Many people describe a ringing in their ears without there being an external cause for hearing the sound. This condition is called tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tus) and can affect one or both ears. Tinnitus can sound like ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or roaring, and can be intermittent, constant, loud, or soft. Symptoms of tinnitus are as unique as the people it affects, but one overall theme is common with the condition: it is difficult and tiresome to deal with. These sounds may come and go, but for most, the symptoms produce a constant, maddening drone.
There is currently no known cause of tinnitus, causing it to be somewhat of an enigma in the hearing industry. Instead of being classified as a disease, tinnitus is a symptom indicating that something is wrong in the ear, auditory nerve, or the parts of the brain that process sound. In some instances, a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can be the cause of tinnitus, but other causes can also result in the unnerving condition.
The most common causes are:
- Exposure to loud sounds over time
- Head and neck injuries
- Medication side effects (called ototoxicity)
- Untreated medical conditions
- Natural aging
- Sudden impact noises
The simple truth is that living with tinnitus is not easy. The offending sounds tend to be more noticeable in quiet environments and as a result, sufferers often complain of having trouble sleeping. A lack of sleep combined with the annoying distraction of these persistent sounds can quickly erode one’s quality of life. Making matters worse, tinnitus can also be associated with varying degrees of pain in the ear.
Despite the tenacious nature of tinnitus, an increasing number of helpful treatments for it have been developed in recent years. Many tinnitus sufferers are surprised to learn how effective hearing aids are for reducing the impact tinnitus has on daily life. Hearing aids can amplify certain sounds, while dampening others, making the offending sounds from tinnitus much less noticeable and intrusive. Moreover, tinnitus and hearing loss are commonly seen together. Nearly 90% of people dealing with tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss, making hearing aids a useful solution for both.
We understand that tinnitus can be difficult to live with, so at The Hearing Center we aim to find treatments that will offer the relief you’ve been looking for. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are a variety of treatments that we can discuss to help ease the impact that tinnitus has on your daily life. Our professional team can help you gain control over your tinnitus and take back your hearing by forming a course of treatment that suits your specific needs.