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 stealthy ninja, invisibility allows characters in movies to be more effectual and, often, accomplish the impossible.

Unfortunately, invisible health disorders are no less potent…and they’re a lot less fun. As an illustration, tinnitus is an exceptionally common hearing condition. Regardless of how well you might look, there are no external symptoms.

But just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean tinnitus doesn’t have a substantial impact on people who experience symptoms.

What is tinnitus?

One thing we recognize for certain about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a condition 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 prevalent that around 25 million individuals experience it daily.

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

For most people, tinnitus will be a short-lived affair, it will come and go really quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million individuals, tinnitus is a chronic, sometimes debilitating condition. Sure, it can be a bit annoying to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and again. But what if you can’t get rid of that sound, ever? Obviously, your quality of life would be substantially affected.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever attempted to determine the cause of a headache? Are you catching a cold, are you stressed, or is it an allergic reaction? Lots of things can trigger a headache and that’s the challenge. The same is also true of tinnitus, although the symptoms may be common, the causes are widespread.

The cause of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be obvious. In other cases, you may never really know. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus might be caused by the following:

  • Meniere’s Disease: Quite a few symptoms can be caused by this condition of the inner ear. Dizziness and tinnitus are amongst the first symptoms to appear. With time, Meniere’s disease can lead to irreversible hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are often closely associated. In part, that’s because noise damage can also be a direct contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, they both have the same cause. But the ringing in your ears can seem louder with hearing loss because the external world is quieter.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Just like a cold or seasonal allergies, ear infections, and other obstructions can cause inflammation in the ear canal. As a result, your ears could begin to ring.
  • Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by exposure to overly loud noise over time. One of the leading causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is quite prevalent. Using hearing protection if exceptionally loud locations can’t be avoided is the best way to prevent this type of tinnitus.
  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears, it may cause some swelling. And tinnitus can be the result of this swelling.
  • Certain medications: Certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines can cause you to hear ringing in your ears. Once you stop using the medication, the ringing will typically go away.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is pretty sensitive! So head injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up producing tinnitus symptoms.
  • High blood pressure: For some people, tinnitus might be caused by high blood pressure. If this is the situation, it’s a good idea to consult your physician in order to help manage your blood pressure.

If you’re able to identify the cause of your tinnitus, treating it might become simpler. For instance, if an earwax obstruction is causing ringing in your ears, clearing out that earwax can relieve your symptoms. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms might never be identified for some people.

Diagnosing Tinnitus

Tinnitus that only persists a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. That said, it’s never a bad strategy to come see us to schedule a hearing evaluation.

But you should absolutely make an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t go away or if it continues to come back. We will ask you about your symptoms, talk to you about how your quality of life is being affected, complete a hearing exam, and most likely discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this insight.

Treating tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition that can be cured. The strategy is management and treatment.

If your tinnitus is due to an underlying 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. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily corrected.

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

  • A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of boosting them. These devices produce just the right amount and type of sound to make your specific tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy, we might end up referring you to a different provider. This strategy uses therapy to help you learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds.
  • A hearing aid: When you have hearing loss, outside sounds get quieter and your tinnitus symptoms become more apparent. The buzzing or ringing will be less noticeable when your hearing aid increases the volume of the outside world.

We will create a personalized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The objective will be to help you control your symptoms so that you can go back to enjoying your life!

If you have tinnitus, what should you do?

Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Chances are, those symptoms will only grow worse. You may be able to prevent your symptoms from worsening if you can get in front of them. At the very least, you should invest in hearing protection for your ears, make sure you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you are around loud noises.

If you have tinnitus that won’t go away (or keeps coming back) schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

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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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