What is tinnitus?
What causes tinnitus?
- Ear and sinus infections
- Ménière’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Diseases of the blood vessels and heart
- Hormonal effects in women
- Thyroid malfunction
Even with all of these associated conditions and causes, some people develop tinnitus for no obvious reason. Most of the time, tinnitus isn’t a sign of a serious health problem, although if it’s loud or doesn’t go away, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. For some, tinnitus can be a source of real mental and emotional anguish.
What should I do if I have tinnitus?
The first thing you should do is consult with your primary care doctor. Depending on your symptoms and severity he/she may suggest you see a specialist called an otolaryngologist (commonly called an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an ENT). The ENT will physically examine your head, neck, and ears and test your hearing to determine whether you have any hearing loss along with the tinnitus. If a hearing loss is detected it maybe recommended you see a hearing professional to be fitted with hearing aids to treat your hearing loss and to further evaluate your tinnitus.
Tinnitus does not have a cure yet, but treatments are available that help many people cope better are available. Many doctors will offer a combination of the treatments below, depending on the severity of your tinnitus and the areas of your life it affects the most.
Wearable Sound Generators
Tabletop Sound Generators
Acoustic Neural Stimulation
Other medications may be available at drugstores and on the Internet as an alternative remedy for tinnitus, but none of these preparations has been proved effective in clinical trials. In addition, the Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO-HNS) and the American Tinnitus Association recommends these additional tips for minimizing the effects of tinnitus on your health:
- Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs might be prescribed by your doctor to improve your mood and help you sleep.
- Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
- Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, get your doctor’s help to control it.
- Decrease your intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, and tobacco.
- Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Eliminate or reduce some stress in different parts of your life; stress often makes tinnitus worse.
- Try eliminating other possible sources of tinnitus aggravation, e.g. artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medications.