The American Tinnitus Association was formed to educate the public about the effects of tinnitus. Almost 50 million Americans suffer from the condition, with many more not even realizing they are dealing with it daily. Tinnitus can best be described as a sound no one else can hear but the person afflicted. Ringing, whistling, clicking, swooshing and sometimes even music are the sounds that repeat at varying volumes. Depending on the cause, tinnitus can be a temporary or permanent condition.
The professionals at Sound Advice understand how detrimental tinnitus can be if it remains undiagnosed, so we have a comprehensive process to diagnose and recommend relief options for this condition.
The cause of tinnitus
There are many causes of tinnitus, with some ranging from natural causes while others are related to work environment. Understanding the cause of the disorder will shed some light into the more appropriate treatment options.
Ear bone changes – Otosclerosis is a stiffening of the bones in the middle ear. Besides affecting hearing, it is also known to cause tinnitus. Otosclerosis is a family conditioning so can easily be traced with normal treatment options.
- Age – Tinnitus can sometimes just be a side effect of age related hearing loss. At the age of 60, this is considered a natural progression known as presbycusis.
- Noise exposure – Inescapable noise from a work environment or hobby is a prime cause of noise-related hearing loss. Even playing music too loud in headphones can cause short-term tinnitus. Industrial work environments are usually the biggest triggers for permanent noise related tinnitus.
- Earwax – Cerumen protects the ears but can sometimes get out of control. When it gets backed up, hearing loss is inevitable until it’s cleared out. Short-term tinnitus can be a side effect that is easily dealt with by keeping the ear canals clear of excessive wax.
Tinnitus treatment options
Although easy fixes exist for tinnitus, there are no ‘quick’ options. The biggest bulk of the work is finding out what the root cause is, and whether it is temporary or permanent. Even permanent tinnitus can be dealt with by making the condition less distracting on a daily basis. Here are some of the most notable treatment options for the condition:
- Treating underlying conditions not related to tinnitus will clear up multiple problems at once
- Modern hearing aids are fitted with tinnitus fighting technology and may come recommended
- Surgery is an option when hearing aids aren’t available that meet the users specification
- Sound therapy (sound enrichment) is used to neutralize sounds of tinnitus with neutral sounds
- Counseling helps long time sufferers of the disorder and pairs them with knowledgeable professionals. A team is assigned to the patient to help them cope with the daily struggles of tinnitus.
- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a mental health technique that is applied to tinnitus sufferers. By retraining the brain to think differently, users will be better equipped to deal with the condition on their own.