It can be so refreshing to spend the weekends outdoors, but your enjoyment of our beautiful state of Washington might be disrupted by a persistent sound in your ear(s) or in your head.
Tinnitus is a condition that makes you hear a ringing, whistling, buzzing or pulsating sound in your ear(s) that won’t stop, and it’s not from an external sound.
It recurs from time to time. It can also sound like clicking, roaring, or hissing, and it can have various pitches or volumes.
Fifty million Americans of all ages suffer from tinnitus, with symptoms at different levels of severity. That’s 10–15% of the US population, so it is very common.
For 1–2% of those with tinnitus, it can be so disruptive that it stops a person from being able to work, causing insomnia, stress, anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and depression.
The good news is that there are treatments to reduce the noise and its impact on you.
Our team of hearing professionals is here to help both find the cause of your tinnitus and treat it.
Below, we outline some of its origins and how we might go about doing that.
There isn’t any singular cause of tinnitus, but some of them are:
Loud Noise Exposure – One of the main reasons why people have tinnitus is that they have been exposed to loud noise as a one-time event or over a long period of time, such as with hunting, military exercises, motorsports, music events, or industrial or farming machines.
Health Conditions – Certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, also cause tinnitus, along with particular (ototoxic) medications used to treat cancer, kidney diseases, heart conditions, and malaria.
One positive aspect of tinnitus is that it can preemptively indicate a health disorder, such as Ménière’s disease, which is a disorder of the inner ear, or acute sensitivity to sound – conditions a person can get diagnosed and treated for early.
For this, we can immediately refer you to a trusted ENT specialist.
Types Of Tinnitus
The two types of tinnitus are called subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus.
Subjective tinnitus is experienced by 99% of people, and it’s caused by problems in the auditory system.
Objective tinnitus is caused by medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney problems, dental issues, metabolic deficiencies, or head injuries.
Many people have tinnitus because of a hearing loss, so a hearing test is the first step to diagnosis.
One of our hearing professionals will do a short, non-invasive assessment of your hearing in our comfortable sound booth.
This will help us see if you have any hearing loss and learn the volume, pitch, and sound of your tinnitus.
Because of the immediate results of a hearing test, we can tell you within minutes what’s causing your tinnitus and decide together how to treat it, while also deciding how to treat your hearing loss, if you have any.
Any treatments we recommend will be with the aim of improving the quality of your daily life without your tinnitus overwhelming you.
These can include:
- Hearing aids for any hearing loss.
- Sound masking therapies and generators – either in the hearing aid or in an external device.
- Biofeedback relaxation exercises can provide stress relief.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) helps you to manage the associated stress and anxiety.
- Drug therapies to help with any related stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Health and wellness improvements such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol and coffee consumption.
- Treatment of any medical issues contributing to your tinnitus such as TMJ.
Sound Audiology & Hearing Aids Can Help With Tinnitus
Because our Tri-Cities and Walla Walla audiologists are familiar with all aspects of your auditory system, we know how to treat and help you manage your tinnitus or that of a loved one.
We’ll also let you know how to prevent any future damage to your hearing so as to stop your tinnitus from worsening – such as protecting your ears from loud noises and hearing health maintenance tips.
Contact us today to book your hearing assessment at our Kennewick, Walla Walla, or Prosser office, and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about your tinnitus and what to do next.