Although tinnitus is sometimes defined as an ear ringing, it’s not quite that straightforward. Although reasonably prevalent, tinnitus is also frequently misinterpreted. Sometimes referred to as “phantom noises” or “non-existent sounds,” the sounds I’m referencing can be quite loud to those affected). The biggest myth regarding tinnitus is that it primarily affects older people. Tinnitus may and can affect younger people as well. As per National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), “roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.”
How Widespread is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not exclusively a problem for the elderly, even though this is how it has been described for thousands of years. Between 5% and 15% of people have some level of tinnitus, but many may not know they do until their tinnitus is very severe. Only when the noise becomes bothersome and/or persistent do people seek care, and at that point, one in six will say they have had the condition for more than five years (2012 study). It may be so incapacitated at this point that it affects your social life, sleep, and work.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus was once believed to be caused by harm to the hair cells in the inner ear, but we now know that this isn’t always the case. Tinnitus is not a condition in and of itself; rather, it is a sign of an underlying state. Some of the main causes include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Whiplash injuries; and
- Ear infections
Some people get tinnitus after experiencing sudden hearing loss that frequently follows exposure to extremely loud noise (acoustic trauma). The common description of this type of tinnitus is “ringing in the ears,” and it can persist long after the disturbance has subsided (tinnitus persisting perception disorder – or TPP). Visit your doctor right away if you hear any kind of ringing or hissing after being exposed to excessively loud noise because it could be an early sign that your ears have been damaged.
Tinnitus gets worse as we age, right?
There is little doubt that tinnitus gets worse with age. Although older people are more likely to suffer from the illness, it can happen to anyone, especially if they are exposed to loud noises or sudden noises.
How do I Get Rid From Tinnitus?
The most common myth regarding tinnitus is that it is in some way “self-inflicted.” In contrast to being the name of sickness or ailment, tinnitus is not a condition you produce for yourself (although there are some very rare causes of tinnitus). Otosclerosis, the most common cause of persistent tinnitus, is far too frequently disregarded. When sound waves cannot travel through the ear canal effectively, they are magnified by the bones of the middle ear and cause ringing in the ears. Visit Professional Hearing Instrument Specialist right away if this sounds familiar, because proper hearing may need to be restored through surgery.
While there isn’t a “treatment” for tinnitus per se, there are strategies to help yourself cope. Some people only require a hearing aid to restore the balance of their ears and reduce the volume of their tinnitus. This is because hearing aids increase both external sound and your voice, which reduces some of the tinnitus-related disruptive stimuli (including your own).
Also Read: What happens if hearing loss is not treated?
However, for some people, hearing aids are insufficient on their own. Acoustic stimulation is advised in this situation in addition to counseling. We’ve all been in circumstances when it’s incredibly difficult to understand what others are speaking when there is underlying noise, for example, the thus acoustic treatment uses various calming sounds that are specifically created to mask or distract from any annoying noises encountered by the patient. Counseling has a two-fold effect: it both informs the patient about all of their alternatives and assists them in developing coping skills for their tinnitus.
Tinnitus is difficult to manage, but new treatments are becoming available around the clock. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss your symptoms if your tinnitus has gotten to the point where it is negatively impacting your daily life; you are not alone. If you are skeptical about your hearing and facing any of the symptoms, Tri-County Hearing Services offers tinnitus services. The professional staff will handle your case and offer you the best possible solution for the same.