What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is something that almost 15 million Americans struggle with, so it is incredibly common and something that must be acted upon in order to protect your hearing health for the future. Tinnitus is characterized by a persistent and uncomfortable noise often sounding like ringing, buzzing, whooshing, throbbing, or whistling. The sounds are so convincing that it is hard to believe they are not really there; they may be constant or intermittent and can range from mild to severe. You may hear these sounds in one or both ears.

There are two different types of tinnitus: Subjective and Objective.

Subjective Tinnitus – This type of tinnitus is the most common and is best described as a noise only you can hear. It occurs due to problems in the outer, middle, or inner ear or can also be caused by problems with the auditory pathway – the part of the brain that interprets nerve signals as sound.

Objective Tinnitus – If your doctor can hear the noises during your examination, then it’s likely to be Objective Tinnitus.  It is extremely rare and usually caused by a problem with a blood vessel, an issue with the middle ear bone, or problems with muscle contractions. Objective tinnitus takes longer to treat than subjective and is classed as the more severe of the two

The good news is that tinnitus is very rarely an indication of a larger problem and for the majority of people, it comes and goes with relatively minor discomfort.

In some cases, it can be a continuous problem that significantly impacts everyday life. It is so important to check in with your audiologist if the condition bothers you as they can offer support and advice.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The people most likely to suffer with tinnitus are those frequently exposed to loud sounds for a prolonged period of time. However, there are other circumstances that can lead to the development of the condition such as drug use, head trauma, stress, a neurological disease, and even a large build-up of ear wax.

Higher incidences of tinnitus are reported in people who also have conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anxiety or depression, and thyroid disorders.  Also taking certain medications can put you at risk of suffering with tinnitus as a side effect, for example, some antibiotics, aspirin, and some chemotherapy medicines.

How Can It Be Treated?

At the moment, there is no “cure” for tinnitus, but there are ways to treat the symptoms in order to give the person suffering a better quality of life.  The majority of methods are actually things the sufferer can do in order to mask the sounds they are hearing.  Many report adding in additional sounds can be very helpful, for example, having a fan on or the radio. There is an electronic instrument called a tinnitus masker that many sufferers say has helped them. It is built into a hearing aid case and generates a noise different to the one that is in the patient’s head.

Relaxation techniques have also proven extremely helpful in many cases.  Biofeedback training, where the patient learns to focus on relaxing various parts of the body and different muscles, has helped many people to feel that they can cope better living with tinnitus.  Meditation and yoga are other useful techniques that have been reported to help. With stress and anxiety being named causes of tinnitus, it is important to do what you can in order to reduce these feelings, which we appreciate is very often easier said than done. More information can be found on the American Tinnitus Associations website.

There are some medications available to help ease tinnitus symptoms. However, they do not benefit all patients. What works for one may not work for another and sadly at the moment there are no medications that will remove tinnitus completely.   There are many medications that can actually cause tinnitus. Therefore, if you are on medication it is worth checking with your doctor to see if tinnitus is a side effect of that particular drug because very often, once it is discontinued the tinnitus will stop.

What Now…

We are pleased to report that tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf. In reality, most patients report that their tinnitus does actually improve over time.  If you are at all concerned, please do book in to see one of our audiologists who will be more than happy to help you.

