Have you experienced ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds after leaving a major sporting event or concert?
Most of the time the sensation goes away within a few hours or sometime the following day, but what happens if that irritating noise, known as tinnitus, never stops?
Those who endure tinnitus 24/7 often struggle to concentrate, relax, or sleep, leading to additional negative social, emotional, and physical health conditions that threaten their daily productivity and quality of life.
While about 75% of people in the US experience some form of tinnitus in their lifetime and around 120 million people struggle with tinnitus worldwide, according to data published by JAMA Neurology, only about 2% experience severe chronic tinnitus.
You’re in luck!
Common Causes and Symptoms for the Ringing in Your Ears
Early on you will be able to ignore the ringing in your ears, but as it intensifies, so does your awareness of it and your stress levels . Unfortunately, stress contributes to the intensity of the condition, causing a loss of sleep and decreased productivity that snowballs into more stress and an increased intensity of your tinnitus.
Worse yet, nobody knows exactly what causes tinnitus.
The predominant explanation among researchers for the neurological disorder, tinnitus, is the Central Gain Theory. Like the common neurological response of amputees known as “phantom limb” (the brain continues to compensate for the missing arm or leg), tinnitus is how your brain compensates for certain frequencies that are no longer heard due to hearing loss or damage to the auditory system.
Despite not being able to identify a specific cause, tinnitus experts have identified several conditions often associated with tinnitus, such as:
Prolonged exposure to loud noise
Various ototoxic drugs
A blockage in the ear canal
Although hearing loss does not cause tinnitus, it often accompanies it, which lends credibility to the Central Gain Theory.
The symptoms of tinnitus are unique for everyone. Some hear ringing while others describe the sound as buzzing, whooshing, hissing, or crickets. Sounds can be continuous or pulsatile and symptoms can be objective or subjective.
Although it’s a rare form, objective tinnitus can be heard by another person using a stethoscope. Most experience subjective tinnitus that is only heard by the person with the symptoms.
Proven Technologies and Techniques Used to Manage Tinnitus
There are plenty of scams that claim that their “proprietary formula cures tinnitus,” but there is little to no evidence supporting their claim.
Without a specific cause, there is no specific cure, but there are proven techniques and technologies used to manage your symptoms and reduce their impact on your quality of life.
Here are some of the most common methods used for tinnitus management:
- Masking or covering awareness of the sound
- Medications to reduce stress and anxiety or to aid sleep
- Sound therapy used to disrupt the neural signal
- The Listening Program® SLEEP, which retrains the brain on how it interprets sound
- The Sound Pillow® Sleep System to relax the body and promote sustainable sleep
- Hearing Aids, which correct hearing loss and allow for sound masking
- TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) and other therapies (psychological counseling, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and neuromonics therapy to reduce the contribution of stress to the condition)
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) involves learning to cope with your tinnitus on a conscious and subconscious level. This technique has helped a lot of people to get stress reductions and a better quality of life.
TRT can be compared to how when raindrops first start falling on a roof you notice it, but after some time it begins to go unnoticed. Complete habituation of the noise requires three therapeutic steps:
The collection of information about you, including your personal/family history, medical history, and daily living habits.
Can exposure to loud noise cause tinnitus?
Can stress or anxiety contribute to tinnitus?
Although they don’t cause tinnitus, stress and anxiety increase your awareness of it, making it difficult to relax or get a good night's sleep.
Are there any medications that can cause or worsen tinnitus?
Yes. Among the various ototoxic medications that can contribute to tinnitus are three groups of medications:
- Group 1: aspirin at high doses, salicylates such as Amikacin, Amphotericin B (Fungizone), Bumetanide (Bumex), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Chloroquine (Aralen), Cisplatin (Platinol), Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), Furosemide (Lasix), and Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- Group 2: analgesics Ibuprofen (Advil) and the tricyclic antidepressant Imipramine (Tofranil), along with Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin), lead, and quinine sulfate
- Group 3: alcohol, toluene, and trichloroethylene, Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Chlorhexidine (Phisohex, Hexachlorophene), Ampicillin, Iodoform, Clemastine Fumarate (Tavist), Clomipramine Hydrochloride (Anafranil), and Chlorpheniramine Maleate (Chlor-trimeton and several others)
Is there a cure for tinnitus?
Because there is no specifically identified cause for tinnitus, there is also no cure.
Can tinnitus be a sign of hearing loss?
Can wearing earbuds or headphones for extended periods worsen tinnitus?
Yes and no. The wearing of earbuds or headphones for extended periods of time are not the primary cause of the damage they do. The real cause is the volume level of whatever sounds are being transmitted through them.
Does diet and nutrition play a role in tinnitus?
Diet and nutrition can help with stress triggers, but there is not enough proof to determine if they have a direct link to tinnitus symptoms
Can tinnitus affect sleep quality?
A major issue associated with chronic tinnitus is how it makes it difficult to concentrate, relax, and get a good night's sleep.
Is there a link between tinnitus and certain medical conditions, such as Meniere's disease or TMJ disorder?
Yes. Both of these medical conditions are known to produce tinnitus symptoms.
Can stress reduction techniques or relaxation exercises help alleviate tinnitus symptoms?
Yes. These coping techniques, typically part of TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) contribute a great deal to the management of your tinnitus symptoms.
Can hearing aids provide relief for tinnitus?
Yes. The primary decision to prescribe hearing aids is not to correct tinnitus, but improved hearing through the use of hearing aids tends to decrease the intensity of tinnitus, and many of the latest models include the capacity to be programmed with tinnitus masking to help manage symptoms.
Schedule Your Tinnitus Evaluation
Instead of being taken in by the newest “tinnitus curing” gadget, formula, or remedy, you can get real relief backed by research to manage your condition. Our tinnitus experts at Hearing & Balance Clinics in Lavonia, Watkinsville, and Loganville use proven technologies and techniques to produce measurable results.
Scheduling a tinnitus evaluation is easy. Simply complete and submit the adjacent form, and then a member of our team will call you back to answer your questions and concerns and/or help schedule a tinnitus evaluation.
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