Have you ever experienced a phantom ringing, whistling or buzzing in your ears? If so, you may have tinnitus. The professionals at Northgate Hearing Services understand the ways tinnitus can negatively impact your quality of life, which is why they provide patient education on the condition.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus — often referred to as constant ringing or buzzing in one’s ears — can actually manifest itself in many ways. The sounds people hear, or more accurately, perceive to hear, have also been identified as buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. Some rare cases have reported people hearing music. Tinnitus more common than most people think, with 15 percent of Americans experiencing it to some degree. Almost half of those cases are chronic, with another two million cases characterized as extreme and debilitating.
Causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different things, from other health conditions to medication. Identifying the reason for the sounds you’re hearing can be important to providing the right treatment. Below are some of the common causes of the condition:
- Hearing loss: The American Tinnitus Association states that 56 percent of all tinnitus patients report hearing loss, too.
- Meniere’s disease: This is a disorder of the inner ear that usually impacts hearing and balance, and can also produce tinnitus sounds. While Meniere’s disease is fairly rare, tinnitus symptoms are often reported along with the usual symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Ototoxic medication: Some medications can cause tinnitus. Talk with your primary care physician to determine if you are on such a medication and to see if an alternative is available.
- Jaw issues: Some jaw issues, including temporomandibular joint disorder can cause tinnitus. If this is the case, our audiologists can help connect you with the right service provider.
While there is no official cure for tinnitus, there are a number of different options available to find relief, including:
- Hearing aids: Hearing aids are one of the most common and recommended treatment options for tinnitus. Not only can hearing aids address any hearing loss you have that might be causing phantom sounds, they can also be equipped with masking features to override the noise of tinnitus.
- Sound machines: White-noise machines may be recommended as part of your tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you experience symptoms at night when trying to sleep. These machines emit a white noise that helps you block out the sounds of tinnitus.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: This treatment is a form of habituation therapy that works to train your brain to ignore the tinnitus sounds. This solution is usually used in combination with other methods, such as hearing aids, to provide relief to chronic tinnitus sufferers.
Don’t let tinnitus impact your day-to-day functions. Talk more with Northgate Hearing Services to learn about how you can find relief from that annoying buzzing or ringing.