causes of Tinnitus
The exact cause of tinnitus is unknown. However, research has consistently shown there are several likely causes or triggers.
- Noise Trauma
- Hearing loss
- Disease or health issues
- Head and neck injuries
Tinnitus sufferers tend to report problems in the following areas:
Hearing (difficulty understanding speech and often attributed to the fact that most tinnitus sufferers also have hearing loss)
Emotion (feelings of despair, frustration, depression, annoyance, irritation)
Concentration (inability to focus, fatigue, confusion)
Sound therapy refers to the use of sound(e.g. noise, relaxation sounds, music) to decrease the loudness or prominence of tinnitus. This can occur because the sound may completely or partially mask the tinnitus completely. Sound therapy stimuli can be housed in wearable devices (hearing aid-like devices) and non-wearable devices (such as sound machines or even a whirring fan).
Sound therapies are generally combined with other treatment options to achieve greater relief from tinnitus. A great analogy for the goal of sound therapy is illustrated using a candle in a dark room vs. a bright room.
Numerous research studies show that many tinnitus patients with hearing loss experienced total or partial tinnitus relief while wearing hearing aids.
This relief may be attributed to hearing aids ability to:
improve communicative difficulties caused by hearing loss but attributed to tinnitus.
alleviate the stress associated with difficult listening situations
amplify ambient background sounds which in turn mask tinnitus
stimulate impaired portions of the auditory system that have been deprived of sound
Personalized counseling can help to identify a patient's negative behaviors and thought patterns so that they can alter them. Counseling and education are generally coupled with other tinnitus treatments options, such as sound therapy and/or hearing aids if necessary.