphones.

Musicians are more prone to tinnitus than most people because a part of their job is to be around loud sounds, and instruments.

Ways to Get Tinnitus Treated

1) Earwax Removal

Tinnitus symptoms can be reduced by clearing an earwax blockage. The best method for removing wax from the ear is probably micro suction, which employs moderate suction (similar to a vacuum) to do so. This approach is less untidy than irrigation, which utilizes water to clean out earwax.

2) Hearing Aids

The use of hearing aids in tinnitus patients, according to clinical research, has two advantages: it decreases the patient’s awareness of the tinnitus and enhances communication by reducing the irritating feeling of noises and speech obscured by the tinnitus. Using hearing aids could help alleviate your symptoms if noise-induced or age-related hearing loss is the root cause of your tinnitus.

3) Changing Your Medication

Your doctor may suggest stopping, lowering, or changing the medicine you’re consuming if it appears to be the source of your tinnitus.

4) Noise Suppression

Tinnitus is not always curable. Medications can only help your symptoms become less obvious. Your doctor might advise muting the noise with an electronic gadget.

  • White Noise Machines

Tinnitus is frequently successfully treated with these devices, which emit noises like static or soothing sounds like rain or ocean waves. To help with sleep, you might want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers. White noise is also produced by fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners in bedrooms, which may help tinnitus become less noticeable at night.

  • Masking Devices

A tinnitus masker is an electronic hearing aid that produces and emits low-level noise in the broad- or narrow-band range to conceal the existence of tinnitus.

5) Counseling

Severe cases can make people have trouble falling asleep or even concentrating, and in the worst circumstances, they might result in psychological distress. Behavioral treatment options aim to help you alter your thoughts about your symptoms to better manage your tinnitus. Your tinnitus may start to bother you less over time.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Other Forms of Counseling

You can learn coping mechanisms from a qualified psychologist or mental health expert to make the symptoms of tinnitus less bothersome. Counseling can also assist with other issues like anxiety and sadness that are frequently related to tinnitus. CBT programs are now offered online, and many mental health practitioners provide CBT for tinnitus in individual or group sessions.

  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy treats the three systems involved—the auditory system (hearing), limbic system (emotions), and autonomic nervous system—appropriately throughout 12 to 24 months using sound therapy and directive counseling (flight or fight response).

Out of the numerous studies done on tinnitus retraining therapy, the majority show that this tinnitus treatment works for roughly 80% of people. After treatment is done, the majority of patients who had TRT can maintain their results over time.

6) Medicines

Drugs cannot cure tinnitus, although they may reduce the intensity of its symptoms or its associated complications. Your doctor may suggest medication to assist treat an underlying problem or to help address the anxiety and depression that frequently trigger tinnitus. Higher consumption of these medications can worsen tinnitus. The unwanted noise can disappear if one stops taking these drugs.

So, here was everything you needed to know on “why are my ears ringing”. Tinnitus is a common condition that can be treated, so you have nothing to worry about.

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