Five Myths About Tinnitus

a woman experiencing some ear discomfort

Millions of people across the globe experience tinnitus. For some, the condition can be little more than a nuisance. For others, it can impact everything from your job, to your relationships and even your mental health. 

Many people associate tinnitus with a ringing in the ears, which can be true. But it can also be a whistling or buzzing sound. Simply put, it’s the absence of silence within your ear. 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths thrown around about tinnitus, which can cause those who experience it to believe false information. 

The more you know about tinnitus and the facts behind it, the better you’ll be able to manage it on your own, and with the help of an audiologist. 

With that in mind, let’s look at five of the most common myths about tinnitus, so you can separate fact from fiction. 

1. I’ll only get tinnitus if I have hearing loss

While it’s true that hearing loss and tinnitus are often related, they aren’t exclusive to one another. Certain medical conditions can cause tinnitus, and you might even experience temporary tinnitus if you expose yourself to extremely loud conditions, such as a rock concert. 

Even a traumatic head injury can contribute to tinnitus, but may not cause hearing loss. 

2. Changing my diet will cure tinnitus

There are some foods and lifestyle choices that can make your tinnitus symptoms worse, including food with additives or choices like drinking or smoking. 

But, making better dietary and lifestyle choices won’t cure your tinnitus. They should absolutely be a part of your symptom management plan, but there is no dietary cure that will get rid of your tinnitus completely, which is why it’s so important to work with an audiologist instead of dealing with it on your own. 

3. Tinnitus is always harmless

For the most part, it’s true that tinnitus is harmless, though it can be irritating! 

In some cases, however, it can be an indication of a more serious medical condition including high blood pressure or heart disease. If you experienced any type of head injury lately and you’re dealing with tinnitus because of it, there could also be other issues associated with the head trauma that need to get looked at. 

This is just another reason why tinnitus shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you don’t understand the reason behind it.

4. Tinnitus will go away on its own

If your tinnitus was caused by something by an extremely loud noise or even trauma to the head, it may eventually go away on its own or weaken over time. 

But some people experience tinnitus on a long-term basis, or it keeps recurring. This is because there are a few different types of tinnitus, including mild, high-pitched and low frequency. People who have mild tinnitus, may only hear a quiet buzzing or humming when it’s very quiet and there are no other sounds. When there are other sounds present, they might not notice the sounds within their ears. But that doesn’t mean the condition has gone away completely. 

5. There is nothing I can do to treat tinnitus

This is perhaps the most damaging myth at all because it allows people with tinnitus to feel like there’s no way to find relief from the ringing or buzzing in their ears. 

That’s simply not true. 

So, instead of listening to people tell you that you should try to ignore it, or that there’s nothing you can do, you might want to consider some of the following options to manage the symptoms and effects of tinnitus:

  • Sound therapy
  • Ear protection to reduce noise exposure
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Tinnitus counseling

Hearing aids can also often be used to help with tinnitus. They amplify the sounds around you, so there is less pure silence. For people with mild cases of tinnitus, hearing more sounds can make the noise inside the ear less noticeable. 

Managing myths about tinnitus

As you can see, there are plenty of falsehoods out there regarding tinnitus. If you, or someone you know, experiences this condition on a regular basis, it’s important to visit an audiologist as soon as possible. Even if your tinnitus doesn’t seem that bad, it’s good to rule out any other underlying conditions, and still help you to find ways to treat it.