Have you ever experienced a constant ringing, buzzing, whistling or other noise that no one else can hear? If so, you’ve suffered from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition in which an individual hears a noise that is otherwise inaudible to others. Tinnitus is not a condition in and of itself; it is actually a symptom of many other issues. At TOPS Hearing Center, we understand how tinnitus can impact your quality of life, which is why we offer a plethora of information and treatment options involving the condition.
There are many issues that can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often linked to hearing loss, especially noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is caused by exposure to loud noises, which can cause permanent damage to one’s ears. Tinnitus isn’t always associated with hearing loss; however, it can also be caused by other health issues, including high blood pressure or by certain medications.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Prolonged exposure to loud sounds
- Impacted earwax
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- High blood pressure
- Meniere’s disease
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Middle ear infection
- Ototoxic medication
Tinnitus can be a frustrating condition for those who suffer from it. Often times, it can take a while to figure out the cause of the constant noise. Sometimes, a solution can’t completely fix the issues either. Nevertheless, it is important to have hope, as there are many treatment options available.
Tinnitus is caused by many conditions but is characterized the same: symptoms include a constant buzzing, ringing, whistling, whooshing or over noise that otherwise cannot be heard by others. The symptoms can be worse at night, leading to insomnia. Patients with tinnitus are at an increased risk of depression, insomnia, anger and more.
Because there are so many different causes of tinnitus, it is difficult to pinpoint one treatment. As such, there are many different treatments available that can help reduce the tinnitus or make it more bearable to live with.
Tinnitus treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: Often times, when people are fitted with hearing aids for the first time, they’ll notice their tinnitus will cease as well. That’s because hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus. Being able to hear again can reduce the constant noise associated with the condition.
- White noise machines: Sometimes tinnitus can’t be fixed with hearing aids. With these cases, audiologists recommend white noise machines that can help mask the symptoms of tinnitus.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: For severe cases, our audiologists often recommend tinnitus retraining therapy to help relieve symptoms. Therapists can Patients learn to respond differently to the tinnitus, enabling them to live less stressed lives.
- Changing medication: For tinnitus caused by ototoxic medications, a simple switch of medications can make a big difference. If we suspect tinnitus is caused by one of your prescriptions, you can talk with your primary care physician to see if an appropriate replacement is available.