Tinnitus is what we call it when you hear sounds in your ear that are not coming from an external source but rather from inside the ear. Different people experience this sound in different ways and we’ll talk about the symptoms, as well as the many other things you need to know about tinnitus below.
Although tinnitus is rarely a symptom of anything more serious, it is worth seeing an audiologist and getting treatment for the problem. There are ways to manage tinnitus and it’s better to do this than to suffer in silence. Tinnitus treatments can vary, but there are several available to provide you with the relief you need.
The symptoms of tinnitus
Most people who experience tinnitus describe it as hearing a ringing sound in their ears. It might not sound like that for everyone though because everyone’s different. Rather than a ringing, some people might hear a buzzing sound, humming, hissing, whistling or grinding. In other words, there are lots of potential sounds associated with tinnitus that are experienced in a similar way. It’s always the case that it’s experienced as an internal noise.
There’s also more than one type of tinnitus that you can experience. Pulsatile tinnitus, for example, is when the noises that you hear in your ear as a result of tinnitus are in time with your pulse. Some people with tinnitus will also experience a general deterioration of their hearing and maybe become more sensitive to louder sounds. That sensitivity to sounds is known as hyperacusis and is linked to tinnitus for some people.
What causes tinnitus?
There are lots of things that can cause a person to develop tinnitus, such as ear infection or ear wax buildup. It’s relatively small and minor things that can lead to tinnitus in most cases. If you expose your ears to loud noises repeatedly or in one very loud blast, this might also damage the inner ear and lead to tinnitus developing for you. It can also be linked to other kinds of hearing loss that might occur at the same time.
Women who are pregnant are also more likely to suffer tinnitus and it can also be linked to blood flow problems and anemia. Additionally, tinnitus can be caused by stress or emotional turmoil. That’s why it’s important to get it checked out to see if there are other issues causing the tinnitus that need to be treated as well as the tinnitus itself.
Living with tinnitus
That constant noise in your ears can be really frustrating if you can’t ignore it. It stops some people from being to enjoy quiet time and relax properly and as a result, can also damage their sleeping patterns. It’s obviously most noticeable during quiet times because there are no other external noises masking the noise that you’re hearing in your ears. As a consequence, it can massively impact a person’s quality of life.
There are treatments available and we’ll talk about them more below. But there are also ways to mask the problem and deal with day to day life when you’re experiencing the effects tinnitus. Some people find that relaxation and meditation techniques can help to reduce the impact of the tinnitus, so this might be something that you want to explore as well.
What can an audiologist do to help you?
If an underlying, curable issue like an ear infection or wax impaction can’t be found, various other treatments, like hearing aids, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) or sound machines may be utilized. There is no one treatment that works for everyone so your audiologist will consider your individual symptoms and recommend the best option, which may include:
- Hearing aids: These devices can be equipped with a masking feature that will help drown out the tinnitus sounds you hear. They can also be used in tandem to treat hearing loss, which can provide relief.
- TRT: Tinnitus retraining therapy is a treatment that involves training your brain to ignore the sounds of this condition. This can be used at the same time as hearing aids or in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you to cope with the emotional issues tinnitus can present.
- Sound machines: These machines produce an even noise that can also help to override tinnitus sounds. These are commonly used at bedtime to help block out any ringing or buzzing.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus problems, you shouldn’t hesitate to take action and seek help. Northgate Hearing Services can give you the professional help you require and find a treatment and solution that works for you. You can get in contact via (206) 367-1345 if you’re having difficulties with your hearing.