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Ringing in ears is something many people experience. It may not necessarily be ringing, it can be buzzing, tinkling, hissing or even roaring. The medical term for this condition is tinnitus.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition characterized by sounds, such as ringing, that a person hears but that do not come from his or her surrounding. The sound can keep time with the heartbeat or the breathing, it can be constant or it can come and go.

There are two main types of tinnitus - pulsatile and non-pulsatile. Pulsatile tinnitus is caused by the blood flow, muscle movements near the ear or by changes in the ear canal. Non-pulsatile tinnitus is caused by problems with nerves involved in hearing.

There are many possible causes of ringing in ears. It can be the simple fact that a person is losing hearing due to age or that he or she is constantly exposed to very loud noises. Tinnitus can be a symptom of almost any ear problem. It can be caused by wax buildup, medication, alcoholism, substance abuse, dental problems, ear infections, injuries, changes in pressure, severe weight loss, excessive exercise, vascular problems, nerve problems and many more.

Treatment for ringing in ears

Ringing in ears or tinnitus often goes away on its own without any particular treatment. In fact, there is no specific treatment for tinnitus and doctors generally focus on alleviating the ringing and on finding and treating its underlying cause.

Certain tips and tricks can help alleviate the ringing or other noises in the ears. It is recommended to cut back or quit drinking alcoholic beverages, as well as coffee and other beverages containing caffeine.

Cigarettes and other nicotine product, even the smokeless ones, should be avoided, because nicotine reduces blood flow to the ear.

Aspirin, products containing aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided as well.

Exercise can help, as long as it is not too strenuous. Physical activity in which the neck is in the hyperextended position, such as bicycle riding, should be reduced.

Ringing in ears can be very frustrating and discomforting. It can help to try to focus on other things, like movies, books, work, gardening, cooking, whatever keeps the attention away from the ringing. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga and biofeedback can be helpful, especially with chronic tinnitus.

If tinnitus does not go away for an extended period of time and becomes chronic, it may indicate a serious problem. In that case it is best to see a specialist who will determine what exactly is causing the problem.

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