Millions of adults in the US are affected by tinnitus. While most people experience temporary episodes, some endure persistent symptoms, which can be debilitating and distressing. If you’re struggling with tinnitus, don’t suffer in silence. There are several treatment options, which could have a really positive impact on your quality of life.

What exactly is tinnitus?

Tinnitus occurs when you can hear noises that don’t have an external source. This means that you can hear sounds even when the room is silent, and other people can’t hear the same noises. It’s very common to experience signs of tinnitus when you have been exposed to high noise levels, for example, if you’ve been to watch a band or a DJ or you’ve been to a rally car or motorbike race. In this case, you usually find that you have symptoms for a few hours. In some cases, however, tinnitus is an ongoing problem. If you experience recurrent bouts of tinnitus, or your symptoms have got worse, it’s wise to contact your audiologist.

Common symptoms of tinnitus

Tinnitus is often referred to as ringing in the ears, but it can also cause other noises and sounds, including:

  • Humming
  • Hissing
  • Whooshing
  • Buzzing
  • Throbbing

Some people can hear sounds in one ear, while others can hear noises in both ears. When you have tinnitus, you can hear these sounds despite the fact that they are not being generated by passing cars, a radio or a TV set, for example.

Can hearing aids offer relief for tinnitus?

In some cases, tinnitus is linked to hearing loss. Hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by damage to the inner ear, which is commonly a result of prolonged or repeated exposure to loud noises. If you have hearing loss, and you find it difficult to hear, the sounds that you can hear as a result of tinnitus may appear louder. This is because you cannot hear other noises that would either distract your brain or mask the signs of tinnitus. If you have hearing tests, and the results indicate that your hearing has deteriorated, your audiologist may recommend hearing aids. Hearing aids are innovative devices, which enable you to hear better by capturing and amplifying sounds. When you can hear better, you may find that the symptoms of tinnitus become less intense because you can pick up sounds from your external environment.

Hearing loss is usually gradual, and sometimes, people assume that they’re finding it difficult to hear as a result of tinnitus. In fact, in many cases, people suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus, and the loss of hearing exacerbates the symptoms of tinnitus. If you have been advised to think about using hearing aids, your audiologist will be able to discuss different types and styles with you and answer any questions you have about hearing aids.

When should I seek help?

It’s very common to hear ringing in your ears if you’ve been to a club or a concert, for example. If you experience tinnitus in this way, and your symptoms subside quickly, there’s no cause for concern. It is advisable to seek advice, however, if you are experiencing signs of tinnitus on a more frequent basis, your symptoms have developed, or tinnitus is starting to impact your day to day life. It’s also essential to see an audiologist if you’re worried about your hearing.

Are there any other options?

Hearing aids are an incredibly effective solution for patients who experience both tinnitus and hearing loss, but they are not the only treatment option. If you have tinnitus, and your hearing isn’t a cause for concern, your audiologist may recommend alternative options. One suggestion that may prove effective is using a sound machine or listening to white noise when you get into bed. Many people who have tinnitus find that their symptoms get worse when it’s quiet. Sound machines generate low-level noise, which helps to distract the brain and enable you to focus on different sounds. You might find that listening to the sound of waves, for example, makes you feel relaxed and masks ringing and humming sounds. Another option is tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). This is a form of treatment that works by training your brain to block out those whooshing and buzzing noises.

If you have tinnitus, or you’re worried about your hearing, and you’d like to find out more about our professional hearing services at Salyer Hearing Center, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have a friendly team and we use the latest treatments and techniques to achieve amazing outcomes. Call us now at one of our offices, Sylva: 828-586-7474, Franklin: 828-524-5599 or Murphy: 828-835-1014 to make an appointment.