The Official SoundScape Weblog

The Official SoundScape Weblog

Ears to Hear

Can Anything Be Done About the Ringing in My Ears?

     Many people ask me if there is anything that can be done about the ringing, buzzing, or other various forms of distortion they hear. The first thing I tell them is that most people with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) have hearing loss and the ringing is a side effect of the hearing damage. As mentioned in a previous post concerning tinnitus over 90% of people, when put in an nearly silent anti-echo chamber, will hear ringing in their ears. This means that most of us have it in our heads, but just don’t hear it most of the time.

 

     I don’t have tinnitus, however I have a pair of very good hearing protection earmuffs.  I have to wear ear bud headphones underneath so I can listen to music while wearing them, otherwise I start to hear so much noise in my head I can’t stand it. Having even a minor hearing loss is like wearing earplugs and can cut out enough sound that a person’s brain can start to make up other noises to replace the sound that is missing. For most people that’s what their tinnitus is and so for most people the first thing to do is address the hearing loss.

 

     I found this short little recorded piece, Tinnitus: Why Won’t My Ears Stop Ringing? on npr.org It does a good job of succinctly explaining tinnitus and what some of the means of dealing with tinnitus are. One solution it mentions is white noise. In the last year many hearing aid manufacturers have come out with hearing aids that have built in tinnitus masking programs. These can produce varied types of white noise that can neutralize or minimize the ringing. For most people their tinnitus never goes away completely, but the goal is to minimize the tinnitus so that they just don’t pay attention to it and are usually not conscious of its presence.

 

     For those who don’t have hearing loss, or if hearing aids do not solve the problem, there are other medical issues that may need to be addressed such as high blood pressure. Two supplements have been showed to help tinnitus – Arches Tinnitus Formula and Quietus. And as the NPR piece mentions there are other methods of addressing possible improper brain function.

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