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Tinnitus

Tinnitus

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What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which people perceive sounds such as ringing or other noises in one or both ears, when no external sound is present. It may go away on its own, or require treatment.

Tinnitus Symptoms

  • You may experience ringing or other noises in one or both ears. The sensation may vary depending on what part of the ear it affects.
  • Some people also feel their heads moving when there isn’t any movement at all.
  • There could be other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Several factors contribute to the development of tinnitus. They include:

Age

As we age, our bodies begin to lose some of their ability to repair themselves. This means that over time, more damage occurs to the auditory system. As this happens, your brain begins to process sounds differently, and you can start hearing things even when no external sound is present.

Head Injury/Concussion

A concussion is caused by trauma to the skull. When someone suffers from a concussion, they can have headaches, neck pain, blurred vision, loss of balance, memory problems, drowsiness, confusion, irritability, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, poor judgment, and even seizures.

These symptoms occur because the brain has been injured and cannot function properly. In fact, many athletes who suffer concussions will continue to hear noises for months afterward.

Noise Exposure

Excessive noise exposure has been linked with an increased risk of tinnitus. Loud music, loud machinery, car accidents, firecrackers, gunshots, construction sites, power tools, lawnmowers, chain saws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, jet engines, wind turbines, heavy equipment, rock concerts, fireworks, air horns, and even cell phones have all been associated with causing tinnitus.

Hearing Loss

If you already suffer from hearing loss, it’s possible that you may develop tinnitus.

Stress & Anxiety

Many people report feeling stressed out and anxious about life events like job changes, relationship problems, financial issues, health concerns, family conflicts, death of loved ones, divorce, and so forth, and this can manifest as physical symptoms in the body.

Tinnitus Treatment Options

The good news is that treatments available today will help reduce the severity of tinnitus and improve quality of life. In addition to treatments offered by your family physician or ENT doctor, psychotherapy can help.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Tinnitus

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can be an effective way to manage tinnitus. It teaches us how thoughts affect emotions and behaviors. By changing negative thinking patterns, we can learn new coping skills and develop healthier relationships with ourselves and others.

In addition to helping control stress levels, CBT helps us understand what triggers our emotional responses and gives us tools to cope better with difficult situations.

For example, someone experiencing depression might find themselves constantly ruminating over past events and worrying about future problems. When faced with stressful situations, they may react negatively and act out aggressively. With CBT, however, they would realize that these reactions stem from unhelpful thought processes and could then choose alternative strategies to deal with challenging circumstances.

By learning more positive self-talk and developing healthy habits such as exercise and sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioural therapists have successfully treated patients suffering from panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Tinnitus can help you to:

  • Learn how to manage stress better so you don’t get upset over everyday occurrences like ringing ears
  • Understand what triggers your tinnitus and learn ways to avoid situations where it might occur again
  • Develop coping strategies to deal with the effects of tinnitus when it happens
  • Reduce anxiety and depression associated with tinnitus
  • Improve sleep patterns
  • Feel less isolated because many sufferers feel misunderstood and alone
  • Experience improved concentration and memory
  • Enjoy an improved sense of peace and calm

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