Invisibility is a very useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked spaceship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows characters in movies to be more effectual and, frequently, accomplish the impossible.
Unfortunately, invisible health conditions are no less potent…and they’re a lot less fun. As an illustration, tinnitus is an extremely common hearing disorder. But there are no outward symptoms, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly you look.
But just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean tinnitus doesn’t have a substantial impact on those who experience symptoms.
What is tinnitus?
So we recognize one thing: you can’t see tinnitus. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a disorder of the ears. You know that ringing in your ears you often hear after a rock concert or in a really quiet room? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that around 25 million individuals experience it daily.
There are lots of other presentations of tinnitus besides the common ringing. Noises including humming, whirring, crackling, clicking, and lots of others can manifest. The common denominator is that anybody who has tinnitus is hearing noises that are not actually there.
In most cases, tinnitus will come and go over a short period. But for somewhere between 2-5 million people, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes incapacitating condition. Sure, it can be a bit annoying to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and then. But what if that sound never goes away? It’s easy to see how that could start to significantly affect your quality of life.
What causes tinnitus?
Have you ever attempted to pinpoint the cause of a headache? Are you catching a cold, are you stressed, or is it an allergic reaction? Lots of things can cause a headache and that’s the challenge. The same goes for tinnitus, although the symptoms might be common, the causes are widespread.
In some cases, it may be really clear what’s causing your tinnitus symptoms. In other situations, you might never truly know. Here are some general things that can cause tinnitus:
- Head or neck injuries: Your head is fairly sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be caused by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
- Meniere’s Disease: This is a condition of the inner ear that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Among the first symptoms, however, are generally tinnitus and dizziness. Permanent hearing loss can occur over time.
- Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by certain over-the-counter and prescription medications. Once you quit using the medication, the ringing will normally go away.
- High blood pressure: For some people, tinnitus might be caused by high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your doctor is the best way to handle this.
- Ear infections or other blockages: Similar to a cold or seasonal allergies, ear infections, and other blockages can cause swelling in the ear canal. As a result, your ears might start ringing.
- Colds or allergies: Inflammation can occur when a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears. And tinnitus can be the outcome of this swelling.
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are frequently closely connected. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be brought about by noise damage and that’s a big part of the picture here. Both of them have the same cause, in other words. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the rest of the world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can become louder.
- Noise damage: Damage from loud noises can, over time, cause tinnitus symptoms to develop. This is so common that loud noises are one of the leading causes of tinnitus! Using hearing protection if exceptionally loud places can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
Treatment will clearly be simpler if you can determine the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. For example, if an earwax obstruction is causing ringing in your ears, cleaning out that earwax can reduce your symptoms. Some people, however, might never identify what causes their tinnitus symptoms.
If you have ringing in your ears for a few minutes and then it subsides, it isn’t really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it takes place frequently). Still, having regular hearing tests is always a good idea.
However, if your tinnitus won’t subside or continues to come back, you should make an appointment with us to find out what’s going on (or at least begin treatment). We will ask you about your symptoms, talk to you about how your quality of life is being impacted, perform a hearing test, and probably discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this insight.
How is tinnitus treated?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But it can be treated and it can be managed.
If you’re taking a specific medication or have a root medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you address the underlying cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily corrected.
So controlling symptoms so they have a minimal impact on your life is the objective if you have chronic tinnitus. We can help in a variety of ways. Among the most prevalent are the following:
- 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 apparent when your hearing aid raises the volume of the external world.
- A masking device: This is a device a lot like a hearing aid, except instead of amplifying sounds, it masks sound. These devices produce exactly the right amount and type of sound to make your specific tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: In terms of cognitive behavioral therapy, we may end up referring you to a different provider. This technique uses therapy to help you learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds.
The treatment plan that we formulate will be custom-tailored to your specific tinnitus requirements. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by controlling your symptoms is the goal here.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, what should you do?
Tinnitus may be invisible, but the last thing you should do is act like it isn’t there. Odds are, those symptoms will only grow worse. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to stop them from getting worse. At the very least, you should purchase hearing protection for your ears, be certain you’re using ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you’re around loud noises.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, call us, we can help.