In America alone, about 50 million people have some form of tinnitus. Whether the tinnitus is chronic and severe or comes and goes, our audiologist at Echo Hearing Center can help you learn more about tinnitus and provide you with the right tinnitus treatments for your needs and lifestyle.
What Is Tinnitus Disorder
Tinnitus disorder is difficult to manage, as it a phantom sound which only the person struggling with tinnitus can hear the sound. Also, how tinnitus manifests can differ wildly from person-to-person. Some people perceive their tinnitus as hissing, buzzing, or clicking, while others’ tinnitus can be a loud squealing.
Since only the person struggling with tinnitus can hear the sound, they are often left with the unhelpful advice of “learn to live with it,” as there is no cure for tinnitus disorder. However, depending on what type of tinnitus you have and what may have caused it, there are tinnitus management treatments you can utilize.
Kinds Of Tinnitus
There are three basic kinds of tinnitus which you may be experiencing. Which type you have will often determine what treatment route you need to follow.
- Temporary Tinnitus – Most people will experience temporary tinnitus, which can last for a few minutes to a couple of days. This type of tinnitus can be a warning sign, as it can indicate that damage is being done.
- Objective Tinnitus – Not all tinnitus is experienced only by the person with tinnitus. With objective tinnitus, the sound your tinnitus makes can actually be heard by another person, such as your doctor. This type is very dangerous, as it can point to blood vessel issues, middle ear problems, or other significant health problems and should be addressed immediately.
- Somatic Tinnitus – Generally tied in with blood pressure and other heart-related issues, somatic tinnitus can have a beat tied to your heart.
- Subjective Tinnitus – By far the most common kind of tinnitus, subjective tinnitus can stem from issues anywhere in the ear, from the outer, middle, inner, or nerves. This form of tinnitus is only heard by you.
Along with what kind of tinnitus you are experiencing, people perceive their tinnitus differently. How your tinnitus comes across can influence your tinnitus treatment plan. The three basic ways to describe the different tinnitus perceptions are:
Tonal – For those people who experience tonal tinnitus, the nearly continuous sound of their tinnitus has a defined frequency which can overlap with another sound, but all have clearly defined tonal levels. The volume may change, but the sound will generally stay constant. Also, this type of tinnitus perception is often associated with subjective tinnitus.
Pulsatile – Usually tied in with somatic tinnitus, this form of tinnitus perception is often heard in time with the person’s heartbeat.
Musical – A person with this rare form of tinnitus will hear the same music playing over and over or a loop of someone singing.
By coming in for one of our hearing evaluations, our audiologist can help narrow down which kind you have and what treatment route may be most effective for you and your tinnitus perception.
Tinnitus Common Causes
While there are many potential triggers behind tinnitus, there are some common things which can cause tinnitus, many of which are avoidable.
- Loud Noise Exposure – One of the major common causes behind tinnitus is loud noise exposure. As loud noise can damage the sensitive hairs in your inner ear, it can lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Middle Ear Bone Changes – Whether due to osteoporosis or other factors if your middle ear bones undergo changes, it can cause tinnitus disorder.
- Hearing Loss – There is a strong link between hearing loss and tinnitus, where the brain fills in the loss of hearing with tinnitus symptoms.
- Earwax Buildup – While it seems relatively harmless, earwax can build up to the point where it impedes your hearing and can damage your eardrum, which can trigger tinnitus symptoms.
- High Blood Pressure – Both somatic and subjective tinnitus can be triggered by hypertension.
- Medications – Some medications can be ototoxic, which means they are toxic to your hearing. The effects can be temporary or permanent, so be sure to talk to your physician before starting a new course of medication.
Who Is At-Risk for Tinnitus
There are some people who naturally have higher risk factors for tinnitus, depending on the things they do or don’t do. Some of the people most at-risk are:
- Smokers – Due to the blood flow constriction caused by smoking, regular smokers run a higher risk of developing tinnitus.
- Construction Workers – Those people who work in construction or other fields which lead them to high levels of noise exposure are far more likely to struggle with tinnitus.
- Seniors – Over the age of 60, there is a higher risk of developing tinnitus than other age groups.
- Gender – Men are 2-3 times more likely than women to develop tinnitus disorder.
- Gun Hobbyists – Whether they are hunters, target shooters, or other kinds of gun hobbyists, these individuals are far more likely to develop tinnitus.
Ways Untreated Tinnitus Can Affect You
While tinnitus is often treated as a punchline in a joke, there are some serious side-effects for those who struggle with chronic tinnitus. Some of the ways untreated tinnitus can affect you are:
- Memory trouble
- Chronic fatigue
Find Tinnitus Treatment at Echo Hearing Center
If you are struggling with tinnitus and have not been able to find an effective way to deal with it, then it’s time to talk to our audiologist at Echo Hearing Center. Our audiologist has the education and experience to provide you with all the best tinnitus treatment options so you can determine what path your tinnitus treatment should take.
To start taking control of your tinnitus, contact us today. Our audiologist is ready to help you find the right tinnitus treatment solutions so you can start managing your tinnitus effectively.