What is tinnitus? “ringing in the ears”

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, tinnitus (TIN-i-tus) is noise or ringing in the ears. Many people describe the noise as crickets, roaring sound, hissing, or high pitched buzz. Tinnitus is very common effecting approximately 1 in 5 people. The causes of tinnitus can range from something as simple as wax to more serious issues such as a tumor on the hearing nerve (acoustic neuroma). Other common causes may include loud noise exposure, trauma to the ear, age-related hearing loss, medications, wax in the ear canal, or other medical conditions.

Although typically not a serious medical condition, tinnitus can be a sign of underlying medical condition. If you have continual tinnitus in one ear, tinnitus that mimics your heart beat or sudden onset of tinnitus it is important to have an evaluation by and ENT physician and Audiologist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tinnitus:

Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?

No. In fact, whatever caused the patient to have hearing loss (i.e. noise exposure, infections, aging) is also responsible for the tinnitus.


Does tinnitus interfere with hearing?

No. Although it may affect one's attention, tinnitus itself does not interfere with hearing.


How is tinnitus treated?

Unfortunately there is no cure for tinnitus; therefore the objective of treatment is to manage the perception of the noise. If you have associated hearing loss, hearing aids are the treatment of choice to enhance your hearing as well as mask over the noise. Some the most common treatments may include: Neuromonics, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, and Tinnitus Maskers.


Will a hearing aid help my tinnitus?

If you have a hearing loss, there is a good chance that a hearing aid will both relieve your tinnitus and help you hear. Your ASHA-certified audiologist can assist with the selection, fitting, and purchase of the most appropriate hearing aids for you. Your audiologist will also help you learn how to get the best use out of your hearing aids.


Will hearing aids make my tinnitus louder?

NO! Hearing aids introduce sound to the hearing system which also helps to make the tinnitus LESS noticeable.


Why is my tinnitus worse at night?

During the day, the distractions of activities and the sounds around you make your tinnitus less noticeable. When your surroundings are quiet, your tinnitus can seem louder and more bothersome. Fatigue and stress may also make your tinnitus worse.


Tinnitus Treatment and the Effectiveness of Hearing Aids

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