After being exposed to extremely loud noise, almost everyone has experienced tinnitus for a short time. For example, a noisy concert may leave your ears ringing or buzzing for a day or two after. However, some experience chronic tinnitus, which is defined as a noise that you hear for more than six months, intermittently or consistently. Around 10-15% of people are experiencing chronic tinnitus, and about 10% seek medical help.
The word tinnitus derives from the root word tinnire meaning “ringing.” Tinnitus is a sound in the ears or head defined as ringing, humming, hissing, buzzing or whooshing. It is not connected to an external noise and other people don’t usually hear it.
Causes of tinnitus
Where the sound comes from is still not completely clear. But the most common cause may be hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss comes with 80% of cases of tinnitus. How are the two connected?
Scientists believe that after damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea, sounds are transmitted to the brain insufficiently or not at all. Then the auditory response area in the brain tries to compensate for the missing frequencies by increasing the volume – even if the person does not hear the noise at all. It has therefore been concluded that the tinnitus noise is often associated with those frequencies that the affected person has trouble hearing or is no longer able to hear.
What to do
If you develop tinnitus, it’s important to see us. The first phase in treating tinnitus is a clinical hearing test to help determine whether the root of the tinnitus is hearing loss or some other auditory-related medical condition. We will also take a history of medication and use questionnaires to assess the effect of tinnitus on your daily activities.
We will also ask you to describe the noise you hear (including its pitch and tone and whether it is constant or regular, stable or pulsating) and the times of day and locations you hear it.
Our qualified, caring audiologist may prescribe an action plan to resolve this persistent issue. While there is no cure that can completely eliminate tinnitus, we work with state-of-the-art tinnitus therapy options to treat and reduce the tinnitus.
Don’t fight the ringing any longer. Visit us at Coastal Hearing Center to find out how we can help you find the relief you deserve.