About Tinnitus

Have you ever had a ringing in your ears that wouldn’t go away? You’re not alone if you answered yes. According to a recent survey, one out of every ten American people had experienced tinnitus symptoms in the previous year. Over a third of the participants said their tinnitus—the sensation of ringing, buzzing, or whistling in the ears—is permanent. Continue reading for a closer look at this condition, information on tinnitus symptoms and side effects, as well as recommendations for treatment that can help with this distressing condition.

Tinnitus is a very common condition - in fact, in affects over 45 million people in the U.S. alone.

It manifests as continuous or intermittent sounds in the ears. Some people who have experienced Tinnitus describe it as a buzzing, clicking, hissing, or whistling sound. These sounds, which are not actually occurring but are perceived to be heard, can be low or high pitched and in only one or both ears.

Some of the causes of Tinnitus include aging, gradual hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, use of in-ear headphones, excessive ear wax, infection, as well as smoking and drinking alcohol. Injury to the ear through head trauma can also be a factor. One important thing to remember is that Tinnitus is merely a sign of a different pre-existing hearing condition. Therefore, visiting a hearing health care professional to determine the root cause of the condition is key to treating Tinnitus.

For some, these symptoms increase in the evening or immediately before falling asleep, as there are fewer sounds happening around to mask or cover up the ringing. However, Tinnitus can also come and go throughout the day, and this unpredictability can be frustrating. These unwanted sounds in the ear can make concentrating on simple everyday tasks a challenge.

What causes tinnitus?

It’s important to know that tinnitus is a symptom, not an illness. The noises people hear within their heads, according to researchers, are the brain’s reaction or way of responding to an ear injury. Tinnitus is often, but not always, associated with hearing loss, which is why it is so frequent among the elderly.

Tinnitus could be a symptom of a simple ear condition, such as wax or a foreign object lodged in the ear canal. According to Yale Medicine, It could potentially be a sign of one or more of the underlying illnesses listed below:

  • Neurological disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Ear and sinus infections
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart and blood vessel problems
  • Hormonal changes (in women)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Sinus pressure
  • Head injury
  • Meniere’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear that also causes room-spinning vertigo)

Tinnitus could also be a side effect of various prescription medicines, particularly ototoxic drugs (drugs that have a potentially toxic effect on the ear and its nerve supply), such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and cancer therapies.

Consequences of untreated tinnitus

Many people experience mild tinnitus with no issue to their daily life whatsoever. But tinnitus can be distressing if severe, impairing your ability to work and cope with everyday tasks. Tinnitus patients may have the following symptoms:

  • Distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Issues sleeping
Tired and stressed old man with hand on head with headache. Senior retired man at home feeling worri

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Doctors and scientists are still puzzled by the phenomenon of tinnitus, and there is still a lot of confusion about what tinnitus is and where it comes from. Because of these uncertainties, finding or developing a cure for tinnitus is also highly challenging. One of the reasons why finding a solution for tinnitus is so challenging is that the illness is difficult to assess. Because there is no reliable, objective way to quantify a person’s tinnitus severity directly, researchers must depend only on a patient’s description of their symptoms. As a result, determining a diagnosis and determining whether or not a treatment has succeeded is extremely difficult.

There are several methods used to measure the presence and burden of tinnitus which help to determine treatment options.

Senior man holding ears while suffering from pain. Tensed mature man holding ears. Side view of seni

No complete cure for Tinnitus exists, but there are many steps you can take to ease the effects of the condition.

Once we’ve evaluated your hearing and health and discovered any possible root causes of your Tinnitus, we’ll explore treatment options, which typically include noise suppression techniques and possibly medications. There are also lifestyle, home remedies, and alternative medicine options we can explore together to improve your quality of life.

Tinnitus Treatment

While no complete cure exists, there are several treatment options for those suffering from Tinnitus. Some treatments can be done at home, while others require the assistance of a medical professional.

Sound therapy is a treatment that involves the use of pleasant background noises to offset the perception of Tinnitus and is one option to provide temporary relief to the patient. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can offer more permanent relief through their ability to amplify external sounds, helping the listener to focus on sounds other than the ones created by their Tinnitus.

Another type of therapy employed in the process of treating Tinnitus is a retraining therapy, which teaches the auditory system to recognize the Tinnitus sounds as natural sounds. This process involves a trained hearing professional and includes wearing a device that emits quiet white noises. These therapy sessions take time, but they can be helpful if you are suffering from the frustrating symptoms of Tinnitus.

Each of these therapies can be completed by Swift Audiology.  We offer tinnitus treatment services in the Greater Pittsburgh Region and have 3 convenient locations:  Washington, PA, South Hills and North Hills, Pittsburgh, PA.

If you need some relief in the meantime, you can try these at-home treatments:

  • Healthy lifestyle: drink plenty of water, and avoid caffeine and alcohol, and decrease your salt intake. Stop smoking.
  • Play soft music in the background or turn on a fan for some white noise.
  • Practice relaxation.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Continue to practice ear protection.
What That Anoying Sound. Disturbed And Displeased Dark-skinned Girl With Curly Hair Frowning Clenchi

Tinnitus and Loud Noise

Loud sounds aggravate tinnitus. To avoid more loud noise exposure, take the following precautions:

  • For activities such as mowing the lawn, using loud maintenance equipment, or playing or listening to live music, use ear protection such as earmuffs or earplugs.
  • Be aware of how loud is too loud – if you have to shout to be heard when someone is standing 6 feet away from you, the noise level is too loud and will aggravate your tinnitus.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise and keep the level down if you listen to music or other audio content using headphones. It is recommended that you maintain the volume below 80% and practice the 60/60 rule when listening: Only listen at 60% of the volume for a maximum of 60 minutes before taking a break.

Schedule an Appointment

Our hearing professionals are trained in evaluating and managing your Tinnitus through the use of sound stimulation and hearing aid technologies.  Our aim is to provide you relief that will in turn improve your overall quality of life!

Schedule Your Hearing Exam Today