Have you ever experienced ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ears? If so, you’re not alone. This condition is referred to as tinnitus, and it affects more than 50 million Americans. Our hearing healthcare team can diagnose and treat tinnitus offering you lasting relief from your tinnitus symptoms using various treatment options.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus also known as “ringing in the ears” is the perception of sounds which are not produced by a source outside of the body. Tinnitus is a “phantom” auditory perception generated somewhere in the auditory pathways. Individuals may describe these sensations as “ringing”, “buzzing”, “roaring”, “hissing”, or “rushing”. The prevalence of tinnitus is about 10 – 15% of the adult population, however only about 20% of adults are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus can affect or interfere with an individual’s ability to hear, concentrate, and/or sleep at night. Untreated tinnitus may lead to sleep disorders, depression, PTSD, anxiety, anger, and other psychological effects.
Types of tinnitus treatment include: masking, cognitive behavioral therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), progressive tinnitus management therapy (PTM), and sound generators. Sound stimulation, counseling, and habituation are inherent to all forms of tinnitus therapy and are modified to each individual patient’s needs. The main concept to treatment is to help manage and minimize the negative effects of the tinnitus and to break the negative emotional reaction that tinnitus so often causes. Our tinnitus treatment focus is to support the way the brain makes sense of sound and our treatment options and devices are built on this mindset.
Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss as 90% of individuals with tinnitus also have hearing loss. However, tinnitus is also considered a disorder involving the brain. The brain compensates for hearing loss by turning up an inner volume control. For some individuals, the brain begins to amplify sounds that would otherwise go unnoticed – and so, tinnitus is born and a cycle of emotional distress begins.
For many patients, amplification is an effective first step in managing their tinnitus. Approximately 80% of patients report relief and lessening of their tinnitus symptoms simply using prescription based digital hearing instruments. We now can also use a sound therapy approach by providing low level sound generators built into the hearing instruments. We can adjust these sounds according to patient preference, reducing the starkness of the tinnitus in the auditory brain. Research indicates that sound input needs to produce activity in the brain that is both reliable and synchronous in order to help break this negative cycle. Each patient can be given the sound input most compatible with their perception of what works best.
The first step to treating your tinnitus is obtaining a diagnostic hearing evaluation completed by a licensed hearing care professional. Contact us today and schedule an appointment.