Are you suffering from tinnitus? You’re not alone: The American Tinnitus Association estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus. But these days, relief is possible.
Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis), or “ringing in the ears,” is the perception of a sound in one or both ears, without there being an external cause for that sound. Typically experienced as a ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or roaring, the sounds heard with tinnitus can be intermittent or constant, loud or soft. While the experience of tinnitus can vary widely, the effect upon sufferers is often similar: difficult and tiresome. These sounds may come and go, but for most, the symptoms produce a constant, maddening drone.
The bottom line is, living with tinnitus isn’t easy. Since the offending sounds tend to be more noticeable in quiet environments, sufferers often complain of having trouble sleeping. A lack of sleep combined with the annoying distraction of the persistent sounds can quickly erode one’s quality of life. Making matters worse, tinnitus can also be associated with varying degrees of pain in the ear.
Tinnitus is somewhat of an enigma. Its cause can be as elusive as its cure. Tinnitus is not a disease, but instead a symptom that something is wrong in the ear, the auditory nerve, and/or the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus. There are several other possible causes for tinnitus, however many are actually unknown.
The most common causes are:
- Exposure to loud sounds over time
- Head and neck injuries
- Medication side effects (called ototoxicity)
- Untreated medical conditions
- Natural aging
- Sudden impact noises
Despite the tenacious nature of tinnitus, an increasing number of helpful treatments for it have been developed in recent years. Many tinnitus sufferers are surprised to learn how effective hearing aids are for reducing the impact tinnitus has on daily life. Hearing aids can amplify certain sounds, while dampening others, making the offending sounds from tinnitus much less noticeable and intrusive. Moreover, tinnitus and hearing loss are commonly seen together. Nearly 90% of people dealing with tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss, making hearing aids a useful solution for both.
At Area Hearing and Speech Clinic we work closely with our patients to help them find the relief they’ve been waiting for. While no cure for tinnitus exists, there are a number of ways we can help you ease the effect that tinnitus has on your daily life. Our professional team can help you gain control and take back your life by forming a course of treatment that suits your specific needs.