New Study Shows that 1 in 10 Adults in the US Suffer from Tinnitus

New Study Shows that 1 in 10 Adults in the US Suffer from Tinnitus

In Hearing Loss by Aaron Gingrich

Aaron Gingrich

If you’ve ever found yourself finally in a quiet place just to realize that you are still haunted by a mysterious ringing in your ears, then you are not alone in this. This is the sound of tinnitus, which manifests differently for everyone. Some people hear a ring, while others hear a swoosh, buzz, or roar that seems to be coming from inside your head. This condition can cause frustration, anxiety and even sleep issues if it is not dealt with. Now a new study finds that this condition is more common than previously detected.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a static sound that seems to be coming from inside the head with no external source. While no one completely understands why or how tinnitus works it is closely associated with hearing loss. It is all too common to suffer from tinnitus after being exposed to a very loud noise. This is a signal that you have experienced some hearing damage. Many doctors suspect that when the tiny hairs of the inner ear, which are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain become damaged, they can send false signals to the brain, almost like feedback. Our brains register this feedback as the symptoms of tinnitus. When tinnitus goes on for over six months it is categorized as a chronic condition. This is extremely common for people once they reach 55 years of age. This may be connected to the natural breakdown of the inner ear due to a lifetime of listening.

A New Study on the Prevalence of Tinnitus

It is estimated that 50 to 60 million people in the US suffer from Tinnitus. A new study from the University of California, Irvine in the US revealed that approximately one in ten US adults suffer from tinnitus. This test was based on data from data collected among 75,764 adult study participants. The study found that of the 21.4 million US adults who reported tinnitus, 27% ed form chronic tinnitus lasting over 15 years and 36% experienced tinnitus almost constantly. The study also illuminated that the people who reported chronic tinnitus had lifestyles or jobs that exposed them to dangerous levels of noise over many years.

Psychological side effects

If you don’t suffer from tinnitus, it can be easy to underestimate the psychological effects this condition can have. However, if you are familiar with the buzz in your head that cannot be escaped then you are probably strategizing on how to cope. The study from University of California, Irvine found that  7.2% of the respondents reported their tinnitus as a big or very big problem while 42% perceived their condition as a minor problem. Tinnitus can cause stress and stress and instigate more severe tinnitus, creating a vicious cycle. Often tinnitus can affect healthy sleep patterns, causing further stress, anxiety and concentration problems during the day, ultimately affecting relationships and work performance.

How to Treat Tinnitus

While there is no official cure for tinnitus, there are several methods that can lessen the effects. While tinnitus is real it is also present in your mind alone. Reducing stress levels can lower the acuteness of symptoms. One successful method of treatment is a conversational therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Your therapist will talk to you about how you respond to tinnitus and work on lessening the stress response upon its presence. Similarly, meditation, yoga and exercise challenge you to be in your body, improving mood, and lowering stress levels that can instigate tinnitus. 

Hearing Aids and Sound Masking Therapy

The California study found that 49% of the respondents had discussed their tinnitus with a physician. 9.2% of these had discussed interventions with hearing aids or wearable and non-wearable masking devices. Cognitive behavioral therapy was only discussed by 0.2% of the respondents. Masking may be the most effective method, which can cover up the sounds of tinnitus so you can focus on other things. Because hearing aids can amplify sounds, making it easier to communicate, this method may also decrease stress. 

Many hearing aids offer tinnitus masking technology which matches the pitch of your tinnitus, so it is barely detectable. To find out more about how you can treat your tinnitus, schedule a hearing test with us today!