Tinnitus is a condition that affects millions of people, and it can have a profound impact on your life. It’s especially common among older adults, and it can be caused by several factors such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury, or circulatory problems such as atherosclerosis.
The condition can make you feel stressed or anxious, and the noise can keep you up at night or make it difficult to concentrate.
There are treatments for tinnitus available today that give many people significant relief from this condition. The best solution for one person may not work for another, so finding an individualized treatment plan that works well may require some trial and error.
Tinnitus Diagnosis and Treatment
For tinnitus to be properly managed, an accurate diagnosis is needed. During the medical evaluation, you will likely be asked about your medical history along with a physical examination of your ears, head, and neck.
Make sure to describe the symptoms as clearly as possible, especially the type of noise or sound you hear. Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing in the ears, but it can also be a mix of clicking, thumping, beeping, hissing, or buzzing.
If the tinnitus is caused by an underlying medical condition, the following treatments may be recommended:
Treating blood vessel conditions
Using hearing aids (this is particularly helpful if the tinnitus is caused by noise-induced or age-related hearing loss)
Changing medications (this is recommended if a certain medication appears to be causing your tinnitus)
In cases where tinnitus doesn’t seem to stem from an underlying medical condition, the next best thing to do is to employ treatment strategies that can reduce the perception of it. This approach aims to make tinnitus less noticeable and bothersome.
Below are some of the most common tinnitus treatments that work around noise suppression:
White noise machines: These devices are designed to produce a sound similar to static, or environmental sounds such as ocean waves, wind, or falling rain. Humidifiers, fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners in the bedroom can also produce white noise to help make tinnitus less noticeable, especially during bedtime.
Hearing aids and masking devices: These devices are worn in the ears and are designed to produce constant, low-level noise that can help suppress the tinnitus sounds.
Living with Tinnitus
Managing tinnitus takes commitment, patience, and determination. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for tinnitus, so it is essential to bring an open mind to the various treatment options available to see what would work best for you.
If you have tinnitus, make sure to look after your physical and mental health. Tinnitus can be exacerbated by stress, therefore, utilizing healthy stress management techniques can help avoid worsening symptoms.
Start listening to the body rather than just being reactive when signs of stress manifest themselves in repeated headaches or difficulty sleeping for example.
Stress management strategies utilizing a combination of relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation or exercise can be invaluable in reducing the fatigue felt by chronic sufferers of tinnitus. Experts have documented how regular targeted exercise, combined with coping mechanisms, can significantly lower the symptoms or frequency of tinnitus over time.
Can tinnitus be prevented?
Loud noises can cause hearing loss and tinnitus, but there are ways to make the damage less severe or prevent this condition in general. If you’re exposed to loud sounds for extended periods of time, try using earplugs that prevent sound from damaging your hearing.
Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. These substances can affect blood flow which in turn contributes to tinnitus symptoms like ringing in the ears or hearing loss.
Hearing Tests in Swampscott and Peabody, MA
If you suspect that you are experiencing signs of tinnitus or hearing loss, seek professional help right away.
If you need to get a hearing test or are looking for an audiologist who can expertly assess your hearing, contact us at Atlantic Hearing Care.
Our clinics are located in Swampscott and Peabody. We look forward to seeing you in our clinic!