Tinnitus is enigmatic and, sadly, does not yet have a precise course of treatment. Even worse, some people recovering from COVID have reported its onset or a worsening of the condition. It has become an aspect of “long haul” COVID for some.
Though sometimes temporary, dealing with any insistent case of tinnitus is not any fun.
The specifics involve a sound becoming a persistent presence in one’s hearing even when nothing is making that sound. Usually, it’s a ringing that can’t be escaped, though everything from hissing, roaring, whooshing, static, and a host of other noises have been reported by sufferers.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 15 percent of the population has experienced it at some point in their lifetime. The American Tinnitus Association provides education and research into the condition and has a wealth of information available on their webpage.
Though there aren’t any direct treatment options, there are a number of things that someone can do:
- Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that help one to remain calm and not fixate on the distraction.
- Background music or other ways to fill in the soundscape can help push the tinnitus away, which can be more challenging in completely quiet environments.
- Avoiding certain foods or activities sometimes alleviates symptoms. Keeping a logbook of what you eat and do—and any corresponding intensification of the tinnitus—is often helpful for people who find themselves with a permanent case.
- Shocks to the ears from extreme sound can make things worse, so get into the habit of using ear protection in loud environments.
Research into treatment options for tinnitus continues and many people seek treatment from otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists) and audiologists.