More than 15 million Americans suffer from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a subjective ringing in the ear. Sometimes people also hear a whistling, buzzing, whooshing or other high-pitched noise; the condition can often be debilitating. Tinnitus can be either long-lasting (chronic) or temporary (acute) and can be classified as either subjective or objective.
Ninety-nine percent of tinnitus cases are subjective. Objective tinnitus – where the sound can be heard by both the individual suffering tinnitus and the physician – is very rare.
Tinnitus actually isn’t a condition in and of itself, but rather a symptom of many conditions.
Tinnitus can be caused by:
- Hearing loss
- Ototoxic medications
- Health conditions related to blood pressure
- Excessive earwax
- Nasal congestion from a severe cold
- Exposure to loud noises.
Because there are so many different health issues that can cause tinnitus, treatment can be difficult, though not impossible. The first step to effective treatment is pinpointing the cause of your tinnitus with a healthcare team, usually including your primary healthcare physician and an audiologist.
Your care team is integral in establishing the type of treatment needed to care for you and deal with your tinnitus.
Tinnitus treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The most common treatment for tinnitus is hearing aids equipped with masking features. This feature works by overriding the noises your brain perceives as tinnitus.
- Removal of certain ototoxic medications: These medications may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics, certain cancer medications, water pills and some quinine-based medications. Do not stop taking any medications without first speaking to your physician.
- Noise suppression: Such as white noise machines, fans, humidifiers or air conditioners,
- to cover up the noise
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: This form of therapy is typically used in conjunction with other treatments like hearing aids. Tinnitus retraining therapy helps you learn how to block out or “turn off” the sounds you hear. When used with hearing aids or sound machines, this therapy can drastically improve your quality of life.
The first step to establishing the right tinnitus treatment for an individual is to seek a diagnosis. Contact Advanced Audiology Services today for an appointment with one of our certified audiologists today.