6 Ear Ringing Myths: The Truth About Ringing in the Ears

Man holding his ear thinking of ear ringing myths

If you experience ringing in your ears, you’re one of millions of people who are afflicted with tinnitus: the sensation of hearing a ringing or buzzing with no external source. The sound of ringing in the ears is irksome to many, and can even disrupt daily life. While there is no instant cure for tinnitus, it can be manageable with the right care; however, it’s important to be aware of some of the most common ear ringing myths surrounding tinnitus to properly address it.

6 Ear Ringing Myths

Myth #1: It’s a disease

Tinnitus is often thought to be a disease, but this is the most common ear ringing myth. While it can be a symptom that’s indicative of an underlying medical condition, it usually stems from damage to the inner ear. Causes of tinnitus can range from age-related hearing problems, to an ear injury, to even diabetes. If you’re concerned about your tinnitus and what it means, it’s recommended to first consult a doctor or hearing health professional to diagnose the root cause before exploring options available to alleviate tinnitus.

Myth #2: Diet changes will get rid of it

Another common ear ringing myth is that changing your diet will eliminate tinnitus. While it’s always recommended to maintain a healthy diet for a higher quality of life, there is little to no evidence that changing your diet for the diet will rid you of ringing in the ears. Some afflicted with tinnitus have claimed that alcohol, sugar, and caffeine can aggravate tinnitus, but cutting these from your diet will not cure it. Maintaining a healthy diet rich with vitamins and minerals—especially those that can positively impact your hearing health—can benefit your overall well-being, and even limit the perceived intensity of tinnitus.

Myth #3: It only affects those going deaf/with hearing loss

While tinnitus and hearing loss can often go hand in hand, it’s a myth that tinnitus only affects those who are afflicted with hearing loss. A similar misconception is that tinnitus will only affect you if you’re going deaf. Constant ringing in the ears can be caused by a number of things: a new medication, a medical condition, or exposure to a loud noise. If you believe your tinnitus is related to hearing loss, this isn’t something you necessarily have to live with. In addition to correcting hearing loss, hearing aids can help relieve tinnitus.

Myth #4: It’s the only sign of tinnitus

At the mention of “tinnitus”, ringing in the ears might be what springs to mind for most, but tinnitus is actually the perception of any sound not outwardly present—not only ringing ears. This means it can manifest as buzzing, hissing, whooshing, clicking, and even as a dial tone. However, if your tinnitus sounds like pulsing or a heartbeat, this can be indicative of an issue more serious than hearing loss, such as a vascular issue. In these cases, it’s recommended to see a doctor.

Myth #5: It’s chronic and permanent

Another common ear ringing myth is that tinnitus is chronic, permanent, and there is nothing you can do to relieve the constant ringing. Tinnitus is often temporary, whether it’s from failing to wear proper ear protection at a concert, an earwax buildup, or needing to address the health issue causing it in the first place. In cases where tinnitus is chronic—such as age-related hearing loss—a hearing professional can offer solutions to lessen and relieve tinnitus.

Ear Ringing Myth #6: Hearing aids cannot help

Hearing aids are often thought to be simply a solution to hearing loss and nothing more, however, they are also a highly effective treatment method for tinnitus. Hearing aid technology can address not only hearing loss, but also symptoms of tinnitus. As you lose your hearing, the sounds around you no longer mask the sound of tinnitus. Hearing aids can alleviate tinnitus by increasing the volume of external noise, amplifying these outside sounds can effectively reduce your perception of tinnitus. Some hearing aids even provide tinnitus relief through soothing sounds and white noise.

When to See a Professional About Ear Ringing

Taking these ear ringing myths into consideration, tinnitus, whether chronic or temporary, is easily manageable with the right care. It’s recommended to see a healthcare professional or audiologist if you have tinnitus, so you find the best solution possible to make your daily life with tinnitus easier.

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and article author

Written byMarcelle Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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