We live in a beautiful state where there are so many sounds to take in, but if you’re like the 50 million Americans who suffer from persistent ringing in the ears – the only thing you crave is silence.
Tinnitus, pronounced tin-ny-tus or tin-u-tus, is a condition that makes you hear a particular sound in your ear(s) that won’t stop for minutes, hours, or even months, and you know it’s not from an external sound. While it might end after some time, it can also recur.
The sound of tinnitus varies from person to person. It could sound like ringing, whistling, buzzing, clicking, roaring, or hissing, and it can have various pitches or volumes. It can also sound like it’s pulsating.
About 10% of US adults have experienced tinnitus that has lasted for more than five minutes each year, making it very common, and it’s one of the many effects of aging.
1–2% of those who have tinnitus hear noise that’s so disruptive, it’s been classed as a disability.
Severe tinnitus can stop a person from being able to work or get a good night’s sleep, and it can cause stress, anxiety, an inability to concentrate, memory problems, and depression.
While tinnitus can be frustrating, there are ways to treat and manage it. And as your Greater Olympia hearing care expert, I can help you with this.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the causes of tinnitus and your possible treatment options.
There isn’t any one cause of tinnitus, but the two main culprits are loud noise exposure and certain health conditions.
Loud noise exposure can happen just once, such as from being too close at a fireworks display, or over a long period of time at work, such as at an industrial factory, being around farming equipment, or being exposed to bomb blasts as a service member – a common disability among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
One theory about tinnitus is that the brain makes up sounds to replace the sounds it can no longer process or hear. The brain might also up your sensitivity to sound to help you hear better, but this not only gives you tinnitus; it also makes you super sensitive to loud noises.
Health conditions, such as Ménière’s disease, inner ear disorders, high blood pressure, or acute sensitivity to sound, also cause tinnitus, as can some ototoxic medications used to treat cancer, kidney diseases, heart conditions, and malaria.
If I believe your tinnitus is caused by a medical condition, I’ll immediately refer you to a trusted ENT specialist.
Tinnitus is more of an effect of a condition rather than a cause — a sign that something is wrong — so tinnitus is often seen as a blessing because it can indicate a serious underlying condition that needs treatment.
Types of Tinnitus
The two main types of tinnitus are called subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus.
Subjective tinnitus is experienced by 99% of people and is caused by problems in your hearing system.
Objective tinnitus is caused by medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney problems, dental issues, metabolic deficiencies, or head injuries.
Pulsatile tinnitus is rare and makes a pulsing sound that usually pulsates in time with your heartbeat. It’s mostly caused by irregularities in the brain or in the brain and neck’s blood flow.
What To Do If You Have Tinnitus
I’ll have the results of this immediately, so we can then talk about any hearing loss I find and also about what’s causing your tinnitus and how we might treat it.
If the cause of your tinnitus is a medical issue, the ENT specialist I refer you to will treat that condition.
If the cause is a hearing loss, I’ll recommend the best treatment plan for your type of tinnitus and help you with a management plan too.
South Sound Audiology Can Help With Tinnitus
Thanks to my extensive training and years of experience, I can treat and help you to manage your tinnitus, and I look forward to helping you.
I can also give you tips on how to prevent any future damage to your hearing so that your tinnitus won’t get worse.
If you’re in the Greater Olympia community and have tinnitus, contact us today to book your hearing assessment at our office in Lacey, WA.
Or ask for a callback so we can answer any questions you have about tinnitus.
I look forward to hearing from you.