Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or hissing sensation in one or both ears, but the sound is not caused by an external noise. For some the sounds come and go, while others experience constant symptoms. They may be a slight annoyance or can severely disrupt your life. The American Tinnitus Association estimates more than 50 million American experience tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
There are a number of factors that can cause tinnitus:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Certain medications
- Head trauma
- Ear infection
- Earwax buildup
- Eardrum blockage
- Hearing loss
Tinnitus may be temporary or permanent, but it is usually always representative of an inner-ear problem.
Treatments for Tinnitus
Treatment will vary depending on the cause of the tinnitus. If it’s caused by a buildup of earwax, the wax simply needs to be removed. An ear infection can be treated with antibiotics and switching medications can help if the tinnitus is found to be caused by a certain medicine you are taking.
Hearing aids are helpful in treating ongoing tinnitus. Even if a hearing loss isn’t present, many hearing aids include a Tinnitus masking option. These are beneficial when amplification of the external sounds around you isn’t enough to distract you from the internal head noise. Many times, a tonal stimulus is an option with hearing aids depending on the manufacturer.
Other options can be a white noise machine if tinnitus is only experienced at night. These machines provide a steady sound that can help mask the tinnitus noises you hear.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a form of therapy designed to help individuals with tinnitus find relief. This therapy involves retraining your mind to block out certain tones, which eases the symptoms of tinnitus.
Other counseling or therapy may be recommended if tinnitus is due to stress or if it causes anxiety or anger from the annoying noise.
If you experience any type of tinnitus, it’s best to make an appointment with a hearing professional to be evaluated. We can help determine the cause of your tinnitus and recommend the proper treatment. Call 412-931-9290 or contact us to schedule an appointment.