According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), more than 25 million Americans experience tinnitus. If you have ever experienced a buzzing, ringing or hissing in your ears, you have likely experienced tinnitus.
What is Tinnitus?
According to WebMD, “Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness.” Tinnitus is not caused by an external source outside of your body.
For some people, tinnitus can worsen when you’re in a quiet environment. This can mean you may be more aware of your tinnitus when you’re trying to fall asleep. For the majority of people, tinnitus is merely an annoyance. However for some, the condition can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
The symptoms of tinnitus involve a noise in your ear. The noises heard can vary from person to person. The most commonly reported noise is ringing in the ears, but others include:
What Causes Tinnitus?
There is no one definitive cause of tinnitus. Instead, a number of different conditions are known to trigger tinnitus. These can include:
- Hearing loss – According to the Hearing Health Foundation, 90% of people with tinnitus have an underlying hearing loss.
- Exposure to loud noise – Have you ever been to a loud event and walked away with a high-pitched whine in your ears? Loud noise can actually cause tinnitus. Symptoms generally subside after a few hours.
- Blockage in the ear – A blockage in the ear, such as a buildup of earwax, can cause tinnitus. Removing the blockage generally stops the tinnitus.
- Medication – Certain types of medication, known as ototoxic, can impact your hearing health. Tinnitus can be the first symptom that your medication is affecting your hearing. Learn more about ototoxic hearing loss on our blog here.
This list of tinnitus causes is not exhaustive. Other causes can include an underlying medical condition or an injury. If you have been experiencing tinnitus for longer than 2 weeks, book an appointment to see your local healthcare practitioner.
Tinnitus Treatment Options
While there is no definitive cure for tinnitus, there are treatment options to help reduce symptoms. In some cases, treating the underlying cause for the tinnitus will help eliminate symptoms. For others, masking technology or behavioral modifications can help reduce symptoms.
Have Questions? Need Help? Contact Us Today!
If you’ve been experiencing tinnitus, ask yourself when you last had a hearing assessment? With such a large proportion of tinnitus caused by an underlying hearing loss, treating the hearing loss can really help! To book in an appointment with the hearing healthcare professionals at Clear Wave Hearing Center, call us on (864) 546-5708 or click here to request an appointment now.