Tinnitus is a common condition that is estimated to affect 44 million Americans. This condition causes individuals to hear ringing, buzzing or chirping sounds in their ears, causing a range of problems including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression etc. Although this problem is often associated with age-related hearing loss, there are a variety of other causes including ear bone changes, exposure to loud sound and even certain medications. Various treatments are available for those affected by tinnitus such as masking devices to minimize the noise, medication or lifestyle modifications.

Types of Tinnitus

There are two types of tinnitus—subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is the most common type, where only the individual affected can hear the noises associated with tinnitus. In contrast, objective tinnitus is heard by both medical professionals during an examination and the individual affected by tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is much rarer; only about 5% of people with tinnitus experience this type.

Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors such as exposure to loud noise or certain medications that damage hearing over time. Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common causes for subjective tinnitus; as you age, your ability to hear high-frequency sounds decreases which can lead to ringing or buzzing in your ears. Other conditions such as neck injuries or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder may also contribute to developing subjective tinnitus.  

How is tinnitus treated?

While there is no known cure for tinnitus, research shows that 80% of cases are linked with hearing loss.  For many folks with tinnitus, wearing hearing aids with specialized tinnitus programs dramatically reduces their perception of tinnitus. These programs work through masking background noise and creating calming sounds for the brain to focus on (instead of the ringing/chirping sounds of tinnitus). Of course, everyone's experience with this condition is unique; therefore it is important to consult with your audiologist to find out if hearing aids are appropriate for you.

If you’re suffering from persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears it’s important to schedule with an audiologist to learn about what treatment options might be right for you so you can find relief from your symptoms as soon as possible!    

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