What is tinnitus?

Woman with tinnitus

Tinnitus is a perception of noise in your ears when no external sound it present. Tinnitus can present in many different forms. People commonly refer to it as ringing in the ears, but it can also present as a whooshing, buzzing, humming, hissing, beeping, or pulsing noise. Tinnitus can affect one or both ears and the volume and pitch of the sound can also vary.

Tinnitus is fairly common. In fact, an estimated 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree. For some people, tinnitus is very mild and almost unnoticeable; however, others find it to be very disruptive to their everyday lives. About 16 million Americans experience tinnitus severe enough that they seek medical assistance.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease itself. It is often a symptom of an underlying condition. A common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. The tiny hair cells in your inner ear help you hear, and when those are damaged, it can release a signal that your brain interprets as sound. Sometimes this tinnitus is only temporary. For example, have you ever noticed your ears ringing temporarily after you’ve left a concert or loud sporting event? Other times, tinnitus is persistent; lasting days, months, or even years. Either way, exposure to loud noise is one of the top risk factors for tinnitus.

However, tinnitus does not always mean something is wrong with your ears or you have a hearing loss. Other causes of tinnitus can include:

  • Sinus infections or colds.
  • A blockage of cerumen (also known as earwax).
  • Meniere's disease, a disorder in the inner ear often caused by abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
  • Certain medications such as antibiotics, cancer treatment, antidepressants, or very high doses of Asprin.
  • Head or neck injuries.
  • Brain tumors or thyroid abnormalities.

How do you treat tinnitus?

Audiologist holding hearing aid

The treatment option for tinnitus depends on a variety of factors such as its cause and your hearing ability. If you have tinnitus due to an underlying condition such as a sinus infection, the best option may be to treat that before attempting to treat your tinnitus.

Many people find that hearing aids provide them with the tinnitus relief they need. The reason for this is that hearing aids can help amplify other sounds in your environment. If you are missing these sounds due to hearing loss, your tinnitus appears louder. With hearing aids, you may not notice the tinnitus as much or at all.

Many hearing aids often have tinnitus therapy programs that can reduce that effects of tinnitus or play ambient noise or music to soothe the tinnitus. Not every individual with tinnitus has hearing loss. Your audiologist will recommend and develop a treatment plan unique to your needs, including tinnitus sound therapy devices with or without amplification, informational counseling, and appropriate referrals as needed.

We Can Help

The Tinnitus Telehealth Program at Delaware Speech & Hearing offers tinnitus solutions, so you can get relief from the ringing in your ears!

Services we offer:

  • Assessment of tinnitus symptoms and history.
  • Development and implementation of a tinnitus treatment plan customized to your needs.

Benefits:

  • Take concrete steps to decrease awareness of tinnitus.
  • Telehealth appointments allow for treatment options from home.
  • Decrease in tinnitus symptoms improves overall quality of life.

Payment:

  • The initial 30 minute assessment is completed at no charge.
  • If further consultation is recommended, the audiologist will provide ongoing one-hour appointments at a fixed rate. The charges will be explained when you call to schedule your appointment.

Living with tinnitus may be challenging at times, but relief is possible. Schedule your appointment today!

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