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What Is Tinnitus? Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options

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Managing symptoms of tinnitus is a challenge for many individuals. The experience of ringing ears can affect your sleep, generate long-term stress, and create frequent headaches. Tinnitus 911 and natural health supplements can reduce your risk of developing Tinnitus, as can managing your overall circulatory system health and reducing your exposure to loud noises.  

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus refers to an incessant ringing in the ears of the affected individual. Only the individual experiencing tinnitus can hear this ringing sound- it isn’t caused by external sources, at least in the short term. Tinnitus affects many individuals, in a variety of age ranges and identity groups. 

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is rarely a result of a single event or risk factor. There are a number of factors that play into the development of this hearing issue. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific cure for the condition, though there are certain behavioral and sound therapy options available for anyone who’s suffering from ringing ears. Hearing aids are also an option that suits many individuals, regardless of age. 

  • Age-related hearing loss. For many individuals, hearing loss is simply a result of the aging process. In many cases, it can’t be avoided, regardless of how well you look after your overall health and wellness. Tinnitus and other hearing-related issues resulting in ringing ears are common conditions. Some estimates state that upwards of 50 million Americans have experienced tinnitus symptoms at some point in their lives.
  • Head or neck injuries from a car accident. Whiplash and other injuries that often result from a car accident can lead to the onset of tinnitus symptoms. The impact of the collision can lead to an ear canal blockage or a build-up of fluid that also makes it difficult to hear.   
  • General circulation issues. Poor circulation is a leading cause of tinnitus because the resulting ringing sounds are often generated as a result of unhealthy blood vessels. A healthy diet and, in many cases, a natural health supplement can reduce your risk of developing tinnitus and the ringing ears that come with it. Regular exercise is also one of the most important keys to reducing overall circulation issues.   
  • Medications. Tinnitus and other circulatory issues can develop as a result of certain medications, depending on the immune system reaction of the individual. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how your current medications may affect your vulnerability to hearing problems like tinnitus. 

Risk factors that can lead to developing tinnitus

Certain individuals may have pre-existing conditions that increase their risk of developing tinnitus or other hearing loss problems. Anyone can experience tinnitus, though people who are above the age of fifty are more likely to develop these issues. In addition, men are significantly more likely to develop tinnitus than women. 

  • Poor cardiovascular health. The general health of your circulatory system may factor into the development of tinnitus. Maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits for your system helps to balance your cardiovascular health. According to Mayo Clinic, TMJ and blood vessel disorders often produce tinnitus-like symptoms, as they are directly tied in with your overall cardiovascular health.
  • Exposure to loud noise. Regular exposure to loud noises at work is one of the most common risk factors that increases your likelihood of developing tinnitus. If you work with machinery on a regular basis, or if you listen to loud music every day, you’re putting yourself at increased risk of tinnitus and other hearing problems.
  • Excessive tobacco and alcohol use. For smokers and individuals who consume alcohol on a regular basis, the chances of developing tinnitus are significantly higher than the average. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or smoking more than one cigarette a day worsens overall health exponentially, which means it’s important to consider quitting as soon as you are able. 

How to prevent tinnitus

Preventing tinnitus, and all other forms of hearing issues for that matter, often comes down to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy process, particularly as you continue to age. Hearing loss is fairly normal for individuals above fifty and affects men more than women. Here are a few additional things you can do to lower your risk of developing tinnitus.    

  • Hearing protection. If you’re in proximity to loud noises on a regular basis at work or in your personal life, you’re significantly more likely to develop long-term hearing loss. Construction workers, for example, are often at increased risk for the development of tinnitus, because of the machinery that they’re working with on a regular basis. Individuals who work in the music industry are also at increased risk, simply due to the nature of their work.
  • Supplements. An all-natural health supplement that supports your cardiovascular health can decrease the likelihood of developing long-term tinnitus. These supplements are not prescriptions, which means you can purchase them at your normal drug store or online through retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Common ingredients of tinnitus supplements include hibiscus, Hawthorne berries, olive extract, and niacin, or vitamin B12. If you aren’t sure if a supplement is the best option for you and your condition, speak with your doctor or health care provider to seek other options.
  • Regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Eating a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables, avoiding red meat, and choosing whole grain carbohydrates all go a surprisingly long way in protecting your cardiovascular health as you age. This might seem like an overly obvious tip in terms of reducing your risk of tinnitus, but it’s effective nonetheless, and shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for new ways to prevent hearing loss. Exercise and regular movement throughout the day is equally essential. 

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.

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