Tinnitus is a noise in your ears that can be so soft you may not notice it or so loud it blocks out sounds coming from external sources.
Tinnitus is a common problem that affects more than 50 million people in the United States. For about 12 million Americans, tinnitus is a constant and noisy companion that affects their daily lives.
Healthcare providers don’t know exactly what causes tinnitus. They believe that abnormal activity in the part of your brain that processes sound may be responsible for tinnitus, but they don’t know how or why, or how to prevent that activity.
Here are a few conditions with tinnitus symptoms.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) affects 1 in 3 adults over age 65.
Exposure to loud noises or explosions can cause this to happen over time or from a single incident.
Ototoxic medications. Such as Bromocriptine, Cisplatin, and Methotrexate.
Meniere’s disease which is a chronic ear disorder that affects your balance and hearing can be a contributing factor.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ). Tinnitus is a common symptom of TMJ.
Foreign objects in lodged in your ear. Sometimes foreign objects like pens or pencils used to clean ears end up rupturing eardrums.
Excessive earwax. Earwax can block your ears and affect your hearing.
Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). This benign (non-cancerous) tumor affects the nerves that connect to your brain and manage balance and hearing.
Otosclerosis. This is a growth in your middle ear.
Rarely is tinnitus a sign of a serious medical condition. Tinnitus in one ear may be a sign you have a middle ear tumor. Tinnitus along with trouble walking, speaking, or balancing may be a sign you have a neurological condition.
- Tinnitus isn’t a condition or disease. It’s a symptom of other conditions. Here are some steps your provider may take to learn more about your tinnitus. Your physician may want to do a physical examination to check your ears for any obvious problems. They may ask if other family members have hearing loss, if you spend a lot of time around loud noises or a loud noise from a single event. They may ask what medications you take. A hearing test should be requested. This test checks your ability to hear a range of tones, displaying your results in an audiogram. Your provider could perform a tympanogram to check your eardrum with a handheld device called a tympanometry that shows your results. A magnetic resonance imaging is another way to produce detailed images of your body without using X-rays.
If your healthcare provider has ruled out medical conditions apart from hearing loss, their next step is recommending ways to manage the impact of tinnitus on your life, for example hearing aids. Many people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss. Hearing aids may help provide relief from tinnitus by making sounds louder and the tinnitus less noticeable. Sound generators is another device that produce and deliver sounds to your ears that mask tinnitus.
You can create your own way of masking tinnitus by using environmental enrichment devices. Sounds or apps for smartphones and tablets can make tinnitus less noticeable. Relaxation techniques can ease the frustration and stress of dealing with tinnitus. Learning techniques to increase relaxation and ease stress can help people better deal with the frustrations of tinnitus. Counseling options can provide some people benefit from mental wellness therapies. These therapies help people learn how to pay less attention to tinnitus.
Protecting your hearing is one of the best ways to avoid tinnitus. Here are some potential activities that may affect your hearing. At your workplace protect your hearing with earplugs especially if you work in construction, landscaping, or around loud machinery like an assembly line. Many gyms play loud music to motivate and move people through exercise. If that’s your situation, use earplugs to protect your ears. At the very least, do your workout away from the music’s source. When enjoying concerts or watching a movie in a theatre you could use earplugs. Any time you use earbuds with your volume turned all the way up. Protect your ears by keeping the volume low.
If you believe we can help you, please call us at 772 932-9310 or visit us at www.hobesoundprimarycare.com to schedule an appointment. We look forward to being of service to you!