If you’ve ever noticed a buzzing, ringing, whirring, or whooshing noise in one or both ears, you may be experiencing tinnitus. Impacting an estimated nine-million Canadians, tinnitus can have an impact on your emotional wellbeing if left untreated. At Nu-Life Hearing Centre, we strive to make your life better through healthy hearing, and that’s why we offer the solutions you need to combat that ringing-in-your-ears sensation.
What is tinnitus?
Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound when there isn’t actually an external noise present, while objective tinnitus – a much rarer variety – can be heard by your hearing professional during an examination. Commonly mistaken as a condition, tinnitus is actually a symptom of another underlying issue, such as age-related hearing loss, head or ear trauma or a disorder within the circulatory system.
It is often described as a ringing or buzzing, but can also be a whistling, clicking, roaring, humming or even music. These sounds can be heard intermittently or constantly, but are typically more noticeable in quiet environments.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be associated with several different health issues, particularly damage to the inner ear hair cells as the result of hearing loss or noise exposure. Other auditory problems, like middle or inner ear issues, as well as nerve damage, can also cause or worsen tinnitus sounds. Because such a varying array of conditions are linked to tinnitus, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the exact cause.
How is tinnitus treated?
While there is no official cure for tinnitus, there are a variety of treatments available to alleviate the symptoms. The overarching goal of tinnitus treatment and management is to help remove the presence of the perceived sound. This is typically done using one of the following solutions:
- Hearing aids: The most common solution recommended to address tinnitus is a hearing aid with masking features. Hearing aids are a two-fold approach to tinnitus management – they treat hearing loss, which in turn can remedy the severity of the symptoms you experience – or make it go away completely. And, if hearing loss isn’t present, the masking feature can be used to override the sounds you are hearing.
- Sound machines: Similar to masking features but recommended for night time use or other instances where you don’t have your hearing aids, a sound machine produces white noise to quiet the ringing or buzzing.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): Another common treatment for tinnitus is TRT. This solution involves training your brain how to ignore and tune out the tinnitus sounds. This is frequently used in tandem with hearing aids, to provide an all-encompassing treatment.
If you are concerned you are experiencing tinnitus, reach out to one of our hearing professionals at Nu-Life Hearing Centre. We have the tools and resources available to help you find relieve for that buzzing once and for all.