I can’t shut down the noises inside my ears. I have been listening to non-stop roaring for the last 5 hours. But hey, it hasn’t bothered me too much. I know it will be gone by the morning.
What causes tinnitus? How can you stop it? Does it ever go away permanently?
Tinnitus is still not fully understood. There is no cure. Tinnitus is perception of sound when there is no apparent source of sound. It can be humming, whistling, ringing, buzzing, even music. It can come and go or be persistent. It can be high pitched, medium pitched, or low pitched, or a mixture of all three, or of more than one sound.
Over 5 million people in the UK suffer from tinnitus. It is thought to be caused by defective hearing - it’s not an illness or disease. Anyone can get tinnitus, not just old people, and it’s common after excessive exposure to loud noise. I was exposed to constant loud noise for the first few months of my life and as a result I lost most of my hearing. I have suffered tinnitus all of my life. As a child, it was so bad that I would bang my head against a wall to try to get rid of it. I had my head x-rayed numerous times to see if there was any physical cause - they didn’t find anything. Well, they *did* find my brain. As an adult, I have learned to cope with tinnitus and to largely ignore it. I find it gets worse if I am very tired or stressed, either I notice it more or it suddenly hits me at full blast (like today).
Common medical advice is to find a way to relax, to help the tinnitus become less noticeable. I find a good way of dealing with it, when it becomes intolerable, is to take some aspirin and have a nap. When I wake up, it has always gone. I think my best coping strategy is my mindset - I don’t let it stress me when it hits, I just roll with it - “oh yes, it’s back again, I wonder what tune the monster will try to play today!”
I know a lot of people who find tinnitus extremely difficult to cope with, it disturbs sleep, ruins concentration, destroys peace of mind, and even wrecks marriages.
If you have got tinnitus, what options are there?
GP - see your GP as they can refer you to a specialist
sound generator - this attempts to mask the tinnitus by playing sounds to distract from the tinnitus
holistic therapies - these treat the whole body, not just the part, and try to treat the cause of the problem
drugs - see you GP if you think any drugs you are taking may be causing tinnitus
relaxation - find a relaxing activity or exercise which you enjoy