Perhaps it’s a swooshing, buzzing, ringing, or chirping sound. For some people, it comes and goes but for others, it never stops. If you’ve been experiencing unusual sounds in your ears, chances are you have tinnitus.
But fear not – you are not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that 50 million Americans have tinnitus and for 12 million of these folks, it is debilitating enough for them to seek help.
If your tinnitus is causing restless nights and interfering with your daily life, then consider an appointment with Dr. Michelle. A full consultation will determine the type of tinnitus you have and she will recommend a variety of treatments to make your tinnitus more manageable.
Types and Causes
Objective tinnitus is a rare condition where the sounds can also be heard by your audiologist. This type is usually due to a physical cause within the ear.
Subjective tinnitus is the most common form. The sounds you are hearing can only be heard by you. For some patients, the sounds may disappear over time but if they don’t, there are ways to cope.
Tinnitus can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Fortunately, it is rarely connected to more serious conditions. Contrary to popular belief, tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, but it can sometimes be a hearing loss symptom. Some other common causes include:
- Frequent exposure to loud noises – such as noise from heavy equipment, chainsaws, firearms, or loud music concerts
- Anxiety and stress
- Compacted ear wax
- Head injury
Although there is no treatment for tinnitus, these options can make it easier for you to cope:
- Diet and lifestyle changes – Smoking can significantly make your tinnitus worse. Caffeine is another stimulant that you should avoid. By decreasing your intake of nicotine and/or caffeine, your tinnitus may become less noticeable.
- Stress management and relaxation – The more stressed you get, chances are your tinnitus will become more cumbersome. Relaxation techniques can help you to take the focus away from your tinnitus. Biofeedback training is another option. By learning certain ways to relax your muscles, you can ease your tinnitus symptoms.
- Distraction – Background music may distract you from your tinnitus. There are also various white noise smartphone apps available that can make you less aware of your tinnitus sounds.
- Hearing Aids – Special hearing aids that feature a built-in masker can suppress tinnitus sounds. Many patients have found a significant level of relief from their hearing aids, especially from bilateral hearing aids (one for each ear).
Don’t let tinnitus overtake your life. Apply to become a patient of Dr. Michelle, a leading Florida audiologist. Get help with your hearing health by clicking here.