About Hearing Loss

Tinnitus

Another condition that affects as many as 37 million people is called tinnitus, which is a roaring,buzzing, clicking, whistling, hissing, or high pitched ringing in the ears or inside the head. Tinnitus may be constant or occur intermittently in one or both ears and varies greatly among individuals ranging from a mild, occasional
sound to an ever-present chronic condition. Some people report their tinnitus is so bothersome that it interferes with their quality of life.

Many people with hearing loss also experience tinnitus although it is possible to have normal hearing and still have tinnitus. If tinnitus is suspected, a medical evaluation and a hearing test by licensed professionals should be conducted. It is important to have a medical examination to determine if there is an underlying condition causing the tinnitus.

Some of the main causes of tinnitus are:

  • Wax buildup or obstructions in the outer ear canal
  • Perforation in the eardrum or fluid accumulation behind it
  • Otosclerosis the stirrup bone (stapes) becomes fixed
  • Otitis media (ear infections)
  • Exposure to a sudden loud noise or repeated exposure to noise without adequate protection
  • Trauma to the head or neck as in a concussion or whiplash injury
  • Some medications induce head noises
  • High or low blood pressure or anemia

Treatment of Tinnitus

Since tinnitus is a symptom associated with various disorders, there is no single treatment that will help everyone. The most effective treatment is the removal or prevention of the cause.

Unfortunately, when the cause of tinnitus cannot be identified or corrected the tinnitus itself may need to be treated. There are a number of treatment options available, including the use of amplification (hearing aid), which allows the wearer to hear background sounds in the environment, and which takes away the focus on the tinnitus; another approach is sound therapy, which provides relief from tinnitus by masking the ringing sound such that the patient doesn’t notice their tinnitus at all for some period of time.