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Tinnitus

What we know and what we can do to help

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Tinnitus

What we know and what we can do to help

Schedule a Consultation

Does Everyone with Hearing Loss Develop Tinnitus?

Why some people with hearing loss develop tinnitus—a buzzing or ringing sound in the ears in the absence of any real sound—and others don’t has puzzled scientists for years. Almost all cases of tinnitus are preceded by a loss of hearing as the result of damage to the inner ear from aging, injury, or long-term exposure to loud noise, but experts estimate that only a third of those with hearing loss will go on to develop tinnitus.

1. What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus (pronounced “tin-it-tus”) is an abnormal noise in the ear.  Tinnitus is extremely common – nearly 36 million Americans have tinnitus. More than half of the normal population has intermittent tinnitus.

About 6% of the general population has what they consider to be “severe” tinnitus. It can sound like a low roar, a high-pitched ring or a variety of other sounds.  Tinnitus may be in both ears or just in one ear.  Seven million Americans are so severely affected that they cannot lead normal lives.

2. Are there different types of tinnitus?
Types of tinnitus

There are two different categories or types of tinnitus.

Subjective tinnitus is tinnitus only you can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. It also can be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound.

Objective tinnitus (believe it or not) is tinnitus your doctor can hear when he or she does an examination. This rare type of tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel problem, an inner ear bone condition or muscle contractions.

3. What can cause tinnitus?
There are many causes of tinnitus, here are just a few

  • Ear wax.
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • middle ear infection or fluid
  • injury to the nerve from the ear to the brain, and central nervous system damage.
  • aneurysms,
  • increased pressure in the head (hydrocephalus), and
  • hardening of the arteries.
  • Brain tumors
  • Loud noise both short term and long term. inner ear damage and tinnitus.
  • Medications
4. Who is the typical person suffering from tinnitus?
Of adults ages 65 and older in the United States, 12.3 percent of men and nearly 14 percent of women are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is identified more frequently in white individuals and the prevalence of tinnitus is almost twice as frequent in the South as in the Northeast.
5. Is tinnitus always heard in both ears?
Tinnitus can be perceived in both ears, one ear or in some patients in the middle of the head and not in the ear.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids often are helpful for people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus. Using a hearing aid adjusted to carefully control outside sound levels may make it easier for you to hear. The better you hear, the less you may notice your tinnitus.

Wearable Sound Generators

Wearable sound generators are small electronic devices that fit in the ear and use a soft, pleasant sound to help mask the tinnitus. Some people want the masking sound to totally cover up their tinnitus, but most prefer a masking level that is just a bit louder than their tinnitus. The masking sound can be a soft “shhhhhhhhhhh,” random tones, or music.

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are sometimes used in people who have tinnitus along with severe hearing loss. A cochlear implant bypasses the damaged portion of the inner ear and sends electrical signals that directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The device brings in outside sounds that help mask tinnitus and stimulate change in the neural circuits.

Tinnitus Treatments

Tinnitus does not have a cure yet, but treatments that help many people cope better with the condition are available. Most doctors will offer a combination of the treatments below, depending on the severity of your tinnitus and the areas of your life it affects the most.

Counseling

Counseling helps you learn how to live with your tinnitus. Most counseling programs have an educational component to help you understand what goes on in the brain to cause tinnitus. Some counseling programs also will help you change the way you think about and react to your tinnitus. You might learn some things to do on your own to make the noise less noticeable, to help you relax during the day, or to fall asleep at night.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a form of habituation therapy designed to help people who experience tinnitus. Two key components of TRT directly follow from the neurophysiological model of tinnitus. One of these principles includes directive counseling aimed at reclassification of tinnitus to a category of neutral signals, while the other includes sound therapy which is aimed at weakening tinnitus related neuronal activity. The goal of TRT is management of the reaction to tinnitus, thereby allowing habituation to begin and return to previous levels of perception.

 

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy Systems

Neuromonics

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The Levo System

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Location

8600 Sam Furr Rd Suite 250
Huntersville, NC 28078

Contact

(704) 237-4099
F: (704) 237-4095

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