Why Does The Ringing in my Ears Come And go?

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans experience ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But what is hard to comprehend is why it’s virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some ordinary triggers might clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:

  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:

  • Noise trauma
  • Ear bone changes
  • Aging
  • Earwax build up

There are other potential causes, also, including:

  • TMJ problems
  • An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Tumor in the neck or head
  • Head injury

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem might be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication could also be the cause.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why certain days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there might be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The number one way to go is to wear ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a live performance, for instance, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. When you attend a fireworks show don’t sit up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this could lessen the impact.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be a problem. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least use hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use hearing protection. Your employer will most likely supply hearing protection if you let them know your concerns. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Many people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. The change in air pressure and the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Think about hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, as well. Taking the right medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.

Medication

Speaking of medication, that could also be the issue. Some medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

  • Antibiotics
  • Diuretics
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. Changing to something else may be feasible.

Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to figure out what’s causing it.

Health Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Loss

Woman with diabetes thinking about hearing loss.

Studies reveal that you are twice as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you are somebody that associates hearing loss with aging or noise trauma, this might surprise you. Close to 500,000 of the1.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 were below the age of 44. Some form of hearing loss likely impacts at least 250,000 of the younger people with this disease.

A person’s hearing can be damaged by quite a few diseases other than diabetes. Apart from the obvious factor of the aging process, what is the relationship between these illnesses and hearing loss? Give some thought to some diseases that can lead to loss of hearing.

Diabetes

It is unclear why people who have diabetes have a higher occurrence of hearing loss or even if diabetes is related to hearing loss, but the clinical research does point in that direction. A condition that indicates a person may develop type 2 diabetes, called prediabetes, causes people to lose their hearing 30 percent faster than people who don’t have it.

While researchers don’t have a definitive answer as to why this happens, there are some theories. It is feasible that high glucose levels might cause damage to the blood vessels that feed the inner ear. Diabetes is known to influence circulation, so that is a reasonable assumption.

Meningitis

This infectious disease causes loss of hearing. Meningitis by definition is inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain, normally due to infection. Studies show that 30 percent of people will lose their hearing in part or in full if they get this condition. This infection is the second most common cause of hearing loss in American young people.

The delicate nerves which send signals to the inner ear are potentially injured by meningitis. Without these signals, the brain has no means of interpreting sound.

Cardiovascular Disease

Conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels are covered under the umbrella term “cardiovascular disease”. This category contains these common diseases:

  • Heart attack
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Normally, cardiovascular diseases have a tendency to be associated with age-related hearing loss. The inner ear is vulnerable to injury. Damage to the inner ear causes hearing loss when there is a change in blood flow and it doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to thrive.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A 2012 study published in The Laryngoscope found that people with this condition also had an increased risk of hearing loss. A separate study found that chance to be as high as 43 percent. It is possible that this relationship is a coincidence, though. Kidney disease and other ailments associated with high blood pressure or diabetes have lots of the same risk factors.

Another hypothesis is that the toxins that collect in the blood as a result of kidney failure may be the culprit. These toxins may damage the nerves in the inner ear, closing the connection it has with the brain.

Dementia

The connection between hearing loss and dementia is a two-way street. There is some evidence that cognitive deterioration increases a person’s chances of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Brain shrinkage and atrophy are the causes of dementia. That process is accelerated by hearing loss.

It also works the other way around. As injury to the brain increases someone who has dementia will show a decline in their hearing even though their hearing is normal.

Mumps

Mumps is a viral infection that can cause children to lose their hearing when they’re very young. Hearing loss might affect both ears or only one side. The reason this occurs is the virus damages the cochlea in the inner ear. It’s the part of the ear that sends signals to the brain. The good news is mumps is pretty rare nowadays due to vaccinations. Not everyone who gets the mumps will experience hearing loss.

Chronic Ear Infections

Treatment gets rid of the occasional ear infection so it’s not very risky for most people. However, the little bones of the inner ear or the eardrum can take serious damage from constantly recurring ear infections. This form of hearing loss is called conductive, and it means that sound cannot reach the inner ear with enough force, so no messages are transmitted to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss or nerve damage can also be caused by infections.

