Tinnitus (Ringing / Noises in Your Ears)
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the presence of unwanted sounds in your head. It is usually experienced as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, or clicking sound in your ears.
Tinnitus can interfere with your hearing, prevent you from working, hamper your social life, and impact your sleep. Tinnitus can be downright disabling.
Tinnitus sufferers go to an average of four doctors for help. The most common medical diagnosis and treatment is: “You’ve got tinnitus. There is nothing you can do about it. Learn to live with it.”
However, there are different causes for tinnitus with different possible management solutions.
- High frequency hearing deficit: 97% of people with tinnitus are found to have a high pitched hearing loss. They have difficulty hearing the soft sounds of speech. A decrease in the high frequencies is often caused by exposure to loud sounds (loud music, loud tools, loud exercise classes, loud work places, and loud recreational activities, like motorcycles, hunting/shooting, etc.) The more loud sounds a person is exposed to, the more deterioration in hearing and the more annoying the tinnitus becomes.
- Medications: Tinnitus can be a side effect of hundreds of medications, including aspirin.
- TMJ (Temporomandibular joint syndrome): the ear and the jaw are closely connected. Overactivity in the jaw can cause ringing in the ears.
- Other causes: ear infections, allergies, ear tumors, and blood flow problems.
- High frequency hearing devices: since most people with tinnitus also have a hearing deficit in the high pitches, hearing devices provide a dual benefit: relief from the tinnitus while also hearing and understanding those soft sounds of speech more clearly.
- Maskers: these create any sound(s) that can cover up the tinnitus. Maskers can be anything from hearing aid-like devices that only generate noise in the same pitch as the tinnitus to fans, radios, or sound generators that are effective in drowning out the tinnitus.
- Sound therapy: these are new combination hearing devices that are finely tuned to help hear the soft sounds of speech while generating soothing, harmonic fractal tones that aid in relaxation and alleviation of tinnitus.
- Elimination of ‘trigger’ foods & medications: nicotine, chocolate, sugar and quinine (tonic water) and alcohol can exacerbate tinnitus. Anti-anxiety and anti depressant medications
- Dental consult: to determine if the tinnitus is related to TMJ.
- Tinnitus Re-training: habituating exercises to accept and adapt to tinnitus.
- Tinnitus Inhibitor: a new, FDA approved device delivering ultrasonic stimulation to the mastoid bone. Recent studies show 75% of tinnitus patients experience significant reduction of tinnitus immediately after treatment.