Ringing in the ears can be downright annoying. And if you are an avid party-goer or work in extremely noisy environments, the ringing is familiar to you all too well.
On the bright side, the ringing usually stops after a few hours and your auditory experience of the world gets back to normal. However, it’s not uncommon for the ringing to persist for a few days. If that happens, you are bound to wonder how to stop ringing in ears?
Stay with us and you’ll get a more complete understanding of its origin and causes and pick up some tips and trick for stopping ringing in the ears.
What Is Ringing in the Ears?
According to Harvard Medical School, up to 60 million people in the US suffer from tinnitus or ringing in the ears. But why does tinnitus occur in the first place?
As previously indicated, loud noise is the primary cause. To be exact, prolonged exposure to sound pressure levels (SPL) greater than 85dB can result in tinnitus and other forms of hearing issues and even hearing loss. Let’s take a look at how hearing works to get a better understanding of tinnitus.
Sound reaches our middle and inner ear via the ear canal. The inner ear consists of the cochlea which has minute hair cells that convert sound vibrations to neural signals. The auditory nerve then carries the signals to the auditory cortex to be processed into what we call hearing.
But if the hair cells become damaged, the brain wouldn’t receive the expected signals, which causes a heightened neural activity. This heightened activity creates sound illusion or tinnitus.
In addition to noise, some drugs like aspirin are also known to cause hearing damage and tinnitus. And it doesn’t have to be actual ringing – some people reportedly experience hissing, roaring, or humming.
Is There a Silver Lining?
Luckily, ringing in the ears is rarely a major health concern and it’s not a usual symptom of a more serious condition. However, if it won’t go away, you should surely pay a visit to your doctor to rule out ear infection and other conditions.
On the upside, there are a number of remedies that can help you get rid of tinnitus. Check out the list below for some tips on how to stop ringing in ears.
People who suffer from tinnitus are often bothered by silence. Sound therapy can ease the symptoms and make you feel more relaxed. It is recommended to play natural soothing sounds, soft music, or white noise. For example, bird sounds, rainfall, and waves hitting a beach are known to help. You can download or listen to such sounds and more online.
If these sounds are not your thing, opening the window to let in outdoor noise may also help. Turning on the fan or AC wouldn’t hurt either.
This might be easier said than done, what with jingle bells playing in your ears and all. Luckily, there are various relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation that should do the trick.
You should find a peaceful place, sit back, and concentrate on your breading. Similarly, a few minutes of meditation can do wonders for tinnitus-induced anxiety and lack of focus. In some cases, people even resort to cognitive behavioral therapy to ease the symptoms.
It’s worth pointing out that it shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes of focused breathing or meditation to lessen or even stop tinnitus.
Mineral and Vitamin Intake
There are a few minerals and vitamins that can help with the condition. According to researchers from the University of Leicester, magnesium-rich foods can be an effective remedy for ringing in the ears. So you may want to add seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens, and dark chocolate to your diet.
In addition, tinnitus might be linked to B12 and zinc deficiency. Consequently, supplementing these minerals and vitamins may put a stop to the annoying ringing. What’s more, taking Gingko Biloba extract may also help lessen the symptoms.
Caffeine seems to play a vital role in tinnitus prevention and may stop the ringing altogether. A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reveals that the incidence of tinnitus was 15% lower among women who had one and a half cups of coffee a day.
Admittedly, it is not clear how exactly caffeine helps with the condition. But one thing is for sure – the substance stimulates the nervous system and alleviates the ringing sound.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
As mentioned, tinnitus comes as a result of heightened neural activity. And tinnitus retraining therapy is based on this premise. It aims to accustom your nervous system to the signals that produce tinnitus and make it easier to cope with as a result.
TRT has two components. The first one is counseling to get a better understanding of tinnitus. This is followed by sound therapy with low-level sounds that correspond to the quality, volume, and pitch of the ringing in your ears.
The treatment duration might last up to two years, depending on the severity of the condition.
Since there might be some long-term damage, it is best to prevent tinnitus. Listening to loud music is one of the primary causes of ringing in the ears. The same goes for concerts and motorcycles and anything that produces abnormally high SPL.
This is why you should wear earplugs whenever it gets too loud, concerts, gun ranges, etc.. In addition, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol increases blood flow in your ears which in turn amplifies the ringing sound. And it’s a good idea to have your hearing tested if you are often exposed to loud noise.
Saved by the Bell
Albeit mostly harmless, ringing in the ears does signify that your inner ear has sustained some damage. Therefore, it should go without saying that you need to actively try to prevent it.
Enjoy some dark chocolate and coffee but don’t forget to turn down the volume when you have the earphones on.