If you have ever experienced a ringing, buzzing or even roaring in your ears, even when there is nothing around you actually creating that noise, then you know what it’s like to have tinnitus. For an estimated 50 million people, tinnitus doesn’t permanently go away. It can be so annoying that it can lead to fatigue, stress, sleeping problems, concentration troubles, anxiety and depression. The good news is that new options exist for tinnitus management including a breakthrough sound therapy tool.
You may be surprised by what can causes tinnitus
A common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud sounds, which can damage the sensory cells of the inner ear. Tinnitus has also been associated with ear infections, aging, excessive earwax, high blood pressure and even sensory nerve disorders. Activities that may cause tinnitus include smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, and taking excessive amounts of aspirin or antibiotics.
What to do if you think you have tinnitus
Start by being evaluated by a hearing healthcare professional. Some hearing healthcare professionals have general experience with tinnitus while others are specifically trained in managing tinnitus.
He or she can help you determine the best options for managing the condition. If there are no specific medical issues involved, there are still several steps you can take to help reduce the severity of your tinnitus or help you cope better with the noise.
• Hearing aids. In as many as 90 percent of cases, someone experiencing tinnitus also has a hearing loss. The use of a hearing aid to amplify sounds can help to make the ringing or buzzing less distracting.
• ZEN. The real breakthrough today comes from advanced hearing instruments that make use of fractal technology and offer a harmonic sound program called ZEN. This type of program generates soothing sounds and chimes that show great promise as a sound therapy tool to relax patients and distract their attention from their tinnitus. Patients will happily make this trade-off to finally get some relief from their tinnitus.
The innovative Zen program is only available inside premier-level hearing aids such as the Mind440 Passion 440. The discreet hearing aids that offer ZEN also offer ultimate performance in noise, ultimate hearing of soft and distant speech, an Audibility Extender that takes high pitched sounds out of your range of hearing and actually moves them into your range of hearing, and many other features to help you hear better at home, at work, on the telephone or in a noisy restaurant.
• Noise suppression. Electronic devices with pillow speakers that produce “white noise” may help you to sleep better at night.
Additional lifestyle changes that may help you to either avoid tinnitus or make the symptoms less bothersome:
• Avoid likely irritants. Limit your exposure to things such as loud noises or nicotine that may worsen your tinnitus.
• Manage stress. Stress can aggravate tinnitus worse. You may get relief through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise.
• Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can increase blood flow, especially in the inner ear area, which can contribute to tinnitus symptoms.
• Use hearing protection. Exposure to loud noise or listening to loud music through headphones can, over time, damage the nerves in your ears causing hearing loss and tinnitus.
• Manage your cardiovascular health. Regular exercise and good nutrition can help prevent tinnitus linked to blood vessel disorders.
Learning as much as you can about tinnitus and ways to alleviate symptoms can help you cope. For the millions of people of all ages who experience this annoying condition, the ZEN feature is by far the newest and most promising option for tinnitus management.
To find an audiologist in your area go to www.widexusa.com.