Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Upset woman suffering from tinnitus laying in bed on her stomach with a pillow folded over the top of her head and ears.

Invisibility is a really useful power in the movies. Whether it’s a mud-covered hero, a cloaked spaceship, or a sneaky ninja, invisibility allows people in movies to be more effectual and, frequently, achieve the impossible.

Invisible health conditions, unfortunately, are equally as potent and a lot less fun. As an example, tinnitus is a very common hearing condition. But there are no outward symptoms, it doesn’t matter how well you look.

But for individuals who experience tinnitus, though it may be invisible, the affect could be substantial.

What is tinnitus?

One thing we recognize for sure about tinnitus is that you can’t see it. Actually, tinnitus symptoms are auditory in nature, being a condition of the ears. You know that ringing in your ears you occasionally hear after a rock concert or in a really quiet room? That’s tinnitus. Tinnitus is so prevalent that around 25 million people experience it every day.

While ringing is the most common manifestation of tinnitus, it’s not the only one. Some individuals could hear buzzing, crunching, metallic noises, all sorts of things. The common denominator is that anybody who has tinnitus is hearing sounds that aren’t actually there.

For most people, tinnitus will be a short-lived affair, it will come and go really quickly. But for somewhere between 2-5 million individuals, tinnitus is a persistent, sometimes incapacitating condition. Think about it like this: hearing that ringing in your ears for five or ten minutes is irritating, but you can distract yourself easily and move on. But what if that sound never goes away? it’s not hard to see how that might begin to substantially affect your quality of life.

Tinnitus causes

Have you ever had a headache and tried to figure out the cause? Maybe it’s stress; maybe you’re getting a cold; perhaps it’s allergies. The trouble is that quite a few issues can cause headaches! The symptoms of tinnitus, though relatively common, also have a wide variety of causes.

The source of your tinnitus symptoms may, in some cases, be obvious. In other situations, you might never truly know. Here are some general things that can trigger tinnitus:

  • High blood pressure: For some individuals, tinnitus could be caused by high blood pressure. If this is the situation, it’s a smart plan to check with your doctor in order to help manage your blood pressure.
  • Colds or allergies: If a lot of mucus accumulates in your ears, it might cause some inflammation. And tinnitus can be the outcome of this inflammation.
  • Meniere’s Disease: A good number of symptoms can be caused by this condition of the inner ear. Dizziness and tinnitus are amongst the first symptoms to manifest. Permanent hearing loss can occur over time.
  • Certain medications: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by some over-the-counter and prescription medications. Typically, that ringing disappears once you quit taking the medication in question.
  • Noise damage: Tinnitus symptoms can be caused by exposure to excessively loud noise over time. One of the top causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises and this is quite common. The best way to prevent this type of tinnitus is to steer clear of overly loud settings (or wear hearing protection if avoidance isn’t possible).
  • Ear infections or other blockages: Swelling of the ear canal can be caused by things like seasonal allergies, a cold, or an ear infection. As a result, your ears might start ringing.
  • Head or neck injuries: Your head is rather sensitive! Ringing in your ears can be brought on by traumatic brain injuries including concussions.
  • Hearing loss: There is a close connection between tinnitus and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus can both be caused by noise damage and that’s a big part of the picture here. Both of them have the same cause, in other words. But hearing loss can also worsen tinnitus, when the outside world seems quieter, that ringing in your ears can seem louder.

Treatment will obviously be easier if you can figure out the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. Clearing a blockage, for instance, will ease tinnitus symptoms if that’s what is causing them. But the cause of their tinnitus symptoms may never be known for some individuals.

Diagnosing Tinnitus

If your ears ring for a few minutes and then it subsides, it’s not really something that needs to be diagnosed (unless it occurs frequently). Still, having regular hearing exams is always a good idea.

But you should definitely schedule an appointment with us if your tinnitus won’t go away or if it continues to come back. We will execute a hearing examination, talk to you about your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life, and perhaps even discuss your medical history. Your symptoms can then be diagnosed utilizing this information.

How is tinnitus treated?

Tinnitus isn’t a condition that has a cure. But it can be treated and it can be managed.

If you’re taking a particular medication or have a root medical condition, your symptoms will get better when you deal with the base cause. However, if you have chronic tinnitus, there will be no underlying condition that can be easily addressed.

For those who have chronic tinnitus then, the idea is to manage your symptoms and help make sure your tinnitus does not negatively affect your quality of life. There are lots of things that we can do to help. Among the most prevalent are the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: When it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy, we might end up referring you to a different provider. This strategy uses therapy to help you learn to disregard the tinnitus sounds.
  • A masking device: This is a device much like a hearing aid, except instead of boosting sounds, it masks sound. These devices generate exactly the right amount and type of sound to make your particular tinnitus symptoms fade into the background.
  • A hearing aid: When you have hearing loss, external sounds become quieter and your tinnitus symptoms become more noticeable. In these situations, a hearing aid can help turn the volume up on the rest of the world, and overpower the buzzing or ringing you may be hearing from your tinnitus.

We will create a personalized and distinct treatment plan for you and your tinnitus. The objective will be to help you manage your symptoms so that you can get back to enjoying your life!

What should you do if you’re dealing with tinnitus?

Even though tinnitus is invisible, it shouldn’t be ignored. Chances are, those symptoms will only grow worse. It’s better to get ahead of your symptoms because you might be able to stop them from getting worse. At the very least, you should get yourself hearing protection for your ears, make sure you’re using ear plugs or ear muffs whenever you’re around loud noises.

If you have tinnitus that won’t go away (or keeps coming back) schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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