In the movies, invisibility is a formidable power. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked spaceship, or a stealthy ninja, invisibility allows characters in movies to be more effectual and, frequently, achieve the impossible.
Invisible health problems, unfortunately, are equally as potent and a lot less enjoyable. Tinnitus, for example, is a really common condition that affects the ears. Regardless of how good you might look, there are no outward symptoms.
But for those who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the affect could be substantial.
What is tinnitus?
One thing we know for sure about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a condition of the ears. You know when you are sitting in a very quiet room, or when you get back from a loud concert and you hear that ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Now, tinnitus is rather common (somewhere around 25 million individuals experience tinnitus yearly).
While ringing is the most typical presentation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Noises including humming, buzzing, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. Here’s the common denominator, anybody who has tinnitus is hearing sounds that are not really there.
For most individuals, tinnitus will be a temporary affair, it will come and go very quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million people, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes debilitating condition. Sure, it can be a little irritating to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and again. But what if that sound never goes away? It’s easy to see how that could start to significantly impact your quality of life.
What causes tinnitus?
Have you ever had a headache and attempted to figure out the cause? Are you getting a cold, is it stress, or is it an allergic reaction? The difficulty is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The same is also true of tinnitus, even though the symptoms might be common, the causes are extensive.
In some cases, it may be really apparent what’s causing your tinnitus symptoms. In other situations, you might never truly know. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus might be caused by the following:
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are often closely connected. Partly, that’s because noise damage can also be a direct contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, they both have the same cause. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the outside world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can seem louder.
- Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by exposure to excessively loud noise over time. One of the leading causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is quite prevalent. Using hearing protection if extremely loud locations can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
- Meniere’s Disease: A good number of symptoms can be caused by this disorder of the inner ear. Amongst the first symptoms, however, are typically tinnitus and dizziness. Irreversible hearing loss can happen over time.
- Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by certain over-the-counter and prescription medications. Typically, that ringing disappears when you stop using the medication in question.
- Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be caused by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. This often causes ringing in your ears.
- Colds or allergies: Inflammation can happen when lots of mucus accumulates in your ears. This inflammation can trigger tinnitus.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure can trigger tinnitus symptoms for some people. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your doctor is the best way to handle this.
- Head or neck injuries: Your head is pretty sensitive! So head injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up triggering tinnitus symptoms.
Treatment will clearly be simpler if you can figure out the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. clearing away a blockage, for example, will ease tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms might never be known for some individuals.
Tinnitus that only persists a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Still, having regular hearing exams is always a smart plan.
However, if your tinnitus won’t go away or keeps coming back, you should make an appointment with us to find out what’s going on (or at least start treatment). We will execute a hearing examination, discuss your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life, and maybe even talk about your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this information.
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But it can be addressed and it can be managed.
If your tinnitus is caused by a root condition, such as an ear infection or a medication you’re using, then addressing that underlying condition will lead to an improvement in your symptoms. But there will be no known root condition to manage if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.
For people who have chronic tinnitus then, the mission is to manage your symptoms and help make sure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively impact your quality of life. We can help in many ways. amongst the most prevalent are the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy, we may end up referring you to a different provider. This is a therapeutic approach designed to help you not notice the ringing in your ears.
- A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes noticeable because your hearing loss is making everything else relatively quieter. The buzzing or ringing will be less noticeable when your hearing aid boosts the volume of the external world.
- A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of boosting them. These devices can be calibrated to your specific tinnitus symptoms, generating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing significantly less obvious.
We will create a personalized and unique treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The objective will be to help you control your symptoms so that you can go back to enjoying your life!
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, what should you do?
Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your symptoms will likely get worse if you do. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to prevent them from growing worse. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, be certain you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you’re around loud noises.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, contact us, we can help.