Tinnitus is hearing noise or ringing in your ears without any audible input. Over the years I have had my patients describe the symptoms in a number of ways and it can be experienced as a buzzing, humming, hissing, whooshing, clicking like noise or similar.
It affects around 15% of the population and as we age we are more susceptible to developing symptoms. While there is no cure for the condition, wearing hearing aids for tinnitus can be effective. Keep reading for more information on managing tinnitus.
In general the cause of tinnitus is not able to be determined, however causes can include ageing and a number of health related factors. Treatment depends in the cause of your tinnitus but generally it is very difficult to determine.
It is a condition that can come on suddenly or gradually and it can develop in one or both ears. You may experience tinnitus as constant or it may come and go with variations in tone, strength and volume.
Causes of Tinnitus
The causes of tinnitus are varied and often the exact cause is unable to be identified but it can be triggered by hearing loss, ageing, exposure to loud noise, earwax, ear infections, ear damage, stress, some medications, head or neck injuries, dental problems, high blood pressure, nerve problems, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, muscle spasms and inner ear conditions.
So as you can see the causes are many and varied making identifying the root cause very difficult.
Treatment of tinnitus is complex and it depends on the cause(s) which in many cases is unable to be identified. If the cause is found, like build-up of ear wax, then the solution is easy.
However it’s important to note that there is no definitive cure. Sometimes certain medicines can help in reducing the symptoms.
Hearing based treatments like hearing aids can also be useful in reducing the effects. More on this next.
Hearing Aids and Tinnitus
It is often useful to see a hearing aid dispenser/professional if your tinnitus is ongoing. Wearing hearing aids can often reduce the symptoms of tinnitus in a high percentage of cases.
Hearing aids allow uses to hear sounds they might have been missing, which can effectively mask a lot of the tinnitus noise.
Tinnitus is often more noticeable at night time when you are trying to sleep and you are not wearing your hearing aids. Some customers of mine have found white noise apps on their smartphone useful.
If a customer has an appointment with me and they have concerns regarding tinnitus yet a hearing test reveals only mild hearing loss I normally suggest they investigate other treatment options before choosing to wear hearing aids.
Experiencing tinnitus can cause many people a lot of stress and often simply trying not to focus on it can go a long way to being able to live with it. I am certainly not trying to minimise the effects of the condition and its certainly important to seek treatment if it is bothersome, however the road to helping you alleviate the symptoms may not be an easy one.