Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. The characters can frequently do the impossible if they possess the power of invisibility, whether it’s a starship with cloaking ability or a wizard with an invisibility cloak.
Invisible health disorders, regrettably, are equally as potent and much less enjoyable. Tinnitus, for instance, is an incredibly common condition that impacts the ears. Regardless of how good you might look, there are no external symptoms.
But just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean tinnitus doesn’t have a substantial impact on individuals who experience symptoms.
Tinnitus – what is it?
One thing we know for certain about tinnitus is that it can’t be seen. In fact, tinnitus is a disorder of the ears, which means symptoms are auditory in nature. You know that ringing in your ears you occasionally hear after a rock concert or in a really silent room? That’s tinnitus. Now, tinnitus is quite common (somewhere around 25 million people experience tinnitus every year).
While ringing is the most typical manifestation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Noises including humming, whirring, crackling, clicking, and lots of others can manifest. The one thing that all of these noises have in common is that they aren’t actual sounds at all.
For most individuals, tinnitus will be a temporary affair, it will come and go really quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million individuals, tinnitus is a chronic, sometimes incapacitating condition. Sure, it can be a bit irritating to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and then. But what if you can’t get rid of that sound, ever? Obviously, your quality of life would be significantly impacted.
What causes tinnitus?
Have you ever had a headache and attempted to narrow down the cause? Perhaps it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; maybe it’s allergies. A number of things can cause a headache and that’s the issue. The symptoms of tinnitus, though fairly common, also have a wide variety of causes.
The cause of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be obvious. In other cases, you might never really know. Generally speaking, however, tinnitus may be caused by the following:
- Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears, it might cause some inflammation. And tinnitus can be the result of this inflammation.
- Meniere’s Disease: A good number of symptoms can be caused by this disorder of the inner ear. Amongst the first symptoms, however, are usually tinnitus and dizziness. With time, Meniere’s disease can lead to permanent hearing loss.
- High blood pressure: For some people, tinnitus could be the result of high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your doctor is the best way to address this.
- Head or neck injuries: The head and neck are incredibly sensitive systems. So head injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)–can end up causing tinnitus symptoms.
- Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be caused by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. As a result, your ears may start ringing.
- Noise damage: Damage from loud noises can, after a while, cause tinnitus symptoms to develop. This is so common that loud noises are one of the leading causes of tinnitus! The best way to counter this type of tinnitus is to avoid excessively loud settings (or use ear protection if avoidance isn’t possible).
- Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by some over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Once you quit taking the medication, the ringing will normally go away.
- Hearing loss: There is a close connection between tinnitus and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be caused by noise damage and that’s a big part of the equation here. In other words, both of them have the same cause. But hearing loss can also exacerbate tinnitus, when the rest of the world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can become louder.
If you’re able to identify the cause of your tinnitus, treatment might become easier. clearing away a blockage, for example, will alleviate tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms might never be known for some individuals.
If you have ringing in your ears for a few minutes and then it goes away, it isn’t really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it takes place often). Still, getting regular hearing assessments is always a smart plan.
But you should absolutely make an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t subside or if it continues to come back. We will ask you about your symptoms, talk to you about how your quality of life is being affected, perform a hearing test, and most likely discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed utilizing this insight.
Tinnitus isn’t a condition that has a cure. But it can be addressed and it can be managed.
If you’re taking a particular medication or have an underlying medical condition, your symptoms will improve when you address the underlying cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no root condition that can be easily addressed.
For people who have chronic tinnitus then, the mission is to manage your symptoms and help ensure your tinnitus doesn’t negatively impact your quality of life. There are a number of things that we can do to help. Here are a few of the most common:
- A hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes noticeable because your hearing loss is making everything else relatively quieter. The buzzing or ringing will be less obvious when your hearing aid boosts the volume of the outside world.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: We may refer you to another provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This approach uses therapy to help you learn to disregard the tinnitus sounds.
- A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of amplifying them. These devices can be calibrated to your specific tinnitus symptoms, creating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing substantially less conspicuous.
We will develop an individualized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by controlling your symptoms is the objective here.
If you have tinnitus, what should you do?
Even though tinnitus can’t be seen, it shouldn’t be ignored. Your symptoms will most likely get worse if you do. You might be able to prevent your symptoms from worsening if you can get ahead of them. You should at least be sure to have your ear protection handy whenever you’re going to be around loud sound.
If you’re struggling with tinnitus, contact us, we can help.