Tinnitus Overview

Tinnitus is the perceived sound of ringing, buzzing, clicking, or whooshing in one or both of your ears.

Tinnitus can be temporary; however, the condition is more often permanent. The issue effects about 20% of American adults and is the number one most commonly treated condition for returning veterans. For some, tinnitus is simply a slight annoyance that doesn’t at all interfere with their life. For others, however, the condition can cause a lack of concentration, anxiety, insomnia or depression.

What is Tinnitus?

As mentioned above, tinnitus is the perception of phantom noises in your ears that typically sound like buzzing, ringing, whooshing, clicking or roaring. Although not typically indicative of anything serious, tinnitus is actually not a condition upon itself. Instead, it is almost always a symptom of another underlying condition.

Tinnitus can vary in pitch as well as volume. For some people, the tinnitus sounds like a high-pitched squeal, while others will experience a low-pitched rumble. For others, the pitches and volumes vary throughout the day.

Types of Tinnitus

There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective.

Causes of Tinnitus

People experience tinnitus for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes the causes are quite clear cut, whereby other times it may be difficult for a hearing healthcare professional to pinpoint exactly why you experience tinnitus.


Image

Hearing Loss

Most of the time, tinnitus is also associated with a hearing loss. In fact, it is estimated that about 90% of people who experience tinnitus, also have some degree of hearing loss. Both presbycusis (age related) and noise induced hearing loss have been known to cause tinnitus. Because hearing loss is so gradual, it is not uncommon that tinnitus is the first noticeable sign. While the research is still slightly unclear, it is believed that the damage to and decay of the tiny hair-like cells in your inner ear that is associated with hearing loss may also be the cause of hearing loss related tinnitus.
Image

Physical Abnormalities

There are many physical issues that could be causing tinnitus. For example, earwax buildup, otosclerosis - which is an abnormal stiffening of the bones in the inner ear, or a benign (noncancerous) tumor on the auditory nerve can all cause tinnitus symptoms.
Image

Diseases and Other Health Concerns

Certain diseases or health concerns can also cause tinnitus. Meniere’s disease is an issue of increased inner ear fluid that causes buildup and pressure. This can cause dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or from previous head or neck injuries.
Image

Medications

Certain medications have also been known to cause tinnitus symptoms. These medications include some antibiotics, cancer medications, malaria preventatives, and even some antidepressants.

Tinnitus Treatment

Currently there is not yet a cure for tinnitus. Instead, there are multiple treatment options that have been very successful with many patients. At Absolute Audio, we use the most advanced and highest-quality technologies and interventions to develop a successful tinnitus treatment program that is tailored specifically to meet your unique needs.
Image

Masking Devices and Hearing Aids

Masking devices can be stand-alone units; however, they are most often built into modern hearing devices. These masking noises are finely tuned to match and disguise your unique tinnitus experience.
Image

Tinnitus Retraining and Therapy

Tinnitus retraining involves a wearable device (often hearing aids) that deliver programmed tonal music to mask your tinnitus. Over time, this therapy is meant to retrain your brain in the way it responds to your tinnitus. This is a good compliment to talk therapy, which can help people to control their emotional reactions to tinnitus.
Image

Lifestyle Changes

Increase stress has been linked to an increase in tinnitus. Lowering stress levels may help to alleviate some of your symptoms. This can be accomplished through increased exercise, meditation, yoga, or any other activity that makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. It is also a good idea to lessen alcohol and caffeine consumption, as these have been connected to an increase in tinnitus activity.