A sound, a continuous whistle, a background noise that can become constant during the day. Here are causes, consequences and tips for treating this disorder.
This article was written and reviewed in collaboration with our medical staff
Imagine you have a mosquito buzzing continuously in your ear, day and night, whether you live your daily life or sleep. We are talking about tinnitus , a term used to define those buzzing (but can also be whistling or wheezing) in the ears that come from the inside, when there is no external sound source.
This phenomenon can be temporary or chronic (in this case, which affects 2% of the population, can be disabling) and generally affects adults, although it can also affect children. This variability occurs because the causes can be very different from each other. Sometimes, when tinnitus occurs in women after 50, it is also correlated with menopause .
What can be the causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can appear in many situations . Generally they become evident following ear infections or inflammation , as in the case of ear infections, especially if neglected. However, they can also appear following antibiotic, cortisone, antidepressant or sedative therapy, but also in the presence of neurological disorders and acoustic trauma, such as after exposure to a strong outbreak .
Even the ‘ high blood pressure can lead to episodes of tinnitus . However, tinnitus does not always have a physical trigger. It may happen, in fact, that psychosomatic origins are highlighted , that tinnitus is the consequence of a painful emotional condition or psychological discomfort that “vents” and manifests itself through an ear disorder.
The correlation between negative emotions and physical pain is not new to science and therefore it could be that a moment of great despair also leads to a physical manifestation that seems to have a different origin. Precisely during menopause , which is as natural as it is a delicate phase in a woman’s life, a moment of high stress could have a deeper impact than other moments in your life.
Could there be a relationship between tinnitus and menopause?
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The reduced estrogen levels typical of hormonal variations preceding the end of the fertile age do not only have consequences on menstrual irregularities , which you will know well. Instead, they can affect the body as a whole and affect the health of the mouth or eyes, for example.
According to a recent Korean study published in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology” ( source Adnkronos ), a low level of estrogen would also expose you to risks for hearing and, in general, for the health of the inner ear . Let’s be clear: this does not mean that menopause is synonymous with hearing problems. However, the physiological aging of the body and tissues is a fact and with it even minor hearing problems can come. Hearing impairment is indeed common after a certain age, and its rate increases as the years progress. According to sector studies, over a quarter of the population aged 65 and over suffers from hearing loss. By age 75, one third of people show signs of hearing loss. This does not mean that with the arrival of menopause you will have problems with tinnitus, but that you will have to pay more attention to infections and inflammations in order to delay the onset of consequences on hearing as much as possible.
Tinnitus: stress, nervousness and insomnia among the consequences
In the vast majority of cases, the most common consequences of tinnitus are stress and nervousness . These are absolutely normal reactions to one of the most annoying and boring phenomena concerning the ear. This is why it is important not to underestimate this ailment and to resort to a visit to a specialist even if it seems only the consequence of a common cold.
Resolving early is also important because tinnitus can be a very uncomfortable phenomenon during the day, when you relate to the outside world, and even more difficult to manage at night , when it can compromise the quality of rest . This condition could worsen in menopause, when sleep may already be tested by a “light” rest, frequent awakenings , insomnia and worsening of the state of anxiety especially if you are someone who has already suffered from it before.
Tinnitus: Here’s what to do
For the above, here are some useful tips if you notice constant whistling or rustling in your ear:
- Contact your general practitioner immediately: he will assess the need for a visit to the specialist. Do not wait for the disorder to pass by itself : if you feel something strange, report it to your doctor. This is neither serious nor dangerous, but certainly very annoying. For this it is important to recover your daily well-being as soon as possible. Your doctor can make a correct diagnosis for your problem and find an appropriate treatment for you.
- Try to work on anxiety and stress: balancing body and mind with gentle disciplines such as yoga or mindfulness, which has a holistic approach to the problem, can help you a lot to be able to stay calm and manage the annoyance of tinnitus. Learning to control stress can in itself have a beneficial influence on the symptom and, even more, on all other disorders related to climacteric.
- Avoid smoking : it is never a friend of health and it certainly is not a friend of the apparatus that includes the ear, nose and throat which, as you know, are interrelated.
- It treats colds and seasonal flus well , since one of the causes of tinnitus is precisely untreated infections and inflammations.
- Cover your ears with a hat if you have already suffered from it and, in any case, if you often suffer from ear infections. The cold of the winter months significantly contributes to lowering the immune system and can facilitate inflammation of the ear tract.
- Distract yourself by listening to relaxing music at a moderate volume: music can be a good distraction in moments of discomfort because it can help you “fool” your hearing and shift your attention to soft sounds rather than the typical buzzing of tinnitus.
You change and your body changes too: regular checkups and prevention are the key
Over the years the body changes, all the organs undergo transformations. Even your genital system changes , which is why it is important to have regular checks by the gynecologist, possibly an expert in menopause as well as to respect all other prevention appointments to maintain good health for a long time.
We have seen how a preventive approach is also essential in the case of tinnitus , and the same is for many of the most common diseases or ailments typical of the passing years. Loving yourself also means respecting periodic check-ups and being aware that the body changes and needs increasing “maintenance”. You can download a list of the main checks to be performed after the age of 50 here .