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Before we go into the question of can anything be done for tinnitus, let’s first answer the question, ‘what is tinnitus?’ It isn’t a single disease that stands alone, but a condition brought about by any number of underlying factors.

It manifests itself by causing a person to hear all manner of different noises, but none of which emanate from an outside source. The sounds take many forms; swishing, screaming, buzzing, hissing, whining, ringing. I often experience a sort of low hiss, but most fortunately my experience of tinnitus is very mild. The unfortunate people who really suffer are sometimes unable to work or sleep, so severe and insistent is the sound.

It may arise from a number of causes. Fluid, infection, or disease of the middle ear bones, or ear drums, the tympanic membranes, a build-up of wax and sometimes abnormalities in the brain. Nose allergies that prevent or induce fluid drain may be another reason for it.

As we’ve noticed, at its worst it’s usually just a nuisance which will go as mysteriously as it came. This isn’t always the case, however, and there are times when, instead of improving, the condition becomes slowly but steadily worse. There are seven actions you can take to guard against it, and even lessen its intrusion.

1. If possible, avoid all extremely loud, sudden sounds, like a large steel girder dropping to the floor. Sounds like this more usually occur at work, so always wear ear muffs or ear plugs.

2. The same goes when you’re using, or are in the vicinity of, power tools.

3. Try to control your level of stress. Try to relax as much as you’re reasonably Silencil able. A little more on this a bit later.

4. While not advocating cutting them out completely, do try to go easy on caffeine, alcohol and aspirin.

5. Don’t go to the other extreme and embrace complete silence. This is liable to exacerbate the sounds you hear, or prompt them into action if they weren’t there already.

6. You should be careful, too, of your salt intake. If you can rid yourself of it altogether, so much the better, but at least lessen the amount.

Finally 7. Have your doctor check your blood pressure. Too low or too high can be another cause of tinnitus. There is no doubt, however, that the worst perpetrator of tinnitus is stress.

The main problem is that it’s a vicious cycle. Tinnitus causes continuous stress in a lot of sufferers, and the stress makes the tinnitus worse. The main reason for all this stress is that tinnitus often makes the body feel threatened. Stress is the inevitable outcome of this and if prolonged, the noises become louder and louder.

Stress causes blood vessels to restrict and reduce circulation. Heart rates increase, as well as breathing and blood pressure. When stress is left unresolved, then real damage may set in. It always attacks us at our weakest point. This goes for any object with a weak spot. It’s a basic law of mechanics, after all.

So whatever is bothering us, either physically or mentally, will inevitably become worse under stress and as we’ve seen, this will only go towards making the tinnitus worse too.

The answer to the question, “Can anything be done for tinnitus?” is a resounding ‘Yes.’ There are a few programmes around that do more than help. They cure, and they do so without the use of drugs or an operation, the latter being very risky.

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