What Is Tinnitus?
The high-pitched ringing of tinnitus, a condition that affects millions of people, is difficult to describe. It’s often described as a “whistling” noise in the ears or as a “ringing” in the ears that can be heard even with no external sound around. The most common kind is known as idiopathic tinnitus, which means there isn’t enough research done on it and no one really knows what causes it (although it’s thought to be psychological). Treatments include hearing aids and counseling, but more research is still needed to determine if they work effectively.
Acute tinnitus is the experience of a sound that has no source. This can mean ringing in the ears, hearing noise or buzzing when there’s nothing around, or maybe even hearing voices. Acute tinnitus is often caused by conditions like ear infections, ear tumors, and sinus issues.
Chronic tinnitus is different from acute tinnitus in two ways: firstly, it can be triggered by physical damage to any part of the auditory system; secondly, it persists for much longer than acute tinnitus. It’s been described as “permanent” or “nonstop” ringing in the ears—and it can get much worse than that.
There are many other symptoms associated with chronic tinnitus (other than those related directly to your hearing). These include headaches, fatigue, insomnia and sleep problems, depression and anxiety, irritability and mood disturbances, difficulty concentrating and memory problems (it’s hard to focus when you have a constant ringing noise going on!), dizziness and balance issues (this is related to the auditory nerve causing damage throughout your brain), plus a possible worsening of hearing loss.
Which tinnitus treatment options are available? Depending on the cause of your tinnitus and its severity, there are many different types of treatments to consider.
- Hearing aids. For people with hearing loss, using hearing aids can improve the ability to hear sounds that might otherwise be masked by tinnitus.
- Cognitive therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients learn new skills to manage their tinnitus, such as better relaxation techniques or stress management strategies.
- Masking devices. A masking device is a sound-emitting device designed to help you fall asleep by disguising the noises of tinnitus. By creating white noise, these devices can help you block out unwanted sounds so that you sleep easier at night.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). TRT is a gradual process in which a person learns to ignore the tinnitus sound and gradually becomes accustomed to it over time (habituation). TRT helps reduce the perception of ringing in your ears using sound generators or counseling techniques and sounds as well as reducing your reaction to it over time.
- Medications for depression or anxiety disorders may include antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs that can relieve symptoms associated with depression or anxiety disorders—your doctor will advise if this type of medication may be suitable for you based on your symptoms and overall health condition(s) and other medications you are taking at present (if any).
Whether you’re hearing a buzzing sound in your ear or just getting used to the noise of it, there’s no need to panic when you first start hearing that persistent and annoying ringing. Most people hear tinnitus as an annoying distraction, but it can be an important source of information for those with severe hearing loss and for the deaf.
As thousands of letters and phone calls from those who have it have made clear, some people do get tinnitus from loud music or other noises. But why? It’s not always clear, but there are many different causes: changes in blood pressure or body temperature may influence how your ears process sound; medication can cause temporary changes; exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy could cause permanent damage; middle-ear infections can lead to changes in the way your ears process sound; and chronic earwax buildup can also make noise more audible. In many cases, however, doctors think they’ve identified a simple solution: taking steps to reduce the amount of sound that reaches your inner ear through air passages. This can be accomplished by turning up the sound on a device like an MP3 player instead of using headphones, using less noisy headphones (which could also help prevent them from being pulled out), completely removing some speakers in the room where you would normally listen to music or watch TV (again this means turning down the volume on any devices with built-in speakers), or avoiding these sources entirely. For those who still experience symptoms even after trying these methods, speak with your doctor about what else he or she thinks might be causing them.
Why try a Tinnitus clinical trial?
So why should you try a Tinnitus clinical trial?
- You have the chance to contribute to research that could help other people with tinnitus.
- You get access to the newest treatments, often before they’re available on the market. This can mean faster relief from your symptoms!
- You’ll get access to medical care from top doctors, who will give you close attention and answer any questions you have about your health.
- You’ll be compensated for your time and travel expenses (though it’s important to remember that clinical trials are not supposed to be done for financial gain).
Tinnitus can be debilitating, but there are ways to help you cope.
Tinnitus, or the ringing in your ears, can be a debilitating condition. There are ways to help you cope with this condition and find relief.
If you think you may have tinnitus, seek treatment. Tinnitus may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as hearing loss. Although there is no cure for tinnitus, some research suggests that certain treatments may improve your quality of life and decrease the symptoms. For example, a 2018 study found that patients who used device-based therapies were more likely to experience relief from their symptoms than those who did not use these therapies. Furthermore, Mayo Clinic states that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), counseling and stress management techniques can help people manage tinnitus. If you are experiencing any type of chronic pain — such as chronic back pain or migraines — reducing stress on your body may also reduce your symptoms of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Hyperacusis clinics can help you find an individualized treatment plan that works best for you or your loved one’s unique situation!