Best Tinnitus Therapy
Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears. Up to 50 million Americans are affected by tinnitus. In many cases, the symptoms of tinnitus are caused by exposure to loud noise. You might find that your ears are ringing or that you can hear buzzing or whooshing sounds after going to a concert, for example. When tinnitus is temporary and short-lived, there is usually nothing to worry about, but when symptoms persist or get worse, it’s wise to seek professional advice. If you experience signs of tinnitus, and you’re looking for information about treatments and therapies, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful.
A brief overview of tinnitus
Tinnitus occurs when you hear noises that don’t have an external source. Even when you’re in a silent room, you’ll be able to hear sounds. Most commonly, people hear ringing noises, but it’s also possible to hear swooshing, humming, buzzing, clicking, and hissing sounds. Tinnitus is often a temporary response to periods of exposure to loud noises, for example, music at a club or drilling on a building site. Usually, tinnitus wears off after a few hours, but for some people, it is a persistent problem that can blight everyday life. If you suffer from tinnitus frequently, or your symptoms have become more severe, a hearing instrument specialist can help.
What causes tinnitus?
There are several possible causes of tinnitus, including:
- Exposure to very loud noises
- Taking some forms of medication
- Ear infections
- Trauma or injury
- Meniere’s disease
- A build-up of earwax
Tinnitus and hearing loss
In around 65 percent of cases, people who have tinnitus also experience hearing loss. Hearing loss is often associated with damage to the fragile structures within the inner ear. When the ear is damaged, and it can’t send as many electric signals to the brain as normal, it becomes more difficult to hear, and the brain tries to fill the silence with noise. This can contribute to tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can also be exacerbated by the fact that if you can’t hear well, there is no external noise to block out the ringing and buzzing sounds, which makes them appear louder.
There are various types of therapies and treatments available for tinnitus. The treatment that is recommended will usually be based on the underlying cause. Infections and excessive wax are often treated as a priority. If these causes are not relevant, treatments may include:
- Sound machines: If you find that your symptoms tend to get worse at night, when it’s quieter, using a sound machine may prove beneficial. Sound machines generate white noise and give you something to focus on that isn’t ringing or hissing. With a sound machine, you can mask the symptoms of tinnitus, and many people find that it’s easier to sleep with background noise.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): Tinnitus retraining therapy aims to train your brain so that it starts to block out the signs of tinnitus. Effectively, this treatment enables your brain to tune out, so that you become less aware of sounds that aren’t generated by external sources.
- Hearing aids and tinnitus: If you have symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus, a hearing instrument specialist may recommend wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify sounds, which make it easier to hear, and they can also reduce the severity of symptoms of tinnitus by filling the void created by hearing loss. If you can hear the birds singing, cars beeping their horns and planes flying overhead, you’re less likely to focus on whooshing and ringing noises. Many people find that when they start using hearing aids, both their hearing and their tinnitus symptoms improve dramatically. There are several different types of hearing aids, and you’ll be able to explore different options before you decide which device to go for.
Which is the best therapy for tinnitus?
Every person is different, and some people respond to treatments better than others. To determine which therapy is best, tests will be carried out to identify an underlying cause and check for signs of hearing loss. When hearing loss is present, hearing aids often make a very positive difference. In other cases, options like using sound machines or tinnitus retraining therapy may be more effective. A hearing instrument specialist will be able to discuss different treatments with you and give you more information about hearing aids and how they can benefit you if you have hearing loss.
If you suffer from tinnitus, and you’re looking for advice or information, don’t hesitate to get in touch. To learn more about Palmetto Hearing Healthcare Center, call one of our offices at:
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