Why Does My Wife Hear Humming Noises in Her Head?

Do you ever notice your wife complaining of persistent humming or buzzing noises that she can hear inside her head?

This odd symptom is more common than you may think. About 2-3% of the population experiences some form of tinnitus or ringing/noises in the ear without an external source.

While the exact cause is often unknown, several potential explanations exist for these phantom sounds.

However, the annoyance can usually be reduced with the right diagnosis and treatment.

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Why Does My Wife Hear Humming Noises in Her Head?

Why Does My Wife Hear Humming Noises in Her Head?

If your wife complains about humming noises in her head, the following are possible reasons why;

1. Hearing Loss

Hearing loss, typically associated with aging, is one of the most common reasons for tinnitus. As we age, the inner ear’s delicate hair cells deteriorate.

These tiny receptors convert sound waves into electrical signals sent to the brain. With enough damage, auditory information doesn’t get transmitted properly.

This interference from faulty wiring can get interpreted as constant humming or buzzing.

Treating the underlying hearing loss with hearing aids can help amplify external sounds previously drowned out by phantom noises.

2. Earwax Buildup

Believe it or not, something as simple as excess earwax touching the eardrum can cause tinnitus symptoms.

Earwax, known medically as cerumen, traps dirt and debris to protect the ear canal. Normally, this wax dries up and falls out on its own.

But in some cases, it accumulates and presses against the delicate structures of the ear. This added pressure and interference with vibrations can lead to humming or throbbing sensations.

Removing built-up earwax with warm water irrigation or micro-suctioning can provide relief.

3. Blood Vessel Problems

Problems with the blood vessels near the ears often cause tinnitus. High blood pressure, turbulence from aneurysms, and blockages from atherosclerosis can all produce audible symptoms.

The whooshing of blood near the ear gets transmitted as humming or pulsating noises.

Treating the underlying vascular conditions with medications or surgery can sometimes resolve these phantom sounds.

Lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and stress reduction also help.

4. Changes in the Ear Bones

The small bones of the middle ear, called ossicles, are vital for conducting sound. Conditions like otosclerosis, which affects the stapes bone, can cause fixation or changes in the movement of these bones.

Their inability to vibrate properly leads to tinnitus symptoms like ringing, roaring, and mechanical-sounding buzzing.

Though irreversible, this “phantom noise” can be managed with hearing aids or masking devices in severe cases. Surgery may also be an option.

5. Muscle Spasms

Spasms affecting the muscles in and around the ear can also lead to odd sounds. The tensor tympani and stapedius muscles help dampen excessive noise and prevent auditory damage.

Involuntary contractions of these muscles may come across as clicking, popping, or fluttering sounds.

Identifying and alleviating triggers like stress, headaches, and teeth grinding can help reduce muscle spasms that lead to tinnitus.

6. TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction in the jaw can also manifest as tinnitus-like symptoms.

The TMJ hinge connects the jawbone to the skull. Problems like arthritis, grinding, dislocation, and misalignment in this fragile joint can strain attached muscles and ligaments.

This pulls on structures near the ears causing phantom noises. Treating the TMJ disorder with night guards, physical therapy, medication, or surgery may eliminate the buzzing.

7. Head and Neck Injuries

Physical trauma to the head or neck area can also lead to tinnitus. Accidents, sports injuries, or whiplash may jostle the delicate inner ear structures, auditory nerves, and blood vessels.

This damage to the hearing pathway induces wired; distorted signals expressed as humming, ringing, and static-like sounds.

Treating associated headaches, dizziness, or vertigo can provide some relief. Time often reduces the phantom noises as swelling subsides.

8. Acoustic Neuroma

This non-cancerous growth on the hearing nerves can cause tinnitus symptoms like humming or buzzing.

Acoustic neuromas usually develop slowly over many years on the vestibulocochlear nerve.

As they enlarge, they press on inner ear structures interfering with auditory signals.

Removing these tumors surgically or treating them with radiation can often eliminate the phantom noises by halting progression.

9. Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a chronic inner ear condition that can lead to episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of pressure.

It stems from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear compartments. This causes fluctuations in inner ear pressure and problems with balance signaling.

Buzzing, roaring, and mechanical humming are common during acute attacks. A low salt diet, diuretics, and vestibular rehabilitation help manage symptoms long-term.

10. Certain Medications

Various prescription and over-the-counter medications are “ototoxic,” meaning they can damage hearing structures.

Heavy metals like tin and mercury in some drugs accumulate in the inner ear over time. Interfering with hair cell transmission leads to phantom ringing and humming.

Switching medications or lowering doses under doctor supervision often resolves tinnitus.

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What Can I Do to Help If My Wife Hears Humming Noises in Her Head

While the exact cause is not always clear, there are several things you can do to support your wife in coping with this annoying symptom:

1. Suggest She Gets Checked by an Audiologist

Suggest that she consult an audiologist for a thorough hearing assessment. This evaluation can identify any hearing loss or earwax buildup which might contribute to the problem.

Understanding the root cause can help guide appropriate treatment options.

2. Reduce Aggravating Factors

Encourage your wife to limit exposure to loud noises, caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants like nicotine, as they can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.

Creating a quieter environment can also help reduce the strain from ambient sounds that may obscure the phantom noises.

3. Encourage Stress Management

Stress and anxiety can make tinnitus more noticeable and bothersome. Encourage your wife to explore stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage, or counseling, which can help her cope with her emotions and make the condition more manageable.

4. Consider Sound Therapy

Sound therapy, such as using white noise machines, fans, or hearing aids with masking features, can help drown out and distract from phantom noises.

These devices create soothing background sounds that may alleviate the perception of the humming sounds.

5. Discuss Medication Options

Certain medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and anticonvulsants, have been shown to relieve some individuals with tinnitus.

It is vital to consult a healthcare professional to discuss such treatment options’ potential benefits and risks.

6. Look Into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT teaches coping techniques that make tinnitus less bothersome and disruptive for day-to-day life. Encourage your wife to explore this option with a qualified therapist.

7. Check for TMJ Issues

If your wife grinds her teeth, it might contribute to her tinnitus. Suggest that she consults her dentist about possibly using a night guard to prevent exacerbating the problem.

8. Suggest Ear Plugs or Ear Muffs

When your wife may be exposed to loud or irritating sounds, earplugs or ear muffs can help create a quiet environment, reducing the strain on her ears.

Creating a quiet environment helps reduce straining from ambient sounds that obscure phantom noises.

9. Consider Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

TRT uses counseling and sound therapy to help retrain the brain’s response to tinnitus over 18-24 months.

It can be effective for some individuals in reducing the perception of phantom noises.

10. Remain Supportive and Understanding

Coping with tinnitus can be challenging and ongoing. Be patient and empathetic, letting your wife know that you take her symptoms seriously and that you are committed to helping improve her quality of life.

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Final Thoughts

Tinnitus can be challenging, especially when the cause is uncertain. But many effective treatments, support groups, and online resources are available.

So encourage your wife to discuss her symptoms with a doctor to explore medical and sound therapy options.

Small lifestyle changes can also make a big difference in managing the annoyance of constantly hearing phantom humming or ringing. She will learn new ways to cope and feel less distressed with time.

The important thing is not to suffer in silence. Some solutions can help restore peace internally, even if a cure for the sounds is impossible.

We hope this overview gave you a better understanding of why your wife hear humming noises in her head.

Please explore the rest of our blog for more helpful articles on maintaining a healthy relationship through life’s ups and downs.


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