An estimated 50 million Americans are affected by Tinnitus, better known as ringing in the ears. Many people who experience tinnitus suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus therapy hearing aids divert attention away from the disturbing tinnitus sounds. They make it easier to listen to external sounds again instead of permanently concentrating on annoying internal sounds. The sound emitted by the hearing aids draws focus away from the tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus:
- Hearing loss
- Ear/ Sinus infections
- Foreign objects or cerumen (wax) in the ear
- Nasal allergies which produce fluid drainage
- Noise exposure
- Injuries to the head
- Neck/shoulder pain and/or stiffness
- High doses of aspirin
- Cancer medications
- Malaria medications
- Cardiovascular disease
- Jaw Misalignment
*Certain disorders, such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism, lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and thoracic outlet syndrome can have tinnitus as a symptom. When tinnitus is a symptom of another disorder or condition, treating the disorder may help alleviate the tinnitus. *Certain types of tumors – Rarely, people have a benign and slow-growing tumor on the auditory nerve. These tumors can cause tinnitus, deafness, facial paralysis, and loss of balance. Pulsing noises timed with one’s heart beat are generally vascular (bloodflow related) in nature or may signal a conductive hearing loss. An audiological examination followed by a medical exam by a primary physician or otolaryngologist may be necessary. Click here for more information. Irregular clicking noises may be a sign of middle ear muscle contractions. Again, this should be examined audio logically and medically, although the condition is typically benign.
Treatment is available to manage tinnitus! Since tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition, it is important to first identify and address the cause. As a result, the following steps are taken in our clinic.
- Comprehensive audiological evaluation assessing the function of the entire ear including the middle and inner ear regions. We utilize high-frequency audiometry and Otoacoustic Emissions to help detect early loss of inner ear function.
- Tinnitus evaluation to assess the pitch and loudness of the perceived sound. Loudness discomfort levels are measured in cases of poor loudness tolerance.
- We have specialized training and years of experience practicing Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). This technique can provide long-term relief by allowing the brain to learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds. There are devices available that can accelerate the process and bring faster relief in some patients.
- Some tinnitus patients require hearing amplification for relief from bothersome tinnitus. Only a thorough diagnostic evaluation will let us know the best path to take. Our treatment plans are based on the neurophysiological model of tinnitus and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. We have options based on a patient's specific hearing profile and the nature of the tinnitus. Many patients are candidates for advanced technology that introduces targeted tinnitus therapy sounds into the ears. This is available with or without amplification, depending on the presence of hearing loss.
The initial assessment/diagnostic evaluation is the first step in crafting a personalized long-term treatment plan for you.