What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is usually a subjective sound - one that is heard when there is no external sound being produced. People might describe what they hear as a ringing in their ears, a buzzing, a rushing or wind noise or a clicking sound. Some people may hear "crickets" while others might hear a hissing noise. It might be constantly present, or it may come and go. The quality and persistence of tinnitus varies from person to person, as does the impact it has on quality of life. Some people are simply able to ignore it, while others struggle with interrupted sleep, impaired concentration and heightened stress.
What causes tinnitus?
Although tinnitus is usually a symptom of inner ear damage related to age or prolonged exposure to noise, there are other potential causes, including diet, certain medications, head and neck injury, jaw disorders, blockages of the ear, or stress. It is important to have an assessment to rule our certain underlying causes that are potentially serious. Your audiologist can provide valuable information and ensure that you are referred to the right specialist.
Is there a cure for tinnitus? What can I do about it?
Depending on the source of the tinnitus, some underlying causes may be treated by your physician to minimize its impact. But in most cases, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss and inner ear damage. In these cases, it is usually irreversible, but that doesn't mean it's not treatable. There are many options available to people whose tinnitus is intrusive enough to have a negative impact on their quality of life. Your audiologist can guide you through the available options and help you find the one that's right for you.