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Thursday, June 18, 2020

We Need To Talk About Tinnitus

Most of us have experienced tinnitus at some time or other in our lives. Most of us experience iot as a ringing or whistling sound. For others, however, it may be heard as a whistling or even a clicking that can be distracting in work or leisure time. But in quiet environments, it can seem like a deafening roar which can be especially troubling when you’re trying to sleep at night. Maddeningly, the sound of tinnitus has no discernible origin. That’s because tinnitus isn’t a sound at all. In fact, even audiologists aren’t sure exactly what causes it. What we do know is that it is caused by irritation of the auditory nerves that causes us to register it as a sound. Most of us experience tinnitus fleetingly when we move from a noisy environment to somewhere more quiet. Like from a noisy bar or a live music gig to a quiet street. This kind of tinnitus usually goes away overnight.

For some, however, tinnitus can be an ongoing nightmare to live with. No matter how often you experience tinnitus, here are a few ways in which you can prevent and / or mitigate it...

Take steps to reduce stress
Stress affects our bodies in a number of ways, some of which may surprise you. As well as a decline in immune function, muscle and joint pain  and heart, lung and digestive issues, a common cause is tinnitus. This is because stress tends to increase blood pressure which in turn can exacerbate imbalances of the fluids of the inner ear which may cause tinnitus.

So take active steps to deal with your stress including regular exercise, staying hydrated, finding things to laugh or smile about and even spending a few minutes every day on mindfulness meditation.

Avoid things that elevate your blood pressure
Stress isn’t the only thing that can elevate your blood pressure. In fact, in an age where we’re surrounded by franchised coffee outlets and sugary, fatty and salted processed convenience food, is it any wonder so many of us struggle with hypertension?

Take steps to reduce salt, caffeine and alcohol and you may find that you’re afflicted by tinnitus much less frequently.

Invest in a hearing aid
If you experience chronic tinnitus, you may have a condition like Meniere’s disease or simply be dealing with age-related hearing loss. In any event, if you frequently experience tinnitus, you are likely also affected by hearing loss, even if you don’t yet realize it. Fortunately, there are a number of hearing aids on the market that have built-in technology to counteract ear ringing. They emit a barely audible frequency which can make tinnitus inaudible. That said, you may find that using any hearing aid gives your nerves more auditory data meaning that you don’t “hear” tinnitus as much.

Listen to white noise when you’re trying to sleep
Finally, if tinnitus is keeping you awake at night, try filling the room with some quiet white noise. There are lots of free apps that will allow you to generate a gentle fizz of unobtrusive white noise in the background while you drift blissfully to sleep.
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