Tinnitus

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Do you ever experience a ringing, buzzing, or whooshing sound in your ears that isn’t there when you check? If so, you may be experiencing tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external noise is present and it can be caused by a variety of things. In this article, we’ll discuss tinnitus in more depth and cover some of the most frequently asked questions about it.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external noise is present. It can be a ringing, buzzing, whooshing, or clicking sound and it can vary in pitch from low to high. For some people, tinnitus is a minor nuisance. But for others, it can be a very bothersome and even debilitating condition.

Individuals with severe tinnitus symptoms may reach a point where they suspect that something might be wrong with their brains because the tinnitus sounds just won’t go away. Untreated tinnitus could bring significant negative impact on a person’s daily life so it is highly recommended to see a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

What are the symptoms of tinnitus?

The main symptom of tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external noise is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Causes of tinnitus

There are many potential causes of tinnitus, including:

  • Exposure to loud noise: This is the most common cause of tinnitus. Repeated exposure to loud noise can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear and lead to tinnitus.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As we age, it’s not uncommon for our hearing to start to decline. This can cause tinnitus.
  • Earwax buildup: Too much earwax can block the ear canal and lead to tinnitus.
  • Ear bone changes: stiffening of the bones in the middle ear (otosclerosis) can cause tinnitus.
  • Other health conditions: There are a variety of other health conditions that can cause tinnitus, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid problems.

When to see an audiologist for tinnitus

See an audiologist if you’re experiencing tinnitus regularly or constantly. If your tinnitus is getting worse or your tinnitus is bothering you – for example, it’s affecting your sleep or concentration or is making you feel anxious and depressed, you need to see a doctor right away. Audiologists can perform a hearing test to see if you have tinnitus and help identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

Tinnitus FAQs

What if the sounds in my ear do not go away?

If the sounds in your ear do not go away, it is important to see an audiologist. Audiologists can help identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus and develop a treatment plan.

Is tinnitus curable?

There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms.

Is tinnitus serious?

Tinnitus is not a serious condition, but it can be very bothersome and even debilitating for some people. Tinnitus, for some people, can be a source of genuine mental and emotional suffering.

What foods to avoid if you have tinnitus?

There is no specific diet that you need to avoid if you have tinnitus. However, some people find that certain foods or drinks can make their tinnitus worse. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Salt
  • Tobacco

Can tinnitus be cured by surgery?

Technically, yes. It may be possible to cure tinnitus through surgery given that tinnitus is caused or paired with acoustic neuroma. By removing the acoustic neuroma through surgery, tinnitus may be cured or resolved. In a study conducted in 1981 with more than 400 participants, 45% experienced improved tinnitus relief with the surgical removal of acoustic neuroma.

Tinnitus Treatments

Generally, tinnitus is considered a symptom rather than a disease. There is no one-size-fits-all tinnitus treatment. The best approach depends on the underlying cause of your tinnitus and how bothersome your symptoms are.

Common tinnitus treatments include:

  • Sound therapy: This involves using sound to mask or distract from the tinnitus noise. This can be done with a sound machine, white noise app, or tinnitus retraining therapy.
  • Counseling: This can help you learn how to cope with the tinnitus noise and make it less bothersome.
  • Tinnitus maskers: These are devices that generate low-level white noise that can help mask the tinnitus noise.
  • Medications: There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat tinnitus, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and pain relievers.

Risk factors for tinnitus

There are a number of things that can increase your risk of tinnitus, including:

  • Age: Tinnitus is more common in older adults.
  • Exposure to loud noise: Repeated exposure to loud noise can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear and lead to tinnitus.
  • Family history: If you have a family member with tinnitus, you may be more likely to develop tinnitus yourself.

Complications of tinnitus

Tinnitus can lead to a number of complications, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

If you have tinnitus, you may also have hearing loss. This is because the same underlying causes of tinnitus can also cause hearing loss. The most common cause of both tinnitus and hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. If you think you may have both tinnitus and hearing loss, it’s important to see an audiologist.

Tinnitus is caused by damage to the auditory system, with approximately 90% of patients having hearing loss as well. Many individuals may not even be aware that they have both problems. Tinnitus generally follows the same pattern as your hearing loss. Your tinnitus might be a high-pitched ringing or hissing if you have difficulty hearing.

Does tinnitus get worse with hearing loss?

Tinnitus can get worse with hearing loss. This is because tinnitus is caused by damage to the auditory system, and hearing loss is a common complication of tinnitus. If you have both tinnitus and hearing loss, it’s important to see an audiologist so that you can get the best treatment for both conditions.

Why is tinnitus louder at night?

There are a few reasons why tinnitus might be worse at night. First, there are less background noise to mask the tinnitus noise. Another reason could be attributed to the fact that when you’re lying down, blood flows more slowly to your head, which can make the tinnitus noise more noticeable.

Prevention of tinnitus

There is no sure way to prevent tinnitus, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Avoiding exposure to loud noise: This is the most important thing you can do to prevent tinnitus.
  • Wearing ear protection: If you must be exposed to loud noise, wear ear protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Managing other health conditions: If you have a health condition that can cause tinnitus, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure it is well-controlled.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol can make tinnitus worse.
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking can damage the blood vessels in your inner ear and lead to tinnitus.

If you think you might have tinnitus, it’s important to see an audiologist. They can perform a hearing test to see if you have tinnitus and help identify the underlying cause.

Find the freedom of better hearing.

Our goal is to evaluate and treat hearing loss focusing on individual needs, so that every person, regardless of age, is given the opportunity to communicate and interact with others to the best of their ability.

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