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Tinnitus? What’s that?

Tinnitus is the perception of a persistent ringing, rushing, or buzzing in the ears. It can be mildly annoying or loud enough to affect your daily activities.

Millions of people experience tinnitus. While it is a common symptom of the hearing loss that occurs as we grow older, it can be also be caused by sudden hearing loss from exposure to loud noise, a reaction to medication, or other medical conditions.

Treating Tinnitus

We’ll do a complete hearing screening and review your medical history to determine the most likely cause of your tinnitus, then discuss one of the following treatment options with you.

Earwax Removal

You’d be surprised how often the sensation of ringing in the ears is caused by a buildup of earwax. We can safely remove earwax and restore your normal hearing.

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Medical Treatment

If our assessment indicates that medical issues other than hearing loss may be behind your tinnitus, we will refer you to a physician to complete the diagnosis and treat the underlying condition.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can not only enhance hearing, but they can provide partial or even complete relief of tinnitus.

Sound Therapy

Sound therapy uses sound to counteract the perception of and reaction to tinnitus.

Counseling

Having a clear understanding of what is happening is critical to tinnitus management. We will spend time helping you understand what is happening so that you can gain control.

Tinnitus management works

There’s no reason to continue to endure this annoying sound effect in your everyday life. Schedule an appointment today!

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Questions about  Tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the impression of NOISE or RINGING in the ears. 

Did you know that tinnitus affects about 15-20% of people?

Another did you know moment here – tinnitus IS NOT a condition itself. It’s actually a SYMPTOM of an underlying (sometimes serious) condition – such as ear injury, age-related hearing loss or a disorder in the circulatory or cardiovascular system.

Although downright annoying, you’ll be glad to know that tinnitus isn’t usually a sign of something serious. Tinnitus MAY worsen with age but with the right treatment, tinnitus can improve.

Going down to the bottom of the CAUSE will help a lot. Popular tinnitus treatments include gadgets that reduce or mask the noise (more on that later), making tinnitus less observable.

What are some Tinnitus symptoms?

If you keep on hearing sounds with no external source present, do not freak out – you are not in your own horror movie. If you are hearing a ringing, humming, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound without any clear external source, you may be experiencing tinnitus. 

  •  Ringing 

  •  Humming

  •  Buzzing

  •  Roaring

  •  Clicking

  •  Hissing

It’s not surprising why tinnitus is referred to as phantom noise, because in a sense, it IS a sound that only the bearer can hear.

This phantom noise may vary in pitch – from a high, irritating squeal or to a dull, annoying roar. It may be heard in one ear or both ears. There are instances when the sound can be SO LOUD to the point that it can interfere with the ability to focus or hear other sounds.

What about the frequency of tinnitus? It may be constantly present or it may also come and go like waves.

What are the two types of Tinnitus?

If you keep on hearing sounds with no external source present, do not freak out – you are not in your own horror movie. If you are hearing a ringing, humming, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound without any clear external source, you may be experiencing tinnitus. 

  •  Ringing 

  •  Humming

  •  Buzzing

  •  Roaring

  •  Clicking

  •  Hissing

It’s not surprising why tinnitus is referred to as phantom noise, because in a sense, it IS a sound that only the bearer can hear.

This phantom noise may vary in pitch – from a high, irritating squeal or to a dull, annoying roar. It may be heard in one ear or both ears. There are instances when the sound can be SO LOUD to the point that it can interfere with the ability to focus or hear other sounds.

What about the frequency of tinnitus? It may be constantly present or it may also come and go like waves.

What if the sounds in my ear do not go away?

This is the perfect time to see a doctor. 

Mild tinnitus may be easily shrugged off by some, but for severe and persistent tinnitus, a trip to the doctor would be the best solution. 

See a doctor if you develop tinnitus after a flu or a cold, and the symptoms don’t improve within a week.

See a doctor IMMEDIATELY: 

 • if tinnitus occurs suddenly and/or without an apparent cause

 • if you experience dizziness or hearing loss with the tinnitus

Tinnitus Causes: Why do I have this noise in my ears?

Just like any other medical concern, there are a number of existing health conditions that may cause or worsen tinnitus. 

The interesting thing is, in most tinnitus cases, an exact cause is never found. It’s safe to say that tinnitus continues to be an interesting point of research and development in the medical field. 

One common cause of tinnitus is damage in the inner ear hair cells. Think of it this way – your inner ear is lined up with tiny, delicate hairs that move in the direction of sound waves. The movement triggers the hair cells to emit electrical signals from the ears to the brain, which the latter will interpret as sound. 

Once the inner ear hair cells are damaged, they LEAK random electrical impulses to the brain, hence, causing TINNITUS.

Other causes of tinnitus may include:

 • chronic health conditions

 • injuries or issues in the ear nerves or hearing center of the brain

What are the most common causes of Tinnitus?

Age-related hearing loss. As hearing worsens with age, hearing loss manifests itself and MAY cause tinnitus. The medical term for this condition is presbycusis.

Exposure to loud noise. If you can remember, we mentioned earlier that once the inner ear hair cells are damaged, they might emit random electrical impulses that may cause tinnitus. 

So, you have to make sure to PROTECT your ears to prevent your inner ear hair cells from getting damaged.

As we all know, loud noises (whether from industrial equipment, firearms or loud music from headphones) are the main causes of noise-related hearing loss.

