Whistling, beeping or buzzing sounds that are not there but you can definitely hear. All of these phantom sounds can be classified as tinnitus. These sounds can be loud or quiet, have a high or low pitch and can be heard every once in a while or continuously. I know how annoying this can be from own experience. I am not alone in this. Estimates claim that there are more than a million people that suffer from tinnitus in the Netherlands.
Where does tinnitus come from?
The beeping sounds originates from the hearing organs or the nerve tracts that send signal to the brain with the information that there is a sound, while there is none. Damage to the nerve tracts or hearing organs is usually the culprit. However, muscle contractions in the ear, high blood pressure, Ménière disease or problems with the center ear can all also lead to tinnitus. Sadly, it usually is hard to find a specific reason for your tinnitus because you are the only one that is hearing it.
How do deal with tinnitus?
To put it in a simple way, try not to pay attention to the beeping noises. The complaints of tinnitus are very different per person. Complaints range from slightly annoying to not being able to function anymore. However, most people find a way to live with it. The skill for people with tinnitus is to acquire a mindset saying that the complaints are not important enough, to pay attention to. This will help people to get use to the symptoms, forcing them out of the attentional field. Stress and emotional problems however can worsen the complaints. Worrying will worsen the tinnitus because it does exactly the opposite, forcing the sounds to the attentional field. People will end up in a vicious cycle of complaints. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) focusses on breaking this cycle, with psycho-education and sound masking. This will help to structurally lead the beeps to the background and out of the attentional awareness. Therapy is not necessary for a lot of people. These tips can help you with lowering the tinnitus symptoms.
Tips for tinnitus:
First, talk to your practitioner and see if simple causes like an ear infection or a clogged Eustachian tube are to blame. These are fixable causes.
- Mask the beeping noise with background noise like a tv or music. This will help you to get your mind of the tinnitus.
- Relaxation techniques like yoga can contribute to finding a way to get your attention of the tinnitus.
- Use sound filter earplugs in places with loud noises like concerts.
- For more serious cases there are hearing devices that can be personalized specifically for your tinnitus for. These devices are small and are pretty much impossible to see at first sight
- Working out can take your mind of the tinnitus and is useful for a lot of people including myself.