Cause, Therapy & Treatment
Tinnitus is the perception of ringing or buzzing in one or both ears. It can be constant, or it can come and go and is often associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus affects about 15-20 percent of people. Although it is not a condition itself, it is generally a symptom of an underlying ailment, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system disorder.
Although troublesome, tinnitus usually isn’t a sign of something serious and can be triggered by a number of causes. It varies from person to person. Common causes include hearing loss, wax buildup, stress, exposure to loud noises, certain disorders, and certain medications.
People suffering from acute tinnitus may struggle to sleep, focus at work, or communicate with others. In these cases, treatment plays a crucial part in helping these individuals regain control of their lives.
Tinnitus therapy was designed to quiet the noise in your ears. We will work with you to establish a treatment plan that is right for you. Contact us today!
Most commonly, when someone is experiencing signs of tinnitus, they notice ringing, buzzing, or humming in one or both ears. These sounds may vary in frequency and pitch from a low roar to a high squeal.
There are two main types of tinnitus; subjective, which is the most common, and objective, which is a more rare form.
Subjective tinnitus only you can hear. This is the most common form of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle, or inner ear. It can also be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound (auditory pathways).
Objective tinnitus is heard not only by the person experiencing it, but it can also be detected by someone else. It is commonly heard as a regular pulsing noise, in rhythm with the person’s blood flow or pulse near the ear tissue.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Typical causes can include:
- Age-Related Hearing Loss—For many, hearing worsens with age, typically starting around age 60. Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. This type of hearing loss is known as presbycusis.
- Exposure to Loud Noises—Hair cells can be damaged by exposure to loud noise, which could lead to tinnitus. This can occur gradually over time with exposure to loud noises over prolonged periods.
- Medication—Tinnitus is a potential side-effect of many prescription medications. However, in most cases and for most drugs, tinnitus is an acute, short-lived side-effect; if the patient stops taking the medication, the symptoms typically dissipate.
- Other Potential Causes—Allergies, ear wax buildup, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaw, and neck trauma can all cause tinnitus.
Take Control Of Your Tinnitus Today!
Take the first step by calling and scheduling a visit with one of our audiologists for an evaluation. During your consultation, we will work with you to determine the level of severity of your tinnitus and what treatment options may be suitable for you, we may refer to local specialty providers such as Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctors to enrich the treatment process for our patients.
Remember, you don’t have to live with tinnitus!
A careful review of your health history along with audiometric testing will identify which of the following is the right management option:
- Drug Therapy—Stress and anxiety are prominent causes of tinnitus. Certain medicines may provide some relief by helping manage your stress and anxiety.
- General Wellness—Managing daily stress with physical exercise and proper nutrition will help you manage stress, sleep better, and stay healthier.
- Hearing Aids—Hearing aids create a dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the tinnitus. You may find that the better you hear, the less you notice your tinnitus.
- Sound Masking Devices—Sound-masking devices provide a benign external noise that partially drowns out the internal sound of tinnitus. There are several variations of sound-masking devices, from stand-alone tabletop units to in-ear devices.
What Can I Do to Help Myself?
You should first look to avoid some of the things that can make tinnitus worse, smoking, alcohol, loud noise as much as possible. If you are someone who is regularly exposed to loud noise at work or home, make sure to wear proper hearing protection or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your symptoms from worsening.
Be sure to ask friends and family to face and speak directly to you, and to speak louder but don’t shout. Being able to see their expressions and lip movement can help improve your understanding of what they are saying over your tinnitus.
Tinnitus therapy works, and we urge you to talk to a professional audiologist and put an end to the ringing in your ears.
The first step is to schedule an appointment to have your tinnitus evaluated. There may be other medical issues behind the tinnitus, and it is important to rule out anything else that may affect your overall health.