Tinnitus is an auditory system complication wherein the patient hears an unusual, internally produced sound in one or both of their ears. Patients often describe the sounds as a high-pitched ringing noise, but tinnitus may also produce roaring, hissing, clicking, and buzzing noises.
Unfortunately, there is currently no scientifically proven way to cure tinnitus. Although, you can alleviate some of the disease’s symptoms through various remedies such as using hearing aids, undergoing behavioral therapy, and taking prescribed anti-anxiety medication, among others.
Of course, the efficacy of these treatments also varies depending on the severity of your condition. Mild ringing may be controlled through the use of simple OTC medication or sound-masking devices. However, those who experience loud, unbearable ringing may have no choice but to regularly take prescription medication.
Before diving into the remedies that can possibly alleviate some symptoms of tinnitus, it’s crucial to understand what causes these complications in the first place.
Avoid loud noises. Many individuals who work or live in loud, noisy environments develop symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. Effects are not immediate. In most cases, the patients will only start seeing signs of hearing loss after years, or even decades, of exposure.
Although, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore the situation. Even if you do not develop tinnitus, daily exposure to loud noises will eventually lead to some type of auditory complication.
Tinnitus is a very common complication that affects 15% of Earth’s gen5eral population. However, symptoms are most common among older adults aged between 40 to 80 years old—prevalence peaks in the age groups of 60 to 69.
Unfortunately, reversing the effects of aging is not something one can easily do. The best approach here is to consult with a medical professional for regular checkups and prescriptions. Don’t wait for tinnitus symptoms to worsen. Book an appointment right away if you notice even the slightest signs of hearing loss in one or both of your ears.
Untreated ear infections and wax buildup are common causes of tinnitus complications. The accumulation of wax, puss, or gunk in your ears can alter the pressure in your ears and directly cause the development of internally caused ringing.
Unlike with aging or long-term exposure to loud noises, the effects of these are more immediate. Although, symptoms are also more manageable. In most cases, the patient’s hearing should return to normal once they take the proper medication or undergo the correct treatment.
Ménière's disease is an inner ear complication characterized by hearing loss, vertigo, ear pressure congestion, and of course, tinnitus. Sadly, the only way to resolve tinnitus caused by ménière's disease is to take prescription medication and undergo specialized treatment.
Otosclerosis is a common genetic condition characterized by growth abnormality in the middle ear’s bones. Around 3 million Americans are affected by this disease.
Auditory complications are very common among veterans. Years of exposure to the sounds of exploding grenades and rapid gunshots will take a heavy toll on one’s auditory senses. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had more than 1.6 million claims of tinnitus and more than 1 million claims of hearing loss back in 2016.
To assist the country’s war heroes, the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA hospitals offer progressive tinnitus management (PTM) to veterans. This is a comprehensive audiology program created by the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) to specially assist patients suffering from hearing loss and alleviate some symptoms of tinnitus. The goal is to help the patient lead a normal life.
PTM was initially created for veterans. However, PTM is available to both veterans and civilians who need ongoing support and management to control and manage the effects of their auditory issues and complications.
The internally produced ringing of tinnitus ranges from a mild, unpleasant sound to an incessantly annoying ringing noise that never goes away. Depending on the severity, patients might not even be able to sleep at night. In worse cases, the tinnitus ringing can cause anxiety or depression among less emotionally stable patients.
If you are having trouble maintaining a cool, level head because of the incessant ringing caused by tinnitus, consider seeing a therapist. Prescription anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants might be the quick fix you need. They won’t be able to get rid of the ringing sound, but these meds can help you keep your emotions under control.
Many patients suffering from auditory complications develop tinnitus shortly after the onset of hearing loss. If you’re suffering from the same issues, you might want to consider wearing hearing aids. Having a hearing aid won’t remove tinnitus, but it can help manage the ringing in your ears by helping your auditory system function normally.
Try not to expose yourself to loud noises. As much as possible, pick a living environment that’s far away from railroads, public transportation hubs, nightclubs/bars, and events locations.
5. Exercise and Stay Healthy
An unhealthy lifestyle will aggravate auditory complications. So apart from taking the proper medication and undergoing specialized treatment, it’s crucial for seniors suffering from tinnitus to stay healthy. Follow a clean, balanced diet, commit to a simple exercise routine, and start meditating more often.
Tinnitus is an auditory complication characterized by internally produced ringing, clicking, or buzzing noises. These sounds are imperceptible to others. The development of these complications is not limited to older adults, but as the statistics have shown, hearing complications tend to be more common among patients over 60.
Overall, the best way to combat tinnitus is to prevent the onset of symptoms in the first place. Always clear wax buildups, do not let ear infections go untreated, and most importantly, try to avoid excessively loud noises. Tinnitus is common among those who work or live in loud, noisy environments.
Also, if tinnitus symptoms do arise, consult with a medical professional right away. If prevention is no longer an option, the next best thing would be to get early treatment before the symptoms worsen. Don’t wait for the ringing noises to become prominent before getting the necessary treatment.
Improving quality of life among seniors relies heavily on one’s health and wellness. Senior Strong provides simple, effective tips on how to stay healthy even as you reach old age. Check out the Senior Strong website today!
Irene Lefever is a senior advisor whose role is to make sure that senior citizens’ physical, mental, psychological, and emotional needs are catered to. Lefever got her degree in Multimedia Arts at the University of California, Riverside.