Constant ringing in your ears can send you to the brink. Not only does it impair hearing and make it tough to focus, it can interrupt various aspects of daily life.
Medically known as tinnitus, there are a number of potential reasons you’re experiencing ringing in your ears. The most common is exposure to loud sounds.
Although COVID-19 has taken away plenty of opportunity for such exposure—no concerts, limited sports crowds, etc.—threats still exist. Nearby construction, proximity to traffic, or even a limited-capacity event has the potential to put stress on the delicate structures that allow you to hear.
After exposure to loud sounds, the tiny hair cells that transmit sound to your brain become damaged. The ringing is often temporary and may go away in a few days. However, if it happens repeatedly, it can become permanent and lead to long-term hearing loss.
Once these inner ear hair cells (called silica) are destroyed, they are lost forever.
Long story short: Protect your ears with earplugs, closed windows, moderate volumes, and protective headwear when operating loud machinery like leaf blowers.
Short-term tinnitus may be treated with natural measures. This is the type of tinnitus that may last a few days after an acute exposure to loud sounds. Here are a few methods you can try.
Distraction: If you only notice ringing in your ears when there are no other sounds, distracting yourself may help. Listening to music, a podcast, or something else could help dull the ringing. Meditation or yoga may also help clear it up.
White Noise: When tinnitus hits at night, some background noise may help drown it out. A fan, a little fountain, or recordings of ocean waves or rain drops can help relieve the ringing to help you get some shuteye.
Head Tapping: Head tapping is another strategy you can try to fight back against tinnitus. Place your palms over your ears, resting fingers at the base of your skull at the back of your head. With palms still over ears, lightly tap the back of your head with your index fingers. Do about 50 taps and repeat a few times per day, if needed.
Of course, the best strategy to avoid tinnitus is to take care of your ears and avoid loud sounds. But when it’s unavoidable, these strategies may help you restore your ability to hear.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.