What is tinnitus? How is it related to hearing loss?
I want to talk a little bit about tinnitus. We often get questions about tinnitus, mainly because there are about, 50 million Americans that report some type of internal noise in their ears or in their head. And that’s the real definition of tinnitus: internal head noise.
It can be subjective, but it can actually be objective too. Rarely though, but it is possible to actually hear it audibly out of somebody else’s ear as well.
Tinnitus can be a temporary or chronic condition and can be very distressing for some individuals, leading to difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and hearing.
How common is tinnitus?
It’s not an uncommon problem. Again, fifty million Americans report it and in fact, we hear, probably more people come into our doors and complain about tinnitus than actual hearing loss.
What is tinnitus – Causes, Symptoms, Complications
The overwhelming majority of tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, specifically by noise-induced hearing loss. We see a lot of people that are either veterans or active military and a lot of people that have recreational hearing loss like gun shooters and motorcycle riders. Usually, some sort of long exposures to noise is the most common cause of tinnitus.
A lot of people think, “Boy, if I didn’t have this ringing in my head or buzzing, I hear great!” But understand this: it’s not the buzzing or ringing that causes the hearing loss; it’s actually the hearing loss that causes the ring.
It is usually caused by the hearing loss which is why audiologists often get the question “Why do I have this ringing inside my head?” It doesn’t have to be hearing loss.
There are lots of other things that can cause tinnitus as well. It could be a symptom of some neurological disorders, hypertension, dental issues, and even TMJ, problems with your temporal mandibular joint, which can cause tinnitus as well.
Two types of tinnitus
There are two main types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is the most common form and occurs when only the person with tinnitus can hear the sounds. Objective tinnitus, on the other hand, is rare and occurs when a doctor can hear the sounds during an examination.
Can tinnitus be cured?
One of the most challenging aspects of tinnitus is that there is no cure. However, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life. These treatments can include sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medications.
Sound therapy is a popular treatment option for tinnitus and involves the use of external sounds to help mask or distract from the internal tinnitus sounds. This can include using white noise machines, listening to music, or wearing hearing aids.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help individuals with tinnitus learn coping strategies to reduce the impact of the condition on their daily lives. Medications such as antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, and anticonvulsants can also be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of tinnitus.
In some cases, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, hypnosis, or herbal supplements may also be used to manage tinnitus. However, it is important to discuss any alternative treatments with a healthcare professional before trying them.
Is tinnitus permanent?
In conclusion, tinnitus is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are many treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and improve daily functioning.
If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.
To know more about tinnitus or to get a hearing evaluation, HearCare Audiology can help.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation!