What is Tinnitus?
Simply put, tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present. Also called "ringing in the ears" or "Head noise," people who experience tinnitus describe hearing different sounds like ringing, hissing, static, crickets, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, buzzing, and even music. Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people.
Occasional tinnitus, which is typically described as a sudden whistling sound accompanied by the perception of hearing loss (Kiang, Moxon, & Levine, 1970) is fairly common. It seems to occur completely at random, without anything precipitating the sudden onset of symptoms. Often the ear feels blocked during the episode. The symptoms generally dissipate within a minute or so. Tinnitus has been reported by both children and adults but is more prevalent in adults.
Tinnitus solutions are available, whether or not a hearing loss is present. Many people find relief wearing hearing aids. This helps with their underlying hearing loss, which takes the attention off the intrusive sounds of tinnitus. Others who experience both a hearing loss and tinnitus prefer hearing aids with masking solutions such as Zen, which offer soothing sounds to mask the perception of tinnitus. Treatment options are highly personalized based on a persons unique experience, degree of hearing loss (if any) and tinnitus.
To try our FDA approved Tinnitus solutions, contact our team to schedule an appointment.
Did You Know?
- 1 in 10 Americans suffer from Tinnitus
- 90% of Tinnitus cases occur with hearing loss
- Stress is one of the most common factors involved with tinnitus
- Many patients are told to "just live with it."
- Treatment solutions are available for those who suffer from Tinnitus
Frequently Asked Questions about Tinnitus
+ What causes Tinnitus?
The exact physiological cause of tinnitus is not known. Tinnitus can be triggered by a variety of causes, but is commonly linked to exposure to loud sounds, which can damage the delicate sensory cells of the inner ear. This condition has also been associated with stress, ear infections, aging, excessive earwax, high blood pressure, and sensory nerve disorders. Activities such as smoking; drinking alcohol or caffeine, and taking excessive amounts of aspirin or antibiotics may exacerbate tinnitus.
- Exposure to loud sounds can damage delicate sensory cells of the inner ear
- If you are stressed this may exacerbate your tinnitus
- Drinking alcohol may lead to high blood pressure and exacerbate tinnitus
- Smoking may lead to high blood pressure and exacerbate tinnitus
- Consuming excessive amounts of aspirin or antibiotics may exacerbate your tinnitus
- Salt restricts the blood flow to your ears and may thereby exacerbate your tinnitus
- Drinking caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, cola) may exacerbate your tinnitus
Take control of your tinnitus today. Counseling with an experienced hearing healthcare professional trained in managing tinnitus improves your chances of success in regaining your quality of life.
+ What should a person with Tinnitus do first?
Contact an audiologist or your physician for an examination as soon as possible. The purpose of the examination is to determine if there is a treatable medical condition causing tinnitus.
An estimated 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from tinnitus. Of those, 16 million have sought medical attention for their tinnitus; and 2-3 million are completely disabled from it. But there is help and tinnitus can be managed. *Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.
+ How to get relief for Tinnitus?
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, treatment options are available that can provide relief from tinnitus. Treatments can include the following:
+ Hearing Aids
Many people who have hearing loss also suffer from tinnitus. Amplified sound from hearing aids can help minimize the contrast between the buzzing or ringing of tinnitus and the surrounding sound environment.
+ Sound Therapy
Sound therapy uses maskers to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer by reducing the contrast between the tinnitus and environment. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it. Some people sleep better when they use maskers by their bedside. They can help you ignore your tinnitus and fall asleep. The sound can be a white noise, music, or any sound that is found to be pleasant.
+ Medicine or drug therapy
Some medicines may exacerbate tinnitus while others may ease tinnitus. Discuss your tinnitus with your physician before making any changes or adjustments to your treatment plan.
+ Tinnitus retraining therapy
This treatment uses a combination of counseling and maskers. You may also use maskers to make your tinnitus less noticeable throughout the day. After a while, some people learn how to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. It takes time for this treatment to work, but it can be very helpful.
People with tinnitus may suffer from varying degrees of depression. Speaking with a counselor or participating in a tinnitus support group may be beneficial.
With Stress named as one of the most common factors involved with tinnitus, relaxation and stress reduction are vital elements in effective tinnitus management. Stress can make it harder to cope successfully with tinnitus and can often cause a tightening of muscles. Relaxation exercises can help you relax and thereby reduce stress.
+ What is the next step?
Schedule an appointment with an Audiologist to discuss your Tinnitus and see which solutions are best for you.