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6 Home Remedies to Remove Earwax Naturally

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 3:29:25 PM Asia/Calcutta

Feeling irritation or a sensation of discomfort in your ears? Do you notice changes in your hearing such as a diminished hearing ability or feel that your ears are blocked. Continuous accumulation of earwax might harden it, which later might cause serious problems like itching, pain and other complications, including hearing loss in which case you will have to go for a hearing loss treatment. So why wait until situations turn worse? Hardened earwax is a common problem, but you need to treat it at the right time to avoid further botherations.


What is Earwax Build-up?

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a grey, orangish or yellowish waxy substance which is produced by the ear canal as a part of the body’s defence mechanism against bacteria and other harmful foreign particles. Earwax also acts as a natural lubricant to trap dirt, thus reducing the growth of bacteria, hence protecting the skin from water and infection.

Earwax removal should not be done on a regular basis as it is essential for keeping away the harmful particles from entering into our ears. It must be done only when required. Earwax is a natural protection for the inner ear and the eardrum.

 

How to Get Rid of Earwax?

Often there are times in which the earwax hardens so much that it becomes difficult for it to fall off naturally. In such a case it is required to remove it manually. A hardened earwax can cause many hearing problems and if you show reluctance in removing it, you will have no other choice left but to go for a hearing loss treatment.

Yes, it is true that there are experts and professionals, mostly Audiologists who can help you get rid of earwax, but you can try a few easy methods to do it yourself at home. And the best part is that all of these earwax removal ways are quite natural with absolutely no risks of any side-effects.

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide - Take 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, water and cotton balls. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water to make a solution. Tilt your head sideways with your affected ear facing the ceiling and squeeze some of the solution using a cotton ball in your blocked ear. Let the solution settle for some time and then tilt the head towards the floor to let the extra solution drip off. A single use of this remedy should help remove your earwax and relief you from a blocked ear. Apart from removing earwax, hydrogen peroxide also acts as a disinfectant that will keep away ear infections.

  1. Coconut Oil - Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and lightly warm it using a dropper. Pour a few drops slowly in the affected ear and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now tilt your head to remove the melted earwax. Apply this home remedy as and when required. Coconut oil has the capability to kill a wide range of harmful bacteria that may have accumulated due to the earwax build-up.

  1. Almond Oil - Just like coconut oil, almond oil works as well. Fill a dropper with almond oil at room temperature and use it in the same way as coconut oil. Repeat this method as and when required. Almond oil too acts as a lubricate that helps in the elimination of earwax.

  1. Baby Oil - Yes, that Johnson and Johnson baby oil of your childhood will be very effective in earwax removal. Apply the same method as above. Put a few drops of baby oil in your blocked ear with a dropper or a cotton ball. Also, block the opening of the ear with a dry cotton ball to avoid oil from oozing out of the ear for some time and then remove it afterward. Baby oil contains mineral oil which acts as an effective moisturizer and lubricant and helps to soften the earwax.

  1. Alcohol - Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part white vinegar to make a solution. Flush your ear with this mixture to get rid of hardened earwax. Repeat this procedure every few weeks to keep your ears clean free of infections. A mixture of alcohol and vinegar helps dissolve the earwax. While alcohol serves as a drying agent that evaporates when the temperatures are low, white vinegar, on the other hand, has astringent properties for which it fights against microbial infections.

  1. Baking Soda - Mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda properly with 2 teaspoons of water. Pour a few drops of the solution into the affected ear with a dropper and let it stay for a few minutes. Then tilt your head to remove the melted earwax and clean it with a soft dry cloth. If required, you can repeat using this remedy after a day or two.

With a hardened earwax, one can even face difficulties with hearing aids. If your earwax keeps on accumulating for days, the risks of ear infections and hearing loss increase. So it would be a safe option to remove hardened earwax than to go for hearing loss treatment.

Newborn Hearing Screening

Saturday, June 1, 2019 5:23:18 PM Asia/Calcutta

Watching your sweet little baby for the first time - moving his/her tiny little hands and smiling at you is such a beautiful moment of happiness and pride. We know that you want the best for your child in every possible way. But do you know that a good life starts with good hearing? So before you come home with your newborn baby, there is one very important test to do (along with many others) - which is a hearing test, or newborn hearing screening.

