A Guide to Tinnitus
Tinnitus affects around 10-15 percent of adults in the US. This common condition has a variety of causal factors, and a few different treatments for managing it too. If you have tinnitus or suspect that you might have it, it's important to get a good understanding of the condition. Learn about what it is, what causes it and how tinnitus can be treated by reading the information below.
What is tinnitus?
People often understand tinnitus as a ringing in the ears, but it can also sound like several other things. Sufferers also describe tinnitus as whistling, clicking, whooshing, and various other noises. It can be heard in either ear or might sound like it's in your head, rather than in your ears. Many people experience a mild form of tinnitus, but some find that it's more severe. Not everyone requires medical intervention for tinnitus, and some people learn to live with it, or it goes away on its own. However, there are often treatments and therapies that can help to make tinnitus better.
What are the causes of tinnitus?
Tinnitus has a variety of different causes and is linked to many things. As well as being associated with hearing loss, it can occasionally be caused by some underlying conditions, injuries, or even taking medication. The majority of people with tinnitus also have some form of hearing loss, but not everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss. Tinnitus is sometimes caused by easily treatable problems, such as ear infections or earwax buildup. Children might experience the condition glue ear, which can sometimes cause tinnitus. Another ear condition that might cause tinnitus, as well as hearing loss, is Meniere's disease.
Tinnitus is sometimes connected to other illnesses and health conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid conditions are just some of the possible causes. Stress, depression and anxiety can aggravate tinnitus too. Some medications might also cause tinnitus. To find the cause of tinnitus, a visit to an audiologist will help you get started. They can also identify any hearing loss and suggest treatments.
What treatments exist for tinnitus?
Treatments for tinnitus vary, depending on what the cause it. If tinnitus is caused by an underlying condition, treating that condition may mean that the tinnitus goes away. However, if there is no clear cause or the tinnitus is related to hearing loss, there are other methods used to help manage it.
The wearing of hearing aids is one way to help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. They help the wearer hear more background noise, which balances out their hearing. A hearing aid can even introduce more external noise using a sound device, which can help to block out the sound of the tinnitus.
Tinnitus retraining therapy aims to help people adjust to the sound of tinnitus. It combines different techniques, including the wearing of sound devices and psychological training to teach people how to ignore and block out the tinnitus sound.
Some people might also benefit from making lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, getting more sleep or even changing their diet and exercise habits.