Tinnitus: constant ringing bells in your ear

People, who are exposed to loud sounds, are constantly told to cover their ears to protect them from the damages. Constant exposition to loud sounds can damage your inner ear and lead you to lose your ability to listen gradually.

There is a condition called tinnitus that can also appear after a long time of being constantly surrounded by loud noises. The inner ear is damaged, and it starts to send wrong signals to the brain and starts telling your brain that you are “listening” to something.  What patients do not realize soon enough is that this sound is not produced in the environment, it is produced inside their heads.

What does it sound like?

Some people have reported listening to bells chiming or ringing, phones, water pumps or engines, laughter or crickets. The thing is that the sound people hear changes from one person to another and since nobody else can actually listen to this, what is left is the description of sounds these patients give. It is a description of their reality, and sometimes other people are not good at understanding these patients and are led to think the person is overreacting or maybe that it is not something as annoying as the person describes.

What is the diagnosis procedure?

Patients usually go to the doctor because they feel they are losing some of their ability to listen or to understand when people talk to them. After the initial check-up, the doctor usually asks for further exams and tests. Audiology experts are then in charge of measuring in detail how much hearing capacity has been lost. During the test, the patient listens to sounds and has to identify them and signal the technician if they have heard something.

Some of these tests are a little uncomfortable and can make you feel dizzy. Try not to go alone since it can be difficult to drive or take public transport after the examination. After the results of the tests are given, the doctor has to examine the patient again and determine if the tinnitus is caused by damages to inner ear membranes, or if it is neurological.

Treatment after diagnosis

Once the patient has been diagnosed, there are a few options to alleviate discomfort. If circulation problems cause tinnitus, the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs can help eliminate pain or minimize sounds.  If tinnitus is related to Meniere’s disease, the doctor will prescribe drugs to control dizziness and vertigo attacks. These medicines have to be taken under strict medical control since they may have side effects, the doctor also has to check the possible interactions of tinnitus medicines with other drugs.

Other natural options

Natural is not a synonym of herbs and remedies, this term can also refer to relaxation techniques that the patient can apply to minimize the sounds or to avoid getting stressed because of it.

Most people try to cover tinnitus with other sounds in order not to feel anxious and stressed. Although this may sound like a good idea the constant exposition to noise can also worsen the symptoms. It is better to try to relax and practice some meditation. Stressful situations can trigger vertigo attacks and headaches that will make the sound feel louder than ever.

There is also a new natural tinnitus treatment that consists of paying attention to the sound and getting used to it. This therapy aims to get the brain so used to the presence of the sound that it will eventually ignore it and it won’t be annoying or stressful. Some people find this therapy difficult because they have to avoid the sound or to mask it with music all the time. So the idea of paying attention to it gets on their nerves.

The most important piece of information is to trust your doctor and also to trust your instinct. Some people are not diagnosed on time because they are not sure of the sounds they hear, they feel it is environmental or maybe that they are exaggerating. It is necessary to have a clear description of the symptoms to help the doctor identify the condition quickly.