Some patients describe it as a humming sound, others hear waves crashing on the shore—and still others hear a constant, high-pitched whine. What they all have in common is that they are all suffering from tinnitus, a persistent noise in their ears that nobody else can hear.
What Is Causing My Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is commonly described as a “ringing” in the ears, but patients often suffer from a wide variety of constant head noises. Patients often experience concentration problems or have trouble sleeping as a result of their condition, and if tinnitus goes untreated, a patient may develop anxiety issues or suffer social withdrawal.
Tinnitus may result from a number of conditions, including:
- Hearing damage. Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand-in-hand, particularly with noise-induced hearing loss and hearing degeneration due to aging. If you suffer from both tinnitus and hearing loss, hearing aids are an extremely effective way to find relief for both conditions.
- Fluid buildup. Tinnitus that comes on suddenly or is only heard on one side of the head is commonly due to a blockage in the ear canal. Earwax, fluid, or swelling from an ear infection can all block sound transmission and cause distortion such as tinnitus. In many cases, tinnitus symptoms will subside once the cause has been successfully treated.
- Head or neck injury. Trauma to the head, neck, or ears can cause patients to hear buzzing or ringing noises as a result of nerve damage. For example, patients who have chronic temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders may experience tinnitus as a result of constantly clenching their jaws.
- Atherosclerosis. Several cardiovascular disorders have been linked to tinnitus, including high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. A buildup of cholesterol can cause blood vessels in the ear to lose elasticity, making it possible for you to hear the whooshing noise of your heartbeat in your ear.
- Diseases. Some diseases and medical conditions can cause tinnitus symptoms, such as from Meniere's disease (a condition of the inner ear that causes dizziness) and otosclerosis (a hardening of the tiny bones inside the ear).
A Hearing Aid Can Provide Relief for Tinnitus Symptoms
Many patients who are fitted with hearing aids report a significant reduction in their tinnitus symptoms. Hearing aids work to relieve tinnitus in two ways: by amplifying environmental noises to “drown out” the head noise, and by clarifying and amplifying speech to allow the patient to focus on conversations. Patients with minor hearing loss may benefit from tinnitus therapy hearing aids called maskers, which emit low-level tones or pleasant sounds to muffle the distracting head noise.
No matter what is causing your tinnitus, we can find the solution that is right for you. Call us today at (361) 854-2500 to make an appointment for a hearing test, or visit our office in Corpus Christi to see our wide variety of hearing aid models.