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Understanding Tinnitus

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Woman with Tinnitus

Do you constantly have a low-pitched humming sound in your ears no matter where you are? If so, then you might have tinnitus. While tinnitus is incredibly common, many people don’t realize it’s an actual problem and chalk it up to something obscure going on with their ears.

To better understand tinnitus and how it’s treated, it’s crucial to learn what it actually is and the causes behind it.

What is tinnitus?

This is a condition where you start to hear noises in one or both of your ears when there are no external noises present. People often complain of a hissing, ringing or buzzing sound that stays for long periods.

What causes tinnitus?

There’s a common misconception that tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. This isn’t always the case, with audiologists treating plenty of people with this condition and no hearing problems whatsoever.

You will find many causes of tinnitus, with the most common one being exposure to loud sounds. The vast majority of people with this condition will have it after being exposed to loud sounds for a long period of time. Many people in the armed forces complain of tinnitus due to all the loud bangs they hear from live weapons. Similarly, listening to music through headphones at a high volume can damage the inside of your ear and cause this condition.

Other causes include infections, wax buildup, drug side effects, aging, certain diseases of the ear and problems in your TMJ joint.

What are the symptoms?

The main underlying symptom of tinnitus is the presence of persistent buzzing or hissing in your ears. Some people say they hear it in both, while others hear it in just one ear. Be aware that it’s common for people to sometimes hear high-pitched sounds in their ears from time to time, and this doesn’t mean they have tinnitus. Only when you constantly hear the buzzing should you be concerned that the condition is present.

How do you treat tinnitus?

If you feel like you have tinnitus, then you should see a doctor to get your ears checked. They can help determine the cause of tinnitus, which puts you on a specific treatment path. For those instances where the condition is caused by an infection, then your doctor may prescribe medication to help clear it up. Similarly, tinnitus caused by wax blockages can be treated by removing earwax and seeing if the problem persists.

However, if you’re one of the many people with tinnitus as the result of loud noises, then your best option is to see an audiologist. They can set you up with a hearing aid to help calm the symptoms and get rid of tinnitus. Hearing aids are often the best treatment options thanks to their sound-masking features.