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

In the movies, invisibility is a potent power. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effectual and, frequently, achieve the impossible.

Invisible health problems, regrettably, are just as potent and much less fun. As an example, tinnitus is an exceptionally common hearing disorder. But there are no external symptoms, it doesn’t matter how well you look.

But for people who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the affect could be considerable.

What is tinnitus?

One thing we recognize for certain about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. As a matter of fact, tinnitus is a condition of the ears, meaning that symptoms are auditory in nature. You know when you are sitting in a very quiet room, or when you get back from a loud concert and you hear that ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that about 25 million individuals experience it every day.

There are many other presentations of tinnitus besides the common ringing. Noises including humming, whirring, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. The common denominator is that anyone who has tinnitus is hearing sounds that aren’t really there.

For most people, tinnitus will be a short-term affair, it will come and go very quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million individuals, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes debilitating condition. Sure, it can be a little annoying to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and again. But what if that sound never goes away? Clearly, your quality of life would be substantially impacted.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever attempted to pinpoint the cause of a headache? Are you catching a cold, are you stressed, or is it an allergic reaction? The difficulty is that quite a few issues can trigger headaches! The symptoms of tinnitus, though rather common, also have a large number of causes.

Sometimes, it may be really obvious what’s causing your tinnitus symptoms. But you might never really know in other situations. Here are several general things that can trigger tinnitus:

  • Meniere’s Disease: Quite a few symptoms can be caused by this condition of the inner ear. Tinnitus and dizziness are among the first symptoms to manifest. Irreversible hearing loss can happen over time.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be generated by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. This often causes ringing in your ears.
  • Hearing loss: There is a close association between tinnitus and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be brought about by noise damage and that’s a large part of the picture here. In other words, both of them have the same cause. But the ringing in your ears can sound louder with hearing loss because the outside world is quieter.
  • High blood pressure: For some people, tinnitus may be caused by high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your physician is the best way to address this.
  • Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by some over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Typically, that ringing goes away once you quit taking the medication in question.
  • Colds or allergies: Swelling can occur when a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears. This swelling can cause tinnitus.
  • 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 exceedingly loud settings can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is fairly sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be brought on by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.

If you’re able to determine the cause of your tinnitus, treatment could become simpler. Cleaning out a blockage, for example, will ease tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. Some individuals, however, might never know what causes their tinnitus symptoms.

Diagnosing Tinnitus

If your ears ring for a few minutes and then it subsides, it isn’t really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it takes place often). Having said that, it’s never a bad plan to come see us to schedule a hearing exam.

However, if your tinnitus won’t subside or continues to come back, you should make an appointment with us to get to the bottom of it (or at least begin treatment). We will perform a hearing examination, discuss your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life, and perhaps even talk about your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this information.

Treating tinnitus

Tinnitus isn’t a condition that can be cured. But it can be addressed and it can be managed.

If your tinnitus is caused by a root condition, like an ear infection or a medication you’re taking, then dealing with that underlying condition will lead to an improvement in your symptoms. But there will be no known root condition to treat if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.

For individuals with chronic tinnitus then, the idea is to manage your symptoms and help make sure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively impact your quality of life. There are lots of things that we can do to help. Here are some of the most prevalent:

  • A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes noticeable because your hearing loss is making everything else comparatively quieter. In these cases, a hearing aid can help turn the volume up on the rest of the world, and overpower the buzzing or ringing you may be hearing from your tinnitus.
  • A masking device: This is a device much like a hearing aid, except instead of boosting sounds, it masks sound. These devices can be calibrated to your unique tinnitus symptoms, generating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing substantially less conspicuous.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: We might refer you to a different provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This is a therapeutic approach created to help you not notice the ringing in your ears.

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

If you have tinnitus, what should you do?

Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be ignored. Your symptoms will likely get worse if you do. You may be able to prevent your symptoms from getting worse if you can get ahead of them. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, be certain you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you are around loud noises.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, call 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.