Tinnitus therapy was designed to quiet the noise in your ears. Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you a lot? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have tinnitus (tin-NY-tus).
Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems. Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus and, in some cases, the effects are so severe it interferes with their daily activities. If you have tinnitus, you may even find it difficult to hear, work, or sleep.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus may be caused by:
- Hearing loss: Most people who have tinnitus also have some kind of hearing loss.
- Loud noise: Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Continued exposure can make the tinnitus and hearing loss become worse.
- Medication: More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be the cause.
- Other potential causes: Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck.
Kinds of Tinnitus Treatments
If you have been experiencing ringing in the ears, it’s time to make an appointment with Audiology Affiliates for an evaluation. A careful review of your health history, along with audiometric testing, will lead to the most likely causes and best treatment for your tinnitus. The causes can include:
- Hearing aids: Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids create the dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the tinnitus. The majority of patients with tinnitus receive partial or complete relief from their tinnitus with the use of hearing aids.
- Maskers: Tinnitus maskers are small electronic devices that look like hearing aids and are tuned to generate sound that masks or covers up the tinnitus. Like hearing aids, they may provide relief from the tinnitus, but will not enhance hearing and may interfere with understanding speech. Many types of devices, such as fans, radios and sound generators can be used as tinnitus maskers to help tinnitus sufferers sleep or get back to sleep.
- Medicine or drug therapy: As a tinnitus sufferer, you may develop anxiety and other strong emotional responses to your tinnitus. Certain medicines may provide relief from these emotional reactions and provide some relief from the tinnitus. Other medicines and nutritional supplements can provide additional relief.
- Neuromonics Tinnitus Therapy: This treatment uses a combination of testing, counseling and specialized masking to help you effectively manage and gradually reduce your response to the tinnitus. This treatment can take six months or more to complete, but has the highest rate of success.
- Counseling: If you have tinnitus you may experience anxiety, depression and other psychiatric problems. You may be referred to a psychiatrist or counselor as needed.
- Relaxing: Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes tinnitus seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there have been tremendous advancements in treatments that may give you some relief. Not every treatment works for everyone, so you may need to try several to find the ones that help the most.
Your Next Move — Tinnitus Therapy
First and most importantly, schedule an appointment with Audiology Affiliates to have your tinnitus evaluated. There may be other medical issues behind the tinnitus and it is important to rule out anything else that may affect your overall health.
There are some things you can do in the meantime. Think about things that will help you cope. Many people find listening to music very helpful. Focusing on music might help you forget about your tinnitus for a while. It can also help to mask the sound. Other people like to listen to recorded sounds found in nature, like ocean waves, the wind, or even crickets.
Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse, such as smoking, alcohol and loud noise. If you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.
Tinnitus therapy works and we urge you to let a professional at Audiology Affiliates help put an end to the ringing in your ears.