Tinnitus is one of the most misunderstood conditions related to the ear. Whether you suspect you have tinnitus or were diagnosed long ago, the multitude of myths and misconceptions only add to the frustration. Knowing the facts can help you feel more in control and find the relief you need.
Truth: Tinnitus Is Not a Disease
Tinnitus isn’t a disease, nor even a condition unto itself. Instead, it’s the symptom of an underlying condition. For example, tinnitus can be the symptom of an injury, circulatory system disorder, built-up earwax, anemia, or age-related hearing loss.
Although tinnitus can be extremely bothersome, it’s usually not the sign of something serious. However, that doesn’t mean tinnitus is all in your head; it’s a real affliction experienced by more than 50 million Americans.
Truth: Tinnitus Doesn’t Always Sound Like Ringing
While “tinnitus” is derived from the Latin word for “ringing,” people may perceive a wide variety of sounds, including:
The sounds of tinnitus can vary from day to day, change pitch, or switch ears. Those with mixed tinnitus may hear multiple noises simultaneously, and in some rarer cases, people report hearing music.
Truth: Treatments for Tinnitus Are Helpful
There’s currently no cure for tinnitus. However, there are several ways to reduce the symptoms and manage the noise. Depending on your underlying condition, your doctor may be able to remove impacted ear wax, treat blood vessel conditions, or prescribe tricyclic antidepressants.
At home, you might try to:
- Avoid irritants like loud noise, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
- Cancel out the ringing with competing sound from a radio, white noise machine, fan, or help from Beltone’s Tinnitus Calmer app
- Manage stress through exercise, counseling, or online support groups
- Seek out alternative medical treatments such as biofeedback, acupuncture, supplements, and neuromodulation
Truth: Hearing Aids Can Provide Relief
New developments in hearing aid technology can address the symptoms of hearing loss and the sensations of tinnitus by improving the quality of external sounds. According to a study published in The Hearing Review, 60% of people with tinnitus experienced at least some relief by wearing a hearing aid. Approximately 22% reported substantial relief.
Oftentimes, the more clearly you hear the real sounds around you, the less you perceive your tinnitus. If you’re living with tinnitus and hoping for relief, contact a Beltone hearing care professional for hearing aid solutions and support.