Is Tinnitus Real?
Tinnitus is one of the most common hearing problems around the world. Ranging in severity, tinnitus may be a minor annoyance or dramatically impact your daily activities and mental health. And yet, many people still do not believe that tinnitus is a real condition or that there is tinnitus treatment. This false belief may stem from the fact that tinnitus is a tricky hearing problem to identify because it has so many unique causes and can only really be experienced by the individual living with it.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at this common hearing problem and definitively answering that, yes, tinnitus is real. We define this hearing problem, look into its many common causes, and discuss whether or not tinnitus can be treated. By learning more about this hearing problem that affects millions, we can better support those who experience tinnitus. Supporting a loved one with tinnitus should always be a top priority.
What is Tinnitus Exactly?
Tinnitus is a common hearing problem that affects people of all ages. This hearing problem, essentially, is understood as the perception of outside noise, called a phantom noise, when there is no actual external stimuli causing that noise. And since no one else can hear these phantom noises, this can make it a very frustrating hearing problem to live with each day. It can often make you feel isolated and alone.
Many falsely believe that tinnitus is a disease or a type of hearing condition itself. But this isn’t quite accurate. Tinnitus is actually a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as a major head or neck injury, Lyme disease, or age-related hearing loss.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be a challenging hearing problem to identify. Why is this? Simply enough because are so many different causes of tinnitus and unique causes. No two cases of tinnitus are the exact same, which is why it’s so pivotal to see a doctor or audiologist. They can perform a comprehensive diagnosis and hearing exam. Once you’ve identified the cause of your tinnitus, you’ll be able to better understand (and potentially treat) this hearing problem as it relates to your individual health and needs.
However, there are some common causes of tinnitus. Many of the most common include:
- Age-related hearing loss (the most common cause of tinnitus).
- Repeated exposure to loud noises.
- Ototoxic medications.
- Significant head or neck injuries.
- Lyme disease.
- Meniere’s disease.
- Acoustic neuroma.
- Ear wax buildup.
- TMJ disorders.
And more. If you feel that you’re experiencing a slight buzzing ringing sound in your ears, contact your doctor or audiologist for a comprehensive hearing exam.
Is Tinnitus Real?
One of the most frustrating facts about living with tinnitus is that some people may not even think your hearing problem is real. But never let this false concern trouble you. Doctors and audiologists across the world recognize that tinnitus is indeed a real hearing problem that significantly affects millions of individuals.
A Few Ways to Manage Your Tinnitus Symptoms
While there is no medical cure for tinnitus, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. In fact, doctors and audiologists have developed a variety of treatment programs and strategies to help their patients live better lives while managing that ringing in their ears.
Some of the most effective ways to manage your tinnitus symptoms include:
- Reduce unwanted noise: how can hanging up sound dampening tiles in your home or office actually help you manage tinnitus? Well, this can prove to be an effective option. Felt tiles can absorb excess sound waves, which will reduce unwanted noises in your interior space. Additionally, when you’re not constantly bombarded by excess sounds, you can better manage your stress and anxiety levels. Studies show that higher levels of stress actually make tinnitus worse, so when you’re calmer in a more controlled environment, tinnitus can be reduced.
- Wear a hearing aid: for many patients, especially if your tinnitus is caused by age-related hearing loss, wearing a hearing aid can effectively reduce the sounds of tinnitus. When your ears don’t need to strain as much to pick up sounds, this can reduce stress and improve the overall quality of your hearing health.
- Improve your diet: we all know how important a good diet is, but did you know that your diet affects your hearing health? Studies show that an improved diet can actually reduce the sounds of tinnitus. It’s especially important to cut down on salty foods, as high levels of sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and restrict your blood vessels, making tinnitus even louder.
- Get more exercise: just like a well balanced diet, exercise is important for every single aspect of your health. Studies suggest that regular exercise can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms and help you to hardly notice that ringing sound in your ears. Try to get about 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to feel these effects.
Conclusion – Is Tinnitus Real?
What’s even more frustrating and challenging than living with tinnitus symptoms? Well, probably if no one even believes it’s a real hearing problem. There exists a false conception about tinnitus because, unlike a broken leg or the flu, your symptoms will never be visible or noticeable to anyone else. Tinnitus is the perception of a sound, usually a soft ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears, that exists without external stimuli. Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of different injuries and illnesses.
And while there may not yet be a medical cure, there are ways that you can better manage your tinnitus symptoms. Whether improving your diet, avoiding vices like smoking and alcohol, wearing a hearing aid, or managing stress and excess noises with felt tiles, there are many different ways that you can work to reduce your tinnitus symptoms. Take back control of your hearing health and get back to the activities and conversations you love. Yes, tinnitus is a real hearing problem, but it’s also a manageable one.