Yes, there are good chances that your newborn can hear. But according to studies, out of 97% of newborns screened, fewer than 1% are diagnosed with permanent hearing loss. So there still might be a chance of your child born with some hearing problems - no matter how small the chance might be.

Newborn Hearing Screening

Why is Early Intervention Necessary?

From birth, one very important way by which a child learns is by listening and hearing. If a child is not given proper access to the hearing world, he or she won’t develop the speech, language and other communication skills. Although most infants are born without any hearing problems, yet 1 to 3 in every 1000 babies born in the United States is born with some kind of hearing problems.

The first 1-2 years of age is the most crucial period in a child’s life to learn and develop all the developmental skills - primarily with the help of hearing. In this period, the child’s learning capability attains its highest position, due to the presence of the maximum synaptic density or neural interconnections in the brain. The more these neural interconnections, the greater will be the child’s ability to learn new things.

Since synaptic density gradually starts reducing after 2-3 years of age and as he or she gets older, it’s extremely necessary that he or she must be given the opportunity to learn quite well in the first 2 years - and one very important way of doing so is to ensure that your child is having proper access to the hearing world. Early intervention and an early hearing loss treatment will bring a huge difference to the development of communication skills - especially speech and language.

According to professional Audiologists, the intervention should begin before your baby turns 6 months old. If your child receives well and proper access to the hearing world during this time, his or her spoken language development would be better.

 

Why do Newborns Need Hearing Screening?

The goal of newborn hearing screening is to ensure that all the babies who are born with hearing loss are identified as soon as possible so that their hearing loss treatment can be started immediately after. It is only through newborn hearing screening that you would get to know whether your child is suffering from any hearing problems. Sometimes you may think that your child has a normal hearing as he or she is responding to your calls or some sound-producing toys. But this doesn’t prove that your child is not suffering from any hearing problems - chances of a mild or moderate degree of hearing loss can still be there.

Therefore, without a newborn hearing screening, it is difficult to know the minor hearing changes in the child. Don’t ignore even if your child has mild hearing loss or if he or she misses out the less important sounds. Each and every hearing issue is important because every sound is food to the brain!

 

When Should I Go for Hearing Screening for My Newborn Child?

As early as right after your child’s birth. The best decision is to do your child’s hearing screening before taking him or her to home from the hospital where he or she was born. Your goal should be to get your child’s hearing screening done within 1 month of age, get your child’s hearing problems identified within 3 months of age, and if your child is diagnosed with a hearing loss, then start an intervention or hearing loss treatment programme within the first six months.

Nowadays, most well-known hospitals perform routine newborn hearing screenings before you leave the hospital and take your child to your home.

 

How is it Done?

There are a few tests performed in any newborn hearing screening programme that determine whether your child is able to hear well. A good hearing loss treatment programme starts only after identifying whether the individual is really having hearing loss, and if found with one, then what is its severity. And this should be done right after birth.

  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) - This test measures how sound waves are produced in your baby’s inner ears. In this test, a miniature microphone and earphone are placed inside your baby’s ears to measure his or her response to sounds played into the ear such as clicks or tones. If your baby has normal hearing, then the sounds would trigger an echo in the ear canal, which is then measured by the microphone placed inside it. If your child is born with any hearing problems, then this echo won’t be produced and hence the microphone wouldn’t record any.

  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR) - This test measures how the auditory nerve and the brain of your child respond to sound. Soft earphones are placed inside your baby’s ears and clicks or tones are played. Three small electrodes are placed on the baby’s head which test the response of the auditory nerve and the brain.

Both of the above screens are quick and takes about 5-10 minutes. Both of them are absolutely painless and can be done when your child is sleeping or laying down still. One or both the screening tests can be used to determine your child’s hearing abilities.

 

What if My Baby Doesn’t Pass the Screening Tests?

Even if your baby doesn’t pass the hearing screening test, then that doesn't necessarily mean that your child is deaf or hard of hearing. The results might be affected by excessive fluid buildup in the child’s ears, or due to excessive noise in the room where the test was performed. There are many cases in which the babies who don’t pass the hearing screening tests have quite normal hearing. But you need to be sure right? So for that you really need to go for further tests, so that you can start your child’s hearing loss treatment in case he or she is identified with a loss.

