When a person has tinnitus, they hear ringing or other noises in their ears that doesn’t exist in the world around them. Sometimes the noise is described as a buzzing, roaring or hissing, but all are classified as tinnitus.
Tinnitus may be caused by many things including exposure to loud noises, stress, ear infections, circulation and blood pressure issues, and the body’s natural aging process. When tinnitus first appears, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a hearing professional to assess your symptoms.
“Talk to a hearing health professional to get a baseline hearing test that can be sent to your family physician as part of your medical check-up,” says Kim Galick, owner of Ears Hearing Clinic in Langley.
You may be able to treat the causes of your tinnitus, but even if you can’t, there are many strategies you can try to gain relief from your symptoms.
“Hearing happens in the brain, as well as in the ears,” Kim says. “For some hearing issues, practice and hearing exercises can make a big improvement to your day-to-day life.”
The brain constantly receives sensory inputs from a wide variety of sources: the feeling of your clothes on your skin, the smell of the air, the buzzing of lights or appliances in your home. It’s the brain’s job to choose what to pay attention to, and it may be possible to train your brain to ignore distracting tinnitus noises.
“Scientists and medical professionals are still learning about tinnitus, but some people have found relief by practicing habituation techniques,” Kim says.
People who experience tinnitus can feel distracted, anxious or stressed by the noises they hear. That can cause the tinnitus to be even more disruptive to your daily routine, or cause other health problems. Finding ways to reduce the stress caused by tinnitus is one way to find relief. Ensure you get quality sleep, regular exercise and practice a variety of relaxation techniques, and make note of any changes in your tinnitus symptoms.
- Focus on the sound: When tinnitus makes it hard to focus, some people find relief by focusing on the noise, either through meditation or simply by paying attention to the direction it seems to be coming from. After focusing on the sound for a length of time, your brain may recognize that it’s not a trigger for a fight-or-flight response, allowing you to relax.
- Mask the sound: Soft music, the radio, a fan or a white noise machine can help make tinnitus sounds less noticeable to your brain.
- Hearing aids: Tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss often occur at the same time, so wearing hearing aids may help your brain focus on the sounds you want to hear.
For a free hearing consultation and more hearing advice, call Kim Galick at Ears Hearing Clinic, 604-427-2828 or email email@example.com. Find Ears Hearing at Unit C 20568 56 Ave. in Langley, online at earslangley.com and on Facebook.