Most people will experience a slight ringing, buzzing or humming sound in the ears from time to time.
But if the ringing in the ears sound is constant or frequent, then you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a condition known as tinnitus.
The sound of ringing in the ears can be intermittent, or some tinnitus sufferers can hear the sound all of the time.
What causes ringing in the ears is quite varied. Brief or longstanding noise exposure, certain ear diseases, hearing loss or stress are just some of the causes.
What Causes Ringing in the Ears: Common Ear Problems
In some cases, ringing in the ears can be a result from loose hair or excess ear wax that rubs against the eardrum.
A muscle spasm or middle ear infection can also cause tinnitus. Tumors or head lesions can also lead to tinnitus.
Ringing in the ears can also be related to circulatory problems that are linked to poor diet and exercise or blood pressure issues.
Tinnitus can affect people of all ages, with the underlying cause being difficult to determine in most cases.
Chronic ringing in the ears does seem to be less reported in children under the age of eighteen.
However, some experts believe that this can be due to the child not knowing how to communicate what they are experiencing.
In some cases, an individual has become accustomed to the tinnitus from an early age and their brain will simply perceive the ringing in the ears as normal.
While there’s currently no cure for ringing in the ears, there are treatments available that can help a person to cope with the chronic sound.
Sound therapy, also known as masking, is designed for people who find tinnitus to be overly bothersome. Other options include tabletop masking devices, hearing aids, and other machines designed to block the sound produced by tinnitus.
Another successful approach is called tinnitus retraining therapy.
This treatment will use sound therapy to attempt to retrain the brain to not hear the chronic ringing sound. Other treatments will include lifestyle and diet changes, meditation, medication and counseling.
Studies Performed for Tinnitus
Because ringing in the ears is often related to nerve damage in the ear that has been caused by exposure to loud noise, researchers have treated damaged ear nerves in rats using magnetic electrical nerve stimulation.
These researchers were able to eliminate the symptoms of ringing in the ears completely in the noise exposed rats.
There is still a significant amount of work that needs to be completed for this study; however this type of progress is very promising for tinnitus sufferers.
If you suffer from tinnitus, make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor in order to determine what type of treatment will help you to learn how to manage this condition.