Tinnitus is a symptom that associated with some forms of hearing loss, and it can be a sign of other health issues as well. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 12 million Americans are sufferers. For some, the roaring, clicking, hissing, or ringing sound in their ears interferes with their daily activities, including sleep.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Loud noise. Too much exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
Medicine. More than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
Hearing loss. Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also have tinnitus.
Other health problems. Allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.
What to Do If You Think You Have Tinnitus
If you suspect you have tinnitus, see your Atlanta ENT doctor. Your doctor will try to get to the bottom of what is causing it.
Your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an audiologist.
There is no cure for tinnitus, but one of the following treatments might be recommended for you, depending on what is causing it:
- Hearing Aids. Many people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid makes it easier for some people to hear the sounds they need to hear by making them louder. The better you hear other people talking or the music you like, the less you notice your tinnitus.
- Maskers. Maskers are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it. Some people sleep better when they use maskers. Listening to static at a low volume on the radio or using bedside maskers can help. These are devices you can put by your bed instead of behind your ear. They can help you ignore your tinnitus and fall asleep.
- Medicine or drug therapy. Some medicines may ease tinnitus. If your doctor prescribes medicine to treat your tinnitus, he or she can tell you whether the medicine has any side effects.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy. This treatment uses a combination of counseling and maskers. Otolaryngologists and audiologists help you learn how to deal with your tinnitus better. You may also use maskers to make your tinnitus less noticeable. After a while, some people learn how to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. It takes time for this treatment to work, but it can be very helpful.
- Counseling. People with tinnitus may become depressed. Talking with a counselor or people in tinnitus support groups may be helpful.
- Relaxing. Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes tinnitus seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.
To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-740-1860. We have offices all over the Atlanta area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta, so don’t hesitate to contact us.