What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease but a medical condition signified by a constant ringing in one or both ears that only you can hear.
While the sound is always annoying, it’s not always a ringing. It could be a whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing sound too. These phantom sounds affect everyone differently; some only hear it periodically while others may experience it 24/7. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from at least occasional bouts of tinnitus.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus stems from a few causes, but the most common is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The decibel level and length of exposure to a loud sound may cause temporary or permanent damage.
Tinnitus is generally a clue that there is an inner-ear problem, but research is ongoing. Other probable causes are:
- Hearing loss
- NIHL (noise-induced hearing loss, the most common cause)
- Specific medications
- Head trauma
- Eardrum blockage
- Jaw joint disorders
It’s rare, but tinnitus could be caused by a blood vessel disorder, causing the tinnitus to pulse in time with your heartbeat. It can be caused by a head or neck tumor, a buildup of cholesterol in the circulatory system, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, or malformation of the capillaries surrounding the ear.
Is There a Cure?
There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but there is hope. Your audiologist will work with you to find possible causes according to your symptoms, as well as ways to help lessen the impact. For example, a change in diet or medications or even meditation could help decrease symptoms.
One popular way of easing the annoyance of tinnitus is masking. An electronic device called a masker may be worn to distract from the ringing sensation. Maskers fit in the ear similarly to hearing aids and produce low-level sounds. In addition, bedside sound generators and other devices can also help remove the perception of ringing.
AGX Tinnitus Technology
In many cases, the distressing combination of tinnitus and hearing loss can be relieved with AGX tinnitus technology. This revolutionary combination of a noise-masking device with an amplified hearing system can restore ambient sounds and help fill Sound VoidsTM to eliminate the effects of tinnitus. This is a relatively new therapy, though our patients so far are reporting excellent results.