Ringing In The Ears: Why It’s Happening And How To Stop It

Tinnitus is a medical term that is used to describe ringing in the ears. This sound can be very frustrating and annoying. Find out more on how to stop ringing in the ears and preventive measures here.

woman side view touching her ears

Ringing in the ears is a medical condition called tinnitus. This ringing sound comes from within, there is no external source of the sound and it is often called phantom sounds. Hearing ringing in the ears can be very frustrating, the sound may even prevent you from hearing genuine sounds clearly. And that is why in this article we will be talking about how to stop ringing in the ears. This ringing usually accompanies anxiety, stress, and depression and it can be experienced in either ear or both. Anyone can have tinnitus but older adults are more prone to it. 

There are two kinds of tinnitus, subjective or objective. The most common is subjective tinnitus where you are the only one that hears the ringing in the ear. However, in objective tinnitus, both the people around and you will be able to hear the ringing sounds coming from your ears. This is usually caused by the presence of defective blood vessels around the ears or in it. Objective tinnitus is rare.

Ringing in the ears: What is it?

Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is commonly caused by a damaged inner or middle ear. The middle ear is responsible for picking and conducting sound waves, this triggers the transmission of electrical impulses to the brain from the inner ear. It is after the brain accepts and translates these signals into sounds that you can hear them.

If the inner ear is damaged as is the case sometimes then the brain would not be able to process the sound properly. If it is the eardrums or middle ear that is damaged then it would disrupt sound conduction. Ringing in the ears can also be caused by ear tumors or auditory nerve tumors. 

When you expose your ears to loud sounds regularly then you might be a candidate for tinnitus. People who use heavy equipment like chainsaws or jackhammers are prone to tinnitus. When the volume of your headphones is increased it increases your risk of developing tinnitus or you might develop temporary symptoms.

There are some medications that cause tinnitus or damages one’s hearing ability, this is called ototoxicity. The drugs include:

  • an increased dosage of aspirin for an extended period of time
  • some anticancer drugs like vincristine 
  • loop diuretics drugs such as bumetanide
  • antimalarial drugs like chloroquine
  • some antibiotics like gentamicin and erythromycin

Ringing in the ears can also be caused by some medical conditions such as

  • age-related loss of hearing
  • middle ear muscle spasms
  • Meniere’s disease
  • increased blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • neck and head injuries
  • temporomandibular joint conditions
  • excess ear wax

Diagnosis of Tinnitus

Before tinnitus can be diagnosed, a doctor has to examine the ears. Then a test for the hearing will be conducted. The sound transmission will be examined by an audiologist, this is done by using a pair of headphones. You will be expected to respond by gesticulating or signifying after hearing a sound. 

Another means by which tinnitus can be diagnosed is by comparing the sound you are able to hear from what people In your gender and age group should hear. Imaging tests like MRI or CT scans can also be done to check if there are any damage or deformities of the ears. Using standard plain X- rays may not work because they do not show disorders of the blood vessels or other conditions that affect hearing.

How To Stop Ringing In The Ears

You can get rid of the ringing in your ears by visiting a doctor who would treat any inherent medical condition that is responsible for the tinnitus. The doctor would remove excess ear wax or address any abnormalities of the blood vessel. If the cause of your tinnitus is the medications you are taking then the doctor may change your prescriptions.

Drug therapy

Tinnitus can be treated by using drugs like tricyclic antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, nortriptyline, and amitriptyline. They help in reducing the sounds coming from the ear. However there are some people whom drug therapy will not work for and they could even develop bothersome side effects like nausea, constipation, fatigue, and blurry vision. Heart problem is also a side effect but it is rare.

Self-treatment

You could lessen the ringing sounds by using machines that suppress noises. This machine provides relaxing noise that helps to drown out the annoying ear sounds. You could also make one of such machines into aid for hearing that you can move around with ease.

Lifestyle changes

There are practical steps that you can take to stop the ringing in your ears like reducing stress. Although stress is not a cause of tinnitus it could worsen its symptoms. Therefore it is advisable to relieve some of your stress and avoid exposing yourself to very loud noises. This will help to reduce the tinnitus severity.

Hearing aids

This aid is beneficial in treating tinnitus. Sound amplification will help people who find it difficult to hear the normal noises as a result of their tinnitus. 

Cochlear implants

This device helps in restoring lost hearing. It permits the brain to leave the damaged segment of the ear in order that it will concentrate on helping you hear effectively. This is a microphone that is placed above the ear and functions alongside a set of the electrode which is placed inside the inner ear.

The auditory nerve is signaled by the implants to begin sound processing. Cochlear implants make use of electrical stimulation which helps the brain to properly interpret sounds. 

Instead of finding out how to stop the ringing in the ears, the best thing to find out is how to prevent this ringing. Tinnitus can best be prevented by avoiding loud noises, you should monitor the volume of the speaker and if it is beyond your control then put on ear protection. Stay away from medications that could cause tinnitus symptoms and visit your doctor for a regular check-up.

How to stop ringing in the ears

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