Are you experiencing an annoying ringing or buzzing sound in your ears? Do you think you’re going crazy because no one around you can hear this sound? Don’t worry, this whooshing, whistling, or jingling sound you’re hearing is known as tinnitus, and it is a lot more common than you think.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus affects around 1 in 5 adults and is found in much higher rates among seniors. Tinnitus is often the symptom of another condition, such as age-related hearing loss or noise induced hearing loss. Tinnitus can also be caused by a build-up of earwax, an ear injury or infection, or a problem with the circulatory system. Generally, tinnitus is caused by cell damage, either in the ear or in the auditory nerves and pathways in your brain.
Tinnitus creates the experience of sound when there are no external noises present. This means that you’ll hear a sound that no one else can hear, and it’s all just in your head. This phantom noise is often described as a ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, clicking, or roaring sound, but the experience of tinnitus is different for every person. It can be a high-pitched sound or a low rumbling, and it can sound like it’s coming from one or both ears. It can be present all the time or may come and go at random.
The Consequences of Untreated Tinnitus
Some people experience tinnitus as a minor annoyance that does little to disrupt their daily life. For others, tinnitus can significantly affect their quality of life and lead to a host of problems. If tinnitus is constant and disruptive, it can interfere with communication and affect your close relationships. Tinnitus is often linked to problems sleeping, since tinnitus is most commonly heard when it’s quiet, like when you’re in bed trying to sleep. Poor sleep leads to fatigue, irritability, stress, memory problems, and even depression. Tinnitus can affect mood, leading to anxiety and irritability. Tinnitus also affects your ability to concentrate, intruding into quiet moments and leading to difficulty competing tasks, focusing, or performing well at work.
How Treating Hearing Loss Can Help
Nine times out of ten, tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand, and those with tinnitus also experience hearing loss. It makes sense to treat tinnitus as part of your hearing loss treatment, and many of the world’s leading hearing aid manufactures have developed advanced therapy programs specifically designed to manage the experience of tinnitus. While there is no cure for tinnitus, finding hearing aids that help you treat tinnitus will minimize its effects and drastically improve your quality of life. Imagine getting a good night’s sleep, or being able to enjoy some peace and quiet!
Most treatment options are designed to reduce or mask your experience of tinnitus, fading tinnitus into the background and allowing you to focus on more important things in life.
Most tinnitus treatment options use sound therapy to reduce your experience of tinnitus. Think about a noisy fan or a dehumidifier that creates a constant hum, and you’ll understand how sound therapy works. When setting up your tinnitus treatment program, you can choose from prerecorded synthetic tones, ocean sounds, rain sounds, white noise, or even your own music, which will be played in the background. Controlling your hearing aids from a smartphone app, you can easily turn the sounds off or on, or control the volume based on your environment and hearing needs. This sound therapy will mask your tinnitus, fading it into the background and allowing you to focus on other things.