About 1 or 2 in every 100 babies born don’t pass hearing screening tests. So if your baby is one of them, then you need to consult a professional Audiologist who have good experience working with babies. This test should include a thorough hearing evaluation programme as well as medical evaluation. Make sure that you perform these additional tests as soon as possible and definitely before your baby turns 3 months old. However, it is not a good idea to wait that long.

 

If My Baby is Identified With Hearing Loss, What are the Treatment Options?

Today there are a host of advanced hearing loss treatment options which would provide a wonderful listening experience. However, which option to go for would depend on the type and degree of hearing loss of your baby. It would also depend on your preferences and choices that you think would be good for your baby. This would include lifestyle choices as well as the environment your baby is growing up in.

The various hearing loss treatment options and intervention services include the following -

  • Hearing aids - These are electronic devices which are worn in the ear. These devices, which come in a bundle of advanced features today and a number of shapes and sizes, amplify the sounds for you to help you hear better.

  • Cochlear implant - These are electronic devices which are surgically implanted to replace the damaged cochlea of the inner ear.

  • Language and communication - Speech and language therapy is very important to help a child learn and develop communication skills while using hearing devices.

  • Assistive listening devices - These are devices which enhance the child’s listening experience, like the microphone or telecoil.

There’s nothing to worry about if your kid is diagnosed with hearing loss. Your child is in the 21st century, which is radically changing in terms of a technological boom. With so many hearing loss treatment options available today, hearing loss will no more be a barrier in your child’s journey towards success.

Are you aware of any latest hearing loss treatment technology specially designed to enhance the hearing ability of children?

Do tell us in the comments if we missed out on any fact.

Stem Cells and Hearing Loss Treatment

Saturday, May 25, 2019 11:18:16 AM Asia/Calcutta

Cells of the body perform specific functions. But stem cells are cells which are undifferentiated but have the power to perform as any cell as required by the body. This characteristic of stem cells has also shown some promises to treat several health conditions and diseases. This, therefore, has made Audiologists to question whether these stem cells could be used for hearing loss treatment. It is still an area which is under research.

 Stem Cells and Hearing Loss Treatment

How Do We Hear?

The human ear can be subdivided into three main parts - the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Sound waves travel from the outer ear to the middle ear in which the small ear bones, known as the ossicles, vibrate on receiving the sound stimuli. This vibration is sent to the inner ear and passes through the cochlea and stimulates the hair cells present in it. Hair cells are the main components for which we can hear. These are small sensory cells present in bundles inside the cochlea of the inner ear which convert the sound vibrations into electrical impulses. These impulses are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve and then can a person ‘hear’.

When these microscopic hair cells and/or the auditory nerve are damaged - by disease, injury or due to ageing - a person suffers from severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Although fish, amphibians and birds have the ability to regenerate damaged hair cells, mammals don’t have this ability to regenerate hair cells naturally on their own. Although wearing hearing aids or going for other hearing loss treatment methods such as cochlear implantation, would help you to hear, but otherwise, your hair cells don’t regenerate on their own.

 

What was the Scenario Yesterday?

According to studies, about 90% of the permanent sensorineural hearing loss is due to damages in either the hair cells or the auditory nerve cells. Scientists previously believed that the hair cells in mammals once damaged could not be restored.

But some studies suggested that when a hair cell develops, it inhibits the neighbouring cells from becoming hair cells. Instead, they become supporting cells, which made scientists wonder whether these supporting cells have the ability to turn into hair cells when the neighbouring hair cells are injured or damaged.

It was very necessary for the researchers to find an answer to this. Hence, a research study was carried out by a group of NIH-supported scientists to test the destroyed hair cells in the inner ear of a mouse. A time-lapse photography set-up showed that the neighbouring supporting cells of the damaged hair cells gradually migrated to the hair cell region and grew to be hair bundles on their surfaces. Although the procedure couldn’t restore the hearing ability of the mouse, this experiment definitely opened up windows to new possibilities of whether damaged hair cells could be restored, thus restoring or at least improving hearing loss. This would then be the greatest research in the history of the development and the innovations made in the hearing loss treatment procedures to date.

 

What New Researches Say?

