Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked spaceship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows characters in movies to be more effectual and, often, accomplish the impossible.
Unfortunately, invisible health problems are no less potent…and they’re a lot less enjoyable. As an illustration, tinnitus is an exceptionally common hearing condition. But there are no outward symptoms, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly you look.
But just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean tinnitus doesn’t have a considerable affect on individuals who experience symptoms.
Tinnitus – what is it?
One thing we recognize for certain about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. As a matter of fact, tinnitus is a condition of the ears, which means symptoms are auditory in nature. You know when you are sitting in a silent 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 (something like 25 million individuals experience tinnitus every year).
There are lots of other presentations of tinnitus besides the typical ringing. Noises including humming, buzzing, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. Here’s the common denominator, anyone who has tinnitus is hearing noises that aren’t really there.
For most individuals, tinnitus will be a short-lived affair, it will come and go really quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million people, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes debilitating condition. Sure, it can be somewhat annoying to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and then. But what if that sound never goes away? Obviously, your quality of life would be significantly impacted.
Have you ever had a headache and tried to narrow down the cause? Perhaps it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; maybe it’s allergies. The trouble is that lots of issues can trigger headaches! The same goes for tinnitus, even though the symptoms may be common, the causes are widespread.
The cause of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be evident. In other cases, you might never really know. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus could be caused by the following:
- Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be caused by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. As a result, your ears could begin to ring.
- Certain medications: Certain over-the-counter or prescription medications can cause you to hear ringing in your ears. Typically, that ringing disappears when you quit taking the medication in question.
- Meniere’s Disease: This is a condition of the inner ear that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Among the first symptoms, however, are typically dizziness and tinnitus. Permanent hearing loss can happen over time.
- Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by exposure to overly loud noise over time. This is so common that loud noises are one of the leading causes of tinnitus! Wearing ear protection if very loud locations can’t be avoided is the best way to counter this type of tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are frequently closely connected. Partly, that’s because noise damage can also be a strong contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, both of them have the same cause. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the outside world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can become louder.
- Colds or allergies: Swelling can happen when lots of mucus accumulates in your ears. And tinnitus can be the consequence of this inflammation.
- Head or neck injuries: The head and neck are extremely sensitive systems. Ringing in your ears can be triggered by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
- High blood pressure: For some individuals, tinnitus may be caused by high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your physician is the best way to handle this.
If you’re able to identify the cause of your tinnitus, managing it might become simpler. For example, if an earwax blockage is causing ringing in your ears, cleaning out that earwax can alleviate your symptoms. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms may never be identified for some individuals.
Tinnitus that only lasts a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Having said that, it’s never a bad idea to check in with us to schedule a hearing exam.
However, if your tinnitus won’t go away or continues to come back, you should schedule some time with us to find out what’s going on (or at least begin treatment). We will perform a hearing examination, discuss your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life, and maybe even talk about your medical history. All of that information will be used to diagnose your symptoms.
Tinnitus isn’t a condition that can be cured. But it can be treated and it can be managed.
If you’re using a specific medication or have an underlying medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you deal with the base cause. But there will be no known root condition to manage if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.
For those who have chronic tinnitus then, the goal is to manage your symptoms and help make sure your tinnitus does not negatively impact your quality of life. We can help in a variety of ways. Among the most prevalent are the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: We may refer you to another provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This approach uses therapy to help you learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds.
- A masking device: This is a device a lot like a hearing aid, except instead of amplifying sounds, it masks sound. These devices create exactly the right amount and type of sound to make your specific tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
- A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes obvious because your hearing loss is making outside sounds relatively quieter. The buzzing or ringing will be less obvious when your hearing aid raises the volume of the outside world.
The treatment plan that we develop will be custom-designed to your specific tinnitus needs. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by managing your symptoms is the goal here.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, what should you do?
Tinnitus may be invisible, but the last thing you should do is pretend it isn’t there. Chances are, those symptoms will only get worse. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to stop them from growing worse. At the very least, you should invest in hearing protection for your ears, be certain you’re using ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you’re around loud noises.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, call us, we can help.