Chances are that you’ve heard of “tinnitus” at some point or another. But when it comes down to it, the majority of us don’t have an in-depth understanding of the condition, its symptoms, how it is treated, or what to do if we think that we are suffering from it. It’s imperative that you do learn more about tinnitus to develop a full understanding of the symptoms, causes and treatment methods surrounding the condition.

After all, it is estimated that around 30-million Americans suffer from the condition and while we tend to associate this condition with the elderly automatically (as the incidence of tinnitus in individuals aged 65-84 is a relatively high 27 percent), it can affect individuals in any age group. It can also occur despite a lack of any other auditory problem. In fact, 40 percent of people with tinnitus have not experienced any other form of hearing loss or auditory problem. So, let’s go through some of the basics of this condition and take a look at how to effectively deal with it if you are ever exposed to it!

Understanding tinnitus

Tinnitus is defined as experiencing the sensation of hearing sound when there is no actual external sound present. Generally, individuals suffering from tinnitus could be placed in a completely soundproof room and will still feel that they can hear some sort of ringing, whooshing, humming, or buzzing in both or one of their ears. Some people will “hear” this sound constantly. For others, it will only be an occasional phenomenon. As with most conditions, the severity of tinnitus symptoms can vary drastically from one individual to another. Some will find that it is a mild inconvenience. For others, the condition can disrupt their entire life.

When to see a specialist

If you feel that you are experiencing tinnitus, it’s absolutely essential that you seek out professional help. While you may be able to continue your day to day life around the condition, it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to lead a more comfortable and better quality life if you do confront the problem. Start out by visiting a doctor. Sometimes the cause of tinnitus can be easily rectifiable – for example, if the symptoms are being caused by a buildup of earwax, your doctor can clean your ears properly. If the symptoms are being caused by an ear infection, getting the right medication to address this problem can sometimes clear up that ringing or buzzing.

Treating Hearing

If your tinnitus is a result of hearing loss, or if you find that you are having difficulties hearing correctly as a direct result of tinnitus itself, it’s important to rectify your hearing as soon as possible. This can improve things all round and can ensure that you can hear danger, communicate with others effectively, and still enjoy music. A hearing instrument specialist will be able to carry out tests to identify issues with your hearing and then can fit you with a hearing aid, which will improve your hearing and lay associated issues – like tinnitus – to rest.

Relieving symptoms

Relieving symptoms can be a process of trial and error. If your problems are a result of, or concurrent with, hearing loss, the above advice of being fitted with a hearing aid could help to relieve symptoms significantly. If your tinnitus is not directly linked to a build-up of earwax, and ear infection, or hearing loss, you may have to look for alternative means of relief. Some options you have are:

  • Sound therapy: This involves listening to neutral sounds, which can help to distract you from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): This is a course of therapy that aims to retrain your brain’s response to tinnitus, helping you to become less aware of the sound.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): While we generally associate CBT with mental health, it can come in useful for individuals suffering from tinnitus. It can help to change the way you think about the condition.

Further support

Remember that if you are suffering from tinnitus, you are by no means alone. There are plenty of other people out there in a similar position to you, and you may find that it’s pretty useful to speak to them about their experiences. This can prove much more comforting than simply speaking to specialists and professionals all of the time. Research helplines and support groups that you can reach out to!

If you require any more information about tinnitus and dealing with this condition, you can learn more about your treatment options at Modern Hearing: