Have you ever experienced a ringing or buzzing in your ears? Have you ever heard of tinnitus? Tinnitus is the name for the perception of sounds, such as ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ears, when these sounds are not actually present in the environment. Tinnitus is not usually a sign of any serious medical condition, but can be extremely disruptive and bothersome. Read on to learn more about this surprisingly common condition, and how Beltone can help you find relief if you suffer from tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears, and is a common condition, affecting as many as 15 to 20 percent of people (Mayo Clinic). In the United States, 1 in 5 people experience tinnitus and nearly 12 million people a year seek medical advice. The condition is so common, in fact, that most people experience some form of tinnitus at some point in their lives, even individuals with normal hearing. Tinnitus has several causes, one of which is exposure to loud noise, such as a rock concert, and often disappears after a few hours or the next day. Tinnitus can also happen spontaneously without any apparent reason, and then disappear as suddenly as it began. Many professionals believe this is just a function of the normal hearing system.
It is unknown whether everyone experiences tinnitus in the same way, but it appears that tinnitus sounds are usually perceived as much louder, and more significant, than they actually are. Noises caused by tinnitus can be perceived as quite loud, but objective measurements have shown that they are often fainter than the sound of a leaf falling to the ground. Regardless, people experiencing tinnitus often find the sounds to be incredibly bothersome, and the more the tinnitus sound is noticed, and paid attention to, a strong negative emotional response can be triggered. This can create a difficult cycle, in which the more you pay attention to the tinnitus, the more your brain loses its ability to filter out the irrelevant noise before it reaches your consciousness.
Tinnitus usually causes a constant ringing, buzzing, whistling or hissing sound. Besides soft-to-loud ringing in the ears, the most common form of Tinnitus produces soft-to-loud humming or rushing-water sounds. Types of tinnitus include:
- Tonal Tinnitus: A constant chiming sound in the ears, like a musical note played again and again.
- Pulsatile Tinnitus: A sound that pulsates in time to one’s heartbeat.
- Mixed Tinnitus: Symptoms are characterized by multiple noises heard at the same time.
- Objective Tinnitus: Very rare; produces noises heard not only by the affected individual, but by others as well.
Anyone experiencing tinnitus will tell you it is certainly a problem. Yet, tinnitus is not a medical condition itself, rather it is a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. Individuals who are able to identify the underlying cause, and treat it, often find their tinnitus improves. There are also methods to reduce or mask the noise caused by tinnitus, making the condition less noticeable and less bothersome. At Beltone, our hearing care professionals will work closely with you to identify possible causes of your tinnitus, and identify options for how we can best mitigate your problem. Beltone also offers a unique app, specially designed to distract your brain from focusing on the sounds of tinnitus. Beltone’s Tinnitus Calmer app is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices, and offers a combination of sound therapy and relaxing exercises which can help provide relief from tinnitus.
At Beltone’s Hearing Aids Centers of the Central Valley, our professional staff will work with you to find the hearing solution that best fits your lifestyle and budget, and we will stay by your side throughout the entire process of restoring your hearing health. Hearing is vitally important to our social lives, and our own sense of well-being; you don’t need to suffer from declining hearing health, you can get the help you need with Beltone. Click here to schedule an appointment for a free hearing test today!