Tinnitus Information & Services
Tinnitus is a hearing disorder that is characterized by hearing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears. It is a chronic condition that can be caused by many things, but in general it is a sign of an underlying health condition. The level of severity can vary, but even at the milder levels people find the symptoms of tinnitus to be very annoying. While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to treat it so you decrease the severity of symptoms.
It should be known that tinnitus is not a disease, but is often a sign of an underlying condition which is causing the noise to be present in your ears.
Tinnitus Symptoms — Ringing in Ears
The symptoms of tinnitus are hearing a particular noise from within your ears, as opposed to an external source. The noise is most commonly a high pitched ringing in your ears that can come and go, flare up and fade away, but is generally a constant thing you ear. However, there are other types of noise you may hear instead, including the following:
- Thumping, like a heartbeat
Regardless of what sound it is you hear, you will usually hear it the strongest during moments of quiet, like when you are lying in bed at night. Tinnitus may be present all of the time, or it may come and go throughout your life.
Tinnitus isn’t a disease, it is a symptom of an underlying health condition. To determine what the underlying cause of your tinnitus is you may undergo several tests, including a physical exam, hearing and nerve tests or imaging such as an MRI or a CT scan. Be sure to inform the clinician about any medications you are taking as tinnitus could be a side effect of some drugs.
Damage to the inner ear hair is the most common cause of tinnitus, but there are many other causes including excessive ear wax, age-related hearing loss, chronic health conditions, or an ear infection. It is important to know that in many cases the cause of tinnitus can never be found.
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Tinnitus Treatments & Solutions in Sidney & Victoria, BC
First of all, it is important to understand that most cases of tinnitus cannot be completely cured. Some temporary forms of tinnitus that are caused by an underlying health condition may go away once the disorder is cured. If you have permanent tinnitus due to damage to your hearing, there are only treatments to reduce the symptoms.
The three most common treatments for tinnitus are:
- Hearing aids for tinnitus
- Tinnitus masking device
Here is a quick guide to how each of these three options work:
Hearing Aids for Tinnitus
A common question we get asked is if hearing aids can help with tinnitus, and the simple answer is that they might. According to a survey of hearing health care professionals in 2007, 60% of tinnitus patients that used hearing aids reported relief from their tinnitus — 22% of them reported significant relief.
Some hearing aids are made with the ability to reduce tinnitus symptoms by affecting your ability to hear and perceive external sound. By doing so, your brain focuses less on the internal noise caused by tinnitus so you do not notice it as much. This is also why people typically notice the symptoms are strongest when they are lying in bed at night when everything is quiet.
Here are the four main ways that hearing aids can help with your tinnitus:
- Masking and refocusing your attention — your hearing aids work like a masking device to refocus your attention on other sound by enhancing other noise.
- Auditory stimulation — increasing the level of stimulation of your brain’s auditory system may also help relieve your symptoms.
- Better communication — increasing the volume of external sounds from speech and conversations helps patients feel less frustrated at not being able to hear or communicate due to the ringing they hear.
- Therapy apps — the newest hearing aids come with smartphone apps to control your hearing aids that also include tinnitus therapy features to help.
If you have any questions about if hearing aids can help your tinnitus, or what hearing aids we carry that have these features, contact us today! You may be able to test eligible hearing aid models for one week for free to see how much they can help!
Tinnitus Masking Device
Tinnitus maskers are devices that are similar to hearing aids, but their sole purpose is to play an external sound to mask your tinnitus symptoms. The sound provided is made to be pleasant so you focus on it rather than the tinnitus.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
The purpose of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is to change your brain’s ability to perceive the ringing/buzzing noise in your ears. With successful therapy, you will subconsciously be able to retrain your brain’s perception to reduce the symptoms of your tinnitus.
Treatments usually take 1 to 2 years to complete and are done in the form of one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed professional.
There are different types of tests that can be done to properly diagnose tinnitus, including a regular hearing test at our clinic. You may require special tests to find the underlying cause of your condition, however. You can book a tinnitus test appointment at our clinic at any time, and we will do everything we can to confirm your tinnitus and recommend the best solution for your needs.