College of DuPage Nursing Student Roxana Leyva shared with Healthy Lombard that according to the Mayo Clinic, tinnitus is defined as “the perception of noise or ringing in the ear.” This noise is sometimes perceived as roaring, buzzing, or ringing. Tinnitus is not a disease itself but a symptom of an underlying condition or damage to the ear. There are two types of tinnitus subjective and objective. Subjective is noise only a patient can hear, and the objective is the noise a health care provider can hear during an exam as well.
When to See a Doctor
While most cases of tinnitus are not a cause of a serious underlying condition, it is recommended by the Mayo Clinic to seek help if a person develops one of these symptoms:
- Sudden ringing in one ear.
- Dizziness or vertigo accompanied by ringing in the ears.
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus becomes too bothersome and cannot be ignored.
It is important for a person to seek medical help to rule out any serious conditions. It is also vital to get a medical diagnosis of what is causing the tinnitus and begin proper treatment. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus, medications will only help alleviate this symptom.
There are many non-pharmacological methods to help cope with the consistent noise. This becomes a burden especially at night when the noise seems to become louder. This is due to the lack of background noise from daily life, such as other people talking, the tv, traffic, kids playing, etc. that mask the ringing. White noise machines, fans, and soft music are helpful to camouflage the ringing at night. Furthermore, a healthy diet can also help with tinnitus. The American Tinnitus Association states that “a health-conscious diet can reduce hypertension and weight, increase blood flow, heighten energy levels and improve emotional well-being, all of which can benefit your tinnitus.” They also advise consuming fewer amounts of caffeine and fewer foods high in salt. These foods have shown to worsen the effects of tinnitus. Lastly, most tinnitus can also cause hearing loss. Patients with hearing loss can experience relief with hearing aids to help amplify outside noise.
Living with the chronic noise in the ear can at most times become overwhelming. Both medications and non-pharmacological methods can help ease tinnitus, but they may not cure it. Tinnitus can have a great impact on a person’s quality of life. It is important for people to seek help so that they can live the best life they deserve.
Managing your tinnitus. (2019). American Tinnitus Association. Retrieved
September 11, 2020, from https://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/
Tinnitus. (2019, March 5). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from