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 power. The characters can frequently do the impossible if they possess the power of invisibility, whether it’s a starship with cloaking ability or a wizard with an invisibility cloak.

Regrettably, invisible health conditions are no less potent…and they’re a lot less fun. As an illustration, tinnitus is an exceptionally common hearing disorder. But there are no outward symptoms, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly you look.

But for individuals who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the impact may be significant.

Tinnitus – what is it?

One thing we know for sure about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a condition of the ears. You know that ringing in your ears you occasionally hear after a rock concert or in a really quiet room? That’s tinnitus. Now, tinnitus is fairly common (something like 25 million people experience tinnitus every year).

While ringing is the most common presentation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Noises including humming, buzzing, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. The one thing that all of these noises have in common is that they aren’t real sounds at all.

In most situations, tinnitus will go away over a short period. But tinnitus is a lasting and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million people. Here’s one way to think about it: 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? Obviously, your quality of life would be significantly impacted.

What causes tinnitus?

Have you ever had a headache and attempted to figure out the cause? Maybe it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; perhaps it’s allergies. The difficulty is that quite a few issues can trigger headaches! The same is also true of tinnitus, although the symptoms might be common, the causes are extensive.

The source of your tinnitus symptoms might, in some cases, be evident. In other cases, you may never really know. Here are some general things that can trigger tinnitus:

  • Hearing loss: There is a close association between tinnitus and hearing loss. In part, that’s because noise damage can also be a direct contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, both of them have the same cause. But the ringing in your ears can seem louder with hearing loss because the outside world is quieter.
  • 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 very prevalent. Using hearing protection if exceedingly loud places can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Disease: This is a condition of the inner ear that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Tinnitus and dizziness are amongst the first symptoms to manifest. Permanent hearing loss can occur over time.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Swelling of the ear canal can be caused by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. Consequently, your ears might begin to ring.
  • Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by some over-the-counter and prescription medications. Once you quit taking the medication, the ringing will usually subside.
  • Head or neck injuries: The head and neck are really sensitive systems. So head injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up producing tinnitus symptoms.
  • Colds or allergies: Swelling can occur when lots of mucus accumulates in your ears. And tinnitus can be the outcome of this swelling.
  • High blood pressure: For some individuals, tinnitus may be caused by high blood pressure. If this is the case, it’s a smart plan to consult your primary care provider in order to help regulate your blood pressure.

Treatment will obviously be easier if you can identify the source of your tinnitus symptoms. For example, if an earwax blockage is triggering ringing in your ears, clearing that earwax can alleviate your symptoms. Some individuals, however, might never identify what causes their tinnitus symptoms.

Diagnosing Tinnitus

If your ears ring for a few minutes and then it recedes, it isn’t really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it takes place often). Having said that, it’s never a bad plan to come see us to schedule a hearing exam.

But you should definitely schedule an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t subside or if it keeps coming back. We will ask you about your symptoms, talk to you about how your quality of life is being impacted, do a hearing test, and most likely discuss your medical history. All of that insight will be utilized to diagnose your symptoms.

How is tinnitus treated?

There’s no cure for tinnitus. The strategy is management and treatment.

If your tinnitus is due to an underlying condition, like an ear infection or a medication you’re taking, then addressing that underlying condition will result in a noticeable difference in your symptoms. However, if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus, there will be no root condition that can be easily corrected.

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

  • A hearing aid: When you have hearing loss, external sounds become quieter and your tinnitus symptoms become more apparent. The buzzing or ringing will be less noticeable when your hearing aid increases the volume of the outside world.
  • A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of boosting them. These devices can be calibrated to your unique tinnitus symptoms, creating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing substantially less noticeable.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy, we might end up referring you to a different provider. This is a therapeutic technique designed to help you not pay attention to the ringing in your ears.

We will develop an individualized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The objective will be to help you manage your symptoms so that you can go back to enjoying your life!

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

Even though tinnitus can’t be seen, it shouldn’t be ignored. Your symptoms will most likely get worse if you do. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you may be able to prevent them from getting worse. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, make sure you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you’re around loud noises.

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

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.