Treating tinnitus is important because tinnitus is an unrelenting noise that does not come from your environment. Tinnitus can cause irritation, loss of concentration, difficulty sleeping, and a degraded quality of life. It is sometimes described as a ringing, roar, screeching, or simply a constant tone. Over 50 million Americans have tinnitus and this number is increasing every day.
Tinnitus is the number one illness of veterans returning from the Middle East. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that in 2008 alone 93,000 returning Iraq veterans were afflicted with tinnitus. Tinnitus is considered a 10% disability and earns each veteran $1,320 a year in disability benefits.
Treating tinnitus is also important because the lifestyle of many young people place them in danger of contracting tinnitus. The Royal National Institute for Tinnitus 911 Deaf People issued a report that spoke of the loud music and rock concerts so popular today. It indicated that “these trends in youth culture have generated an inexorable rise in noise exposure and pose a serious threat to the hearing of an entire generation.” The report indicated that 23% of young people regularly listen to loud music. Those attending clubs where loud music is played are three times more likely to develop tinnitus than the normal population.
Because ear ringing tinnitus is a result of a number of ailments there is no single treatment. Most tinnitus sufferers have permanent damage to the small hairs in their inner ear that respond to sound waves. When these hairs are operating properly they detect sounds and trigger nerves to the brain that particular frequencies of sound are being heard. When these hairs break under too much stress from loud sounds the damage is permanent. The brain usually gets a continuous signal that a certain frequency of sound is being heard. This results in tinnitus.
Since much of tinnitus is due to permanent damage, treating tinnitus is largely directed toward managing and living with the noise.
One popular way of treating tinnitus is to use white noise generators to produce wide spectrum sounds that can cover up the tinnitus sounds. This will keep the tinnitus sufferer from being distracted by the tinnitus noise. This is effective if the tinnitus sounds are relatively mild.
Another solution being tried is to train the brain to ignore the tinnitus noise. This is like someone living near train tracks who learns to ignore the trains. So, tinnitus sufferers are exposed to various other tones, often embedded in classical music, that divert the brain’s attention from the tinnitus noise. Many people have been helped with this form of therapy.
Some people claim to have been helped by a variety of herbal or homeopathic remedies. Though such remedies are not scientifically designed to eliminate the causes of tinnitus, we celebrate with any who are helped in these ways.
The best way of treating tinnitus is to avoid the events that cause tinnitus. So, learn all you can about the causes of tinnitus and the treatment of tinnitus. Help yourself and your loved ones to a brighter future.