Any type of fluctuating noise in the ear that is not common to you might be tinnitus. It might come and go, or it’s consistently there, or it takes over from the sound you’re listening to.
We’re seeing a lot more tinnitus in the last five years. It’s becoming more common for people to get help for it as more people learn about it. We’ve been hearing that it might be linked to COVID-19, and I’m curious if that’s going to come to anything.
What Are The Signs Of Tinnitus?
With tinnitus, you might hear these sounds when things are perfectly quiet around you. Tinnitus can show up as the sound of rushing, beeping, or a high tone squeal — basically any sound that doesn’t sound normal — and the sounds come and go.
A lot of times, tinnitus happens right after you’ve been in loud noise for a while, and that will usually subside. But if you can still hear it on day two, day three, then you might want to talk to someone about it.
How Can Tinnitus Affect You?
Tinnitus can really affect some people in the way that it takes over. They can’t sleep because it’s all they hear. It’s loud anytime they’re trying to do anything quiet, such as reading, or they’re in a meeting.
For some people, it’s a serious, serious problem that means they can’t concentrate on anything else. They’re just focused on the tinnitus and it’s all consuming, and it’s unfortunate.
Is Tinnitus Age-Related?
I don’t see much tinnitus in children or teenagers, but we have a lot of people in their twenties who come in and talk to us, possibly as much as the seniors do. I find that the older population might be more likely to have accepted it and think it’s untreatable.
What Are The Different Types Of Tinnitus?
The two types of tinnitus are:
- objective tinnitus (1% of tinnitus sufferers) – caused by medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney problems, or head injuries
- subjective tinnitus – caused by problems in your hearing system
The different types break down to what you’re hearing in your ear. Some people might think they have tinnitus, but it’s actually some fluid in their ears or wax moving around.
Is There A Cure For Tinnitus?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus yet. The main reason is that scientists haven’t figured out what causes it, so they can’t figure out how to cure it.
However, there are many ways to relieve the sound, which we can discuss during your tinnitus assessment.
What Treatment Options Are Available For Tinnitus?
Treatment doesn’t give instant results. It’s more of a process of getting your brain adjusted to the treatment options. The only way to get optimal results is to keep doing whatever is needed until you get some relief.
The first thing we do is the assessment to see how well your auditory system is doing. This lets us know if you have a hearing loss, which we can treat, and possibly treat the tinnitus by proxy.
If you have a hearing loss as well, there are a lot of great hearing aids that have masking abilities – the phone app streams various white noises to your ears that match your tinnitus noise, and hopefully, over time, that drowns out the tinnitus and your brain adjusts.
If there is no hearing loss, we can refer you to an expert that we know can help you.
Some chiropractors have been able to help tinnitus by doing some interesting things behind the joint on the neck. Many psychologists have found cognitive behaviour therapy successful.
Does Your Loved One Have Tinnitus?
Make an appointment to get them started with either a tinnitus assessment or a hearing assessment and go with them.
You are a valuable way of reminding them what was said during the appointment. And when you’re there for them and don’t just brush off their tinnitus as something minor, they’ll feel supported.
If it’s not hearing related, give us a call or send an email, and we’ll help you out with some ways to relieve the tinnitus sufferer’s sound.
What Can Worsen Tinnitus?
To try and mitigate those things:
- High blood pressure and drinks that can affect the heart rate, like caffeine, can make tinnitus worse. Try and stay away from caffeine.
- Try and eliminate the stress. I know that’s difficult right now for a lot of people, but do what you can, especially before bedtime.
- Try more calming activities like yoga to get your brain to a less stressful state.
- Listen to a white noise machine, or even music at a really low level, to try and drown it out or to help you focus on other things.
- Loud noise is going to make it worse.
Your Next Steps
Book a hearing assessment or a tinnitus assessment to get those going. But even then, if you just want to book a consult, we are happy to have you come in and talk. There’s no charge for a consult, to give you what we think our options are, to give you a bit of help.
Arnold Hearing Centres have four locations to serve you – in Kitchener, Guelph, Simcoe, or Waterloo. Come see us! We’re happy to assess your tinnitus and recommend products or treatment options.