Tinnitus, a condition characterized by a constant whistling, whooshing, buzzing or other sound in the ear that isn’t experienced by other people, is more common than most people think. In fact, roughly 50 million people are affected by tinnitus at least once in their life. People can be at risk at any age or stage of life. Those at high risk of experiencing tinnitus include people who:
- Have constant exposure to loud noises, by attending concerts or working in loud environments
- Are older
- Are male
- Have cardiovascular problems
Tinnitus is a unique condition because it is actually a symptom of many other larger, underlying health concerns. Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Meniere’s Disease
- TMJ disorders
- Head injuries or neck injuries
- Acoustic neuromas
- Earwax blockage
- Changes to the ear bones
- Blood vessel disorders, such as atherosclerosis, head or neck tumors, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow or malformation of capillaries
- Ototoxic medications, including some antibiotics, cancer medications, water pills, quinine medications, certain antidepressants and aspirin
Tinnitus treatment options
Treating tinnitus can be difficult since there are so many different factors that contribute to the development of it. That said, an appointment with the audiologists at Affordable Audiology can help pinpoint the cause of your tinnitus and narrow down your best relief options. Common tinnitus treatments include:
- Hearing aids: Often times, tinnitus occurs concurrently with hearing loss. As the hearing loss is treated, the tinnitus often goes away.
- Change in medication: Fixing tinnitus can be as easy as changing a medication. Talk with your primary care physician to see if you may be taking an ototoxic medication and discuss if an alternative is available.
- White noise machines: Sometimes the tinnitus doesn’t go away; however, it can be masked and make living with tinnitus easier. Running white noise machines in the background can help distract or diminish the tinnitus symptoms.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: For tougher cases of tinnitus that aren’t solved with hearing aids or a change in medication, tinnitus retraining therapy can help the person suffer less from the symptoms. This therapy combines traditional methods of relief with a focus on learning how to ignore the sounds you are hearing.