Tinnitus refers to “ringing in the ears” when no other sound is present. Tinnitus can sound like hissing, chirping, roaring, whistling or clicking.
If you are concerned about tinnitus, our audiologists can test to see if hearing loss is present. Since tinnitus can be associated with a number of hearing-related conditions, the hearing evaluation can help provide information about the cause and treatment options for you. If you have hearing loss, there is a good chance that a hearing aid will both relieve your tinnitus and help you hear. The audiologists at Hearing Professionals of Alabama can assist with the selection, fitting, and purchase of the most appropriate hearing aids or tinnitus treatment devices for you.
Treating the cause
Tinnitus can be caused by many things, and is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. The treatment for your particular tinnitus will depend on the condition that is causing it, the severity, any accompanying issues such as hearing loss, and the impact the tinnitus has on daily activities.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Earwax buildup or blockages
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere’s disease
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
- Vascular disorders
- Stress or depression
In order to find out the root cause of your tinnitus, your hearing specialist will conduct a complete medical history, as well as a complete examination.
What treatments are available?
Depending on the cause of your tinnitus and other factors, several treatments are available to relieve your tinnitus symptoms, from hearing aids with tinnitus-masking features to sound therapy.
A common treatment is acoustic therapy or sound therapy. Sound therapy makes use of sounds to help the brain re-focus and diminish the emotional impact of the tinnitus.
Hearing aids are a popular treatment option for tinnitus even if hearing loss isn’t present. Hearing aids can be equipped with a tinnitus-masking feature to help individuals block out the noise and provide much-needed relief. These can be used in collaboration of hearing loss treatment as well.
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
One treatment that incorporates sound therapy is called tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), also known as habituation therapy. This therapy attempts to retrain your brain into perceiving the tinnitus in a different way. Typical behavioral therapy may also be included to help the individual cope with any emotional difficulties they’re experiencing, including depression, stress or anger.
After treatment has taken place, further maintenance is important. This may include management of associated health problems or ongoing therapies to support health and manage tinnitus.