Tinnitus, ringing, or clicking in your ears can be brought on by different reasons. While it may just be a nuisance for some people it can be quite bothersome for others. Tinnitus can cause anxiety, sleeplessness and an inability to concentrate. People just wish for “a break”. Many people have some type of tinnitus. It is estimated that over 50 million people experience some type of tinnitus. Out of that number, 42 million people state that it is bothersome or chronic. (According to Cleveland Clinic’s Allied Hearing, Speech and Balance Services.
Doctors do not always know what actually causes the tinnitus. One of the most common causes however; is excessive noise exposure. To safeguard yourself and your sanity, if you work in a noisy place or work with power equipment for example you should limit exposure by wearing sound plugs.
Other causes of Tinnitus that can be overlooked are:
1. Ear Wax. If your ear canals become blocked with ear wax it may cause tinnitus.
Having your hearing health care provider remove the wax helps to stop the madness! 2. Medications. Some of those pills you are taking may have a side effect of tinnitus. High doses of
Aspirin, certain antibiotics, antidepressants and chemotherapy drug contribute to tinnitus.
3. Dental Issues. TMJ (temperomandibular joint disorder) can cause clicking or popping. Talk to your dentist.. especially if you have had dental work and then the clicking started. Sometimes wearing a dental orthotic device can help alleviate the pressure by helping to gently realign your bite.
4. Head Injuries. Jolting to your head during contact sports or car crashes can cause a biomechanical problem of the head, jaw or neck. You should seek medical attention anytime you have concerns after a head injury.
5. Diseases. Ménière’s disease. Abnormal fluid building up in the inner ear can cause tinnitus. Diabetes and hypertension may also cause some tinnitus.
Work with your hearing health care provider to eliminate medically correctable conditions that may be causing your tinnitus. If there is no medical reason then it is time to seek some relief. Cognitive behavioral counseling to help learn how to manage the tinnitus. Sound therapy devices also give your brain something else to listen to. Sound machines which produce white noise or ocean waves to help you sleep are very effective. There are now app’s that work with your tablet or your smart phone to will generate soothing sounds for the brain and help to interrupt the tinnitus.
Much of the time, hearing loss is also present. Hearing aids can provide relief of the tinnitus. When you have a hearing loss the nerves are not being stimulated a normal intensities. When you wear hearing aids the sounds in your environment are amplified and the brain gets to “listen” to more environmental sounds and the brain learns to ignore or diminish the ringing. So not only do you get to hear better and enjoy your life more your also get some relief from that awful noise in your head!
Starkey Hearing Technologies now puts tinnitus multiflex maskers in all of their hearing instruments. These instruments have the ability to generate a very detailed and specific sound masking pattern, programmed to your personal needs to give your brain something else to listen to. By doing this your brain develops habituation, thus allowing you to ignore the tinnitus. Often, just correcting the hearing loss will provide you with relief. Don’t be miserable…reach out for some help! To Hear Better Is To Live Better!
Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.