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Ringing, buzzing, clicking or a strange constant tone. For some it is a high-pitched constant hum for others it can be a screech as loud as a chainsaw. Some have said it is a pulsing sound in the ear that seems to time itself to every heartbeat. However you describe it, tinnitus is annoying. For some it is occasional bouts, but for others it is a constant debilitating distraction. There are tools and therapies to help you manage chronic tinnitus, and at Crescent City Hearing Center, we’re here to help.
You Aren’t Alone
About 50 million people struggle with tinnitus, and that makes it one of the most chronic health conditions. Tinnitus sufferers have a higher incidence of depression, may encounter memory problems and it impairs their ability to concentrate and sleep. While anyone can develop tinnitus, some are at a higher risk and one of those risk factors is hearing loss. Another risk factor is noise exposure. We can also help you with custom devices to protect your hearing.
Males seem to get tinnitus more often than females. An estimated 14 to 16 million get medical help for tinnitus and many of them are veterans returning from conflicts. An article in the American Journal of Medicine about tinnitus speculates the male statistics are higher than females because there are still more males represented in employment fields such as construction, manufacturing and – military service.
Tinnitus is more prevalent in adults between the age of 60 and 69. This is likely because there has been significant time for there to have been exposure to noise and the related factor of age-related hearing loss. Research also suggests some prescription drugs may lead to tinnitus and that might be an issue to discuss with your physician. A sinus infection can cause tinnitus as can Lyme Disease, a punctured ear drum, hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. Rule out physical causes and then at Crescent City Hearing Center, we can get you started managing tinnitus.
Tinnitus Treatment Options
Tinnitus can’t be “cured,” but it can be managed. Tinnitus can be an extreme burden on those who suffer from it. They may feel anxious and stressed as well as isolated from others who don’t understand the problem. When untreated hearing loss overlaps with tinnitus, both issues seem to be an insurmountable challenge and they are not.
Many times, it takes a combined strategy to quell the problem. Exercise does reduce stress and stress can increase the problems an individual has with tinnitus. Tinnitus may cause sound sensitivity and irritability and this may cause some people to start to withdraw from social situations. This is counterproductive because the distraction of social interaction can lessen tinnitus symptoms. Some find support groups helpful. Others have tried medication with success.
You should understand each case is different and don’t be discouraged if one avenue to manage tinnitus doesn’t seem to work for you. Some find “white noise” a welcome distraction while others find it extra irritating, Bicyclists have reported the wind whistling past their ears covers up the tinnitus while others report it increases the problem. Biofeedback as a relaxation technique has proven helpful for some.
Great Success with Hearing Aids
Very often hearing aids can help with tinnitus symptoms because they enhance the volume of outside sound which decreases the internal sound from tinnitus. One survey of health professionals noted that 60% of their patients reported some tinnitus relief when wearing hearing aids and at least 22% reported what they would call significant relief.
Some hearing aids have specific tinnitus relief technology. They can be programed to soothe the specific type of tinnitus noise that a person finds irritating. They can feed subtle white noise into a wearers’ ears to offset the tinnitus noise. One model will let wearers chose nature-inspired sounds like waves on a beach or rain. Tinnitus seems to be worse for many when there is no external noise so having hearing aids that will offer therapeutic static or wave noise is very helpful. You are the only one hearing the tinnitus noise, you are also the only one hearing the therapeutic sounds from your hearing aids so it’s a very discreet type of treatment.
Crescent City Hearing Center