Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing or swooshing sound in one or both ears. People who experience tinnitus report the volume of the perceived sound in a wide range, from mild to profound. The results of tinnitus are also described in various degrees to the sufferer’s life, from a small inconvenience to very disruptive of daily life.
At Tejas Ear, Nose and Throat, we have a number of different methods to helping you find the relief you need and deserve from tinnitus. To understand how our treatments work, it’s important to learn more about tinnitus, including it’s symptoms and causes.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying condition affecting the ear’s ability to transmit sound.
While there are several causes of tinnitus, the condition is most likely to occur due to degeneration of the tiny hairs in the ear that transmit sound waves to the auditory nerve. Aging is a common factor, but disease or injury to the middle ear can also cause tinnitus.
Some of the causes of tinnitus are:
- Stress and depression
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noise, usually with hearing loss
- Earwax buildup or blockages
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere’s disease
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
As you can see, there are many reasons for this condition, but the professionals at Tejas ENT can help diagnose and treat tinnitus. If you have questions about tinnitus, the first step is to have a hearing test. At our office, completing a hearing test and medical history puts you on the road to better ENT health.
Other than medical solutions like surgery, tinnitus treatment cannot “cure” the condition; rather, therapies are designed to help patients understand the symptoms, lessen the impact on their daily lives and help the brain recognize the signal from the ear in a different way.
Hearing and tinnitus
Treatments for tinnitus often revolve around the patient’s general health, well-being, and hearing health. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing problems, so a hearing test and evaluation might show the need for a hearing aid. Should this be the case, a sound-altering feature – one that changes the perception of the conditional sound – can be included in a hearing device.
The following options have been shown to provide relief in even severe cases of tinnitus:
- Hearing aids – Even if hearing loss is not present with your tinnitus, hearing aids can be beneficial to alleviating the symptoms experienced by utilizing a sound-masking feature
- Sound machines – These machines generate a white noise that can help override or block out tinnitus sounds. They are often used at night
- Tinnitus retraining therapy – This is often used in conjunction with one of the other relief methods and requires the patient to learn how to “ignore” the noise through behavioral adjustments and responses