Prevention is the key to steering clear of many of the illnesses that can cause you to lose hearing. Throughout your life protecting your hearing will be achievable if you exercise regularly, get the right amount of sleep, and have a healthy diet. You should also get regular hearing exams to make sure your ears stay healthy.

How Can You Approach a Loved One About Their Loss Of Hearing?

Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to talk about because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be bettered. Consider these strategies to help get you there.

Do the Research

First off, you should comprehend what is happening yourself so you are able to explain it. When you get older your chance of being affected by hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the medical name for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. Years before anyone noticed, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. To put it simply, decades of listening to sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are generated which go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be damaged by all of these.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the discussion. The best choice is to schedule something so you both can get together and have a talk. You don’t want to be interrupted so pick a private location. Bringing written material on the subject can be quite helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Hearing loss is a sensitive topic because it is related to growing old. It’s tough to acknowledge that you are getting older. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Once you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be hard to get past. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same issue.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next will be the most important part of the conversation. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are plenty of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Going to the doctor is the first step. Some hearing loss goes away. Have an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

Some Medications That Commonly Cause Hearing Loss

Medications that cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

It’s normal to check out the side effects of a medication when you start taking it. Will it cause you to get a dry mouth or cause you to get nauseous? There is a more severe possible side effect that you may not know about which is hearing loss. Medical specialists call this condition ototoxicity. Broken down, ototoxic means ear poisoning.

It’s not completely clear how many drugs lead to this problem, but there are at least 130 that are known to be ototoxic. What are some of the most common ones you should look out for and why?

A Little About Ototoxicity

How does a pill go from your stomach to reap havoc in your ears? these drugs can damage your hearing in three different places:

  • The cochlea – That’s the seashell-shaped component of the inner ear that takes sound and converts it into an electrical message the brain can comprehend. Damage to the cochlea impacts the range of sound you can hear, usually starting with high frequencies then escalating to include lower ones.
  • The stria vascularis – Located in the cochlea, the stria vascularis makes endolymph, the fluid in the inner ear. Too much or too little endolymph has a significant impact on both hearing and balance.
  • The vestibule of the ear – This is the part of the ear that sits in the middle of the labyrinth that comprises the cochlea. It helps regulate balance. Vestibulotoxicity drugs can cause you to get dizzy or feel like the room is spinning.

Tinnitus is caused by some drugs while others lead to hearing loss. If you hear phantom sounds, that could possibly be tinnitus and it commonly shows up as:

  • Thumping
  • A windy sound
  • Ringing
  • Popping

Usually, the tinnitus ends when you stop taking the medication. Unfortunately, some of these drugs can cause permanent hearing loss.

What Drugs Put You at Risk?

Permanent hearing loss can be caused by a list of drugs that may surprise you. Many of them you could have in your medicine cabinet right now, and there’s a chance you take them before you go to bed or when you have a headache.

Topping the list for ototoxic drugs are over-the-counter pain relievers such as:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

You can include on the list salicylates that you may know better as aspirin. The hearing problems induced by these drugs are generally reversible when you quit taking them.

Ranking a close second for well known ototoxic medications are antibiotics. Not all antibiotics are ototoxic, however. a few that aren’t which you might have heard of include:

  • Gentamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Vancomycin

As with the painkillers, the issue goes away once you quit taking the antibiotic. The common list of other drugs include:

  • Quinidine
  • Chloroquine
  • Quinine

Tinnitus Can be Caused by Several Common Compounds

Diamox, Bumex, Lasix and Edecrin are diuretics which result in tinnitus but there are greater offenders in this category:

  • Caffeine
  • Marijuana
  • Tonic water
  • Nicotine

When you get up every morning and have your morning coffee you expose your body to a substance that can cause tinnitus. The good news is it will go away once the drug leaves your system. Some drugs, ironically, that doctors give to treat tinnitus are in fact on the list of culprits.

