Tinnitus is a common condition among many residents of Commerce, TX. Not only can it severely affect the quality of a person’s life for the worse, but it can also be challenging to get rid of it without the help of both a doctor and a hearing specialist. Here is everything that you need to know including the symptoms of the condition, what treatment options are available, and where to find the best hearing aids for tinnitus in Commerce, TX.
Essentially, tinnitus is a condition that can be described as a constant ringing in the ears. It is the perception of noise despite there not being any noise present in reality. Some individuals will describe the noise that they hear as a buzzing or vibration as opposed to a ringing sound.
Tinnitus is estimated to affect around 50 million Americans or a total of 15 % of the total US population. These statistics are courtesy of the American Tinnitus Association. Of those 50 million Americans, around 20 million have been diagnosed with chronic tinnitus, and two million suffer from it in its most extreme and debilitating form.
There are two main types of tinnitus:
The most common type of tinnitus is that of subjective tinnitus, which is thought to be the underlying condition and that as many as 99 % of all tinnitus sufferers have. It refers to the perception of sound that only the patient is able to hear.
Objective tinnitus is extremely rare. It accounts for fewer than 1% of all tinnitus cases. It refers to noises in the ears or head that are audible to the patient as well as to other people. In the majority of cases, these noises are made by internal functions in the body’s somatic and circulatory systems.
As mentioned, the main symptom of tinnitus is the perception of noise that is not really present. This noise may present as a ringing, buzzing, vibration, hissing, whistling or even a roaring sound. Depending on the severity of the condition, the noise will be intermittent or consistent.
Many sufferers will only notice the ringing when they are in a quiet space or when they go to bed at night, while others will be aware of it continuously despite their surroundings. As explained above, objective tinnitus, which is very rare, will include hearing noises in the ears or head which can also be heard by other people. For instance, a doctor may be able to hear the noise described by the patient by placing a stethoscope inside the ear.
Tinnitus may present with a wide range of other symptoms, although these additional symptoms will be dependent on the underlying cause of the condition.
In many instances, tinnitus is caused by an underlying health problem. For example, it may become a problem suddenly if the patient is suffering from an ear infection. An accurate way to tell if an ear infection is a culprit in the ear ringing is to watch out for other symptoms such as pain, balance issues or drainage from the ear.
If the ear ringing is accompanied by dizziness, despite an ear infection seeming unlikely, this could be a sign that the patient is suffering from Meniere’s disease or a similar neurological problem. In this instance, it is important that he or she seeks medical help immediately.
There are also a number of different medications that can be involved in the onset of acute tinnitus. These medications include:
Some anti-depressants are also known to exacerbate the symptoms associated with the condition.
If the condition presents alongside hearing loss, an earwax blockage could be a possibility. However, the most likely cause is that of damage to the microscopic sensory hair cells in the inner ear, and in the cochlea, specifically. This damage or loss of hair cells is often brought about by prolonged or sudden exposure to extremely loud noise. Hence, the reason why so many veterans develop the condition during or following their service. It can also simply take place as a result of old age and general ‘wear-and-tear’.
The damage to the inner ear’s sensory hair cells is arguably the most common cause of tinnitus and hearing loss. In fact, various studies have demonstrated that tinnitus is more common in individuals who have hearing loss than those whose hearing has remained unaffected. A specific survey conducted showed that around 70 to 85 % of people diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss also reported suffering from tinnitus.
Due to the fact that such a large number of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, and people with hearing loss also suffer from tinnitus, there is a theory that has been presented to account for this. Many experts now believe that when a person suffers from a certain amount of hearing loss, the sound is unable to travel effectively from the ear to the brain. Soon, the brain will realize that it is no longer receiving communication from the ears and, because of this, it begins creating a phantom sound in an effort to replace it. This phantom sound is essentially the ringing or buzzing that people who have been diagnosed with tinnitus are all too familiar with.
As discussed, the risk associated with developing tinnitus is dependent on what causes it. However, as mentioned, if the cause is damage to or the loss of the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, you are at a much higher risk of developing tinnitus if you have been exposed to prolonged periods of excessive and loud noise, or an extremely loud sudden noise, like a gunshot. You are also more likely to develop the condition the older that you get.
Furthermore, according to a recent study that examined 3,600 randomly selected adults in the city of Gothenburg, tinnitus was more common in males than in females.
To a certain extent, yes, tinnitus can be prevented. Firstly, you should strive to steer clear of medications that could cause or worsen the symptoms associated with tinnitus. You should aim to continue visiting your doctor for regular check-ups in order to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could lead to the development of the condition and, of course, the absolute best thing that you can do to prevent the problem is to protect your ears from loud noise. Always ensure that you take the necessary precautions if and when you are around loud noise as part of your job, or when you attend an event where loud noise is likely to be present, such as a concert. High-quality earplugs and noise-canceling headphones are a must in these instances. If you do not have access to these protective items during exposure to loud noise, move away from the source of the noise as far as you can, or turn it down if possible.
Once again, the treatment for tinnitus depends on its cause. If the cause is damage to the sensory hairs of the inner ear, and hearing loss is also present, many people will find relief with the help of the right hearing aids. This is unsurprising. If the theory outlined above is indeed true and tinnitus is, in fact, brought about by sound being unable to effectively travel to the brain and your brain responding by creating a phantom noise to replace its absence, then by actively replacing that sound, the chances are pretty good that the tinnitus will eventually disappear.
Ultimately, this is because the brain is fed the sound that it was missing through the hearing aid. Most individuals will find that their symptoms improve substantially as a result, while many others claim that wearing a hearing aid helps to get rid of the ringing in the ear completely. Some people will find that the symptoms are non-existent only when they wear their hearing aids, while others will find that the symptoms have disappeared regardless of whether they are using their hearing aid or not. The lucky latter individuals are said to have developed Residual Inhibition.
It is important to note, however, that using hearing aids as a treatment for tinnitus is not always effective. Some patients do not notice any improvement in the ringing sound whatsoever. The only way in which to establish whether or not hearing aids are an effective combo hearing loss and tinnitus solution for you is to give it a try and see for yourself.
The Chenault House of Hearing is a trusted Beltone hearing aid center in Commerce, TX, specializing in the treatment of various hearing difficulties and conditions, including tinnitus. The reality is that, in many cases, tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss. This hearing loss may be mild or it may be severe. Regardless, this will almost always lead to your doctor and hearing specialist recommending that you be fitted for hearing aids. This is great news as there are many different types of hearing aids for tinnitus that are specially designed to help alleviate the annoying ringing in the ears that is associated with the condition.
Here at the Chenault House of Hearing, our hearing specialists and audiologists have been carefully trained in helping patients to select the ‘best’ hearing aids for tinnitus, ultimately providing relief not only from the symptoms as well as the hearing loss, but also improving the quality of the patient’s life.
There is no such thing as the ‘best’ hearing aids for tinnitus – only the ‘best’ hearing aids for you, as an individual. Having said that, you cannot really go wrong with Beltone hearing aids. This is because the Beltone brand has developed a special Tinnitus Calmer App to further assist in reducing the ear ringing associated with the condition when wearing a hearing aid. The app offers sound therapy, relaxing exercises, the latest information about tinnitus, along with the opportunity to create weekly personalized plans to help you learn how to manage your tinnitus. It is considered to be the most complete tinnitus toolset available in the app market at the moment! The app can be used via your hearing aid or with any Bluetooth compatible or wired speaker, hearing instruments, earbuds or headphones.
For more information about hearing aids for tinnitus at the Chenault House of Hearing, the Beltone hearing aid center in Commerce, TX, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Book your free hearing assessment today!