Hearing loss has become an alarming problem as it affects people of all ages from birth to adulthood. This compelling need to address the problem, together with the previously done researches, has urged scientists to invent methods and the possibilities for hair cell regeneration with the help of stem cells.

The previous research studies have proved that the supporting cells have the ability to become hair cells under certain conditions as and when required such as when the hair cells of the inner ear have been damaged or severely injured. NIH-supported scientists have identified a gene in mice called Rb1 which inhibits the growth of new hair cells in the early stages of their development. An experiment was done with mature hair cells growing in culture dishes in which it is proved that if this gene is deleted, these hair cells were able to regenerate.

However, the hearing ability would not be restored if the nerve endings were not properly reconnected. The scientists were later able to find out a way to successfully reestablish connections between these newly formed hair cells and the nerve cells in an organised way. This can bring permanent solutions in the field of hearing loss treatment.

 

Further Researches to be Made in the Future

Although experiments proved that it is possible to reconnect the hair cells with the nerve cells, yet more discoveries and inventions are yet to be made which would include the following -

  • The hair cells generated from the stem cells should be mature enough to mimic the environment that the naturally developing hair cells would experience.

  • How these newly generated hair cells would send appropriate signals to the hearing centre of the brain needs to be explored.

  • New methods yet to be developed to protect the hair cells from damage after trauma or disease, thereby enhancing the survival of these hair cells. For this, a better understanding of the cellular and the molecular mechanisms of the body need to be studied.

Researches are going on to use stem cells to regenerate hair cells and restore the lost hearing ability of a person. If this becomes a success, then in the future it might be even possible to eradicate hearing loss.

Hair Cells: Types and Functions

Friday, May 17, 2019 11:08:44 AM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing is a very complex procedure and involves a series of steps in between the origination of the sound source and our brain’s interpretation of it as a particular type of sound. Although this whole process is as quick as a fraction of a second, the journey of sound is quite complicated, just like any other mechanism in the human body.

You will be surprised to know that the human ear is quite well-developed at birth and even at the pre-natal stage. This explains why babies respond to sounds while in their mother’s womb. Every baby with normal and healthy hearing has the ability to hear and respond to soft and loud sounds right away. However, if your baby fails to do so, then it might be a sign that you need to be high on alert. Do consider getting your child’s hearing test done right away. If your baby is diagnosed with a hearing impairment then do consider opting for a good line of hearing loss treatment by consulting a licensed and professional Audiologist at every major or minor step that you take. Nowadays, however, every hospital performs a hearing screening of newborn babies right after birth and before you take him or her home.

One very important part of hearing are the sensory cells present inside the cochlea of the inner ear - known as the hair cells. But before we get deep into that, let’s take a brief look at the hearing mechanism once more to simplify our understanding of the hair cells. Because just like the structure and arrangement of these tiny cells, their functioning too is quite complex and requires a deeper understanding of the entire scenario.

 

The Hearing Mechanism

As already mentioned, the human hearing mechanism is a complex one. It involves a good number of phases, it also associates a number of elements and sections of the ear. So let’s see how do we actually hear.

 

The Sections of the Ear

There are three main parts of the human ear -

  • The Outer Ear - It includes the pinna, the long passage called the ear canal and the tympanic membrane, better known as the eardrum.

  • The Middle Ear - It comprises the three small ear bones - incus, malleus and stapes - together known as the ear ossicles.

  • The Inner Ear - The inner ear, which is the main component of the human hearing system, is also known as the labyrinth of the ear. Now that we know that it is solely responsible for our hearing system and the equilibrium of the body, we will head over to discuss the hair cells present inside the cochlea.

It comprises the most vital and sensitive organ - the spiral-shaped cochlea. The inner ear also includes two other important components, namely the vestibule and the semicircular canals - which together are responsible for maintaining the body balance and the body posture, thus preventing us from falling.

 

How Does the Hearing Mechanism work?

Let's break down the hearing process into simpler steps for better understanding.

  1. Sound waves enter the ear canal and strike the eardrum and make it vibrate.

  2. This vibration is then carried forward to the small ear bones or the ear ossicles.

  3. The middle ear bones amplify these sounds and send them to the cochlea of the inner ear. These vibrating waves move through the fluid present in the cochlea, thus making it move.

  4. This movement of the fluid further triggers the hair cells which are present inside the cochlea and causes them to move. These hair cells detect this movement and convert these signals into electrical signals for the auditory nerve.

