Ringing in the Ears: Facts About Tinnitus
Tinnitus a very common audiological condition experienced by nearly 50 million Americans in one form or another. It manifests itself most often as a ringing, buzzing or swooshing sound in someone’s ear that cannot be heard by others. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are treatment strategies that have been proven successful for many patients and have allowed them to live a more stress free, productive life.
What causes tinnitus?
- Hearing loss – many of those who suffer from hearing loss, also suffer from tinnitus
- Middle Ear Conditions:
- Ear Wax
- Head Congestion
- Dirt/Foreign Objects
- Loose hair in the ear canal
- Medicine – most commonly, but not limited to:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Certain antibiotics
- Certain cancer medications
- Water pills and diuretics
- Quinine-based medications
- Other potential causes – Allergies, Heart Conditions, Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress.
What should I do if I have tinnitus?
If you experience tinnitus, you should contact Resonance Audiology to schedule a hearing evaluation. We will ensure that we take a thorough case history and perform a comprehensive diagnostic battery of tests to help determine the possible cause and establish a treatment plan to best suit your needs. We also may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for more testing if we feel you are suffering from something more serious than just tinnitus.
Are there any proven treatments or cures of tinnitus?
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, many audiologists, researchers and physicians have utilized some treatments proven to give people relief from the symptoms of tinnitus.
What are the treatments for Tinnitus?
Hearing aids – Since many people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, hearing aids may be prescribed in an attempt to give them relief from both their tinnitus and hearing loss together. They will allow you to hear better and will as a result mask the tinnitus in your ears.
Maskers – Tinnitus maskers are devices worn in the ears that produce sound designed to mask the tinnitus that one hears in their ears. Unlike hearing aids, they do not amplify sounds.
There are many home products that may be utilized to provide relief to those who suffer from tinnitus.
A few examples are:
- Environmental noise machines
Counseling plays a crucial role in treating tinnitus and may prove effective in reducing stress and anxiety in one’s life. If we feel the needs of the patient exceed our scope of practice, the patient may be referred to psychologist or a psychiatrist.
It is important to try to find ways to relax if you suffer from tinnitus. This will allow your brain to rest and help alleviate the role stress plays on bringing out your symptoms of tinnitus.
Silence tends to make tinnitus worse, so it is important to try to have something playing the background when you are alone in silence. The noise may help mask the tinnitus and reduce the impact it has on one’s life. Many people find that listening to music, environmental sounds or even white noise help reduce their tinnitus.
Avoid triggers that make your tinnitus worse: These may include smoking, alcohol and loud noise. If you are exposed to loud noise regularly, ear plugs are recommended to help reduce the effects the noise will have on your ears. Custom ear protection is often the best way to protect your hearing and help reduce the likelihood that tinnitus occurs as a result of loud sounds.
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