Tinnitus: More Common Than You Think in Utah

If you frequently notice a ringing in your ears but don’t even own a bell, you are part of a not-so-select group of people suffering from tinnitus. How non-excusive is this? About one in every five people experiences tinnitus in American Fork. It’s widespread throughout the U.S. and other countries, making it one of the most common global health complaints.

Causes of Tinnitus

bells ringing

Some people refer to tinnitus as a medical condition, but it’s actually classified as a symptom and not a disease. It’s always related to another underlying condition or factor, which can make diagnosis and treatment tricky.

Common causes of tinnitus in Utah include:

  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Blockages of the ear canal (e.g., wax buildup, ear infection)
  • Medications that can damage the ears (aspirin, quinine and certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and chemotherapy drugs)
  • Natural aging
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Otosclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulation disorders, autoimmune diseases and diabetes

Tinnitus affects everybody differently. It doesn’t always present as a ringing in the ears; it may instead resemble a hissing, buzzing, roaring, whooshing or whistling. Some people experience tinnitus in American Fork constantly, to the point where it has a serious impact on their daily lives; others only notice it intermittently and are easily able to go about their normal routine. Side effects of tinnitus include poor sleep, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue and depression. There is no cure for tinnitus but treating the underlying condition responsible for producing symptoms will sometimes bring relief.

Treating Tinnitus

When it comes to treating tinnitus, your American Fork audiologist recommends management strategies designed to ease its burden on your everyday life. The most popular options include masking techniques that distract your brain from the ringing in your ears by “covering it up” with another sound, such as white noise. There are many smartphone apps that play different sounds, such as falling rain or ocean waves, as well as white noise, pink noise and brown noise, all of which target different frequencies to block out other sounds. If you’d rather save a few dollars, you can achieve the same effect by turning on an air conditioner, fan or humidifier. Tinnitus retraining therapy is similar but uses patterned musical tones delivered at specific frequencies to refocus your brain’s attention.

Other popular treatments in Utah include counseling, relaxation exercises and diet/lifestyle modifications. Take the latter with a grain of salt (or gingko biloba) as there are few scientific studies able to verify claims that supplements and natural therapies will actually make a difference. If you suffer from hearing loss, even hearing aids can help; simply turn up the volume to drown out the ringing in your ears.

If you’d like to explore treatment options for tinnitus in American Fork, schedule an appointment with an audiologist as soon as you can. Help is available!

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