  • Prednisone
  • Amitriptyline
  • Lidocaine

The prescribed dosage should be less than what triggers ringing, though.

Ototoxicity Has Specific Symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus can vary depending on your ear health and which medication you get. Slightly irritating to completely incapacitating is the things you can usually be anticipating.

Look for:

  • Poor balance
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Tinnitus
  • Hearing loss on one or both sides
  • Blurring vision

Contact your physician if you notice any of these symptoms after taking medication even over-the-counter drugs or herbal supplements.

Should you still take your medication even you notice the symptoms of ototoxicity. You should never stop using what your doctor tells you to. Don’t forget that these symptoms are not permanent. Keep yourself aware by always asking your doctor about the potential side effects of a medication and don’t be reluctant to ask about ototoxicity. Also, get a hearing test with a hearing care expert.

Improve Your Ability to Hear When Talking on The Phone

Women avoiding talking on the phone because of hearing loss.

Are you talking less often on the phone because you can’t hear very well. As time passes, you might feel isolated because of your loss of hearing. It isn’t necessary to give up talking on the phone. There are ways to work it out so you can remain in touch with your loved ones.

It’s All About Communication

With any relationship, communication is the key and the same goes for your phone. Can anything be done to improve the situation?

  • Are the voices hard to hear? Check to make sure the volume is all the way up on the phone.
  • Bluetooth or headphones could be possibilities if you’ve already turned the volume up. It will make your phone sound better and it might be an inexpensive way to get what you need.
  • An ear exam is a smart idea. Get a good diagnosis because not all loss of hearing is permanent. Basic things including earwax buildup or an ear infection will cause temporary hearing loss.

When you rule out some of the more obvious issues, you can look at other possible solutions that will get you back on the phone.

There’s an App For That

You will really have a choice between quite a few apps. There are some pretty cool apps that will get you comfortable being back on your phone.

What the other person says can be turned to text with some of these apps. Not all of these apps work perfectly, but they give you some option that could be helpful. Brands to look up include:

Most voice to text apps are affordably priced though not all are free.

They Make a Phone For That

If you want to find a landline solution, you can get phones for your home that function the same way as an app. They can amplify the voice on the other end, making it less difficult to hear. High pitched sounds on the other end become clearer because they can equalize the sound.

A captioning phone is yet another solution. The captioning service requires a unique phone which has an LCD screen. With this service, the words are repeated or typed into software by a third party operator and are then displayed on your phone’s screen. You will need the internet to use a captioning service.

An old school phone system that is still around which works in a similar way to a captioning service is Text-to-Voice Teletype (TTY). You need to get a TTY device that sits next to the phone to show the text, though.

The Best Choice Are Hearing Aids

The days when you would get ear piercing feedback when your hearing aids got near a phone are over. The current technology can work with a hearing aid compatible phone to improve the sound and remove interference such as background noise. The best thing is these wireless hearing aids will still work even when you’re not on the phone.

State of the art, quality hearing aids can also have a more cutting edge program that permits them to be compatible with nearly any phone whether it’s a landline or smartphone. You just hold the phone up to the hearing aid and allow the technology to work its magic by streaming the sound from one device to the other.

Bluetooth compatibility is also a normal feature of today’s hearing aid tech. Pairing your hearing aid up with your smart-phone is exactly the same as pairing your phone with any other Bluetooth device. The sound goes right to your hearing aids when it rings.

There’s no reason to allow hearing loss damage a perfectly good relationship. Make up with your phone whatever it takes so you can start talking again. You can check out the newest hearing aid technology by making an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

4 Mistakes New Hearing Aid Owners Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Man adjusting to new hearing aids by adjusting volume on his smartphone.

So you finally went out and invested in a new pair of hearing aids. Nice job taking the first step to better your life. Modern hearing aids are newer technology and there are things you should learn to do and things that you should learn not to do. The list with hearing aids is not huge, but it’s an important one.

