Dealing With That Ringing In Your Ear

Posted on: 3 June 2015

If you're pestered by a ringing in your ears that won't go away, you may be dealing with a case of tinnitus. Many people experience a ringing in their ears after hearing a loud noise, but it normally goes away after a few minutes. For others, part of the inner ear structures may have become damaged by a loud noise or an illness, and the ringing persists. Here is what you need to know about tinnitus and how to deal with it.

Chronic Tinnitus Doesn't Go Away

Unlike the ringing in your ear that goes away overnight after being at a loud concert, chronic tinnitus stays with you all the time. It can disrupt your sleep and concentration. You can become irritable as it affects many parts of your life. Before this happens, see a hearing doctor at a place like Hearing Professionals for an examination to determine how extensive the inner ear damage is.

Types of Tinnitus

During the examination, your audiologist will tell you which of the two types of tinnitus you have:

  • Subjective - This is the most common form of tinnitus. It occurs from damage to or an irritation of the nerves in your ear.
  • Objective - When the small bones or muscles in the ear are damaged, the sound they make can be heard by you and the person doing the exam. Your doctor will hear a faint click or hissing sound.

The Causes of Your Tinnitus

Your tinnitus may have come on suddenly because of an injury, or gradually because of a disease. The cause will determine how long the treatment will take and if you'll have any permanent issues with your hearing.

Common causes of the subjective form of tinnitus include:

  • ear drum damage
  • ear infection
  • abnormal bone growth in the middle ear
  • nerve damage in the ear
  • age-related stiffness of the bones in the middle ear

Causes of objective tinnitus include:

  • neck muscle injury or spasms
  • middle ear tumors
  • skull fractures around the ear
  • high blood pressure

Treatment Options

Depending on the cause, your ear doctor could recommend a number of treatments such as:

  • surgical repair of fractures around the ear canal
  • surgical removal of tumors or radiation therapy
  • surgical reconstruction of the bones in the middle ear
  • medication treatment for nerve and muscle issues
  • antibiotic treatment of ear infections

During the treatment of the medical condition, you will want to consider getting support for emotional issues. Chronic tinnitus can disrupt your life so much that you start to avoid socializing and may even isolate yourself from people entirely. If your sleep is affected, you can become irritable and anxious. This will affect your job and family. A number of options are available to you to prevent these issues:

  • tinnitus support groups
  • acupuncture
  • meditation therapy
  • hypnosis therapy
  • personal counseling

These options teach you to live with tinnitus while the medical treatment proceeds. It's a proactive way to keep this medical condition from controlling your life.