Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that may come and go, or persist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is sometimes described as more of a whistling, hissing, buzzing, or whooshing noise, and can range from mildly annoying to a major disruption in your life. Current estimates from the American Tinnitus Association indicate more than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree.
Tinnitus is considered a symptom rather than a disease, and is the result of an underlying condition. It can be caused by a wide variety of factors including natural aging, noise exposure, head or neck trauma, cardiovascular diseases, ototoxic medications, thyroid conditions, and other disorders. Proper treatment depends upon each specific case, and requires a thorough evaluation. There is no single cure for tinnitus, but treating the underlying condition can cause a reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms. At LeMay Hearing & Balance, treatment is custom tailored to each patient’s specific needs.
Often, hearing aids can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of tinnitus. By restoring your ability to hear ambient sounds, the effects of tinnitus may be eliminated. In other cases, electronic masking devices can be worn to distract from the ringing sounds. These units fit in the ear and are similar to hearing aids, producing low-level sounds that draw attention away from the ringing in your ears.
Additional treatment options include Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), which combines low-level, steady background sounds with intensive counseling. Keep in mind that this sort of treatment may take up to two years to be fully effective.