Did you know that nearly 20 percent of people in Katy, Texas and around the country report some degree of tinnitus? Me neither. Would it surprise you even more to learn that many of these individuals with tinnitus never actually meet with their doctor? This is because it is something most of them think they just have to live with. I am here to tell you that is simply not true.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the feeling of hearing a ringing in the ears when no noise is present. While it can sound different to everyone, most people hear are a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing; these sounds can present at a variety of pitches. These sounds can be heard in either one or both ears. In addition to hearing a sound that is not there, tinnitus sufferers can experience a number of symptoms including:
- Sleep problems
- Memory problems
In order to create your customized tinnitus treatment plan, your Katy audiologist must first try to determine the cause of your symptoms. The most common causes of tinnitus include:
- Noise exposure
- Foreign objects in the ears
Tinnitus Treatment Options
If your Katy audiologist determines that your tinnitus is coming from a certain medication you are taking or a foreign object in your ear, then you are in luck, as your tinnitus can usually be treated. But for most, the cause of their tinnitus will never be determined.
If this is the case, your Katy audiologist will put together a treatment plan that is focused on making your tinnitus less bothersome.
Below are the most common treatment options. You and your hearing specialist will work together to determine the best one for you.
White Noise Therapy
This popular treatment involves the use of white noise. White noise is a distribution of random sound frequencies across the hearing spectrum, which can be used to draw your brain’s attention away from the distracting background noise. While you can purchase a special white noise machine, your Katy audiologist has found that you can get the same effect by using an air conditioner, fan or humidifier.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
This newer approach combines counseling and education with sound therapy. You will learn about the causes and effects of your tinnitus and different strategies for coping, as well as how to rely on low-level sound generators that produce soft tonal patterns that encourage the brain to shift its focus away from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
Almost 90 percent of those with tinnitus also have hearing loss, so most already own a hearing aid. Your Katy audiologist suggests simply turning up the volume on your device to mask the tinnitus.
While not proven, some tinnitus sufferers report that gingko biloba, zinc or niacin have helped reduce their symptoms. Clinical studies are inconclusive.
While most suffering from tinnitus will not find a cure, it is important to remember that it can be treated. Contact your Katy audiologist today to get started.