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Dr. Tracy Board Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Tracy Board Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Board began her career in audiology after completing her undergraduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin and the doctoral program at The University of Texas at Dallas. She has been fortunate to work in a plethora of healthcare and educational settings. As a result, she has perfected the art of effective adult and pediatric treatment. When she is not at the clinic, Dr. Board works directly with her state and national organizations to not only improve the quality of audiological healthcare in Texas, but also to advocate for her patients.
What Was Betty's First Experience at Audicles Like ...
“My first sign of hearing loss was gradually realizing that I couldn’t hear and was missing too much. My first impressions of Audicles were that I would recommend them, they had a good reputation and local. I knew that I needed help and found them very easy to work with, very thorough and very likable. Hearing aids have impacted my life a great deal, I was missing too much of what was going on. My advice to anybody considering visiting Audicles would be that they’re an excellent choice and I think they would be very happy with them.”
Betty P.
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“I first realized I had signs of hearing loss in the early 90’s, my biggest fear at the time was having to wear hearing aids and feeling old and deaf. I went to visit Audicles and if I had to rate my first impressions on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give them a 12+. From day one of having my hearing aids, everything changed, when I take them off the world goes to only 50% hearing, so they really have positively impacted my life. I always recommend Audicles so if you are considering visiting, I would highly recommend and refer Audicles and Tracey Board.”
Brian O.
Dr. Watson’s passion to help kids hear better was very heartwarming ...
“My first signs of hearing loss started in 3rd grade, I had problems with my teacher, which in turn led to having a hearing test, which found high frequency hearing loss in my left ear. Audicles made me feel very comfortable right from the start and Dr. Watson’s passion to help kids hear better was very heartwarming, enough to keep me as a patient for 30+ years. My hearing aids have become a true blessing as I have gotten older, if you are considering visiting Audicles, don’t wait! They truly go above and beyond to help you.”
Donald Kotzer
What Happened at 4 Year Old Hunter's First Appointment ...
“Hunter was just four years old when we found out he had a profound hearing loss in both ears and as his parents we were so worried Hunter would have to live with this disability and would always be considered different. As soon as his hearing aids were turned on, he ran to the window and said “trucks.” He could hear the traffic for the first time. When we got home to his Memi’s house, he could hear the peacocks and he was so excited … it was priceless. The impact hearing aids have had on Hunter’s life is incredible, Hunter says “I am able to live a normal life and communicate easily with my family and friends. I love to hunt and fish, which are two things I can do better when I can hear.” For anybody considering visiting Audicles, we would not consider taking Hunter anywhere else, they are the most caring people you will ever meet. We love Dr. Board and all of the staff, they are extremely helpful and welcoming at all times.”
Hunter Brown
Isaac First Visited Audicles as a Little Kid ...
“My first signs of hearing loss came when I was a little kid, I was really happy when I visited Audicles for my first appointment. Hearing Aids have had a really good impact on my life, I can hear everything! I would definitely encourage anybody considering visiting Audicles to go.”
Isaac Leos
She Always Made Me Feel Like I Belonged ...
“I was only two when signs of hearing loss were detected so I don’t remember my first appointment, but one of my earliest memories was visiting Dr. Jane with my grandpa. She always made me feel like I belonged and always greeted me with a smile and a hug. My first impressions of Audicles were awesome, I remember sitting in the hearing booth thinking I was in a spaceship! The impact hearing aids have had on my life is indescribable, I would not be where I am without the help of Audicles, Dr. Jane went above and beyond to help me. I would say to anybody considering visiting Audicles, what are you waiting for?”
Jaret Gunn
There is Never a Better Time to Do It Than The Present ...
“I noticed the first signs of hearing loss at work, as I work with children in my teaching job, I found it harder and harder to hear them. My family were also giving me a hard time about the TV volume. I was so ready to increase my quality of life and not miss anything so I had no fears about visiting Audicles for my first appointment. I was made to feel right at home! They were professional, kind, patient and explained everything. Hearing aids have impacted my life in a big way, I can hear my grandchildren. I have been able to use mics and the technology offered for a variety of purposes was all for the good. If you are considering visiting Audicles, just do it! There is never a better time than the present. What do you have to lose?”
Kim M.
My First Signs of Hearing Loss Were ...
“I was really pleased with my first visit to Audicles, first impressions were very good, everyone is very nice and helpful. Wearing hearing aids has positively impacted my life as I can hear things now that I did not realize I was missing. If you are considering visiting Audicles I would say to go, you can’t find a better service.”
Loretta Anton