  5. The auditory nerve then sends these converted electrical impulses to the brain which then interprets them as sounds. It is at this time that we actually ‘hear’.

But how well would these sounds travel from the outer ear to the inner ear and how well would these sounds be perceived by the brain depends a lot on how well your ears work. In case of any malfunctioning or disorders in your ears, you may face difficulties in hearing. In such a case, do consider getting a proper hearing loss treatment.

 

What are Hair Cells?

In all vertebrates, hair cells are sensory receptors which are not only present in the cochlea of the inner ear but are also present in the vestibular system. In this blog, however, we are concerned about the cochlear hair cells.

In mammals, the hair cells are located in the spiral organ of Corti on the basilar membrane of the cochlea. The cochlea has thousands of such tiny hair cells (we will get into the figures in the next section).

 

The Structure of the Hair Cells

Each hair cell has two parts - the body and the stereocilia present at the head of every hair cell. Stereocilia is a microscopic hair-like structure sticking out on top of every hair cell. These stereocilia are triggered by every sound vibration due to which they rock back and forth.

Stereocilia are the main components of hair cells. These are responsible for converting the sound waves into chemical signals. Whenever the hair cells move due to the cochlear fluid movement, the stereocilia bend. This bending causes the pore-like channels present at the tip of the stereocilia, to open up. This further facilitates the chemicals to rush into these hair cells, thus building up an electrical signal. These electrical impulses are then sent to the brain for further interpretation and perception of the sound. Then we recognise the sound and understand it, and immediately know how to respond to it.

Not all hair cells, however, move at the same time. Different hair cells move for different types of sounds. Hair cells located near the wide end of the cochlea detect higher-pitched sounds, such as an infant crying. Those closer to the centre of the cochlea detect lower-pitched sounds, such as the barking of a large dog. The high-frequency hair cells get damaged most easily, and hence people with hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds often have problems hearing the high pitched sounds like crickets or birds chirping.

 

What Happens If These Hair Cells Get Damaged?

If the sounds are excessively loud, these stereocilia would bent or even break off, thus causing the death of the hair cell. A dead hair cell can never convert nor send signals to the brain, thus reducing your ability to hear well. The hair cells once broken can never grow back or be restored, and you would lose your hearing permanently in such a case. The more the number of damaged hair cells, the greater will be the intensity and degree of your hearing loss. This type of hearing impairment is known as a sensorineural hearing loss, and in such a case the best line of hearing loss treatment would be hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices or other ear implants. Damaged hair cells might also cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears. If you are the one suffering from such a condition, do consult a skilled and professional Audiologist.

 

Types of Hair Cells

Now that we know that the primary function of the hair cells is to convert the analogue sound waves into electrical impulses so that these signals can be easily interpreted by our brain, let’s go deeper and discuss about the different types of hair cells.

In mammals. the hair cells of the cochlea can be anatomically and functionally classified into two distinct types - the inner hair cells (IHC) and the outer hair cells (OHC). In the human cochlea, there are 3,500 inner hair cells and 12,000 outer hair cells at birth.

The outer hair cells amplify the low-level sounds that enter the cochlea. The inner hair cells convert the sound vibrations travelling in the cochlear fluid into electrical signals. These vibrations are then relayed to the auditory nerve.

Damage to any of these hair cells leads to deteriorating hearing sensitivity.

 

The Difference Between the Inner and the Outer Hair Cells of the Human Cochlea

 

Inner Hair Cells

                          Outer Hair Cells

These are the main receptive cells which convert sound waves into nerve signals.

These hair cells pre-amplify the sound waves having a low amplitude.

These are 3,500 in number.

These are 12,000 in number.

These are arranged in a single row.

These are arranged in 3 rows.

These are located at the terminals of the inner hair cells.

These are located at the terminals of the outer hair cell nerves.

These are innervated by more afferent nerves than efferent nerves.

These are innervated by more efferent nerves than afferent nerves.

These have a cylindrical shape.

These are flask-shaped.

 

In a nutshell, take care of your hair cells by taking care of your ears. Protect your ears from any exposure to extremely loud sounds. Use earplugs when you are attending some loud events such as a rock show. Prevention is better than getting your ears damaged permanently and having no other option left than to go for a hearing loss treatment.

