Tinnitus

In other cases, the ringing sensation is caused by the natural loss of hearing due to aging, Meniere’s disease, head injuries, or even something as simple as wax build-up putting pressure on the inner ear. In rare instances, the ringing sensation can be caused by high blood pressure, which leads to what’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. In that case, the ringing manifests not as a constant hum but beats in time with an individual pulse.

Because it is a symptom of a number of possible conditions, there is no “cure” for tinnitus. Addressing the underlying cause may help, but, in the case of noise or age-induced hearing loss, there is little that can be done. For the vast majority of people afflicted, tinnitus is merely a mild annoyance that can even go unnoticed most of the time. If the ringing is perceived at a very low volume, the noise of everyday life will likely drown it out. In that case, the symptom will be most pronounced when trying to sleep. If it is low enough, ambient sound can help push out the ringing sound without depriving the afflicted of sleep.

In severe or “catastrophic” cases, the ringing can be so severe as to go beyond mere annoyance and interfere with an individual’s social and professional life. In those cases, doctors can apply a number of methods to help alleviate the ringing sound. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be employed as a psychological technique. While this will not cure tinnitus, it helps people ignore the symptoms so they can get on with their lives. Other methods that can be employed in extreme cases include hearing aids and other sound generation techniques that are designed to overlap and cancel out the specific frequencies experienced. In most cases, those who suffer from the ringing eventually become accustomed to it and, after time, simply ignore it.