Whether tinnitus starts suddenly or gradually, it can feel disruptive and annoying if it persists. The causes of tinnitus are difficult to identify, but it’s rarely a serious condition on its own. Tinnitus affects 10% to 15% of people, and many seek medical advice for how to manage it.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Almost everyone experiences tinnitus at some point in their lives, but the specific symptoms depend in part on what kind of tinnitus you have. Some people with tinnitus have episodes of ringing in their ears, while others have constant ringing that disrupts their daily lives. Tinnitus can sound different depending on the person, but you may hear one or more of the following:
With each of these sounds, you can experience various forms of tinnitus. Tonal tinnitus produces a constant sound at clear frequencies and various volumes, while pulsatile tinnitus creates a more rhythmic sound, like whooshing or throbbing, as with a heartbeat. Mixed tinnitus can occur when the person hears more than one sound or tone at once rather than a singular ringing noise. Rarely, objective tinnitus causes sounds, like ringing, that others can hear.
Sometimes, tinnitus can point to a broader health problem, and any of the following symptoms indicate the need for evaluation by a licensed hearing professional like ours at Beltone West:
- Dizziness, vertigo, or trouble with balance
- Ear pain, drainage, or discharge
- Persistent tinnitus that impacts daily life
What Causes Tinnitus?
Often, hearing professionals can’t find the specific cause of tinnitus. However, tinnitus can appear gradually or suddenly and worsen with certain health conditions. For many people, the following conditions can cause tinnitus or cause it to progress:
- Ear infection or blockage
- Head or neck injury
- Hearing loss
- Inner ear disorders, like Meniere’s Disease or vestibular neuritis
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Certain medications
- Chronic conditions
Along with these causes, you are at a higher risk of experiencing tinnitus if you are frequently exposed to loud noises, use tobacco, drink alcohol, and have certain health conditions. Tinnitus impacts everyone differently, and while one person may only hear a brief, temporary ringing, others may need to seek medical attention to learn how to manage their condition.
Tinnitus Management Options
Treatment for tinnitus varies based on the cause, and there’s no single treatment that works for everyone. Tinnitus is not a disorder on its own, so treating this symptom often requires treating the root cause. Sometimes, earwax removal alone can resolve tinnitus, especially if the symptom began as a result of blocked ear canals. Other times, you may need to visit a doctor to treat an ear infection.
If the tinnitus relates to hearing loss, a hearing aid may improve your symptoms. Because tinnitus is sometimes caused by medications, your doctor might suggest changing your medication or adjusting your dosage. If your tinnitus does not respond to these types of changes and treatments, it may help to try devices that make the symptoms less prominent, such as white noise machines or masking devices that emit a low-level noise to make symptoms less noticeable.
What Are the Benefits of Using Hearing Protection?
Custom hearing protection offers a wide range of benefits for those who want to avoid hearing loss.
First, they provide you with a highly individualized hearing experience based on your personal and professional needs. Second, they are custom-made just for you, which means they will fit properly and feel far more comfortable than most one-size-fits-all hearing protection devices available from commercial retailers.
In addition to preventing hearing loss, custom hearing protection devices can help you save money in the long run, as they are designed to last long-term and may even come with warranties in the event they become damaged or defective. Many of these devices are also made with durable, high-quality medical-grade materials that prevent bacterial growth associated with ear infections.
AudioCardio – Threshold Sound Conditioning Therapy
Beltone West has partnered with AudioCardio to bring you the best tinnitus treatments. AudioCardio uses a technology called Threshold Sound Conditioning (TSC) to help maintain hearing and help reduce tinnitus symptoms. The AudioCardio mobile app assesses your hearing needs and administers sound conditioning therapy once daily to improve your hearing. It is non-invasive and requires no special equipment, so you can do it almost anywhere and at any time. The app delivers frequencies at a volume level just below what you can naturally hear so that you can start to hear sound at a lower volume.
Our licensed hearing specialists will evaluate your needs and work with you to find the cause of your tinnitus and offer ways to ease your symptoms. Contact us today to book an appointment and ask how you can relieve your tinnitus symptoms.