Tinnitus is a condition characterized by hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, or a variety of other sounds in the absence of external sounds. It can be extremely distracting and frustrating, negatively affecting your overall quality of life. The National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 25% of Americans experience tinnitus, a condition affecting over 50 million people that is often highly correlated with hearing loss.
Despite the close relationship with hearing loss, tinnitus often indicates that something else is malfunctioning in your body, potentially including damage to your auditory nerve or the parts of your brain that process sound. The most common theory behind what causes tinnitus is the absence of sound caused by hearing loss. When the brain is deprived of sound, it can create its own phantom sound to replace it. This explains why nearly 90% of individuals with tinnitus also have hearing loss.
At Applied Hearing Solutions, our Doctors of Audiology, some of whom also experience tinnitus, understand what you are going through. We recommend the first step in addressing your tinnitus be a comprehensive hearing evaluation. Given the close link between hearing loss and tinnitus, it's essential to understand your overall hearing ability and try to determine the cause of your tinnitus. Our audiologists will perform a thorough examination, including a tinnitus pitch and intensity match, and tinnitus consultation, to measure both the intensity of your tinnitus and the frequency at which it occurs in order to understand how to best treat it.
Unfortunately, beyond hearing loss, the causes of tinnitus remain largely unknown, and there is currently no cure despite many products on the market claiming to permanently rid you of tinnitus. Often, tinnitus results from certain medications, overexposure to loud noises, or completely unrelated medical conditions. While we may not always be able to determine the exact cause of your symptoms, we offer a variety of treatment options aimed at reducing the condition's impact on your life.
Some patients find that masking the sound of tinnitus helps, with a range of mobile apps available for this purpose. Others find relief in stress-reducing techniques such as massage or meditation to alleviate the anxiety associated with the constant aggravating sound. Many use hearing aids not only to enhance their natural hearing ability but also to help manage their tinnitus symptoms.
We're committed to helping you find the most appropriate treatment option to reduce the negative impact that tinnitus has on your life. If you or anyone else you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts due to tinnitus, please call the 24-Hour Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 in the United States.