Invisibility is a very useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a stealthy ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effectual and, frequently, accomplish the impossible.
Regrettably, invisible health problems are no less potent…and they’re a lot less enjoyable. As an illustration, tinnitus is an exceptionally common hearing condition. Regardless of how well you may look, there are no external symptoms.
But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean tinnitus doesn’t have a substantial affect on people who experience symptoms.
Tinnitus – what is it?
One thing we recognize for certain about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a disorder of the ears. You know that ringing in your ears you often hear after a rock concert or in a really quiet room? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that around 25 million individuals experience it every day.
While ringing is the most common manifestation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Some people could hear buzzing, crunching, metallic sounds, all kinds of things. The one thing that all of these sounds have in common is that they’re not real sounds at all.
For most individuals, tinnitus will be a short-term affair, it will come and go really quickly. But tinnitus is a long-term and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million people. Think about it like this: hearing that ringing in your ears for a few minutes is annoying, but you can occupy yourself easily and move on. But what if that sound never goes away? Clearly, your quality of life would be substantially impacted.
What causes tinnitus?
Have you ever attempted to identify the cause of a headache? Are you catching a cold, is it stress, or is it allergies? The trouble is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The same goes for tinnitus, even though the symptoms may be common, the causes are widespread.
The source of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be obvious. In other cases, you may never truly know. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus might be caused by the following:
- Meniere’s Disease: Quite a few symptoms can be caused by this disorder of the inner ear. Among the first symptoms, however, are generally tinnitus and dizziness. Over time, Meniere’s disease can result in permanent hearing loss.
- Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by some over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Normally, that ringing disappears once you quit taking the medication in question.
- Noise damage: Damage from loud noises can, after a while, cause tinnitus symptoms to happen. One of the primary causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is quite common. Wearing ear protection if exceedingly loud locations can’t be avoided is the best way to prevent this kind of tinnitus.
- Head or neck injuries: Your head is fairly sensitive! So head injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up producing tinnitus symptoms.
- Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus backs up in your ears, it could cause some inflammation. And tinnitus can be the result of this swelling.
- Ear infections or other blockages: Similar to a cold or seasonal allergies, ear infections, and other blockages can cause swelling in the ear canal. This often causes ringing in your ears.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure can cause tinnitus symptoms for some people. If this is the situation, it’s a good idea to check with your primary care provider in order to help control your blood pressure.
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are often closely connected. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be caused by noise damage and that’s a big part of the situation here. Both of them have the same cause, in other words. But the ringing in your ears can sound louder with hearing loss because the outside world is quieter.
Treatment will obviously be simpler if you can identify the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. clearing away a blockage, for instance, will alleviate tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. Some people, however, may never identify what’s causing their tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus that only persists a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Still, having regular hearing exams is always a smart plan.
But you should absolutely make an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t go away or if it continues to come back. We will ask you about your symptoms, talk to you about how your quality of life is being impacted, do a hearing test, and probably discuss your medical history. All of that information will be utilized to diagnose your symptoms.
How is tinnitus treated?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. The strategy is management and treatment.
If you’re taking a particular medication or have a root medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you deal with the base cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily corrected.
For those with chronic tinnitus then, the goal is to manage your symptoms and help ensure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively affect your quality of life. We can help in a variety of ways. Among the most common are the following:
- A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of amplifying them. These devices produce just the right amount and type of sound to make your specific tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: In terms of cognitive behavioral therapy, we may end up referring you to a different provider. This is a therapeutic approach created to help you not pay attention to the ringing in your ears.
- A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes obvious because your hearing loss is making outside sounds relatively quieter. The buzzing or ringing will be less apparent when your hearing aid raises the volume of the external world.
We will develop an individualized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The goal will be to help you regulate your symptoms so that you can get back to enjoying your life!
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, what should you do?
Even though tinnitus can’t be seen, it shouldn’t be ignored. Chances are, those symptoms will only get worse. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you may be able to prevent them from getting worse. You should at least be certain to have your hearing protection handy whenever you’re going to be around loud sound.
If you have tinnitus that won’t go away (or keeps coming back) schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.