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Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or hissing sensation in your ears, but the sound isn’t caused by an external noise. More than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus for a number of different reasons. To determine how to best treat tinnitus, it’s important to understand its  symptoms and causes.

Symptoms of tinnitus

There are a number of different symptoms for tinnitus, but the most common include hearing the following sounds:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Hissing 
  • Clicking

These sounds are heard only by the person experiencing the tinnitus, but in rare cases can be heard by someone else. These sounds can be experienced on a constant, intermittent, or occasional basis. Some people have problems sleeping when they have tinnitus because they feel as though their brain never “shuts off.”

Causes of tinnitus

There are several factors that can cause tinnitus, including the following:

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Medication
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear infection
  • Trauma to the ear
  • Earwax buildup
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Vascular disorders

Tinnitus may be caused by one or more of these conditions and some can be resolved easily if the cause is temporary, such as an infection or a buildup of earwax.

Tinnitus treatments

Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, there are a number of different treatment methods available to help you find relief. Your Audiologist will assess the severity of your tinnitus, symptoms, how it impedes your daily life and possible causes and recommend one of the following solutions.

  • Address the problem: If your tinnitus is due to earwax build up, medication or infection, your Audiologist will recommend the proper course to resolve the issue. This may include removing the earwax, talking to your doctor about switching medications or antibiotics. Behavioral therapy may also be recommended to help treat the varying emotions you may experience with tinnitus, from anxiety to anger. 
  • Hearing aids: Hearing devices are incredibly helpful in treating tinnitus. Even when hearing loss is not present, hearing aids can be equipped with tinnitus sound therapies that can provide treatment relief.
  • White noise machines: If your tinnitus isn’t as severe or only experienced at night time, a white noise machine may be ideal for helping you find relief. White noise machines produce a steady sound to help mask the tinnitus noises you hear.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT is a form of therapy designed to help individuals with tinnitus find relief. This therapy involves retraining your mind to block out and hear certain tones, which in turn, helps to ease the symptoms caused by tinnitus.

If you are suffering from tinnitus schedule an appointment with our Audiologists to be evaluated. Your Audiologist will work to identify the cause behind your tinnitus and recommend the appropriate treatment.