What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis) is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse at night when background noise is low, so you may notice it more when trying to fall asleep.
For the vast majority of people, tinnitus is a subjective sound which means that only the person who has it can hear it. Tinnitus originates inside the head and the onset may be gradual or sudden, with the effects of it being soft or loud.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are many possible causes of tinnitus, however many are actually unknown. The most common causes are:
- Exposure to loud sounds
- Injuries to the head or neck
- Reaction to medication (Ototoxicity)
- Natural aging
- Sudden impact noises
- Untreated medical conditions
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Tinnitus and hearing loss are often intertwined, with roughly 90% of those suffering from tinnitus experiencing some degree of hearing loss.
Hearing aids are helpful for many people who have tinnitus, and most people have shown marked improvement with their tinnitus simply by utilizing these devices. Because your brain has other sounds to listen to when wearing hearing aids, they make your tinnitus less noticeable. Fortunately, research has led to new advances in hearing technology that targets tinnitus specifically.
The Effects of Tinnitus
Tinnitus affects everyone differently. The most common areas include:
- Emotions: Many can become annoyed, frustrated, depressed, anxious or angry about it
- Hearing Loss: In some, the sounds of tinnitus mask speech and environmental sounds
- Sleep: In many, tinnitus is most prevalent in a quiet environment such as in bed, making it difficult to sleep
- Concentration: Some sufferers find it difficult to concentrate due to the constant ringing
While there is no cure for tinnitus, it can be managed. Our audiologists at Northeast Georgia ENT are experts in creating tinnitus treatment plans, and can recommend specific therapies or methods to help you gain control and take back your life.
If you’d like more information on how we can help with tinnitus, contact us today.