Living With Tinnitus

Coping with ear-ringing is a constant and irritating problem when you have tinnitus. An article written by David Owen, a staff writer for The New Yorker, attempts to give us more information on this condition and how to cope with it.

Most of the 50 million Americans who have tinnitus also have some hearing loss and these are mostly caused by exposure to loud sounds. Tinnitus is the leading cause of service-connected disability claims made by military veterans, with hearing loss as the second.

Some of the hearing losses can be reversed surgically and the associated tinnitus usually goes away. It can be caused by earwax and be cured by wax removal. Some form of tinnitus manifests itself as rhythmic pounding, throbbing or whooshing, which is synchronized with the heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus and is sometimes audible to people who’re not the sufferers.

One kind of tinnitus has no cure. It remains as hissing and can turn to a beeping noise. No one really knows what to do for it. Being around that rock concert, loud lawnmowers and power tools, or even those teens listening to that blaring music in their car, can cause tinnitus. Their suggestion is to make an effort to pay attention to the illusory sound in your head, but that is really difficult when lying in bed awake. Of course, using ear protection to keep things from worsening would be advised.

Many people seeking medical consultation for their tinnitus are often worried less about the tinnitus itself and more about what they suspect may be possible causes. They may have concerns about going deaf, having a stroke, brain tumor, and other possibilities.

Sometimes brief counseling and an explanation of what the treatment options are, such as cognitive, behavioral and other talking therapies, can help. Other treatments would be hearing aids to disguise the problem and to mask it with real sound. This could be a fan, air conditioner or white-noise machine.

Take advantage of the brain’s tendency to ignore steady background sounds, by listening to tones just above and below the perceived frequency of the tinnitus. There is no treatment available that would absolutely make the tinnitus disappear for good. There are many universities and private companies worldwide who are hard at work on cures for tinnitus and hearing loss. Perhaps one day there will be something out there which will really work! Blessed peace!!

Dr Fredda Branyon