An Overview of Tinnitus
Tinnitus most often presents as a ringing in the ears. However, it can be any type of noise if there is no external source. This can include low-pitched and high-pitched hissing, shrieking, humming, buzzing, whistling, clicking, and other types of sounds.
In addition to the noise itself, people with tinnitus often experience side effects such as trouble sleeping, anxiety, trouble concentrating, memory issues, irritability, and depression. When the sound does not stop, it can cause a great deal of distress.
Many people experience tinnitus after exposure to loud noise, such as after a concert. This is not a cause for concern when it is short-lived. However, a persistent ringing or other sound can quickly become frustrating. It may also be a sign of another hearing health problem that our audiologists can help you address.
There are two types of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Of these, the subjective variety is far more common. This is when only you can hear the sound. It can result from damage in any part of your ear (inner, middle, or outer), auditory nerve problems, or an issue with how your brain is processing sound. The objective type is when a doctor performing an ear examination can also hear the ringing. This is more rare and may be caused by muscle contractions, a problem with the bones in your middle ear, or a blood vessel issue.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is age-related hearing loss. This is because hearing loss interferes with the way sound travels from the ear to the brain. When your brain doesn’t receive a coherent signal from the ear, it can create the illusion of sound in the form of a ringing, buzzing, or other noise.
In these cases, hearing aids can often treat hearing loss at the same time as tinnitus. One study found that 60% of patients who were fitted with hearing aids also experienced some degree of relief from their tinnitus. If the ringing continues, we can explore other solutions and determine if there are additional causes for the noise.
Tinnitus and Ear Wax
Some individuals develop tinnitus or notice their symptoms worsening due to an ear wax blockage. This can happen for two reasons. The first is that the wax may lead to temporary conductive hearing loss, which contributes to a ringing in the ears since sound cannot be effectively communicated to the brain. The other reason is if you have tinnitus already, the wax blocking the ear canal may make it harder for other sounds to mask the ringing. This makes it more noticeable to you.
In these cases, we can inspect your ears and, if necessary, remove wax buildup. We use safe and comfortable methods. Since our audiologists come directly to you, you won’t even need to leave your home to get relief.
Other Causes of Ringing in Your Ears
Sometimes tinnitus is not related to hearing loss or ear wax buildup. If this is true for you, we will move forward by looking at your individual case to determine what the best treatment options will be.
Hearing Health Care in Your Own Home
Alltones Audiology is different from other practices because instead of you coming to an office or big-box store, we bring our services directly to you. We will address your hearing concerns in the comfort of your home. This allows us to work with your schedule and to get a better idea of your individual lifestyle and environment to provide tailored solutions for your concerns.