How to Make My Ears Quit Ringing

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Contrary to the feeling, the ringing you hear is in your brain, not your ears. You can still relieve the ringing in certain conditions with help from a practicing doctor in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Ears 101
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to make your ears stop ringing. So, what is ringing in the ears? It's not, first of all, in the ears. The ringing sensation is really in the brain. The brain is compensating for some loss of hearing. The term for this is tinnitus, and tinnitus may be heard as a ringing. Some people hear it as a rushing, or a roaring, or a buzzing sound. It's often a little bit annoying. Now, if the hearing loss is due to a temporary cause such as noise exposure - maybe you've been to the shooting range and you didn't wear your ear protection, or maybe you just came from a loud concert, or maybe you work on a runway and your hearing protection fell off, or you've been mowing the lawn - well, that tinnitus may go away as that temporary injury to your hearing comes back. However, if you have prolonged exposure to noise like that, you may have some permanent hearing loss. Tinnitus that remains and doesn't go away suggests permanent hearing loss and unfortunately, it will probably be there. There are, however, some therapies that can help. One thing is to get a hearing aid. Another thing is to have noise generators. Some people find that having a wave machine or a white noise machine will help them ignore tinnitus. There's even some indication that antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, like Zoloft or Xanax--not Xanax, Zolft, we'll stick with Zoloft--or Paxil can help with that as well, by altering how the brain pays attention to things like that. Most importantly, if you notice that you do have a ringing in your ears and it doesn't go away within a day or two, do seek the care of an ear, nose and throat doctor or an audiologist to evaluate what sort of hearing loss you may have and figure out if anything needs to be done about it. Talking about how to make that ringing in your ears go away, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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