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Woman with tinnitus trying to muffle the ringing in her ears with a pillow to overcome challenge.

You hear a lot of talk these days about the challenge of living with chronic diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes, but what about tinnitus? It is a chronic illness which has a strong psychological element because it affects so many areas of a person’s life. Tinnitus presents as ghost noises in one or both ears. Most people describe the noise as ringing, buzzing, clicking or hissing that nobody else can hear.

Tinnitus technically isn’t an illness but a symptom of an another medical problem like hearing loss and something that more than 50 million people from the U.S. deal with on a day to day basis. The phantom sound tends to begin at the most inconvenient times, too, like when you are watching a favorite TV series, trying to read a magazine or listening to a friend tell a terrific tale. Tinnitus can worsen even once you try to get some rest.

Medical science has not quite pinpointed the reason so many folks suffer with tinnitus or how it occurs. The accepted theory is that the mind creates this sound to counteract the silence that comes with hearing loss. Regardless of the cause, tinnitus is a life-changing condition. Consider five reasons tinnitus is such a problem.

1. Tinnitus Impacts Emotional Processing

Recent information indicates that individuals who experience tinnitus also have increased activity in the limbic system of their mind. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for emotions. Up until this discovery, most specialists thought that individuals with tinnitus were worried and that is why they were always so sensitive. This new research indicates there’s much more to it than simple stress. There’s an organic component that makes those with tinnitus snappy and emotionally sensitive.

2. Tinnitus is Hard to Discuss

How do you explain to somebody else that you hear weird noises that they can’t hear and not feel crazy once you say it. The incapability to tell others about tinnitus is isolating. Even if you could tell somebody else, it’s not something that they truly can relate to unless they suffer from it for themselves. Even then, they may not have exactly the very same signs of tinnitus as you. Support groups are usually available, but it means talking to a lot of people you aren’t comfortable with about something very personal, so it is not an appealing choice to most.

3. Tinnitus is Annoying

Imagine trying to write a paper or study with sound in the background that you can’t escape. It is a distraction that many find debilitating if they’re at work or just doing things around the home. The noise changes your attention which makes it tough to remain on track. The inability to concentrate that comes with tinnitus is a true motivation killer, too, which makes you feel lethargic and mediocre.

4. Tinnitus Interferes With Rest

This could be one of the most crucial side effects of tinnitus. The sound tends to amp up when a sufferer is attempting to fall asleep. It’s unclear why it worsens during the night, but the most logical reason is that the lack of sounds around you makes it worse. Throughout the day, other sounds ease the sound of tinnitus such as the TV, but you turn everything all off when it is time to sleep.

A lot of people use a sound machine or a fan at night to help alleviate their tinnitus. Just that little bit of background sound is enough to get your brain to reduce the volume on the tinnitus and allow you to get some sleep.

5. There is No Cure For Tinnitus

Just the idea that tinnitus is something that you must live with is hard to accept. Although no cure will shut off that noise for good, there are things can be done to assist you find relief. It starts at the physician’s office. Tinnitus is a symptom, and it is vital to get a proper diagnosis. By way of instance, if you hear clicking, maybe the noise is not tinnitus but a sound related to a jaw problem such as TMJ. For many, the cause is a chronic illness that the requires treatment like high blood pressure.

Lots of people will discover their tinnitus is the consequence of hearing loss and dealing with that health problem relieves the noise they hear. Obtaining a hearing aid means an increase in the level of noise, so the brain can stop trying to make it to fill in the empty spaces. Hearing loss can also be temporary, such as earwax build up. Once the physician treats the underlying problem, the tinnitus dulls.

In extreme cases, your specialist may attempt to combat the tinnitus medically. Tricyclic antidepressants may help reduce the ringing you hear, for instance. The doctor can provide you with lifestyle changes which should alleviate the symptoms and make life with tinnitus easier, such as using a noise machine and finding ways to manage stress.

Tinnitus presents many struggles, but there is hope. Medical science is learning more every year about how the brain functions and strategies to improve life for those suffering from tinnitus.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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