Why are My Ears Ringing?
“Tinnitus,” as it’s commonly referred to, is the perception of sound within the ear (which did not originate from outside the ear). It is essentially, hearing a variety of noises, hums, pitches, or buzzes within your ear(s). Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide variety of causes including but not limited to: allergies, neurological damage, exposure to loud sounds, wax build-up, and even the use of certain medications. However, the most common cause of tinnitus or ringing in the ears is noise-induced hearing loss. Affecting nearly 20% of people between the ages of 55 and 65 years old, tinnitus is very common and is usually not a cause for great concern.
While various treatment options have been introduced, the success of those options is widely varied and debated. Because tinnitus often coincides with hearing loss, many patients find that hearing instruments are a viable treatment option. While hearing aids will not eliminate the problem altogether, many hearing aid users report that their tinnitus is much more manageable when they have their hearing aids in, as hearing aids tend to “mask” the ringing. For those individuals without a hearing loss, there are also a number of masking devices which are worn in the ear, similar to hearing aids, which produce a low-level white noise to mask tinnitus symptoms.
In some severe cases, certain medications may reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. Various antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline have been used with some success, but have also shown to cause some troublesome side effects.
In most cases, tinnitus simply can’t be effectively treated, but there are ways to make the symptoms less noticeable and easier to live with. By reducing irritants like exposure to loud noise, managing stress levels, and using various appliances to create white-noise (like fans, music players, etc), many people are able to make their symptoms a little less bothersome.
If you or a loved one would like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.