Women health

 Is it normal to hear high-pitched noise in silence?

Ringing in your ears, like a ringing bell, can be a warning to pay attention to the signs.

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, begins in the inner ear. It is most commonly caused by injury to or loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea, or inner ear.

Tinnitus can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including ocean-related sounds, ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or whooshing. The sound can be in one or both ears, continuous or intermittent, loud or soft. It is often more visible at night when you are not distracted by your job or family. It is frequently linked to hearing loss.

And it's more common than you'd think. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Hearing Disorders, around 10% of the adult population in the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the recent year.

"That's not life-threatening, and it's more of a sign of other disorders than a sickness in and of itself," explains otolaryngologist Ashok Jagasia, MD, Ph.D. "The irritating sound can cause despair, anxiety, and/or insomnia in some people."

Causes of tinnitus and headache

What causes tinnitus? The ringing is caused by the cochlea, a region of your inner ear that resembles a snail shell. Tinnitus could be affected by changes in the nerve activity of the cochlea.

Any one of the following can trigger these changes:

  1. Loud noises such as jackhammers, chainsaws, & loud music
  2. A concussion or brain injury
  3. Wax accumulation in your ears
  4. Caffeine
  5. Many drugs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and blood pressure meds
  6. Antibiotics and certain medications
  7. Meniere's disease is an inner-ear ailment that may be caused by fluids in the ear.

Coping with tinnitus tips

Tinnitus may go gone on its own at times, but it is frequently permanent.

Although there is no cure, there are several coping strategies you can attempt. Jagasia proposes ten strategies in this section:

Think about cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT).

CBT sessions will teach you how to adjust your reaction to tinnitus by reframing the issue. CBT also can help with tinnitus-related despair and anxiety, as well as teach you breathing & muscle relaxation methods.

2. Get a hearing aid evaluation.

Tinnitus can be covered by increasing the level of external noises. If an audiogram indicates that you have considerable hearing loss, you also may benefit from hearing aids.

Remove wax from your ears (but not at home).

"Doctors can remove ear wax with a microscope and a little tool," Jagasia says. "Do not attempt to remove it by yourself or your child. Using a cotton swab to remove it tends to push the wax deeper into the ear canal, making matters worse."


4. Make some "white noise"

Creating a background hum, especially at night, can help to mask the sound of tinnitus. In the winter, for example, use a cooling humidifier, and in the summer, a fan or air conditioner.

5. Play soft music

Soft music diverts your attention away from the ringing.

6. Stay away from caffeine

 Caffeine might raise your blood pressure, which makes your tinnitus more visible.

7. Examine your medications

"It is indeed fine to take ibuprofen every now and then, but taking too much of it too frequently can produce tinnitus. Perhaps there are other options for treating your discomfort "According to Jagasia.

8. Look into acupuncture

Acupuncture and some other alternative medical treatments have provided healing for some patients.

9. Consume lipoflavonoid

Several people benefit from taking lipoflavinoid, or vitamin B6, supplements so over counter for six to eight weeks.

10. Use earplugs

If you know you'll be using or near noisy equipment, such as a chainsaw or lawnmower, use earplugs to protect your ears.

When can you seek tinnitus treatment?

If the ringing continues for many weeks, make an appointment with your health care physician. You may be referred to an ENT specialist, who will conduct a hearing test known as an audiogram.

"This helps us determine whether there is nerve-related hearing loss along with the tinnitus," Jagasia explains. "We frequently find considerable hearing loss with ringing in patients over the age of 60."

Consult a doctor right once if you are dizzy, have total hearing loss in one ear, or have vertigo symptoms in addition to the ringing — a combination of symptoms that might indicate Meniere's disease.

Some other potentially significant red flag: pulsatile tinnitus, or hearing your heartbeat whooshing. Other serious conditions, such as a benign tumor, middle ear infections, high blood pressure, blocked arteries, or stroke, might induce this sensation. If this happens to you, Jagasia advises you to contact your doctor right away.

"It is indeed common for us to experience ringing in our ears as we become older," he explains. "Tinnitus is usually not dangerous, but it might interfere with your daily life. The good news is that our bodies may be trained to disregard it."


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