What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is when you experience ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing, whistling sound, or other noises in one or both of your ears. Tinnitus is a common problem that affects about 15-20% of people especially older adults.
Tinnitus is a subjective symptom, perceivable only by the person who is experiencing it. It is considered a symptom rather than an illness. For some, tinnitus may come and go but for some it can affect their ability to concentrate or even hear sounds that may cause significant impact in their everyday life.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is associated with many conditions. It may happen following a single exposure to high-intensity noise, and long-term noise exposure. Most often, tinnitus is also a symptoms of an ear problem, such as:
- Hearing loss
- Impacted Cerumen
- Meniere’s disease
- Middle ear infection
In addition, tinnitus may affect emotional health like feeling of depression, frustration, and irritability.
Treatment / Management
The treatment and management of tinnitus depends on what causes it.
- Hearing aids – if tinnitus is caused by noised-induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss, using of hearing aids will address your hearing needs and can help improve the tinnitus symptoms.
- Earwax cleaning- removing of earwax can help improve the symptoms.
- Changing medication- if your current medication causes your tinnitus, the doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the dosage, or changing into a different medication.
- White noise machine- A device that produces static or environmental sound are some of the effective treatments for tinnitus.
- Masking devices- Worn in the ear and similar to hearing aids. These devices produce a continuous white noise that distracts you from the sound of tinnitus.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy- this will help you learn coping techniques to make your tinnitus less bothersome.