Tinnitus is heamless, but it can be frustrating to experience.
Do you experience a ringing in your ears now and then? You're probably experiencing a condition called tinnitus, which can be quite a nuisance. The good news is that in most cases, it's actually benign. Of course, it's still annoying, and it's still worth looking into what it is and how to possibly stop it.
If you've ever had tinnitus, you probably know it as soon as you see or hear a description of it. Some people describe hearing a ringing, while others describe a buzzing, clicking, or pulsating sound. The sound can be faint and easy to ignore, but it can also be loud and annoying.
If you've ever suffered tinnitus, then you've probably noticed that the ringing gets worse in the morning when you wake up or at night before you go to sleep. This is probably because the human brain is quite good at tuning out things that aren't important in your everyday functioning.
Loud music and sounds can lead to tinnitus.
About 50 million people in the US suffer from tinnitus, so it's not actually all that uncommon. What, however, causes tinnitus in the first place?
One common cause is just the wear and tear that comes with age. Of course, other factors can be in play as well, and some of them aren't as unavoidable as aging. According to the study linked above, a number of other conditions can lead to the development of tinnitus. One such condition is your work environment. If you work somewhere with loud machinery, firearm noise, or if you're a musician that regularly plays loud sets, it's possible that you'll start hearing a ringing in your ears sooner or later. This can also happen if you're the type to listen to loud music though headphones.
Other causes aren't as obvious. Even something like anxiety or depression can cause tinnitus. However, developing tinnitus due to anxiety or depression is just a possibility and not a definite symptom. If you have hypertension, or if you had smoked cigarettes before, you also have a higher risk of developing tinnitus.
Hearing loss is also a possible cause of tinnitus. Some have worried that the ringing, buzzing, or pulsating in their ears is the precursor to losing their hearing. Tinnitus doesn't lead to hearing loss, but hearing loss can sometimes lead to the development of tinnitus.
You can distract yourself from the annoying sounds you hear.
There are several other causes of tinnitus, including head and neck trauma, medications, certain types of tumors, and neurologic disorders. It's best to consult a doctor to see which of these possible causes spurred the development of your tinnitus.
When you're going to see a doctor about your tinnitus, make sure to pay attention to what you're hearing. The kind of noise may actually indicate the cause of your tinnitus. If you hear a pulsating sound, for example, can indicate problems with your blood vessels. A clicking sound, meanwhile, can indicate spasms in the area around the ear.
Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for that ringing in your ears. However, you can look into ways to tune the sound out. White noise in particular can be effective, and there are free apps you can download on your phone to help you out with your tinnitus.
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