If you’re experiencing tinnitus, chances are you aren’t undergoing a serious health problem. However, unprompted noise in your ears can be distracting, annoying, and it makes it extremely difficult to focus on daily life. If you or anyone you know is experiencing tinnitus, be sure to seek out an audiologist in your area to get the necessary help.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is defined as experiencing any sound in the head or ears that can’t be tied to any external source or stimulus. This sound can take many forms, including ringing, whistling, and hissing, but the sensation differs from person to person. Furthermore, it can be both constant and sporadic, and the frequency also varies based on the person.
Tinnitus can be experienced in either a single ear of both ears. Most often, the person experiencing tinnitus is the only person who can hear the noise. But there are unique circumstances in which others might be able to listen to it too. People over the age of 50 are most likely to experience tinnitus, but it’s also common for children and teens to experience it at times, too.
The most important thing to know about tinnitus is that it is not fatal or dangerous in and of itself. In a limited number of cases, it may be indicative of a more significant problem. But it is typically a harmless condition. It’s even possible for someone with chronic tinnitus to live a perfectly normal life.
Still, there are certain cases where tinnitus can lead to more serious complications. Sleep problems, stress, anxiety, and even depression have been tied to severe tinnitus. In situations like this, treating your tinnitus becomes a much more serious matter compared to the majority of cases.
How Do You Get Tinnitus?
There are a few different sets of circumstances which can trigger tinnitus. The most common culprit of short term tinnitus is exposure to loud sounds, such as power tools or large speakers at a concert. Impacted earwax, middle ear problems, and aging are also known to lead to tinnitus symptoms.
Additionally, certain types of medication (i.e., antibiotics, some anti-cancer meds, and large doses of aspirin) are known to cause tinnitus. Caffeine, nicotine, and cardiovascular conditions that cause high blood pressure can also lead to this condition. Although some factors that cause tinnitus are beyond your control, there are others that you can minimize to reduce your chances of experiencing it.
Unfortunately, the exact cause of tinnitus can’t be pinpointed in most cases. The best you can do is to be aware of all of the factors and try to address those which you have control over, such as caffeine consumption and exposure to loud noises. By being proactive about trying to limited tinnitus-causing factors, you should hopefully notice a decrease in the activity of your tinnitus.
How Do You Know If You Have Tinnitus?
Having tinnitus can be a bit tricky to identify at first. In most cases, it will mean that you perceive a sound which nobody else can hear. In more severe cases, it can make concentration very difficult. Studies indicate that 1 in 5 people suffer from some form of tinnitus, and knowing how to identify it is the first step towards dealing with it.
Confirming the suspicion that you have tinnitus starts with affirming that you regularly hear a noise which is not present and classifying how it sounds to you. Is it a hissing sound, a whistling, or closer to ringing in ears sensation? A pulsating feeling may also accompany it, and you should determine if you feel it in both ears or just one.
From there, you should go to a hearing care specialist for a professional diagnosis. By using a combination of hearing exams, movement tests, and imaging tests, a qualified professional should be able to get a more accurate read on your situation. By being able to accurately describe your symptoms, the doctor helping you should be able to put together a treatment/prevention plan that’s suited to you.
What Are The Treatments For Tinnitus?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for tinnitus as a chronic condition. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimize it, prevent it to a point, and make your chronic symptoms easier to live with. If there is an underlying reason for tinnitus, it’s crucial to treat the cause as soon as possible.
Jaw tension, ear infections, and prolonged exposure to loud noise are some of the most frequent causes of tinnitus. In some cases, addressing these problems causes the tinnitus to stop on its own. If possible, refraining from the consumption of ototoxic medications can also be a big help.
The truth is that in some cases, a patient has to learn to live with tinnitus. Rather than trying to eliminate it, the focus becomes how to minimize it and make it easier to cope with. Living an overall healthy lifestyle, using hearing protection, and managing stress are all said to provide noticeable relief.
Are There Hearing Aids for Tinnitus?
If you’re experiencing tinnitus as a result of old age, there are hearing aids that can reduce its effects. Since it’s common for tinnitus and hearing loss to go hand in hand, it’s no surprise that many audiologists use hearing aids as a way to amplify external noises. A hearing aid can take the user’s focus off of their internal tinnitus symptoms. The idea here is that any lasting method of getting a patient’s mind off their tinnitus goes a long way.
Using a hearing aid for somebody with tinnitus is a two-for-one solution, and the majority of tinnitus patients agree that their hearing aid provides them some degree of relief. Thanks to technological advancements in the field of audiology, more effective hearing aids are being developed as time goes on. If you or somebody you know suffers from tinnitus, a hearing aid may be a viable option to minimize the symptoms.