Tinnitus Treatment Options
Did you know that over 15% of people suffer from tinnitus and its related symptoms? Finding the cause of tinnitus symptoms takes patience, and recommending the right treatment takes a skilled hearing health specialist.
What Is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that causes an individual to hear sounds such as ringing, humming, hissing, etc., that are not from an external source. Subjective tinnitus is the most common, where the sounds aren’t able to be heard by a hearing specialist, while objective tinnitus is slightly different. With objective tinnitus, a hearing health specialist can hear the sounds during the testing phase. The effects of tinnitus are far-reaching and can point to other health abnormalities. Finding an optimal treatment path requires tracking down the initial cause of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is commonly caused by age-related hearing loss, which happens over time as the muscles and soft tissues in the ear(s) lose their effectiveness. Age-related hearing loss can also happen to patients who spend years exposed to loud noise. Hunting and industrial work are good examples of environments where this is possible.
Temporary tinnitus is a condition that occurs after short-term exposure to loud noise, such as at a loud concert or after an explosion. Earwax buildup can also contribute to tinnitus when the body doesn’t adequately excrete the excess buildup in the ear.
Symptoms of tinnitus include a constant clicking, ringing, hissing, humming or ringing in the ears. The randomness of the sounds makes it hard to ignore the symptoms for a prolonged amount of time. During a workday, this can be enough of a distraction to be labeled a concern.
Additionally, when surroundings become too quiet, the symptoms of tinnitus are amplified. This becomes a problem during nighttime hours causing insomnia and other sleeping difficulties. Over time, tinnitus can cause as much mental damage as it can physical. Sensitivity to the symptoms determine how long someone can go without getting treated for tinnitus.
There are a variety of treatment options that can be tried, including but not limited to Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, sound masking, and medication.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy has emerged as a popular treatment worldwide. It is a technique that hearing health specialists use to lower stress levels. A small device is used in conjunction with the therapy to help with the retraining. Over time, tinnitus becomes background noise that loses the power of distraction.
Sound masking is another option to fight the worst parts of tinnitus. Sound masking machines are portable and can be used at home or in an office setting. White noise created by the device drowns out sounds caused by tinnitus to help sufferers focus on a specific sound.
Of course, there is the option to try certain medications, such as antidepressants and antianxiety medications to help control the effects of tinnitus.