Can Your Tinnitus Be Cured?
These days it seems like everything can be fixed by taking a pill. Tinnitus, a condition that affects nearly 20 percent of the individuals in Houston, Texas and throughout the country, is unfortunately not one of complaints that can be treated this easily.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing in the ear when there is no noise actually present. Tinnitus is technically a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than a disorder on its own.
Hearing a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing at various pitches can all be signs of tinnitus. These sounds can be heard all the time or may come and go. While most people only hear them in one ear, it is possible to have tinnitus in both ears. Additional symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Memory problems
Tinnitus can be broken down into two types: subjective and objective. Subjective is the most common and it is characterized by tinnitus only you can hear. The other type, objective tinnitus, is much rarer and can be heard by your doctor during an examination.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are a number of conditions that list tinnitus as a possible symptom. The most common causes are:
- Noise exposure
- Foreign objects in the ears
For some, their Houston audiologist is able to determine the cause of their tinnitus. In most cases, if their audiologist treats the initial cause, their tinnitus will be cured.
But for most, the exact cause will remain a mystery. In that case, their Houston audiologist will recommend one of the following treatment options.
White noise therapy. This popular treatment involves the use of white noise, which releases a distribution of random sound frequencies across the hearing spectrum. These sounds can help draw the brain’s attention away from the distracting background noise. This allows users to tune out their tinnitus. White noise can be transmitted through special electronic devices; the same effect can also be achieved by using an air conditioner, fan or humidifier.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. This newer approach combines counseling and education with sound therapy. You’ll learn about your tinnitus, different strategies for coping and how to use low-level sound generators. These generators produce soft tonal patterns that encourage the brain to shift its focus away from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
Hearing aids. Most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, which means most already have a hearing aid. If you are one of these people, your Houston audiologist suggests simply turning up the volume. This can help mask distracting background noises.
Natural remedies. Some patients report positive results using gingko biloba, zinc or niacin, though clinical studies are inconclusive.
Even though tinnitus may not always be curable, many report positive results through the use of one of the above treatment plans. For more information on tinnitus treatments, contact your Houston audiologist today.