There are other things to consider besides simply caring for your hearing. The things you fail to do can make the devices less useful or slow down your adjustment time. Others in your shoes have made mistakes that you can learn from. These four things that you shouldn’t do need to be taken into consideration.

1. Straight Out of the Box Into Your Ear

You may be disregarding powerful features if you don’t take some time to learn the basics of how your hearing aid functions and discover the features that come with the brand. If you just turn on your hearing aids and put them in, more than likely they won’t work efficiently. Bluetooth and noise filters are some of the best features that you may also miss.

Conversely, if you simply slow it down somewhat and read the included documentation, you can figure out how to get the cleanest sound quality and practice the various adjustments that improve the hearing aid’s function.

You will already have a basic idea of what your hearing aids can do by the time you buy them. Now you need to learn how to use them which takes a little time.

2. Take Into Consideration The Adjustment Period

Your eyes need to adapt to the shape of the frame and the difference in lenses when you get a new pair of glasses. There is also an adaptation period with hearing aids. High quality sound in a new hearing aid does not happen by magic. That’s not how it works.

Your ears will require a couple days to adapt to what is a massive change, especially if you’ve never worn hearing aids before. Adjusting to new hearing aids as quickly as possible is all about consistency.

Once you’ve put them in leave them in. Often, new users feel an urge to keep removing them. That urge should be ignored. If you are uncomfortable, think about why.

  • Is the noise too loud? Perhaps you should turn the volume down.
  • Until you get used to it, take out the hearing aids when it gets uncomfortable. Go back to the retailer and have your hearing aids checked if they don’t really fit right..
  • Does the background noise seem overwhelming? Go to a quiet place for a few minutes when you first put them in each day. Sit down with a friend and talk. Ask if you are talking too loud. By doing this, you can balance the sound out by making adjustments.

Don’t make a huge mistake and give up on your hearing aid. If you just forget about your hearing aids, shoving them in a drawer somewhere, they will do you no good.

3. Neglect Getting a Professional Fitting Upfront

There is a lot involved in finding the right hearing aids, and it begins before you even start shopping. If you are not telling the truth about what you can and can’t hear at the hearing test at the audiologist, that’s a problem. You could wind up with hearing aids that aren’t right for your level or type of hearing loss. Some hearing aids amplify a high-frequency sound by design for instance. These are not the correct hearing aids for you if you can’t hear mid or low tones.

In many situations, hearing aids may not seem to fit your lifestyle. Bluetooth technology is a feature that you will want if you use a phone allot.

Make a note of when you wish your hearing aid did something different or when they aren’t functioning correctly while you are still in the trial period. You can go back and talk about those issues with your hearing care technician. You may need a different type of device or you might just need an adjustment.

Most retailers do free fittings so makes certain to find one of them when you buy your hearing aids. They won’t work right if they are too big for your ears.

4. Careless Maintenance

Often inadequate upkeep is simply a question of not understanding when you should or shouldn’t do something or how to do it. Take the time to learn how to take care of your hearing aids even if this isn’t your first rodeo.

After you buy your hearing aids, Take a close look at at the warning signs listed in the user manual such as using hair products with your hearing aids in or failing to turn them off when you take it out.

Don’t forget to study the maintenance guide and troubleshooting instructions.

Cleaning is an important part of Taking care of hearing aids, so make sure you understand all the hows and whys. Don’t quit at only cleaning the device, either. See what the manufacturer suggests for cleaning your ears, too.

If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids, it’s up to you. The process starts as you are shopping for them and proceeds when you start wearing them. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to learn what kind of hearing aid will work best for you.

These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Shock You

Man suffering from hearing loss considering the side effects of losing his hearing.

An elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think of when hearing loss is discussed. Affecting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased sharply among all age groups. There are surprising health repercussions for people who ignore it. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.

1. Mental Decline

Though you might not have previously known it, hearing loss can impact your general health. The most serious is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Some conditions frequently connected to aging are in fact caused by hearing loss.

When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. The difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is processed by this mechanism.

The brain experiences sound each microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It still expects it to be there, though and struggles to find it. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress bringing about cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.

