Tinnitus is a chronic hearing condition that afflicts more than 50 million people in the U.S.
Tinnitus affects people of all ages and can make living a productive everyday life difficult if not impossible in some cases. However, as debilitating as tinnitus can be, it also can be treated with relatively simple and non-invasive methods. Tinnitus does not have to disrupt your life or cause anxiety, depression, and stress.
- You can overcome or adapt to tinnitus by undergoing professional treatment.
- Your doctor can also be able to diagnose the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the hearing of a constant sound in one’s ears despite the sound not being present in the environment surrounding the sufferer. It is often described as a constant ringing, roaring, buzzing, clicking, or hissing in one’s ears.
Tinnitus can be either persistent and constant or irregular and intermittent. It can be accompanied by minor or significant hearing loss and is the result of some type of damage inflicted to the inner part of the cochlea, or the part of the ear that transmits sounds to and from the brain.
It can impact people of all ages. However, some people are more prone to tinnitus than others. In particular, people who work in noisy environments, people who listen to loud music with headphones, and musicians are most at risk of developing tinnitus at some point in their lives.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different factors. Doctors believe that the most common contributors to chronic or intermittent tinnitus include:
- Fatigue and poor sleep
- Anxiety, depression, and stress
- Hormonal fluctuations
- The use of some types of antibiotics
- Viruses and inner ear infections
- Earwax buildup
- Ménière’s disease
- Injuries to the head or neck
- Tumors in the auditory system
- Inner ear conditions that are inherited
Living with tinnitus can be difficult for many people. Patients are advised to seek professional medical help if their tinnitus causes severe anxiety and depression or if they develop dizziness, chronic headaches, vision problems, and other complications from this condition.
Treatment for Tinnitus
In some cases, tinnitus can be completely eliminated. In instances where it cannot be cured, doctors can help patients learn to adjust to and live with their tinnitus. One of the most common treatments for tinnitus includes the removal of excess earwax. Once the deposits of earwax are removed, people may find that their tinnitus dissipates.
Other treatments for tinnitus include:
- Changing medications
- Treating vascular illnesses with medication or surgery
- Using white noise machines to mask the sounds of tinnitus
- Wearing hearing aids
- Retraining to ignore tinnitus
The type of treatment you undergo will depend on the cause of your tinnitus and the impact that it has on your life.