What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a common sensation of noises heard by a person without an external stimulus being present. Some people hear ringing or buzzing, while others experience whooshing sounds. Tinnitus affects nearly 50 million Americans, as well as 10-15% of the adult population worldwide. If you feel that your experience with tinnitus has changed you as an individual, you are not alone. Although tinnitus is a common condition, it does not mean you should ignore it, as not treating it can be as debilitating as a progressive hearing loss.
Tinnitus can negatively impact people’s ability to enjoy basic life activities such as sleeping, socializing, or relaxing in quiet environments. People who experience tinnitus often report avoiding some activities in fear of making the condition worse. The fact that there is no proven cure for tinnitus, adds an extra layer of distress for millions of sufferers.
Even though there is no clear remedy for tinnitus, new developments over the past few years suggest that people experiencing it can learn to manage its negative effects.
Who gets tinnitus?
Treating tinnitus and hearing loss
Many tinnitus sufferers who seek audiological services report extensive benefits after receiving counseling and education alone. Modern hearing aids also feature options for long lasting relief and ongoing management of tinnitus. If you are experiencing hearing loss, hearing aids can often help relieve the perception of tinnitus while improving your ability to understand speech clearly.
Other ways of treating tinnitus include cognitive behavioral therapies, relaxation exercises, and masking devices. An interdisciplinary approach is often recommended when treating tinnitus as there is no magic “silver bullet”.