2. Gut Trouble

That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been connected to side effects like:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Upset stomach

The constant stress can cause intestinal issues like:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.

3. Mental Health Concerns

The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is probably the most noticeable side effect. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to the loss of hearing in adults below the age of 70.

People who suffer from hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that probably accounts for the depression. The research suggests that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more prominent.

Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems such as:

  • Negativism
  • Lack of focus
  • Anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability

People who can’t successfully communicate stop trying and that results in sadness and psychological anxiety.

4. Relationship Troubles

Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.

Hearing loss creates problems in personal relationships, as well. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:

  • Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
  • Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it

Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, and your relationships. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action is best for you.

How to Stop That Frustrating Ringing in Your Ears

Woman suffering from ringing in her ears.

Whether you hear it occasionally or it’s with you all of the time, the ringing of tinnitus is annoying. Maybe annoying isn’t the right word. How about frustrating or makes-you-want-to-bash-your-head-against-the-desk irritating? No matter how you decide to describe that sound that you can’t seem to turn off, it’s a problem. What can you do, though? Can that ringing actually be stopped?

Know What Tinnitus Is And Why You Have it

Begin by learning more about the condition that is responsible for the clicking, ringing, buzzing, or roaring you hear. It’s estimated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population endures tinnitus, which is the medical name for that ringing. But why?

Tinnitus is a symptom of something else, not a condition in and of itself. For many, that something else is loss of hearing. Hearing decline typically comes with tinnitus as a side effect. Why tinnitus comes about when there is a change in a person’s hearing is still not clear. The latest theory is the brain creates the noise to fill a void.

Thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of sounds are encountered each day. Some obvious examples are car horns, the radio, and people talking. The sound of air blowing through a vent or the spinning blades of a ceiling fan are less noticeable. These sorts of sound are not normally heard because the brain decides you don’t need to hear them.

The main point is, hearing these sounds is “normal” for your brain. If half of those sounds are switched off, what happens then? It becomes bewildering for the part of your brain that hears sound. It might produce the phantom tinnitus noises to fill in the blanks because it recognizes sound should be there.

Tinnitus has other possible causes also. It can be connected to severe health issues like:

  • Head or neck trauma
  • Acoustic neuroma, a tumor that grows on the cranial nerve
  • Turbulent blood flow
  • Poor circulation
  • A reaction to medication
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • High blood pressure

Any of these things can cause tinnitus. After an injury or accident, even though you can hear fine, you may experience this ringing. A hearing exam should be scheduled with a doctor before attempting to find other ways of dealing with it.

What to do About Tinnitus

You need to understand why you have it before you can start to figure out what to do about it. The only thing that helps, in many cases, is to give the brain what it wants. If the lack of sound is causing your tinnitus, you need to generate some. The ringing may be able to be shut off by something as simple as a fan running in the background.

A white noise generator is a kind of technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. They simulate a natural sound that is calming such as the ocean waves or rain falling. Some come with pillow speakers, so you hear the sound as you sleep.

Getting hearing aids is also a good option. You can turn up the sounds that your brain is looking for, like the AC running, with quality hearing aids. Hearing aids normalize your hearing enough that the brain has no further need to produce phantom noise.

For most people, the answer is a combination of tricks. Using a white noise generator at night and wearing hearing aids during the day are examples of this strategy.

There are also medications available if soft sounds are not effective or if the tinnitus is more severe. Medications such as Xanax and possibly other antidepressants can quite this noise.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Tinnitus

Modifying your lifestyle a little bit will help too. A good starting place is determining what triggers your tinnitus. Keep a record and make a note of what’s happening when the tinnitus starts. Be specific:

  • What did you just eat?
  • Is there a particular sound that is triggering it?
  • Did you just have a cup of coffee or soda?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette?
  • Did you just take medication even over-the-counter products like Tylenol?

The more precise your information, the faster you’ll see the patterns that could be inducing the ringing. Meditation, exercise, and biofeedback can help you avoid stress which can also be the cause.

