What is Tinnitus

Information about tinnitusFind out all the Tinnitus information you need to know here from Optimal Hearing®, a leader in the hearing aid industry.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears, but can also sound like a roaring, hissing or clicking. These sounds are heard inside the head in the absence of an external sound. Tinnitus can be a bothersome and sometimes debilitating symptom of a possibly serious disease. An audiogram can help determine the cause of the tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. In many cases, if the disease that is causing the tinnitus is treated, then a reduction or elimination of the perception of tinnitus is possible. One of the most common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss. About 90% of patients have sensorineural hearing loss, 5% have conductive hearing loss and 5% have normal hearing.

Other Causes Of Tinnitus Include:

  • Ear Infections
  • Ear Wax Impaction
  • Head Injury
  • Inflammatory Disorders (Arthritis)
  • Medications
  • Tumors

Who Gets Tinnitus?

An estimated 40-50 million people in the U.S. have suffered from tinnitus at some time in their life, so if you suffer from tinnitus, know that you are not alone. Unfortunately, only 10-20 million of those people have sought help for this problem. Surveys of tinnitus patients suggest they feel isolated and their families and employers have little understanding of their problem.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Before any treatment options can be determined, the cause of the tinnitus must be determined. The first step to determine cause is to have an audiogram performed by a professional. If you are feeling the effects of hearing loss, a Hearing Instrument Specialist will typically be able to perform an accurate hearing test and help determine proper treatment options. Optimal Hearing® has all the equipment necessary to determine the cause of most hearing losses, which is the first step to determine how to treat tinnitus.

How Do You Treat Tinnitus?

The cause of the tinnitus will determine the treatment options. If the cause of the tinnitus is ear wax, then once the ear wax is removed, the tinnitus should subside. If the cause is an ear infection, then once the infection is treated, the tinnitus should be reduced. If there is a sensorineural hearing loss associated with the tinnitus, then a masker or hearing aid may help reduce the perception of tinnitus. New technologies like neuromonics and other maskers and neural generators have proven to help many people who experience tinnitus. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), medications and meditation may also be effective treatments for tinnitus.

Can I Ever Recover From Tinnitus?

Recent research has indicated that the outcomes with any of these treatment options are positive. A recent study has shown that 50-80% of patients with sensorineural hearing loss treated with hearing aids had a reduction in the perception of their tinnitus. Many people with tinnitus are unaware that treatments are available. Many options of treatment are available depending on the cause of the tinnitus.

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