Relief For Tinnitus
What is Tinnitus?
Do you hear a roaring, clicking, hissing, or ringing in the ears? Is it a day-to-day problem? If you answer yes to these questions, you may have tinnitus (tin-NY-tus). Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss and can also be a symptom of other health problems. According to estimates by the American Tinnitus Association, at least 12 million Americans have tinnitus; of these, at least 1 million experience it so severely that it interferes with their daily activities. People with severe cases of tinnitus may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.
What Causes Tinnitus?
- Hearing loss: Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also have 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. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
- Other health problems: Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck.
What Should I Do If I Have Tinnitus?
Our specialists can determine the cause of your tinnitus and can check to see if it’s related to blood pressure, kidney function, diet, or allergies. We can also determine whether your tinnitus is related to any medicine you are taking. To learn more about what is causing your tinnitus, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist), otherwise known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor. He or she will examine your ears to find out why you have tinnitus. Another hearing professional, an audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist), can measure your hearing.
How Will Hearing Experts Treat My Tinnitus?
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, scientists and doctors have discovered several treatments that can relieve intensity. These treatments include:
- Hearing Aids. 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. These 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 less prominent. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it; in some cases this helps people sleep better.
- Counseling. People with tinnitus may become depressed; talking with a counselor or people in tinnitus support groups may be helpful.
- Relaxing. Stress can worsen the symptoms of tinnitus, so relaxation is key.
What Can I Do To Help Myself?
Many people find listening to music very helpful. Others like to listen to recorded nature sounds like ocean waves, the wind, or even crickets.
Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse including smoking, alcohol, and loud noises. If you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.
If it’s hard for you to hear over your tinnitus, ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. Seeing their expressions may help you understand them better. Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Also, tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.
To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-740-1860. Don’t put your daily life on hold.