An Ounce of Prevention

Preventing tinnitus in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Protect your hearing as much as possible by:

  • Taking care of your cardiovascular system
  • Using ear protection when around loud noises
  • Not wearing earbuds or headphones when listening to music
  • Turning down the volume on everything

If you have high blood pressure, take your medication. Eat right and exercise as well. To rule out treatable issues which increase your risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional.

Hearing Loss is Often Perceived Negatively Which Will Impact Your Overall Health

Man with hearing loss looks concerned but won't get hearing aids.

Inability to hear is not the only effect of hearing loss, it can also have a serious impact on your overall life. Relationships can be strained and day-to-day tasks can be interrupted by loss of hearing.

A survey conducted by AARP found that untreated hearing loss had a more significant effect on quality of life than:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Obesity

There are a lot of people who don’t seek help with their hearing loss despite the fact that it negatively impacts their lifestyle. A lot of people who suffer from hearing loss avoid getting help because they believe that there is a stigma associated with hearing loss, according to researchers. Being treated differently is one reason people with hearing loss are scared to let anyone know they can’t hear that well. This perception can change how they view themselves whether they are young or old.

Many Others Also Have Hearing Loss

As lifespans grow longer, hearing loss has become more commonplace, in spite of the fact that it can affect people of every age group, The World Health Organization reports that there are more than 1.1 billion people, a lot of them young adults, in danger of hearing loss and the public perception that comes with it. Hearing loss is, in fact, one of a young adult’s greatest health threats. Even as the number of people who have hearing loss continues to grow, the resistance to seeking help for hearing loss seems to persist. What is the impact on general health?

What is The Perception of Hearing Loss?

A brand that marks someone as inferior is how sufferers of hearing loss feel and that is the meaning of stigma. Lots of people with hearing loss are concerned they will look older than they are, less healthy, or less capable.

Historically, there is some basis for this worry. A 2010 study revealed people were not as well accepted when they had hearing loss. But the data from this study is nearly a decade old. This perception is changing as hearing loss becomes more widespread. Hearing loss technology is becoming Stylish, fun, and sophisticated. Even celebrities are openly wearing hearing aids. Other health concerns relating to aging, like cognitive decline and dementia could be delayed or even prevented by getting treatment, according to research. This is also helping to change the perception. In spite of this, many people still won’t get the treatment they really need.

Why Does It Matter?

It is simple to say that perception doesn’t matter, but if this worry is preventing you from getting help, know that there are health repercussions for not getting treatment. More people get colonoscopies than hearing tests according to an AARP survey. Not getting a hearing exam because you refuse to acknowledge your hearing loss will impact your health as you get older.

Untreated Hearing Loss, What Are The Consequences?

Your overall health will be affected by these physical consequences;

Fatigue

Everything in life is more tedious when you are working hard to hear. You have to work more than other people to hear conversations and sounds. You also need to be more careful to protect your safety because you can’t hear warning sounds or cars coming. You can become chronically fatigued simply by trying to hear day-to-day sounds.

Common Headaches and Migraines

You can suffer from headaches and migraines if you have too much anxiety and tension. You might not realize there is a correlation, but studies have revealed a link between migraines and certain kinds of hearing loss. The constant extra effort by your brain to make up for sounds you can’t hear can cause your head to ache even if you’re not prone to migraines.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are some mental health issues you could possibly also end up facing as a consequence of untreated loss of hearing. Social isolation is increased by hearing loss and it can also lead to dementia. You will have less energy and will be moodier if you have these other challenges.

Surmounting Negative Perceptions of Hearing Loss

Overcoming these negative perceptions begins with getting help. If you are losing your hearing, it is treatable. Understand that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get that treatment.

There might not even be any reason to stress out because not all loss of hearing is permanent. You won’t know what the problem is unless you make an appointment to get a hearing exam. It could be as simple as earwax buildup.

Make sure you deal with it if it turns out that you do have hearing loss. Nowadays hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes. More inconspicuous styles are available if you feel concerned about people finding out you have hearing loss.

