It’s no secret that tinnitus(with or without vertigo) and hearing loss can be a difficult combo to deal with. But what exactly is tinnitus? Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no external source of the noise. It can be a ringing, buzzing, or humming noise, and it can be temporary or chronic. Loss of hearing, on the other hand, is a permanent condition where someone is unable to hear sounds correctly. When the two conditions are combined, it can make for a very difficult situation.
There are a few different ways that tinnitus and loss of hearing can occur together. One way is if the person has damage to their auditory system from exposure to loud noise. This could happen from working in a noisy environment or from attending loud concerts frequently. Another way this combination can occur is if the person has an underlying health condition that causes damage to the auditory system. Conditions like Meniere’s disease or acoustic neuroma can cause both tinnitus and hearing loss.
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As for me, hearing loss was not quite new to me. I had started losing my hearing around 16 years old, but it became much more dramatic now, in my late 20s. About a year, maybe two years ago, I started having very mild tinnitus, which became worse and worse. Now it is extremely loud, while my hearing is going out.
It is widely unknown that tinnitus is nothing more than an error message. Basically, your ear is getting signals it cannot figure out, and tinnitus is the Error 404 message sent to the brain. And that is important for one reason:
There is no guarantee that your tinnitus will leave once you become fully deaf
Yep. I might end up deaf and still hear this bullshit. That is because the hearing loss and the error message are not handled by the same systems.
What about… the V word?
Vertigo. Tinnitus and vertigo often go hand in hand, as is the case for me. Vertigo is not 24/7, but it is certainly daily. In my case, I get dizzy in the afternoon, and it keeps getting worse until I go to bed.
Vertigo is serious enough to prevent me from using the stairs, walking any more than from my bedroom to the bathroom and back, and at the worst points, I can’t even sit, I need to lay down.
So… that’s fun.
No matter how tinnitus and hearing loss occur together, and other things they unfortunately brought with, it can be a difficult thing to deal with. So what are some tips for dealing with this unfortunate combo?
Tips for dealing with tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss:
Get a tinnitus assessment.
If you think you might be suffering from tinnitus, it’s important to get a proper assessment from a medical professional. They can help determine the cause of your tinnitus and rule out any other potential causes.
Try sound therapy.
Sound therapy can be helpful for some people with tinnitus. It involves using soothing sounds to help mask the noise of tinnitus. There are many different types of sound therapy, so it’s important to find one that works for you. I made a few hard-of-hearing friendly YouTube Videos on my channel, Rainbow Rave. I plan to make more later. They’re a mix of ASMR and tinnitus covering sounds, but everything was made so that no matter how loud you make the video, you shouldn’t get any noise spikes that give you a heart attack while relaxing! Ask me how I know about those! Haha.
Avoid loud noise
One of the worst things you can do if you have tinnitus and hearing loss is expose yourself to loud noise. This will only aggravate the condition and could make the tinnitus or hearing loss worse. If you must be in a noisy environment, make sure to wear loop earplugs or a noise reducing/cancelling headset.
Stress can make tinnitus worse, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress if you have this condition. Some stress-relieving activities include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
Exercise is a great way to help reduce stress and improve your overall health. It can also help improve blood circulation, which can be beneficial for those with tinnitus. HOWEVER. Be careful about this tip if you also have vertigo. It may not be safe if you’re too dizzy, and working out outside (jogging or walking, bicycle etc) should not be done alone if you have vertigo.
Change your diet
Certain foods can make tinnitus worse, so it’s important to avoid trigger foods. Caffeine, alcohol, and salt are all known triggers for tinnitus.
By following these tips, you can help make the best of a difficult situation. It won’t make up for losing your hearing or the annoying high-pitched noise in your ear, but it helps.
If you are new to hearing loss and looking for more info or tips, I suggest hearing loss life hacks and tools to make life easier.
Conclusion on tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss
If you suffer from tinnitus, hearing loss, and/or vertigo, my heart goes out to you. Be careful of your surroundings and keep these tips in mind, they have been tried and true! I hope they help you too. As I said earlier, there are many different types of sound therapy, so it’s important to find one that works for you. I encourage you to take a look at some tinnitus covering videos from my YouTube channel, or check out “brown noise” which was also a very nice helper. I just enjoy something with a bit more melody or… less static(?) than brown noise, which is why I fiddled around with some music software! It’s a bit bare right now, but I plan on adding more soothing and tinnitus masking vids soon.
Finally, I’d like to encourage you to take it easy. Hearing loss can be annoying (you can only say “WHAT” so many times!) but tinnitus and vertigo are physically and mentally very harsh to deal with. I’ve had severe vertigo and tinnitus for about 3 months now, and for the first two months, I was mostly bedridden. Now I can function a bit better, but I still often have to lay down and let my body rest. It can be frustrating, but if you won’t listen to your body, who will?