Tinnitus occurs when people hear sounds without an external source. People who experience the situation often describe these sounds like humming, roaring, chirping, hissing, shrieking, and whistling. Moreover, these sounds can emanate from the ears or inside the head and can be intermittent, constant, pulsating, or steady.
The CDC records that over 50 million Americans experience tinnitus, while approximately 20 million experience chronic tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a stand-alone medical condition but usually indicates other health issues like hearing loss. While it can interfere with your sleep and everyday life, it’s not a life-threatening condition. However, it’s essential to visit your audiologist to discover the underlying cause of your tinnitus and how to manage it effectively.
What are the different kinds of tinnitus?
Tinnitus is divided into subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is perceived by the person experiencing it. These sounds can be chronic or temporary and may be sensed in the ears or outside the head. What’s more, the sound can constantly change or remain the same. Subjective tinnitus usually causes problems in the ear, auditory nerves, or pathways in the brain.
Objective tinnitus can be perceived by other people apart from those experiencing it and is characterized by a persistent pulsing sound connected with their blood flow or pulse near the ear tissue. That said, your audiologist will hear the sound should you go for your appointment.
What causes tinnitus?
Indeed, tinnitus is not a disease but an indication that there’s a problem with your ear, auditory nerves, and the brain parts that process sound. That said, impacted earwax obstructing the ear canal can cause tinnitus. However, certain health conditions can trigger it, including:
- Ear and sinus infection
- Meniere’s disease
- Hormonal changes in elderly women
- Brain tumors
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Thyroid problems
Older people experiencing hearing loss often indicate tinnitus as an early symptom, while over two hundred drugs are known to cause the condition as a side effect.
Can you treat tinnitus?
Yes, tinnitus can be effectively treated. Although tinnitus can’t be cured, you can effectively manage it to improve your life’s quality. For instance, tinnitus caused by pressure in nearby blood vessels can be resolved by medication or surgery. Moreover, successful treatment options can effectively minimize the symptoms, allowing you to do your daily activities without stress. That said, it becomes imperative to visit your audiologist for various options suitable for you.
Can hearing protection help tinnitus?
While everyone should protect their ears, especially in loud environments, people with tinnitus can actively invest in hearing protection. This is because noise can aggravate the situation further. That said, feel free to invest in high-fidelity musician earplugs instead of the normal ones. Regular earplugs are okay, but you may find yourself struggling with conversations or being aware of your surroundings.
Musician’s earplugs, however, utilize special features to reduce your surroundings’ decibel levels evenly. That way, you can converse, enjoy music and still be aware of your environment. You can also invest in earmuffs, as they prevent noise by covering the outer ear completely. Fortunately, earmuffs are designed to fit most people so that you can get your perfect size for more comfort and functionality.
How else can you help your tinnitus?
You can ease tinnitus with various options, including the following:
Leveraging an infinite sound machine
You can utilize sound machines to mask the sounds that tinnitus causes. They work by drowning the sounds, offering you relief. That said, you can invest in white noise machines, hearing aids with masking features, elaborate stereo equipment, and in-ear masking devices, among others. However, not all masking sounds are ideal for the different tinnitus types, so it’s essential to consult your audiologist for the best advice. If possible, let your masking sound be lower than your tinnitus to help you get used to the sounds without affecting you.
Always go out with a tinnitus go-pack
If you always feel nervous whenever your tinnitus is triggered, then you can take your go-pack whenever you go out. Your pack should contain your earplugs, supplements, medications, hearing aids, food and drinks, and emergency contact numbers, among others. Having these things with you will help you address tinnitus when triggered while reducing your anxiety levels.
See an audiologist today
It’s best to visit your audiologist immediately if you experience tinnitus suddenly and without reason, experience dizziness, and hearing loss. That said, feel free to visit the Audiology & Hearing Center of Tampa or call the following phone numbers: Westchase: 813-962-1888, Tampa Palms: 813-374-3036.