Tinnitus is a very common disorder, defined as an abnormal perception of sound unrelated to an external source of stimulation. It can be intermittent, constant or fluctuant, mild or severe, and may vary from a low roaring sensation to a high-pitched type of sound. It may be a ringing, buzzing, cricket, ocean, etc., type of sound. Tinnitus is a symptom and not a disease and may occur with a hearing loss, vertigo or pressure symptoms in the ear. It may also occur alone.
Tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf and statistically, 50 percent of patients report that with time, their tinnitus decreases or is hardly perceptible.
Hawaii Mobile Audiology and Hearing Aids offers complete cochleovestibular evaluations for patients with tinnitus right in the comfort of your home.
Common causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can occur when you’re exposed to loud sounds. Occasionally earwax buildup in the ear canal can result in tinnitus. Other causes include fluid in the middle ear, trauma to the ear or middle ear abnormalities. Tumors on the hearing nerve or other problems in the brainstem or central nervous system may also cause tinnitus. Sometimes vascular abnormalities in the skull or base of the skull may be a cause as well as injury to the head or neck. Another common cause of tinnitus is Meniere’s disease, in which you may feel pressure in your ear, have vertigo symptoms and fluctuating hearing loss. Stress and depression also have been linked to tinnitus.
Tinnitus treatment options
Because tinnitus usually is a symptom of an underlying condition, treatment depends upon the condition that is causing it and the severity of that condition. Treatment also depends upon whether there is a hearing loss and the impact of tinnitus on your daily activities.
Generally, most people do not need medical treatment for tinnitus and there are several techniques to help mask tinnitus. Hearing aids are one of the most common forms of treatment for tinnitus because they can be equipped with a tinnitus-masking feature that helps block out the distressing noise.
Many people find listening to a sound machine, radio or fan can help. Some people prefer a tinnitus masker, which resembles a hearing aid. The device generates a noise that prevents the wearer from hearing the tinnitus inside the ear.
Biofeedback training also is effective in reducing the tinnitus in some people. Biofeedback involves learning to control various parts of the body and relax your muscles, which allows the tinnitus noise to subside. Avoiding anxiety and fatigue also helps control tinnitus, as well as reducing your caffeine intake and cutting back on smoking. There are medications that may help suppress tinnitus, but other drugs may cause tinnitus.
For those with severe tinnitus, psychological treatment and support groups may help.
At Hawaii Mobile Audiology and Hearing Aids, our expert professionals are trained in testing for and identifying tinnitus and can offer treatment suggestions. We offer these tests in the comfort of your own home.