Tinnitus is the name for hearing a sound that isn’t really there. It is usually described as a ringing or a buzzing sound, but it can also sound like beeping, clicking, hissing, roaring, or whistling. Although the exact cause of tinnitus is unknown, doctors believe it is linked to hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 40 million Americans are estimated to suffer from tinnitus.
What does Tinnitus feel like?
At some point or another, you have probably been in that annoying situation where your car alarm is going off and you can’t find the keys to stop it. Eventually after digging through your things, you find the keys and get the alarm to shut off. The frustrating urge to stop the noise is exactly how it feels for someone who suffers from tinnitus. The only difference is, tinnitus lives on in your head and it’s not as easy to silence by just clicking a button on your car keys.
Tinnitus is Different for Everyone
Tinnitus affects every single person differently. While some people will experience periods of no ringing, others will experience it all the time. The duration of time that one experiences tinnitus can also vary with it lasting from hours to months to even years at a time.
People with tinnitus describe the noises they hear as different things, depending on when or where they hear it. The sounds produced by tinnitus can range from a high pitched sound to a low pitched hissing sound. Some people may only hear sounds in one ear while others may experience symptoms in both.
Issues Associated With Tinnitus
Those who suffer from tinnitus are likely to suffer from other health issues including problems with sleep, concentration, memory, and managing emotions. All of the following contribute to additional stress in an individuals life.
Due to the inability to quiet the mind, It is very common for individuals with tinnitus to struggle with sleep. Disrupted sleep patterns can negatively impact diet, exercise, mental well-being, concentration, and memory. Mind fog or the inability to think clearly is another common symptom that results from a lack of sleep. The brain will not be functioning at its highest capacity, so it will become more difficult to pay attention and concentrate on things.
Treatment Options – According to the American Tinnitus Association
Treatment for tinnitus depends on the severity of the symptoms. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways you can manage and reduce it.
1. Hearing Aids
Hearing aids provide a tremendous amount of relief when it comes to managing tinnitus. You may wonder how they have the ability to do this. According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA): “ Hearing aids supplement the volume of outside noise and increase the amount of sound stimuli received and processed by the body’s auditory system.”
2. General Wellness
Incorporating lifestyle and wellness activities into your every day routine can help living with tinnitus feel much more manageable. Some ways in which you can improve your general health is eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, participating in physical and social activities, going outside for walks, joining in on recreational activities and hobbies, etc. All of the following are effective solutions for reducing stress, which can help lessen the intensity of your tinnitus symptoms. Learn More
2. Sound Therapy
Sound therapy is the use of external noise in order to alter a patient’s perception of, or reaction to, tinnitus. According to ATA, “Like other tinnitus treatments, sound therapies do not cure the condition, but they may significantly lower the perceived burden and intensity of tinnitus.” Learn More
3. Behavioral Therapies
Tinnitus can trigger strong emotional reactions and bring upon negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and anger. Cognitive and behavioral therapies can help reduce tinnitus-related distress and improve the overall quality of life for patients. Behavioral therapies focus on the patients emotional reaction to tinnitus. Cognitive therapy involves focus on attention, knowledge, memory, judgement, and decision-making. Learn More
If you or someone you know is struggling with tinnitus or a hearing related issue, schedule an appointment at Lake Shore Audiology today. Our expert audiologists will get you the proper treatment you need so that you can enjoy life to the highest degree. Call us today at 716-674-4188
Article Adapted from: https://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/treatment-options