Some people experience tinnitus from SHORT-TERM noise exposure – such as attending a concert or going through a firing range without hearing protection. This kind of tinnitus USUALLY goes away, BUT, the chances to suffer from long-term or permanent damage is still lurking like the sharks from Jaws.

Earwax blockage. Let’s get things straight – earwax is a natural bodily substance and protects the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. However, when the ear produces TOO MUCH earwax, it will accumulate and may become impacted. Once this happens, it will be too difficult to be washed away or shed naturally, which may lead to irritation of the eardrum, hearing loss or tinnitus.

Changes in the ear bone. Otosclerosis, also known as stiffening of the middle ear bones, may affect hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition is usually genetic and causes abnormal bone growth.

Other noted causes of tinnitus include Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorders, neck or head injuries, acoustic neuroma, muscle spasms in the inner ear, and eustachian tube dysfunction.

Tinnitus and Blood Vessel Disorders

This was already mentioned in the earlier part of the article – in rare cases, tinnitus may be triggered by a blood vessel disorder. This condition is called PULSATILE TINNITUS.

Pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by atherosclerosis, head and neck tumors, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, or malformation of capillaries. If you have these existing medical condition(s), it is expected that you are seeing your primary care provider regularly. Make sure to mention any signs of tinnitus during your check-ups.

Are there medications that can cause tinnitus?

Yes. A number of medications may cause OR worsen tinnitus. The higher the dose, the worse the tinnitus symptoms manifest. 

More often than not, tinnitus lessens or disappears when these medications are stopped or if the dosage is lowered. Below are some medications that are known to worsen or cause tinnitus:

 • Antibiotics

 • Cancer medications

 • Water pills (diuretics)

 • Quinine medications used for malaria or other health conditions

 • Certain antidepressants

 • Aspirin in high doses

What about coffee or cigarettes?

Are you a serial coffee drinker or smoker? You might want to stay away from these because they are known TRIGGERS of TINNITUS. Some herbal supplements may also trigger tinnitus so make sure to consult with your doctor first before taking any.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

If you have been diagnosed to have tinnitus, the best thing you can do about it is to manage it and follow your doctor’s orders. Below are some tips to help:

Avoid possible triggers or irritants. Avoid being exposed to things that may make tinnitus worse. If you know that you’ll be going to a place or an event where loud sounds are involved, it would be best to bring hearing protection with you.

Mask the noise. If you can’t beat the “noise”, join them. You can try to use a fan, low-volume radio static or soft music to help mask the noise. This can be an experimental stage, see what works best for you.

Manage stress. Undeniably, stress is part of our everyday life, but excessive STRESS may make tinnitus worse. Try to avoid your stressors (deadlines, chatty officemates, long commute, etc). Make an effort to avoid stress – yes, easier said than done but doing so will definitely help ease tinnitus.

Live a healthy lifestyle. Again, easier said than done, but with conscious effort, this can be applied. As mentioned earlier, too much caffeine or nicotine may trigger tinnitus so it would be best to steer clear from these substances to keep tinnitus symptoms at bay.

What if the sounds in my ear do not go away?

As of today, there is not a definite cure for tinnitus just yet. However, there are TREATMENTS that CAN HELP people with tinnitus to cope better and make the condition bearable.

In our experience, most tinnitus patients have a combination of one to three treatments that work for them. Tinnitus treatment is not one-size-fits-all; each person’s coping mechanism is unique and it is our responsibility to find it right away so the patient can enjoy life once more.

Below are some of the top tinnitus treatments:

Hearing aids – With hearing aids, we can adjust it to control the external sound levels to make it easier for a patient with tinnitus to hear. We at Hearing Health Clinic believe that THE BETTER YOU HEAR, THE LESS NOTICEABLE YOUR TINNITUS WILL BE.

Counseling – Sometimes you feel much better when you UNDERSTAND what is happening. Most people with tinnitus are panicking or afraid of what might come next. We would suggest counseling programs where a tinnitus patient is made to understand WHAT is going on which will greatly help in one’s reaction to the situation.

Wearable sound generators – These are another set of tools that can help mask tinnitus. Just like hearing aids, wearable sound generators can fit the ear and provide a soft, pleasant sound to cover up the tinnitus.

Are there treatments that can help me?

This is a really SCARY question, one that most people with tinnitus ask at one point or another.

Tinnitus treatment(s) is not a one-time magic potion that can immediately make the symptoms go away and bring life back to normal. No, it does not happen that way and you need to brace yourself for that reality.

The good thing is, as long as you are working with doctors that are experts in this field, you can rest easy knowing that the right treatment will be given to you and your tinnitus will go away, or at the very least, become milder.

Hope can be hanging on a very thin thread especially for people who are struggling with severe tinnitus. At this point, sleeping, concentrating or even trying to do a basic daily routine can be a struggle. You are not alone – seek the help of a medical professional ASAP. 

If you are in the Osseo, MN area, Hearing Health Clinic offers tinnitus relief and management carried out by expert audiologists. Don’t waste a single second suffering from tinnitus – we can help you find ways to reduce the severity and bring your life back to normal. 

We are here to help. Entrust your tinnitus concerns and other hearing problems to Hearing Health Clinic  – sit back, relax, and leave it to the experts.  Don’t let tinnitus STOP you.