Tinnitus is a term used to describe a persistent ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring sound in either one or both of the ears. The condition is extremely common and can last for months or years for some individuals. Tinnitus is an annoyance for most but for many it can significantly interfere with sleep and even cause panic attacks or generalized anxiety from the constant noise.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Natural aging process
- Hearing loss due to aging
- Frequent exposure to loud noises
- Medications such as antibiotics, OTC pain relievers, and anti-seizure medications
- Head and neck injuries
Although most cases of tinnitus are not related to any serious cause, tinnitus should not be ignored. Unless the tinnitus is caused by medication, there is no permanent cure for tinnitus. However, therapies exist that can help people tolerate tinnitus and keep it from significantly disrupting their life.
Therapies for Tinnitus include:
- Hearing aids – Hearing aids can make other sounds clearer and louder thus making tinnitus less noticeable.
- Retraining therapy – “Tinnitus retraining therapy,” or TRT, involves working with a tinnitus expert to retrain the brain to interpret the ringing in your ears as normal background sounds rather than prominent and annoying noises. With time the sounds become less bothersome even though they continue.
- Biofeedback – Biofeedback helps you to relax and be less bothered by the sounds encouraging deep breathing or other controlled responses.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves the assistance of a psychologist or counselor to explore coping strategies for tinnitus in an effort to distract from the noise and decrease its negative effect.
- Other unproven therapies – Other possible therapies for tinnitus include electrical stimulation, acupuncture, and herbs. Although these therapies have not been proven to be effective in studies, some people report relief.
Tinnitus can significantly decrease one’s quality of life but it doesn’t have to. We can help! Call our office today for a thorough evaluation to help determine the cause of your tinnitus and determine what therapies could help you!