The ringing in the ears that people sometimes experience is called tinnitus. Tinnitus can be caused by numerous medical conditions, but the most common reason for it to occur is an exposure to loud noises. You can prevent exposure-related tinnitus through the use of hearing protection designed for the environment where you find yourself. Other forms of tinnitus may require medical attention in order to resolve.
Here are the most common causes of tinnitus that occur today and what you can do to resolve the ringing in your ears.
- Age-related tinnitus. Ringing in the ears becomes much more common for people who are above the age of 60. Even age-related hearing loss that isn’t caused by any other external factor can cause ringing in the ears. This form of tinnitus has another name it is sometimes called: presbycusis.
- Wearing earbuds or headphones. You don’t have to go to a concert to be exposed to loud noises. Many people listen to music with their iPod, iPad, or other MP3 device with earbuds or headphones with the volume up too loud. This short-term exposure will cause tinnitus in many instances, but care must be taken because long-term exposure to loud volumes in these devices can cause permanent hearing loss.
- Earwax problems. When there is too much earwax in the ear canal tinnitus can result when the wax begins to harden. This is because the hardening wax can irritate the ear canal as it lodges itself into place. You need the earwax to prevent bacteria and dirt from becoming a problem in your ears, but too much of a good thing in this instance is also a problem.
- Changes to your bone structure. As the body ages, it also evolves in its structure based on our eating, exercise, and other lifestyle habits. The bones can stiffen or get weaker and if these changes happen to the ear bones this can cause tinnitus to occur. This issue is seen more often in families with a medical history of this condition, but it can affect anyone.
Not every form of tinnitus is caused by one of these common issues that people face. There are some uncommon medical conditions which also cause the ears to begin ringing.
- TMJ. The clicking in the jaw joint that comes sometimes when you chew foods can also cause tinnitus to form. The joint, which is called the temperomandibular joint, can be affected by dental issues, tough foods, or just occur naturally.
- Trauma. Any time you take an injury to the head or the neck, there is a chance that tinnitus will develop as a symptom. If your tinnitus is confined to one ear only and you remember an impact injury occurring, then this may be the issue you are facing. Tumors in the head or neck area will also cause a similar symptom.
- Atherosclerosis. Earwax isn’t the only substance that builds up and hardens over time. Fatty plaque in the arteries will cause the blood vessels to begin to harden. This means vessels around the inner ear begin to lose some of their elasticity and this can then cause the ears to begin to ring. If your tinnitus pulses with your heartbeat, there is a good chance that this is the cause.
- Certain medications. Antibiotics can cause a temporary form of tinnitus. Certain diuretics, including caffeine, have also been known to cause the issue. Cancer medications, specific antidepressants, and even aspirin may also cause this issue.
How to Treat the Ringing in the Ears
In order for your tinnitus symptoms to go away, it becomes necessary to treat the root cause of the problem. Certain temporary forms that are related to medications or loud environments will typically resolve within a day or two after the cause of the tinnitus is removed.
Certain at-home treatment methods can also help to reduce tinnitus symptoms. White noise machines provide a simulated environment that can help the mind focus on the new sounds instead of the ringing in the ears. This can be particularly useful when tinnitus occurs while trying to sleep. Fans and humidifiers may also be of benefit.
The best way to treat tinnitus, however, is to be proactive about not being exposed to a trigger which may cause it. Wear adequate hearing protection in environments with loud noises. Stop using products that contain nicotine or caffeine. Keep your stress levels under control so the mechanisms around the ear canal and your inner ear bones can relax. Avoid alcohol if blood pressure is a potential trigger.
Meditation may also be of benefit, especially when used with tonal products such as brainwave entrainment, nature sounds, or other peaceful noises.
Knowing how to stop the ringing in the ears when it occurs can help life get back to normal. Identify the cause of tinnitus, take action to stop it, and speak with a medical professional if necessary so that you can finally find some rest.