While tinnitus is usually described as a ringing in the ears, it can also sound like a roaring, whooshing, buzzing, clicking or hissing. Because there is no external sound source, tinnitus is highly subjective. It can be soft or loud, high- or low-pitch, occur in one or both ears, and be either a minor nuisance or a debilitating experience.
It’s important to note that tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease itself, and unfortunately there is no cure. However, there are many options available for reducing and managing symptoms. We provide information about the most common options below.
Approximately 90% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, which is why hearing aids are a common form of treatment. This is because loud noises from events like the Festival of Colors can damage the stereocilia of the inner ear, causing them to misfire, as well as destroy them, causing hearing loss.
Sound maskers come in various shapes and sizes, from tabletop sound machines to small electronic devices that fit in the ears like hearing aids. These devices play sounds like white noise, pink noise, nature sounds, music, café sounds, railroad tracks and more.
Listening to ambient noises at a volume slightly louder than the perceived tinnitus can be a helpful distraction. The same effect can be achieved by turning on a loud fan, air conditioner, the TV or wearing headphones at a safe volume.
A 2017 study found that masking is most effective with broadband noise like white or pink noise rather than sounds like nature sounds.
Tinnitus causes high levels of stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia for many. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown to be extremely helpful, not by reducing or masking tinnitus sounds, but by teaching you how to accept your condition.
CBT involves working with a therapist to identify and change negative thought patterns. While CBT was originally developed to treat depression and other psychological problems, studies and meta-reviews have shown that CBT significantly improves negative feelings about tinnitus for many patients.
For more information about tinnitus treatment options, call the experts at Timpanogos Hearing & Balance today!