Upset woman suffering from tinnitus laying in bed on her stomach with a pillow folded over the top of her head and ears.

In the movies, invisibility is a formidable tool. The characters can frequently do the impossible if they have the power of invisibility, whether it’s a starship with cloaking ability or a wizard with an invisibility cloak.

Invisible health problems, unfortunately, are just as potent and much less fun. As an example, tinnitus is an extremely common hearing condition. Regardless of how good you might look, there are no external symptoms.

But for people who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the impact could be considerable.

Tinnitus – what is it?

So we know one thing: you can’t see tinnitus. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a condition of the ears. You know when you are sitting in a silent room, or when you get back from a loud concert and you hear that ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Now, tinnitus is pretty common (something like 25 million individuals experience tinnitus every year).

While ringing is the most common presentation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Some individuals might hear humming, crunching, metallic sounds, all sorts of things. The common denominator is that anyone who has tinnitus is hearing noises that are not actually there.

For most individuals, tinnitus will be a short-term affair, it will come and go really quickly. But tinnitus is a lasting and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million people. Think about it like this: hearing that ringing in your ears for five or ten minutes is irritating, but you can occupy yourself easily and move on. But what if that sound doesn’t go away? Clearly, your quality of life would be significantly impacted.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever had a headache and attempted to narrow down the cause? Perhaps it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; maybe it’s allergies. The trouble is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The same goes for tinnitus, although the symptoms might be common, the causes are widespread.

The source of your tinnitus symptoms might, in some cases, be obvious. But you might never really know in other cases. In general, however, tinnitus might be caused by the following:

  • Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by exposure to excessively loud noise over time. One of the leading causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is quite common. The best way to prevent this type of tinnitus is to avoid overly loud locations (or wear ear protection if avoidance isn’t possible).
  • High blood pressure: For some people, tinnitus may be caused by high blood pressure. If this is the case, it’s a smart plan to check with your primary care provider in order to help control your blood pressure.
  • Meniere’s Disease: This is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Among the first symptoms, however, are usually tinnitus and dizziness. Permanent hearing loss can happen over time.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is fairly sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be brought on by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus backs up in your ears, it may cause some inflammation. This swelling can cause tinnitus.
  • Hearing loss: There is a close association between tinnitus and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be brought about by noise damage and that’s a large part of the picture here. In other words, both of them have the same cause. 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: Swelling of the ear canal can be generated by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. This often triggers ringing in your ears.
  • Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Usually, that ringing subsides once you stop using the medication in question.

If you’re able to determine the cause of your tinnitus, treatment might become easier. For instance, if an earwax blockage is causing ringing in your ears, clearing out that earwax can reduce your symptoms. Some individuals, however, may never know what’s causing their tinnitus symptoms.

How is tinnitus diagnosed?

Tinnitus that only persists a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. That said, it’s never a bad plan to check in with us to schedule a hearing exam.

But you should certainly schedule an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t subside or if it keeps coming back. We will conduct a hearing examination, discuss your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life, and maybe even discuss your medical history. All of that insight will be used to diagnose your symptoms.

Treating tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition that has a cure. The strategy is management and treatment.

If you’re taking a specific medication or have a root medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you address the underlying cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily fixed.

So controlling symptoms so they have a minimal affect on your life is the goal if you have persistent tinnitus. We can help in many ways. Here are some of the most prevalent:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: We might refer you to a different provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This strategy uses therapy to help you learn to disregard the tinnitus sounds.
  • A hearing aid: In some cases, tinnitus becomes obvious because your hearing loss is making everything else relatively 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 may be hearing from your tinnitus.
  • A masking device: This is a device a lot like a hearing aid, except instead of boosting sounds, it masks sound. These devices create just the right amount and type of sound to make your distinct tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.

We will create a personalized and unique treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The objective will be to help you manage your symptoms so that you can get back to enjoying your life!

What should you do if you’re dealing with tinnitus?

Tinnitus may be invisible, but the last thing you should do is pretend it isn’t there. Odds are, those symptoms will only grow worse. You might be able to stop your symptoms from getting worse if you can get in front of them. You should at least be sure to have your hearing protection handy whenever you’re going to be around loud sound.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, call us, we can help.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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