Last month was Tinnitus Awareness month, and although tinnitus is a very common condition, there’s no real cure for it at the moment. Scientists are looking for drug therapies that might cure the problem, but at the moment there are no real scientific breakthroughs.
Tinnitus is a sound you can hear in your head that has no obvious source. It could be anything from ringing (the classic ‘ringing in your ears’) to a whistling, roaring, or even shrieking noise. Most people have had the symptoms of tinnitus before – you know how your ears can feel after a loud concert, for example. Sometimes people can also develop the condition if they’ve been taking aspirin, ibuprofen or another type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for a while, but it usually goes away after they stop taking the drug.
Chronic tinnitus – where the symptoms have lasted for six months or more continuously – is more serious and needs investigating, although it’s very rarely a sign that you’re starting to develop hearing problems.
The way that tinnitus develops can be unpredictable. You could have the same symptoms for years and not get any worse, or you might find that the symptoms worsen over time. Around 10 per cent of people find that having the constant noise to contend with affects their quality of life so much that they seek medical help for it. In some cases, tinnitus can be caused or exacerbated by musculoskeletal factors this means if you’re prone to clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, it could be giving you tinnitus too. An injury, or build up on tension in your neck can also make things worse, so if you think that’s the case, regular massage therapy or a session of cranial osteopathy might be one way to help reduce the symptoms.
While we wait for a cure for the problem of tinnitus, the good news is that quite often your body adapts to the noise to the point where you hardly notice it after a while. You can also help yourself, as there are several different ways to help you tune out the noise and minimise the impact on your day to day life.
Your general health can have an effect on your tinnitus symptoms, so if you know that you could make a bit more effort with your diet, fitness and sleep habits, now’s the time to do it and it might have an impact on the irritating noises. If it’s becoming a real problem, you can also get help with any depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain you’re suffering as a result with the help of prescribed medications or even psychotherapy.
Image via Ohmega1982.
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