The Truth About Tinnitus

The Truth About Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the constant perception of a sound that is not actually present in your environment. This is likely difficult for someone who has never experienced it to imagine, but it is also probably pretty simple to imagine how frustrating, fatiguing, and annoying living with it must be.

It may also be tough to fathom just how common tinnitus is. Practically one in every six people in the United States has it, over 50 million people. 

It’s Not Just Ringing In Your Ears

If people are aware of tinnitus, they probably just know the shorthand stereotype that it is “ringing in your ears.” Many people have experienced this as a short term consequence that happens immediately after being too close to a sound that was too loud. But it is not just ringing in your ears. 

Whistling, chirping, roaring, whooshing, hissing, and buzzing are all common descriptions that people also use to describe this sound that they can’t shake. And notice that all of these descriptors are in their present-progressive forms. They are not a whistle, a chirp, or a roar. They are ongoing and unending: whoosh-ing, hiss-ing, buzz-ing

How Tinnitus Is Diagnosed

If you tell your doctor that you are experiencing these symptoms, that is enough for the diagnosis to be determined. It is tinnitus. 

To figure out how to treat it, however, is a much different story. Every manifestation of tinnitus, whether it be ringing, roaring, or whistling, is thanks to injuries to your auditory system. And though there are significant advancements happening all the time, there is currently no cure for tinnitus. This means that there is no way to stop your continual impression that the sound is there. To effectively do this, the doctor must identify and treat the underlying cause of the tinnitus. And this means further examinations that go far beyond just your ears. 

Determining the Proper Treatment 

The doctor will first look at your medical and family histories closely for any clues. This will be followed by a thorough examination that includes an MRI, a CT scan and bloodwork. 

Tinnitus could just be the result of something as harmless as impacted ear wax or it may be a symptom of a much more serious issue, such as clogged blood vessels. Only a comprehensive examination can tell for sure, and these results will obviously set the course for what treatment steps come next. 

People with high blood pressure often struggle to shake the impression of humming in their ears. And when someone suffers from a neck injury it is not uncommon to perceive non-stop clicking sounds. Most people can differentiate between humming and clicking with no problem. But both symptoms are tinnitus and everyone is different. All kinds of secondary factors may skew one person’s humming toward clicks or vice-versa. Nothing short of a full exam will suffice to decide whether your blood pressure or your neck requires attention.   

What To Do If You Suspect You Have Tinnitus

First, remain calm. The symptoms can be minimized and they must be to make sure that you suffer no further consequences to your psychological or emotional health or your social and professional quality of life. 

Make an appointment with one of our specialists today and you will immediately begin to improve the odds that you will reduce your suffering. Only a specialist can guide you through the precise treatment course specific for your individual situation.  

If your tinnitus is the result of noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, you will most likely begin to wear hearing aids. Clever application of fans, white noise machines, vents, and even the murmur of a quiet radio can all help mask the noise. More sophisticated sound-masking machines can neutralize the perceived tones by emitting other tones that offset them. 

Tinnitus can take a heavy toll, frequently leading to social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline. Therapy and counseling are irreplaceable tools to deal with this, as is The American Tinnitus Association (ATA), which offers a comprehensive range of resources.

Do not downplay or deny the seriousness of your condition. There is no good reason to delay and no good excuse to not fight tinnitus in every way that you can. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today