Tinnitus is ringing in the ears that is heard only by the sufferer. It can be constant or random, happen in one or both ears, and it can stop for hours at a time. Tinnitus can also present as a buzzing, whistling, humming, hissing, and many other sounds. The unpredictable nature of the condition affects the personal lives of millions worldwide. Although tinnitus isn’t life-threatening, the symptoms can be tied to more serious conditions. Currently, there is no cure for tinnitus. Long-term treatment options exist to help patients deal with tinnitus even when it’s at its worst. At Davis Audiology, our Doctors of Audiology are expertly trained to assist patients suffering from tinnitus.
Causes of tinnitus
Deterioration of hearing with age is common. Tinnitus is most often associated with and a symptom of hearing loss. There can be multiple causes and symptoms of tinnitus. This is why it’s important to find out the root cause of the individual’s tinnitus during the evaluation. The wrong treatment plan for tinnitus won’t resolve any of the problems.
- Causes: age, head and neck trauma, noise-induced hearing loss, earwax, foreign objects in the ear, head congestion, joint disorders, sinus pressure, certain medications, tumors
- Symptoms: sounds in the ear (hissing, buzzing, ringing, whistling, roaring)
Treatment options for tinnitus are extensive, and range from behavioral therapy to modern hearing aids. Behavioral therapy trains the brain to blend the tinnitus sounds with natural sounds. With the aid of sound maskers, behavioral therapy lowers the stress and disruption of all tinnitus symptoms. The time it takes to get results is different for each patient, but typically takes a few months. For a direct approach, modern hearing aids have tinnitus relief features built into the devices. This is a compliment to the normal hearing aid features and works surprisingly well. When these same hearing aids are used with behavioral therapy, they help patients achieve better results.
When receiving the results of a hearing evaluation, knowing what tinnitus is can relieve stress. There are multiple resources on the subject to help patients understand the condition. Treatment options are available, but they rely on patient participation and awareness. Here are useful facts about tinnitus:
- Tinnitus does not cause patients to lose their hearing
- Objective tinnitus is the only type that can be heard by others
- Stress can worsen the symptoms
- Over 40 million Americans have tinnitus
- Sound-masking machines are portable