Also, make it a habit to get your hearing tested from time to time so that if you are suffering from any hearing problems (which you may not realise normally) can be diagnosed on time, and hence go for a proper hearing loss treatment on time. Hearing is a precious asset and a good hearing health paves way for a better quality of life.

Are you aware of any other facts about hair cells and their functions?

Do tell us in the comments below.

Sleep disturbances have affected almost most of us at some stage in our lives. Although insomnia prevalently affects mostly the older adults, it is seen in children as well. While some might have faced it for some mild or moderate reasons or health conditions, some suffer from insomnia due to serious reasons. The worst part is when it has become a regular aspect! According to a study, 54% of the people who have tinnitus problems, also have significant sleep disturbances.

But what if your sleeping disturbances are due to hearing problems like an impaired hearing or tinnitus? People with tinnitus might have greater difficulty in getting a proper night’s sleep. Obviously, there are a host of exercises that would help you out in getting better sleep, but the first and foremost step would be to get your ears checked for any hearing problems, and if any, start its treatment at the earliest - be it a treatment for your tinnitus problems or a hearing loss treatment, or even both.

But how would you know whether your sleeping disturbance is serious enough?

 

Insomnia vs. Mild Sleeping Disturbances

Insomnia is a condition in which a person has difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Do not get confused with mild sleeping disturbances, because insomnia is something much more serious. To be classified as insomnia, a lot of aspects needs to be taken into consideration such as the delay in going to sleep or going back to sleep. If your sleeping disturbances occur at least three to four times in a week and persist for six months or more, then you are most probably suffering from insomnia.

 

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of abnormal sounds in the ears when there is no external sound present. While ringing is the most common tinnitus sound, other sounds include buzzing, hissing, clicking, humming and roaring.

In our previous blogs, ‘I Can Hear Ringing Sounds - Do I Have Tinnitus?’ and ‘How to Beat Tinnitus?’ you have seen what tinnitus is and what are the types of sounds one gets to hear in such a condition.

 

What are the Causes of Tinnitus?

There can be many causes of tinnitus, such as -

  • Exposure to loud noises

  • Ear infections

  • Injuries in the ear, neck or head

  • Hearing loss (though not every case of tinnitus is due to hearing issues)

  • Earwax buildup

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Certain medications and drugs including antibiotics, antidepressants, cancer medicines and very high doses of aspirin

Tinnitus can affect different people in different ways. While some experience constant buzzing while others might hear only sporadic buzzing, hissing or whistling sounds.

 

How Does Tinnitus Affect Sleep?

It’s quite obvious that if you hear disturbing and often frustrating sounds almost all the time, you are bound to experience some kind of sleep disturbances. While in the daytime, you remain busy in some activities, thus being able to forget about your tinnitus sounds at least for some moment. But when you are back at home and are sitting in some quiet room with very minimal or no background sounds, or while you are in your bed, trying to sleep, the tinnitus sounds becomes all the more noticeable and frustrating. This contrasting situation between a quiet room and a continuous series of buzzing sounds in the ears are bound to make the condition more disturbing than usual.

Due to tinnitus you also feel very tired and fatigued even during the day. The worst part is, all these situations might gradually lead to stress and anxiety, thus making it difficult for you to fall asleep. So if this situation sounds like you, then the first thing you must aim at is to try and get a sound sleep each night - because proper rest is what you need at the end of the day - no matter what your health conditions are.

There may be several sleeping problems associated with tinnitus, including -

  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Not getting enough sleep

  • Waking up frequently in sleep

  • Experiencing poor quality sleep

  • Not feeling refreshed in the morning

  • Feeling fatigued and tired throughout the day as a result

 

How to Sleep Better With Tinnitus?

There are some proven techniques that would help you have a better sleep if you are suffering from tinnitus. Here are some of them -

  • Avoid a too quiet bedroom - It would make you more conscious about your tinnitus problems and thus make you unable to sleep.

  • Use white noise to mask your tinnitus sounds - Tune in to a low volume and soothing background music that would help you to relax and sleep better. This noise suppression technique is quite effective and is recommended by Audiologists worldwide.

