Tinnitus (“TIN-a-tus” or “Tin-EYE-tus”) is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears when no external sound is present. In most cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning only the sufferer can hear it. Typically, sufferers describe the sound as “ringing in ears,” though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping.
The Effects of Tinnitus are Real
Because these sounds are subjective, they affect people in different ways. For some, it’s a minor annoyance, one they can deal with easily. For others, it can result in more serious issues, such as:
- Long-term sleep disruption
- Changes in cognitive ability
- An inability to concentrate (e.g., completing tasks or reading)
- Stress in relationships
- Anxiety and depression
- Employment challenges
Currently, there is no known tinnitus cure. No surgery or pill has been shown to get rid of symptoms in any clinically accepted study.
But there is relief. According to the American Tinnitus Association, there are ways to get relief, including counseling and sound therapy. They recommend that anyone with tinnitus should see an audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) experienced in tinnitus treatment.
Hearing Aids Can be an Effective Part of any Sound Therapy
Sound therapy can be an effective treatment because it may make the tinnitus less noticeable or mask the symptoms. Hearing aids may be included as a critical component of a sound therapy program.
Different products work in different ways. Although most hearing aids can alleviate symptoms, certain hearing aids have builtin technology specifically for tinnitus relief. Work with your audiologist to see which one is right for you.
Did You Know
- Some 50 million adults suffer from tinnitus1
- Tinnitus is the number one disability for military veterans2
- Tinnitus can occur at any age, and may begin suddenly or progress gradually
- The most common causes of tinnitus are:
- Noise exposure (e.g., hunting or machines at work)
- Head injury
- Side effects from medication
SOURCES: 1 American Tinnitus Association. (n. d.). Understanding the Facts Retrieved from: https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts | 2 American Tinnitus Association. (n. d.). Demographics. Retrieved from: https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/demographics | 3 Starkey Hearing Technologies. BROC0328-02-EE-SG
What Does Hearing Loss Sound Like
Visit one of our trusted partners, Phonak, to listen to a hearing loss simulator that compares three levels of hearing (normal, mild loss and severe loss) as you listen to several common sounds (sounds of nature, the city, a phone ringing, speech, music).
When is it time to seek professional help for tinnitus or hearing loss?
As soon as you feel you are experiencing difficulty hearing and/or understanding conversations, especially if you have begun AVOIDING situations and activities that you enjoy because of your hearing difficulties. When you notice symptoms of tinnitus and they are impacting your life.
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We are the Lewiston Auburn area’s only private, non-profit provider of comprehensive audiological services.