Tinnitus is a condition that affects millions of children and adults. Symptoms can be debilitating, forcing users to adapt or suffer. Getting medical attention for tinnitus can sometimes reveal deeper issues that need treatment. There is no proven cure for the condition, but there are ways to fight it. Living with tinnitus is possible, and it starts by understanding the condition.
What Is tinnitus?
When users have an awareness of sound in their ears or head that only they can hear, it is usually tinnitus. Common sounds are ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing and whirring. It can be heard in one or both ears, and can be extremely distracting. Two different kinds of tinnitus exist; objective and subjective. The most common is subjective tinnitus, where the sound can only be heard by the sufferer. Objective tinnitus can be heard by an audiologist examining the ears.
Causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not a disease, so its causes are a little different than other conditions. In some cases there are serious physical ailments associated with the condition that need to be checked immediately. Trained audiologists at Salyer Hearing Center are equipped to find the causes of tinnitus. There is no quick way to figure out what causes the condition. Below are some of the most common issues that lead to tinnitus, all of them varied in scope.
Age related hearing loss
- Long-term exposure to loud noise without protection
- One-time exposure to very loud noise, such as an explosion
- Foreign objects lodged in the ear
- Loose hair in the ear canal
- Head and neck trauma
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Sinus pressure
- Brain injuries
Some of these causes lead to ‘temporary tinnitus’ that can be cured. A good example of this is when ear wax builds up and causes a blockage. Cerumen removal will get rid of the blockage and tinnitus within a few minutes of cleaning.
Treating the problem
Even though tinnitus lacks a cure, treatment options are still a viable solution. Permanent tinnitus is something that can be managed so that the burden is lowered significantly. Every sufferer of the condition is affected differently, so treatment plans have to be tailor-made for all individuals. Full management of tinnitus may also require multiple layered treatments.
- Hearing aids: Many hearing aids can now be equipped with tinnitus-masking features. This setting helps block out the sounds caused by tinnitus. Audiologists will recommend these models over others when applicable
- Lifestyle changes: Exercise and good food is not just for patients that want to lose weight. If the well-being of a patient is close to the edge, then Tinnitus symptoms are worsened. Getting a daily routine down is a safe and easy way to combat the stress related to Tinnitus
- Sound therapy: This is one of the most widely used Tinnitus treatment techniques. Sound masking using external devices makes treatment ultra-portable without interfering with daily activities
- Behavior therapy: One-on-one or group behavior therapy helps alleviate heavy mental loads caused by daily symptoms