When one experiences tinnitus or ringing in the ears, it often causes the brain’s neural circuits to attempt to adapt to the loss of sensory hair cells by turning up the sensitivity to sound.
What causes Tinnitus?
Although, there still is no scientific answer as to why the brain creates the illusion of sound. The brain interprets this as real. This is because the brain is using its neural circuits (brain pathways) to adapt to hearing loss. The result is an increased sensitivity to loud noise.
One theory is that tinnitus results from the neural circuits becoming out of balance due to damage to the inner ear. When this damage occurs, the inner ear changes its signals in the auditory cortex also known as the part of the brain that processes sound. If there is damage to this area, an abnormal interchange occurs with the neural circuits. Since the neural circuits are multi-taskers, they process sound and communicate with the limbic region of the brain which regulates emotions and mood.
There are moments when it may feel like your tinnitus or the ringing in the year is getting louder. Although researchers really don’t know why this occurs, there is some evidence that certain behaviors can trigger increased sensitivity to noise and sound. It is important to be aware of these triggers so you can protect yourself from worsening the symptoms of tinnitus.
Increased noise sensitivity
The following activities may increase sensitivity to noise:
- Cabin pressure during a flight
- Sinus infection/illness
- Attending loud events such as fireworks, concerts, or other loud events
- Mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
- Using power tools around the house
- Construction sites and other loud machinery.
Stress is a leading cause
One major leading cause of tinnitus is stress. When we feel under pressure or increased stress, our bodies react to the symptoms emotionally, mentally, and physically. Chronic stress or stress for extended periods can create an imbalance which can increase the sensitivity of tinnitus. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) could increase the effects of tinnitus.
Learning how to keep your stress levels low can be important to reduce the effects of tinnitus and improve your overall health. Maintaining a healthy diet and reducing the intake of processed foods can help the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar helps the body reduce the fight-or-flight response in the brain. This helps your body reduce levels of stress hormones that can increase irritability, stress, and sleeplessness. These all factor into tinnitus.
Regular exercise can also help reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being. Exercising at least 30 minutes every day can improve circulation and support the auditory system. Low-impact workouts like yoga and pilates are known to help reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation.
Get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep can also help your body reduce stress and give your body a chance to reset and rest. Ensuring you are well-rested helps your increase mood, memory, and judgment.
Medicine can increase tinnitus
Certain medications can increase tinnitus as well. Be sure to consult your doctor if you experience increased sensitivity to sound when you start a new prescription or use over-the-counter pain relievers.
Other potential causes
There are several other reasons your tinnitus might seem worse:
- Too quiet sleeping environment
- Ear wax build-up
- Infections or illness
- High blood pressure
- Excess alcohol or smoking
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy can help
Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, with tinnitus retraining therapy you can learn techniques to cope with tinnitus.
At Hearing Associates of Las Vegas, we have a one-of-a-kind Tinnitus Relief Studio. Our studio uses a variety of equipment and design functions that focus on pain reduction, discomfort, and ringing in the ears that can occur in an excruciating tinnitus cycle.
We have specifically designed our therapeutic environment with a premium massage chair, soft lighting, and soothing music. We also use a combination of therapies including sound, cognitive behavior therapy, and hearing aids to reduce the effects of tinnitus.
At Hearing Associates of Las Vegas, we have a one-of-a-kind Tinnitus Relief Studio. Our studio uses a variety of equipment and design functions that focus on pain reduction, discomfort, and ringing in the ears that can occur in an excruciating tinnitus cycle. We have specifically designed our therapeutic environment with a premium massage chair, soft lighting, and soothing music. We also use a combination of therapies including sound, cognitive behavior therapy, and hearing aids to reduce the effects of tinnitus.
Our studies show that many patients have seen dramatic improvements in their condition after undergoing a Tinnitus Retraining Therapy program. Because each patient experiences tinnitus in their own way, the effectiveness varies with each patient. However, it has positive effects overall. Most treatment plans are between 12 and 24 months.
When you meet with our audiologists, you will give you a thorough exam and diagnosis, then develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your individual needs. If you are tired of experiencing tinnitus, contact Hearing associates of Las Vegas today. We will discuss your symptoms and set up a consultation in person or over the phone. Our goal is to take care of you, your tinnitus, and any other hearing concerns that you may have.
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