You know that annoying buzzing from a fly trapped in the room? Imagine if it was inside your head. Hearing persistent sounds like ringing in the ears is the bane of tinnitus sufferers.
Craig Newman, PhD, head of audiology at the Cleveland Clinic, says that think rock concerts or fireworks. Some medical issues or drugs may play a role. Or it may happen for no reason. “In most people, there’s no cure “but some strategies can bring relief.”
Many patients respond to the onset of tinnitus with anxiety, depression, or both. An area of the brain known as the limbic system regulates emotion and may hold the key to why tinnitus bothers some people but not others. Identifying negative or irrational thoughts and consciously thinking more positively may help. “If you think of tinnitus as threatening, the brain pays more attention, and the experience becomes even more disturbing,” Dr. Newman says.
Grinding your teeth, chewing gum, and eating chewy food may be potential tinnitus triggers. ,” Dr. Newman says that there is a connection between the centers of the brain that control the muscles for chewing and those connected to the auditory system. Avoiding chewy foods and getting a special dental device to control clenching and grinding may help ease the problem .Other research suggests that people with TMD are more prone to tinnitus and can sometimes control the sound in their heads simply by moving their jaws.
zinc, B vitamins, and ginkgo may help some people with tinnitus, says Michael Seidman, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Dr. Seidman also says that “Ginkgo [240 mg twice a day], zinc [30 mg a day], and B vitamins [25 to 50 mg a day] are my first line of natural treatments,”
Improving sleep habits—and getting more shut-eye—can help take the edge off tinnitus-related anxiety. which may make tinnitus itself feel less troublesome. “Steps like keeping a regular bedtime, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon or later, taking a shower before turning in, reflecting on the positive things that happened during the day and jotting them down in a journal, and setting aside a ‘worry time can all make a difference.
Ears should be self-cleaning, but in some people, dense packs of wax can build up and irritate the eardrum. Though it doesn’t help everyone, having a doctor or nurse extract a blockage may improve hearing and help quiet tinnitus.