Services Tinnitus Treatment & Management

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Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a perceived sound that has no external source. The prevalence of tinnitus among adults in the U.S. is estimated to be 10-15 percent of the population. Approximately 4.5 percent of the population report that tinnitus adversely affects their daily lives to the degree that warrants clinical intervention. Among military veterans, tinnitus is the most common of all service-connected disabilities. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/tinnitus

What are the different types of Tinnitus that people experience:

  • Buzzing or ringing in the ears
  • Hissing or roaring sound
  • High, low, single or multi-toned
  • It could be occasional or constant

Why does tinnitus happen?

The possible mechanisms for tinnitus include peripheral hearing loss, likely due to damage to the sensory hair cells in the cochlea. Although the odds of having tinnitus increase with the presence of high-frequency hearing impairment, not all people who suffer from tinnitus have measureable hearing loss. Tinnitus may also occur neutrally, possibly due to abnormal rhythm/rate of spontaneous VIII cranial nerve discharges. Finally, some tinnitus may occur to central auditory system pathology in the dorsal cochlear nucleus, limbic system or cerebral hemisphere.

What are the common causes of tinnitus

According to Mayo Clinic, In many people, tinnitus is caused by one of these conditions:

  • Age-related hearing loss.
    For many people, hearing worsens with age, usually starting around age 60. Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. The medical term for this type of hearing loss is presbycusis.
  • Exposure to loud noise.
    Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as MP3 players or iPods, also can cause noise-related hearing loss if played loudly for long periods. Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away; both short- and long-term exposure to loud sound can cause permanent damage.
  • Earwax blockage.
    Earwax protects your ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria. When too much earwax accumulates, it becomes too hard to wash away naturally, causing hearing loss or irritation of the eardrum, which can lead to tinnitus.
  • Ear bone changes. Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, tends to run in families.

Exacerbating factors for tinnitus include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sodium, stress and/or noise exposure. Some medications, including salicylates, ototoxic medications, and oral contraceptives have also been associated with tinnitus.

The most commonly cited difficulties faced by tinnitus sufferers are difficulty with concentration, sleep deprivation, depression, irritability, pain/headaches, stress and decreased quality of life.

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