Upset woman suffering from tinnitus laying in bed on her stomach with a pillow folded over the top of her head and ears.

Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effective and, frequently, accomplish the impossible.

Invisible health problems, unfortunately, are equally as potent and a lot less fun. Tinnitus, for instance, is an incredibly common condition that impacts the ears. Regardless of how well you might look, there are no external symptoms.

But for individuals who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the impact could be considerable.

Tinnitus – what is it?

One thing we recognize for sure about tinnitus is that it can’t be seen. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a disorder of the ears. You know that ringing in your ears you sometimes hear after a rock concert or in a really silent room? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so common that around 25 million individuals experience it every day.

While ringing is the most typical manifestation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Noises including humming, whirring, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. The common denominator is that anyone who has tinnitus is hearing noises that are not actually there.

In most cases, tinnitus will come and go over a short period. But tinnitus is a persistent and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million individuals. Think about it like this: hearing that ringing in your ears for five or ten minutes is irritating, but you can distract yourself easily and move on. But what if you can’t get rid of that sound, ever? Obviously, your quality of life would be significantly affected.

What causes tinnitus?

Have you ever attempted to pinpoint the cause of a headache? Maybe it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; perhaps it’s allergies. The trouble is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The symptoms of tinnitus, though relatively common, also have a large number of causes.

In some cases, it might be really obvious what’s causing your tinnitus symptoms. But you might never really know in other situations. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus might be caused by the following:

  • Certain medications: Certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines can cause you to hear ringing in your ears. Once you stop taking the medication, the ringing will usually subside.
  • Meniere’s Disease: A good number of symptoms can be caused by this condition of the inner ear. Amongst the first symptoms, however, are generally tinnitus and dizziness. Irreversible hearing loss can occur over time.
  • Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by exposure to overly loud noise over time. This is so prevalent that loud noises are one of the top causes of tinnitus! Wearing hearing protection if extremely loud locations can’t be avoided is the best way to prevent this type of tinnitus.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is rather sensitive! So head injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up causing tinnitus symptoms.
  • High blood pressure: For some individuals, tinnitus could be the consequence of high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your doctor is the best way to address this.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Just like a cold or seasonal allergies, ear infections, and other obstructions can cause swelling in the ear canal. This sometimes causes ringing in your ears.
  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus backs up in your ears, it may cause some inflammation. This swelling can cause tinnitus.
  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are frequently closely associated. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be brought about by noise damage and that’s a large part of the equation here. They both have the same cause, in other words. But hearing loss can also worsen tinnitus, when the outside world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can become louder.

If you’re able to figure out the cause of your tinnitus, treating it could become simpler. Clearing a blockage, for example, will relieve tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. Some individuals, however, may never recognize what’s causing their tinnitus symptoms.

How is tinnitus diagnosed?

If your ears ring for a few minutes and then it recedes, it’s not really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it occurs frequently). Having said that, it’s never a bad plan to check in with us to schedule a hearing evaluation.

But you should absolutely schedule an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t subside or if it continues to come back. We will execute a hearing exam, discuss your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life, and perhaps even discuss your medical history. All of that insight will be utilized to diagnose your symptoms.

How is tinnitus treated?

There’s no cure for tinnitus. But it can be treated and it can be controlled.

If you’re taking a particular medication or have an underlying medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you deal with the underlying cause. However, if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus, there will be no root condition that can be easily fixed.

For people who have chronic tinnitus then, the idea is to manage your symptoms and help make sure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively impact your quality of life. We can help in a variety of ways. amongst the most common are the following:

  • A masking device: This is a device much like a hearing aid, except instead of amplifying sounds, it masks sound. These devices can be calibrated to your unique tinnitus symptoms, creating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing substantially less conspicuous.
  • A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes noticeable because your hearing loss is making everything else relatively quieter. The buzzing or ringing will be less noticeable when your hearing aid raises the volume of the external world.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: We might refer you to another provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This technique uses therapy to help you learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds.

The treatment plan that we create will be custom-tailored to your specific tinnitus requirements. The objective will be to help you control your symptoms so that you can go back to enjoying your life!

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, what should you do?

Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your symptoms will probably get worse if you do. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you may be able to prevent them from growing worse. At the very least, you should invest in hearing protection for your ears, make sure you’re using ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you are around loud noises.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, contact us, we can help.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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