A depressed man with tinnitus

Tinnitus, a chronic hearing condition, is often thought of as a physical health issue. However, not as many people know that ear ringing has been tied to declining mental health, too. October is Audiology Awareness Month, and is a good time to draw attention to what can be a very serious concern.

What is tinnitus?

The condition is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Some of the more common sounds reported are ringing, humming, buzzing, and cricket-like chirps.

Constant ringing in the ear is a symptom, not a disease itself, so it can have a number of causes. The condition is most often caused by hearing loss, specifically damage to the inner ear. Hearing loss is often due to aging or loud noise exposure. Ringing in the ears can also be caused by thyroid problems, blood circulation problems, head or neck injuries, and some medications.

About 36 million Americans are estimated to have this condition, and more than 13 million Americans report having it without hearing loss. While most people are able to manage it or ignore it, in some cases it can become debilitating.

How can tinnitus affect mental health?

An estimated two million people have ear ringing so severe they have reported depression, anxiety, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and even thoughts of suicide.

Many people with severe ear ringing are veterans. Traumatic brain injury and the extreme noise attributed to combat zones have been noted as causes. Other people with severe or constant ear ringing are often those with underlying psychological problems.

Insomnia and ringing in ears can feed off of each other in a vicious cycle. People who lose sleep might worry about ear ringing more and worrying about it can cause lack of sleep or restless sleep. This can affect mental health and emotional wellbeing.

While there is no cure for severe ringing in the ears, there are fortunately some treatment options. Sound therapy, such as white noise or nature sound machines, has been beneficial in alleviating ear ringing by helping sufferers to avoid silence. Hearing aids can treat the hearing loss often associated with ringing in the ears. The audiologists at CEENTA also fit devices that use built-in sound generators to provide pleasant sound to the auditory cortex that disrupts the awareness of the signal in the brain.

While dealing with the physical aspects of ear ringing is important, it is just as important to deal with the mental health side of severe ear ringing cases. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help patients deal with the emotional effects of ringing in the ears.

If you have ringing ears or mental illness, don’t feel that you’re alone or that you need to suffer. Help is available to you, and today is a good day to ask for it.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with an audiologist, call 704-295-3300.

 


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Comments

May 06, 2021

Please I need your help I have noise in my brain I can't sleep it make me to have dreams all day long please almost one year now sometimes it makes me feel like I am going to end up my life please help me please here is my phone number 00233243188632 please call me I am thinking about suicide please help me
- Love Adjetey Mensah

May 06, 2021

Good morning. We strongly urge you to seek medical help locally, with a doctor who can see you in person and provide the care you need immediately. Also, suicide prevention resources are available to you. Call 2332 444 71279 for the help you need. We ask you to please do so, as suicide is never the answer to any problem. We wish you all the best in getting the care you need.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 05, 2020

I just recently started having a noise in my head , or ears ! Its getting constant non stop, sounds more like being outside at night more like a buzzing sound . What should I do ? Its getting worse.
- Tina Byrd

December 07, 2020

Good morning. We recommend you see an audiologist or ENT doctor for an examination and formal diagnosis. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, visit www.ceenta.com/appointments
Reply From: CEENTA

August 08, 2020

I have had 4 surgeries to my ears,two mastoids,and have CONSTANT tinnitus,and have severe hearing loss!My problems with my ears have been all my life,but the noise is driving me crazy,how does it stop? Doctors say can't be stopped!
- Hazel B Trampp

August 10, 2020

Good morning. There is no cure for tinnitus, but treatment options do exist, and audiologists like those at CEENTA could help you address your needs. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with one of our audiologists, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

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