Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a stealthy ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effective and, often, achieve the impossible.
Regrettably, invisible health disorders are no less potent…and they’re a lot less enjoyable. As an illustration, tinnitus is an extremely common hearing condition. Regardless of how good you might look, there are no outward symptoms.
But for people who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the affect could be substantial.
Tinnitus – what is it?
So we know one thing: you can’t see tinnitus. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a disorder of the ears. You know when you are sitting in a silent room, or when you return from a loud concert and you hear a ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that about 25 million individuals experience it daily.
While ringing is the most common manifestation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Some people could hear humming, crunching, metallic noises, all kinds of things. Here’s the common denominator, anyone who has tinnitus is hearing sounds that are not really there.
For most people, tinnitus will be a temporary affair, it will come and go very quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million people, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes incapacitating condition. Sure, it can be a little annoying to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and again. But what if you can’t be free from that sound, ever? it’s not hard to see how that might start to significantly affect your quality of life.
Have you ever had a headache and tried to figure out the cause? Maybe it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; maybe it’s allergies. The difficulty is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The same goes for tinnitus, though the symptoms may be common, the causes are widespread.
The source of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be evident. In other situations, you may never really know. Here are some general things that can trigger tinnitus:
- Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by exposure to excessively loud noise over time. One of the top causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is very prevalent. Wearing ear protection if exceedingly loud settings can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
- Meniere’s Disease: Quite a few symptoms can be caused by this disorder of the inner ear. Among the first symptoms, however, are typically tinnitus and dizziness. Over time, Meniere’s disease can lead to permanent hearing loss.
- Certain medications: Some over-the-counter or prescription drugs can cause you to have ringing in your ears. Usually, that ringing subsides once you stop using the medication in question.
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are frequently closely connected. Partly, that’s because noise damage can also be a strong contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. Both of them have the same cause, in other words. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the outside world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can become louder.
- Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be generated by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. This often causes ringing in your ears.
- Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus backs up in your ears, it may cause some inflammation. And tinnitus can be the result of this inflammation.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure can cause tinnitus symptoms for some individuals. If this is the situation, it’s a smart plan to consult your physician in order to help manage your blood pressure.
- Head or neck injuries: Your head is rather sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be brought on by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
If you’re able to determine the cause of your tinnitus, treatment could become easier. For instance, if an earwax obstruction is causing ringing in your ears, cleaning out that earwax can relieve your symptoms. Some individuals, however, may never recognize what’s causing their tinnitus symptoms.
How is tinnitus diagnosed?
Tinnitus that only lasts a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Having said that, it’s never a bad idea to check in with us to schedule a hearing evaluation.
However, if your tinnitus won’t go away or keeps coming back, you should make an appointment with us to find out what’s going on (or at least start treatment). We will perform a hearing screening, talk to you about your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life, and maybe even discuss your medical history. All of that information will be utilized to diagnose your symptoms.
How is tinnitus treated?
Tinnitus is not a condition that can be cured. The strategy is management and treatment.
If your tinnitus is a result of a root condition, such as an ear infection or a medication you’re using, then addressing that underlying condition will result in an improvement in your symptoms. But there will be no known root condition to treat if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.
So controlling symptoms so they have a minimal impact on your life is the goal if you have persistent tinnitus. We can help in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the most prevalent:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: In terms of cognitive behavioral therapy, we might end up referring you to a different provider. This is a therapeutic approach created to help you not pay attention to the ringing in your ears.
- A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of boosting them. These devices create exactly the right amount and type of sound to make your particular tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
- A hearing aid: In some cases, tinnitus becomes noticeable because your hearing loss is making everything else comparatively quieter. In these cases, a hearing aid can help turn the volume up on the rest of the world, and overpower the buzzing or ringing you might be hearing from your tinnitus.
We will formulate a personalized and unique treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by controlling your symptoms is the goal here.
What should you do if you’re dealing with tinnitus?
Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your symptoms will likely get worse if you do. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to prevent them from growing worse. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, be certain you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you are around loud noises.
If you have tinnitus that won’t go away (or keeps coming back) schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.