Tinnitus

People with tinnitus hear sounds that are not physically present. More than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus symptoms, from occasional episodes to chronic cases.

Symptoms

Tinnitus presents itself in one of two forms: subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is only perceptible by the affected individual and is indicative of an auditory or neurological problem. Objective tinnitus is rarer, and the ringing is audible to audiologists during a hearing evaluation. 

Symptoms vary but usually include perceived sounds like:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Rushing or whooshing
  • Humming or whistling
  • Roaring
Young woman suffering from loud noise on color background
Young woman suffering from tinnitus holding hand to head

What Causes Tinnitus?

The ringing in your ears is not a disease itself but a symptom of health issues, hearing damage and/or hearing loss.

Health conditions:

  • Circulatory problems like high blood pressure can exacerbate tinnitus because the hair cells in your ears require blood flow to function properly. Sodium and other foods that increase blood pressure can also affect tinnitus.
  • Tumors on the auditory nerve in the brain impact balance and hearing. Those growths usually cause tinnitus in one ear.
  • Inner ear muscle spasms and pressure can also cause ringing in the ears.

Damage:

  • Head or ear trauma can damage the inner ear or auditory nerve leading to tinnitus in one or both ears.
  • Earwax build-up traps dirt and bacteria can cause infections and pressure on the eardrum and lead to tinnitus.

Hearing loss:

  • Hearing loss often occurs with age, and tinnitus is a common symptom.
  • Noise damage and noise-induced hearing loss are major contributing factors to tinnitus. Once damaged, the delicate hair cells in your ears cannot recover, resulting in ringing in the ears.

If you experience any form of tinnitus, check in with an audiologist at Hearing Associates. 

Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus assessments include an overall hearing evaluation because of the close association with hearing loss. You will take a series of tests that check sound matching, loudness discomfort and masking level.

  • Sound matching involves recreating the sound of a patient’s tinnitus You will listen to different audio layered at different pitches to pinpoint an exact recreation.
  • Loudness discomfort is the volume level at which external sounds become uncomfortable. That information is necessary to determine appropriate masking and sound therapy.
  • The masking level is the minimum volume level required to mask your tinnitus We measure how loud you perceive your symptoms to create appropriate masking.

Hearing aids are a reliable treatment option, especially if you’re also dealing with hearing loss. Tinnitus maskers are programs that create constant, low-frequency white noise through your hearing devices. Those special features are added during fitting and adjustment appointments. New technology can even detect tinnitus frequencies and mask them with audio.

The Hearing Associates team can diagnose and treat your tinnitus to improve your hearing health. Call 888.760.2032 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.