There is a wide variety of conditions and disorders out there. Some can be simply treated and you are able to go about your life as if nothing happened. Others are permanent and the treatments that are available are designed to make the conditions less bothersome. Where does tinnitus fall on this spectrum? Before this can be determined, your Houston audiologist must confirm the cause of your symptoms.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing, buzzing, hissing, roaring, sizzling or clicking in the ear when there is no noise present. It is surprisingly common; almost 20 percent of induvials in Texas and throughout the country report some degree of tinnitus.
The sounds you hear can present at a variety of pitches. While they are often only heard in one ear, it is possible to have tinnitus in both ears. Additional symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Memory problems
It is important to note that there are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. The most common type is subjective; it is tinnitus only you can hear. Objective tinnitus is rarer and can be heard by your doctor during an examination.
Why Does Tinnitus Occur?
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of conditions. It is most often associated with:
- Noise exposure
- Foreign objects in the ears
How is Tinnitus Treated?
If your tinnitus is caused by a reversible condition, such as a certain medication you are taking or a foreign object in the ear, it is able to cured.
Unfortunately, for most, it cannot be undone. While it cannot be cured, it can be treated. Treatment options will focus on making the symptoms less noticeable and bothersome.
For the majority of people in Houston, their audiologist will recommend one of the following treatment options.
White Noise Therapy
White Noise Therapy is the most popular treatment. It uses white noise, which is a distribution of random sound frequencies across the hearing spectrum, to draws the brain’s attention away from the distracting background noise. There are a number of special electronic devices designed specifically to transmit white noise; you can also achieve the same effect by using an air conditioner, fan or humidifier.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is a newer approach that combines sound therapy with education and counseling. Patients will learn what causes and affects their tinnitus as well as different strategies for coping. They will also learn how to use a low-level sound generator as part of the sound therapy, which produces soft tonal patterns that encourage the brain to shift its focus away from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
Hearing aids are another useful tool in treating tinnitus. Many patients also suffer from hearing loss. Your Houston audiologist recommends simply turning up the volume of the device to mask distracting background noises.
Natural remedies such as the use of gingko biloba, zinc or niacin may help some patients, although clinical studies are inconclusive.
Think that annoying tinnitus is something you just have to learn to live with? Think again. Contact your Houston audiologist to schedule an appointment and get one step closer to relief.