Tinnitus: What You Need to Know
We have all experienced some form of ringing in our ears. But for some people, this ringing never goes away. It’s there twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and the worst part? Nobody else can hear it. If you’re one of these people, chances are this ringing isn’t a figment of your imagination—it could be Tinnitus, and you’re not the only one experiencing these symptoms. In fact, the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) states that you’re one of 50 million Americans living with this troublesome condition! Fortunately, there are several ways to get started on your Tinnitus treatment. Here’s what you need to know to begin:
What exactly is Tinnitus?
Perceiving sound when no actual external noise is present is what hearing professionals have named, Tinnitus—and it’s one of the most common health conditions in America. The name comes from the Latin word Tiniere which means “ring,” (hence the phrase, “ringing in the ears”), and can manifest in a variety of forms, from buzzing to hissing, whistling or swooshing and even clicking. Tinnitus isn’t a disease, it’s a condition caused by a malfunction in the auditory system—meaning something in your hearing system has been damaged or gone wrong. The most common type of this condition (more than 99% of reported cases, according to the ATA) is called Subjective Tinnitus, which is the formal name for perceiving noises that only you can hear. These sounds are a neurological reaction to hearing loss or another form of auditory impairment.
What causes Tinnitus?
While everyone is susceptible to Tinnitus, it’s more common in elderly people and is almost always accompanied by hearing loss. Leading Tinnitus culprits include:
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise
- Injuries to the ear, neck and head
- High and low blood pressure
- Side effects from medication
- Everyday stressors
The volume and sound of Tinnitus can increase or decrease in severity over time, but if it’s left untreated, the negative impact it can have on your life can remain constant. Whether it’s causing anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, hearing or concentrating, it’s best to receive attention from a medical doctor and hearing care professional for optimal Tinnitus diagnosis and relief.
How can I treat my Tinnitus?
With a little help from your Audiologist, Tinnitus can be alleviated. Sound simulations, relaxation methods, electrical stimulation and Tinnitus retraining therapy are all effective ways to manage this bothersome condition. Counseling and education can help to demystify the condition—oftentimes, simply shedding light on the issue can make it easier to cope. Hypnotherapy by a licensed professional is another technique that has been used in some cases to help reduce the perception of Tinnitus. Hearing instruments however, are the most beneficial way to significantly relieve symptoms when hearing loss is also present.
When hearing aids are used in Tinnitus treatment, the goal of the fitting is to provide maximum comfort and natural sound. Choosing an open-style hearing aid style that leaves the ear canal ventilated may have a positive effect—a closed-style fitting may make the perception of Tinnitus worse by blocking naturally occurring environmental sounds. In addition, a binaural fitting is recommended even if Tinnitus is perceived on one side only—wearing aids on both the right and left ears provides a more balanced sound perception and better acceptance of the tinnitus relief sound.
At Sonic, our mission is to improve life through enhanced hearing. That’s why we’ve created EnchantTM, our latest hearing aid equipped with a sound generator designed specifically to relieve Tinnitus. With a variety of adjustable relief sound options, from broadband sounds to soothing nature sounds, every performance level and style of Enchant hearing aids are built with your comfort in mind. The amplification capabilities within Enchant enables you to understand conversation easier by automatically controlling relief sounds according to noise levels in the environment. The four flexible broadband sound options are proven to be efficient for all kinds of Tinnitus therapy. By masking Tinnitus with different signal types, it will become less audible and less disruptive to your life. And the soothing ocean sound programs built into Enchant will ease your mind and help you relax.
Don’t let Tinnitus takeover your life. Talk to your Audiologist about the ways Enchant can help to relieve your Tinnitus and make Everyday Sounds Better.