Tinnitus: The Invisible Condition with a Huge Impact

Upset woman suffering from tinnitus laying in bed on her stomach with a pillow folded over the top of her head and ears.

Invisibility is a very useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows characters in movies to be more effective and, frequently, achieve the impossible.

Unfortunately, invisible health problems are no less potent…and they’re a lot less fun. As an illustration, tinnitus is a very common hearing condition. Regardless of how good you may look, there are no outward symptoms.

But for individuals who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the affect could be considerable.

Tinnitus – what is it?

One thing we recognize for certain about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. As a matter of fact, tinnitus is a disorder of the ears, which means symptoms are auditory in nature. You know when you are sitting in a silent room, or when you get back from a loud concert and you hear a ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that about 25 million people experience it daily.

While ringing is the most typical manifestation of tinnitus, it’s not the only one. Noises including humming, whirring, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. The one thing that all of these sounds have in common is that they aren’t real sounds at all.

In most cases, tinnitus will go away quickly. But tinnitus is a long-term and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million individuals. Here’s one way to think about it: hearing that ringing in your ears for five or ten minutes is annoying, but you can occupy yourself easily and move on. But what if you can’t be free from that sound, ever? Clearly, your quality of life would be substantially impacted.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever had a headache and attempted to narrow down the cause? Are you getting a cold, is it stress, or is it allergies? The difficulty is that lots of issues can cause headaches! The symptoms of tinnitus, though relatively common, also have a large number of causes.

The cause of your tinnitus symptoms might, in some cases, be evident. In other situations, you might never truly know. Here are a few general things that can cause tinnitus:

  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears, it could cause some swelling. And tinnitus can be the outcome of this inflammation.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure can trigger tinnitus symptoms for some people. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your physician is the best way to address this.
  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are frequently closely associated. In part, that’s because noise damage can also be a strong contributor to sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, both of them have the same cause. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the rest of the world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can seem louder.
  • Meniere’s Disease: A good number of symptoms can be caused by this condition of the inner ear. Amongst the first symptoms, however, are generally dizziness and tinnitus. With time, Meniere’s disease can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Just like a cold or seasonal allergies, ear infections, and other blockages can cause inflammation in the ear canal. Consequently, your ears might begin to ring.
  • Certain medications: Some over-the-counter or prescription medications can cause you to have ringing in your ears. Once you quit using the medication, the ringing will typically subside.
  • Noise damage: Damage from loud noises can, over time, cause tinnitus symptoms to happen. One of the primary causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is very common. The best way to prevent this kind of tinnitus is to avoid excessively loud settings (or use ear protection if avoidance isn’t possible).
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is quite sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be triggered by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.

Treatment will obviously be easier if you can pinpoint the source of your tinnitus symptoms. Cleaning out a blockage, for instance, will relieve tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms might never be identified for some individuals.

Diagnosing Tinnitus

Tinnitus that only persists a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Still, having regular hearing exams is always a good idea.

But you should definitely make an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t subside or if it continues to come back. We will conduct a hearing exam, discuss your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life, and maybe even discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this insight.

How is tinnitus treated?

Tinnitus isn’t a condition that has a cure. But it can be treated and it can be managed.

If you’re using a specific medication or have a root medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you address the base cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily corrected.

For individuals who have chronic tinnitus then, the mission is to manage your symptoms and help ensure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively impact your quality of life. We can help in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the most common:

  • A hearing aid: When you have hearing loss, outside sounds become quieter and your tinnitus symptoms become more noticeable. The buzzing or ringing will be less noticeable when your hearing aid boosts the volume of the outside world.
  • A masking device: This is a device a lot like a hearing aid, except instead of boosting sounds, it masks sound. These devices generate just the right amount and type of sound to make your particular tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: In terms of cognitive behavioral therapy, we may end up referring you to a different provider. This is a therapeutic strategy designed to help you not notice the ringing in your ears.

We will formulate a personalized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by managing your symptoms is the objective here.

What should you do if you’re dealing with tinnitus?

Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Chances are, those symptoms will only grow worse. You might be able to prevent your symptoms from getting worse if you can get in front of them. You should at least be certain to have your hearing protection handy whenever you’re going to be around loud sound.

If you have tinnitus that won’t go away (or keeps coming back) make an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.