Tinnitus: The Invisible Condition with a Huge Impact

Upset woman suffering from tinnitus laying in bed on her stomach with a pillow folded over the top of her head and ears.

Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked starship, or a stealthy ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effectual and, often, achieve the impossible.

Unfortunately, invisible health disorders are no less potent…and they’re a lot less fun. Tinnitus, for example, is a really common condition that affects the ears. Regardless of how good you might look, there are no outward symptoms.

But for people who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the impact could be substantial.

What is tinnitus?

So we recognize one thing: you can’t see tinnitus. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a disorder of the ears. You know when you are sitting in a silent room, or when you return from a loud concert and you hear that ringing in your ears? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so common that about 25 million people experience it daily.

While ringing is the most typical presentation of tinnitus, it isn’t the only one. Noises like humming, buzzing, crackling, clicking, and a number of others can manifest. Here’s the common denominator, anybody who has tinnitus is hearing sounds that aren’t really there.

For most individuals, tinnitus will be a temporary affair, it will come and go really quickly. But tinnitus is a persistent and debilitating condition for between 2-5 million people. Sure, it can be a little irritating to hear that ringing for a few minutes now and then. But what if you can’t get rid of that sound, ever? Obviously, your quality of life would be substantially impacted.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever tried to pinpoint the cause of a headache? Are you catching a cold, are you stressed, or is it allergies? The trouble is that quite a few issues can trigger headaches! The symptoms of tinnitus, though rather common, also have a large number of causes.

The cause of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be obvious. But you might never really know in other situations. In general, however, tinnitus may be caused by the following:

  • Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Once you stop taking the medication, the ringing will normally subside.
  • High blood pressure: For some individuals, tinnitus could be caused by high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure under control with the help of your primary care provider is the best way to handle this.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is rather sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be caused by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus backs up in your ears, it may cause some swelling. And tinnitus can be the consequence of this swelling.
  • Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be triggered by exposure to overly loud noise over time. This is so common that loud noises are one of the leading causes of tinnitus! Using ear protection if exceptionally loud places can’t be avoided is the best way to prevent this type of tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Disease: Quite a few symptoms can be caused by this disorder of the inner ear. Amongst the first symptoms, however, are generally tinnitus and dizziness. Irreversible hearing loss can happen over time.
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Inflammation of the ear canal can be generated by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. Consequently, your ears may start ringing.
  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss and tinnitus are often closely associated. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be brought about by noise damage and that’s a big part of the situation here. Both of them have the same cause, in other words. But the ringing in your ears can sound louder with hearing loss because the outside world is quieter.

Treatment will clearly be simpler if you can pinpoint the source of your tinnitus symptoms. clearing away a blockage, for instance, will relieve tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. Some people, however, may never know what’s causing their tinnitus symptoms.

How is tinnitus diagnosed?

Tinnitus that only lasts a few minutes isn’t something that you really need to have diagnosed. Still, having regular hearing assessments is always a good idea.

But you should absolutely schedule an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t go away or if it keeps coming back. We will execute a hearing exam, discuss your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life, and maybe even discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed using this insight.

Treating tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition that has a cure. The strategy is management and treatment.

If you’re taking a particular medication or have an underlying medical condition, your symptoms will improve when you deal with the underlying cause. But there will be no known root condition to treat if you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.

So managing symptoms so they have a minimal affect on your life is the objective if you have persistent tinnitus. There are many things that we can do to help. amongst the most common are the following:

  • A masking device: This is a hearing aid-like device that masks sounds instead of boosting them. These devices can be adjusted to your unique tinnitus symptoms, generating just enough sound to make that ringing or buzzing substantially less conspicuous.
  • A hearing aid: When you have hearing loss, outside sounds get quieter and your tinnitus symptoms become more noticeable. In these cases, a hearing aid can help turn the volume up on the rest of the world, and overpower the buzzing or ringing you may be hearing from your tinnitus.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: We might refer you to another provider for cognitive behavior therapy. This strategy uses therapy to help you learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds.

We will develop a personalized and unique treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. Helping you get back to enjoying your life by managing your symptoms is the objective here.

What should you do if you’re dealing with tinnitus?

Even though tinnitus can’t be seen, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Chances are, those symptoms will only grow worse. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to stop them from growing worse. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, make sure you’re wearing ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you are around loud noises.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, contact us, we can help.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.