Certain devices which are helpful in masking tinnitus sounds include -

    • White noise machines - These devices produce stimulated environmental sounds such as the rushing waterfalls, the rustling of the leaves, pitter-patter of the rain, the ocean waves and other such nature-like sounds. These act as a calming effect on your mind by masking the tinnitus sounds.
    • Hearing aids - Certain hearing aids come with noise masking or noise suppressing features which can be quite helpful if you have both hearing loss as well as tinnitus.
    • Masking devices - These are worn in the ear and are similar to hearing aids. These devices produce a continuous, low-level noise which helps to suppress the symptoms of tinnitus.
    • Tinnitus retraining - Tinnitus retraining is a habituation therapy designed to provide relief to people suffering from tinnitus. Using tinnitus masking devices over time can help you get accustomed to these sounds so that you can shift your focus to something else. This technique is a type of counselling which is an essential component of tinnitus retraining.
  • Improve blood flow to your head - This means you need to exercise. For example, jogging, swimming, cycling, running, or yoga would be quite beneficial to you.

  • Making some lifestyle changes and following some home remedies - Often tinnitus in many cases can’t be treated and people gradually become used to it, with the result being they can now more easily distract themselves from these sounds. For many, some home remedies might help make these sounds less noticeable -

    • Manage stress - Whether through relaxation therapy or exercise, stress management can help relieve tinnitus to a great extent, because stress worsens tinnitus.
    • Avoid irritants - such as caffeinated drinks, or nicotine and even loud noises.
    • Mask the noise - If you are in a quiet room, a fan or soft music might help mask the tinnitus sounds.
    • Reduce alcohol consumption - Tinnitus is aggravated when alcohol causes the blood vessels to swell which results in an increase in the blood flow within the inner ear.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation - It involves sitting quietly and paying attention to your natural breathing. The idea is to distract yourself from those irritating tinnitus sounds as this meditation helps you to stop worrying about how you would sleep, work or stay focussed and the like. Start with a 5-minute session and as you would start growing comfortable with it, you may increase the timing. The best part is, you can practice mindfulness meditation anytime and anywhere!
  • Use other relaxation techniques - like deep breathing, aromatherapy, etc. aromatherapy is a process by which natural elements like plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, are used to improve the psychological or the physical well-being of a person.

  • Seek out cognitive-behavioural therapy - It is effective for reframing and eradicating negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It helps manage with stress, anxiety disorders and depression. Cognitive-behavioural therapy or CBT is also highly effective in treating insomnia and other sleep disorders.

  • Limit the use of earplugs - it will soften down external sounds, thus making tinnitus more noticeable. Also, using earplugs for longer periods of time can cause earwax buildup - which can further cause tinnitus problems.

  • Don’t ignore ear pain - Pain or discomfort in your ears can be the signs of tinnitus. Consult your Audiologist immediately whenever you face an ear pain.

  • Treat your hearing problems on time - Seeking hearing loss treatment at the earliest will help reduce tinnitus problems. Also, as already mentioned, there are some advanced digital hearing aids which are designed to provide relief to these annoying tinnitus sounds.

  • Treating an underlying health condition can help! Often, there are certain health conditions which are associated with tinnitus. Consult an Audiologist and get to know the reason behind your tinnitus and accordingly do consider treating that before anything else. For example, removing your hardened earwax or treating a blood vessel condition, or even changing your medication can help with tinnitus relief.

  • Alternative medicine - Some alternative therapies that can help manage with tinnitus include -

    • Acupuncture - it is effective for the treatment of tinnitus
    • Ginkgo biloba - this tree is clinically used for the treatment of inner ear disorders like hearing loss, dizziness, and tinnitus
    • Melatonin - melatonin supplements might help ease out and curb tinnitus
    • Hypnosis - Hypnotherapy can help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus
    • Zinc supplements
    • B vitamins

You will find great information about the possible treatments of tinnitus in the following link. Do check it out: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350162

Tinnitus is the cry of dying ears! Seek immediate help, and if hearing loss is the underlying cause, go for a proper hearing loss treatment.

What do you think?

Are there any other techniques to help reduce tinnitus?

Are you aware of any technological devices which are very good for tinnitus relief?

According to the new researches, are there any chances to get permanent relief from tinnitus?

We would love to know! Do share your valuable opinions and feedback in the comment section down below.

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