Your ears are ringing and roaring, but no one else can hear it. You have tinnitus, in short. Putting a name on the symptom is one thing, but you want to know if you can get rid of the tinnitus or if you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life. You want to know what caused it and what can be done, really? Here are the most common questions we get about tinnitus.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The vast majority of people who have tinnitus don’t do anything to cause it. Even though there are known causes, like being around too much loud noise, the ringing in our ears usually starts by itself. Still, tinnitus can sometimes be caused by something that can be treated, like too much earwax or high blood pressure. It’s worth seeing an audiologist to see what the cause might be.

Should You See an Audiologist?

Yes! Think of this as a sign that something is wrong, which could be a useful early warning. If you have tinnitus for the first time, you should always see an audiologist. You never know. If you do have a problem in the background, an audiologist may be able to get rid of the tinnitus by treating this problem or advising you who to contact if this falls outside of their remit.

Should You Have a Hearing Test?

Yes! It’s not unusual to have tinnitus and mild hearing loss at the same time. This makes the tinnitus louder and more annoying because you don’t have any other sounds to distract you. If you have hearing loss and wear a hearing aid, the tinnitus will be much less noticeable and your quality of life will be better on both fronts. Therefore, getting a test carried out by an audiologist who can then help you if you do need to wear a hearing aid is ideal.

What Are the Treatments for Tinnitus?

Even though tinnitus isn’t curable, there are a number of ways to treat it and get some relief from the issue. Also, about two-thirds of people who get tinnitus on their own will find that it goes away on its own after a while. To begin with, if a health problem is found that is causing the tinnitus, this can be a way to treat it. Another idea is to wear a hearing aid, as mentioned above, which will mask the tinnitus.

You can also make lifestyle changes; studies have shown that eating unhealthy food, smoking and drinking can potentially be causes of tinnitus. Finally, you can try tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), where you are taught how to ignore the sound.

How Can You Sleep Better with Tinnitus?

When there is nothing else going on, like at night, the buzzing of tinnitus often stands out more. This can make it hard to fall asleep because the constant ringing is like an alarm clock that keeps going off and wakes you up. There are, however, things you can do to help you get a good night’s sleep.

As a practical matter, you could try playing a low-level noise in the background to take your mind off the ringing. You can listen to soothing classical music or a CD made just for people with tinnitus. The idea is to give you a nice sound to listen to instead of the ringing or whooshing in your head, which will help you drift off to sleep.

Have you recently noticed any symptoms of tinnitus? If so, give one of our offices a call to discuss potential treatment options:

  • Cheboygan: (231) 333-0007
  • Harbor Springs: (231) 622-7053

Tags: faqs, tinnitus basics