Tinnitus is a common disorder and frequently is referred to as “ringing in the ears.” Sufferers report ringing, buzzing or clicking sounds that may come and go or remain constant. Sometimes the sounds are low-pitched while others hear high-pitched tones. Tinnitus may or may not be associated with a hearing loss, vertigo or other inner ear problems.
Tinnitus symptoms can run from mild to severe. Some people may not be greatly bothered while others may find the noise severely disabling. About 75 percent of people with tinnitus are not disturbed by it because their brains process it as an everyday noise.
Kampsen Hearing provides a complete cocholeovestibular evaluation for patients with tinnitus. The evaluation helps determine a possible cause and course of treatment. There are many causes of tinnitus spanning from earwax in the canal to middle ear abnormalities to fluid in the ear. Sudden trauma to the inner ear (such as exposure to loud sounds) may lead to tinnitus. More serious causes include tumors on the hearing nerve, problems in the brainstem or central nervous system, vascular abnormalities in the skull or Meniere’s disease.
The most common causes of tinnitus include:
- Stress and depression
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Earwax buildup or blockages
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere's disease
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
Treatment of tinnitus
Most people do not need medical treatment for tinnitus. For some patients, masking techniques such as listening to a fan or radio help to cover the noise. Sound generators also may provide relief, especially when trying to fall asleep. Some people benefit from a tinnitus masker, a small electronic instrument built into a hearing aid case. This masker generates a noise that effectively cancels out the tinnitus noise heard by the patient. For those with hearing loss and tinnitus, many hearing aid styles offer the option of tinnitus maskers.
Hearing aids are one of the most common treatments for tinnitus, due to the tinnitus-masking feature available with many devices. This feature works to help filter out and block the tinnitus noises.
Biofeedback training also is used to reduce tinnitus. As you learn to control and relax various muscles, tinnitus generally subsides. Avoiding anxiety, getting enough sleep and reducing your caffeine and/or nicotine intake also help to reduce tinnitus.
The professionals at Kampsen Hearing are available to discuss all treatment options and help you determine the best course of action to help you deal with tinnitus.