Most significantly, show everyone that you have lots of confidence in spite of your hearing loss. You should wear your hearing aids with confidence because when you can hear, you will be just as active and healthy as anyone else. The perception of people who have hearing loss will be changed if you act in this way. Increase awareness and stay healthy by not giving in to negative perceptions.

Hearing loss is not a personal weakness it’s a medical condition. Make an appointment to have a hearing exam today.

Can Glasses be Worn While Wearing Hearing Aids?

Couple wearing hearing aids with glasses enjoy a vacation.

Is it feasible to comfortably wear hearing aids while you are also wearing your glasses, despite the fact that the two don’t seem very harmonious? If you are thinking about a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, this typical question is even more pertinent. The question is, can I wear them both comfortably? Yes is the answer.

Before picking out hearing aids, there are a few things to consider if you wear glasses. Use these tips to make sure your hearing aids and glasses work well together.

There Are a Few Types of Hearing Aids That May Work For Your Situation

There is a lot to consider when you’re shopping for hearing aids, even when you don’t happen to wear glasses. Styles, shapes, and sizes are all personalizations that are readily available. You can even get a cool color if you want. Modern hearing aids are not the same as the ones that grandpa wore.

Start your research by really getting to know what styles of hearing aids are out there. They break down into three basic categories:

  • In-the-canal (ITC) – This style is a lot like the ITE model but it sits deeper into the ear, making them nearly invisible.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) – As the name implies, this style of hearing aid fits right into the opening of the ear canal and has nothing sitting behind the ear.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) – This is an older style of hearing aid, but today’s version of this technology is way more advanced. With this model, the main section of the device mounts right behind the ear with clear tubing that connects to an earmold sitting in the opening of the ear canal. Open-fit versions are essentially the same setup except without the earmold.

There are advantages and drawbacks to each style, but if you wear glasses, ITE and ITC hearing aids will save you from a lot of issues. You can compare the many features of a new hearing aid, but first, you need to choose the right style.

Considering The Features

Essentially, it’s really the features that should drive your decision as you look for hearing aids, not the shape. Evolving hearing aid technology is causing features to change all of the time. Watch for some of these common ones:

  • Noise reduction – Filters out background noise by amplifying one channel to augment speech.
  • T-coil – This feature allows you to hear better while using a land-line phone. T-coil technology is useful if you are listening to people talk through a speaker like at church or on the radio.
  • Directional microphone – This helps pinpoint the sound you need to hear when you are in a noisy space. For example, if someone is talking to you at a cafe, you can hear their speech easily despite the noise around you.

Your aim is to determine the ideal set of features to fit your lifestyle. At this point, you can make a decision on the style of hearing aid.

What if You Want BTE Hearing Aids?

It is possible to wear BTE hearing aids at the same time as glasses. If you want them to fit together comfortably you have to wear both of these important accessories the correct way. Here are some tips:

  • Using both hands, and in a forward motion, practice taking off your glasses. It will take some time for this to become a habit. If you forget to use this motion you will knock off your hearing aid and that will help reinforce the practice.
  • Before you make a purchase look closely at the size of the BTE. Although it’s a little bulky, the standard version will still work with glasses. The other choice is a relatively new style called mini BTE. Because the behind the ear portion is smaller, you get better comfort and less feedback. The only sure way to tell which one will be best for you is to try them both.
  • Your hearing aid should be put in only after you put your glasses on. Positioning of the hearing aid unit is a little more flexible so you can maneuver it around the arm of the glasses to make it comfortable. After placing the hearing aid, look in a mirror to be sure it’s not hanging from your outer ear.

The only option for those that have a real problem wearing a BTE device with glasses would be the ITE or ITC models. If you take your glasses off a lot, for instance, BTE devices will be a real hassle. Children will usually have problems with this kind of hearing aid and also adults with small ears. Most reputable hearing aid sellers offer a trial period, so schedule an appointment to find out what model is best for you. Trying the different styles is the only way you will know for sure which style works best for you.