Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears, including:
Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus, or tinnitus that only you can hear. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a common condition, where a person experiences a ringing, rushing, or buzzing in the ears.
Often, these symptoms are observed after very loud activities. Amusement park visits, concerts, car crashes, etc. This sort of activity can have a lasting impact on your hearing ability, but is different from deafness.
Tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf, but its presence may affect your daily activities. Symptoms in daily activity can be most easily observed in quiet situations, rather than in louder classrooms or workplaces.
Since the type and severity of these sounds are different for each person, an evaluation of tinnitus is helpful in designing a management program. You will be asked to match as best as possible the loudness and sound quality of the noise to a known signal.
This will help our professionals recommend a course of action to deal with this persistent problem. Each person has an individual response to treatment. Our goal is to work with you to relieve this condition.
Common Questions About Tinnitus
What causes tinnitus?
- Hearing loss: Most people who have tinnitus also have some kind of hearing loss.
- Loud noise: Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Continued exposure can make the tinnitus and hearing loss get worse.
- Medicine: More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
- Other potential causes: Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.
What should I do if I have tinnitus?
How will hearing experts treat my tinnitus?
Treatments can include:
- Hearing aids: Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids create a dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the tinnitus. The majority of patients with tinnitus receive partial or complete relief from their tinnitus with the use of hearing aids.
- Maskers: Tinnitus maskers are small electronic devices that look like hearing aids and are tuned to generate sound that masks or covers up the tinnitus. Like hearing aids, they may provide relief from the tinnitus, but will not enhance hearing and may interfere with understanding speech. Many types of devices, such as fans, radios and sound generators can be used as tinnitus maskers to help tinnitus sufferers to fall sleep or get back to sleep.
- Medicine or drug therapy: Some tinnitus sufferers develop anxiety and other strong emotional responses to their tinnitus. Certain medicines may provide relief from these emotional reactions and provide some relief from the tinnitus. Other medicines and nutritional supplements have provided relief in some patients.
- Counseling: People with tinnitus may experience anxiety, depression and other psychiatric problems. You may be referred to a psychiatrist our counselor as needed.
- 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.
What can I do to help myself?
Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse, such as smoking, alcohol and loud noise. If you are a construction worker, an airport worker, or a hunter, or 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 is 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.
What is the next step?
Schedule an appointment with an Audiologist to evaluate and discuss your tinnitus.