Tinnitus Myths vs. Facts
Do you deal with a bothersome ringing or buzzing in your ears that no one else can hear? If so, you could have tinnitus, a condition that affects more than 50 million Americans. Dispel the myths and learn the facts to help you find the right tinnitus treatment for you.
Myth: Tinnitus is only caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds.Fact: There are many causes of tinnitus. In addition to listening to loud music, other causes may include:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Underlying health conditions, including diabetes, blood vessel problems, autoimmune disorders, and circulation issues
- Ototoxic (ear-harming) medications
- Head, neck, or ear injuries
- Excessive smoking and alcohol consumption
- Ear infections
- Earwax buildup
- Nasal congestion
Myth: Tinnitus is always permanent.Fact: Tinnitus can be either chronic or temporary. For example, after a loud concert or while sick with a head cold, you may hear a high-pitched ringing in your ears, which dissipates after a short time. If earwax buildup or medication is the underlying cause, removing the blockage or discontinuing the medicine may eliminate your symptoms. However, permanent conditions like age-related hearing loss are more likely to cause chronic tinnitus.
Myth: Eating certain food can make tinnitus go away.Fact: No food is scientifically proven to eliminate tinnitus, though a healthy diet can reduce symptoms by increasing circulation, reducing high blood pressure, and boosting your energy level. Some vitamins and minerals are particularly beneficial for auditory health. Look for foods rich in the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Folic acid
Myth: Tinnitus is annoying but harmless.
Fact: Sometimes, tinnitus points to a serious medical problem, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or acoustic neuroma. Even if this isn’t the case, tinnitus can cause fatigue, stress, sleep problems, headaches, and depression. This is why you should never disregard the ringing in your ears. Instead, have a medical professional evaluate your symptoms so you can address any underlying causes and seek relief from your symptoms.
Myth: There’s no treatment for tinnitus.
Fact: While there’s no magic pill to cure tinnitus, treatment is available. The goal is to mask, distract, or teach the brain to ignore the ringing sound. Hearing aids are among the most effective treatments for tinnitus. Other options include:
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine
- Treat underlying medical conditions
- Mask the ringing with a noise machine
- Try meditation and behavioral therapy to help you cope with the stress and other emotional effects