Tinnitus Treatment and Management
Some call it ringing in the ears. But tinnitus can sound like chirping, whirring, buzzing or whooshing. No matter the sound you hear, it isn’t a sound from the environment around you. Tinnitus can be temporary and mildly annoying. Or, tinnitus can be long-lasting, loud enough to interfere with everyday activities and devastating to quality of life. Over 50 million people in the US are affected by tinnitus. Don’t suffer; Awender Audiology can help.
Understanding the causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus isn’t a disease; it is a symptom of an underlying condition. Understanding and managing tinnitus begins with identifying the condition that is causing the tinnitus.
Temporary tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, taking too much aspirin, earwax build-up, exposure to noise or an ear infection. Lasting tinnitus can be caused by ototoxic drugs, damage to the auditory nerve, Meniere’s disease, TMJ or hearing loss. The most common cause of tinnitus is undiagnosed hearing loss.
When tinnitus is caused by a temporary condition, such as earwax build-up, high blood pressure or an ear infection, resolving the condition resolves the tinnitus. For example, taking medication to control high blood pressure, treating an ear infection or removing impacted earwax may be all it takes to stop the tinnitus.
Wearing hearing aids is the answer for people who have tinnitus as a result of undiagnosed hearing loss. As the brain loses auditory stimulation, it creates the tinnitus sounds to fill the void. Once enough auditory stimulation is returned to the brain via hearing aids, the tinnitus is reduced or resolved.
Other tinnitus is more complex and requires a more complex approach to treatment.
Sound therapy for tinnitus
This treatment method utilizes white noise to mask the tinnitus sounds by increasing background noise. This added auditory stimulation doesn’t stop the tinnitus, but it does mask the sound and reduce the impact. Sound therapy can be as basic as using low background music, fans or white noise machines to create the masking sounds or as high tech as small wearable devices that create white noise.
Tinnitus retraining therapy
This method of tinnitus therapy uses behavioral counseling with an audiologist to train your auditory system to treat the tinnitus sounds as natural. Over time, your brain learns to treat the sounds as normal, and they become far less noticeable.