Tinnitus is one of those ailments that seems to fall into the “it’s just not fair” category. For those who develop this unsettling condition, it can feel like your ears have gone from being an ally to an enemy.
Tinnitus is characterized by an incessant background sound that has been variously described as ringing, buzzing, hissing, roaring or clicking. There are other factors making every case of tinnitus unique.
Tinnitus may or may not be accompanied by hearing loss. The pitch can vary from a deep roar to a high squeal, and the loudness can fluctuate from merely distracting to truly distressing. The phantom noise can occur in one or both ears, and be an intermittent problem or a continuous challenge.
Anyone can develop tinnitus but certain people are at higher risk:
- Earbud users
- Construction workers
Side effects of tinnitus may include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble hearing, with phantom noise drowning out actual sounds
- Memory problems
Tinnitus is an invisible affliction. Because of this, those afflicted by this problem can feel very alone.
In fact, 50 million Americans have faced tinnitus symptoms. This includes celebrities like William Shatner, who developed the condition after an explosion on the set of “Star Trek.” He’s since become a spokesperson for the American Tinnitus Association.
At Heroes of Hearing , we know the struggle is very real. Having made tinnitus management one of our specialities, we’re ready to go to heroic lengths to help you negotiate your tinnitus and, if possible, reduce the racket.
If You Have Tinnitus, Don’t Put Off Your Hearing Exam
We start with a hearing exam, which is the only way to determine what kind of tinnitus is affecting you. The two prevailing forms are:
- Subjective tinnitus, where only you can hear the inner uproar
- Objective tinnitus, a more rare condition where a hearing specialist can detect the din during an exam.
We also try to discover why your ears are sounding a distress signal. It’s not always possible to determine the cause of tinnitus but potential factors include:
- Exposure to loud noises, like workplace machinery or loud music, movies or media
- Excessive earwax, a problem we can help with cerumen removal
- Injury to the neck or head
- Medications that compromise your hearing
- Unmanaged diabetes, which can damage to auditory nerves
Here is the bad news about permanent tinnitus: There is no known cure.
There are, however, a number of ways to treat and manage tinnitus symptoms. One is engaging in relaxation practices like yoga, meditation or visualization. This is something you can do on your own or with the help of an expert in mindfulness or stress management.
Other techniques offered by Heroes of Hearing include:
- Sound therapy
- Hearing aids
Ironically, the very stress that you experience because of tinnitus can exacerbate the condition, creating a vicious cycle. With this in mind, we counsel people with the specific aim of ameliorating the heavy mental toll of tinnitus.
We also offer a tinnitus management tool called Multiflex Tinnitus Technology (MTT), which generates a sound stimulus that’s been found to ease tinnitus. Innovated by the Starkey company, MTT is built into hearing aids. It features a customized tone—programmed by our hearing specialist with your input—designed to address the specific phantom sounds plaguing you. With time, using an MTT-equipped hearing aid can significantly lessen your awareness of your tinnitus.
Even if it’s an intermittent problem that comes and goes, tinnitus can worsen. Whether the phantom sounds you’re experiencing are annoying or excruciating, it’s important to reach out as soon as possible for diagnosis and support. Contact us to schedule your appointment with the Heroes of Hearing and start tackling tinnitus.
Here is what one of our patients had to say,