Have you ever experienced a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears? This is called tinnitus, which can also manifest as a clicking, hissing, wooshing or chirping sound. Tinnitus isn’t considered a condition; rather, it’s a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions.
Tinnitus is an extremely common symptom that affects an estimated 44 million people across America.
There is no cure for tinnitus, but the symptom can be successfully managed with proper care from an Elk Grove Hearing Care tinnitus expert. Since tinnitus has varying causes, it also has many different treatments. In some cases where the cause of a patient’s tinnitus is identifiable, Elk Grove tinnitus doctors can successfully reduce or eliminate the symptom. In other cases, however, the cause of a patient’s tinnitus may remain unknown. In these situations, treatment options are often limited and focus on therapy and noise suppression techniques.
Some of the most common known causes of tinnitus include:
- Noise exposure
- Impacted earwax
- Foreign objects in the ear
At Elk Grove Hearing Care, our friendly and professional audiology staff offers several treatment options to address your tinnitus. In order to determine which treatment plan would work best for your individual situation, your hearing loss doctor will need to take an in-depth look at your medical history, learn about any present medical conditions or concerns, get a complete list of current medications and perform a full hearing evaluation. We often offer counseling services in conjunction with treatment to help you adapt to life with tinnitus. The most common and effective treatment plans for tinnitus include:
- White noise therapy—This technique involves using noise suppression to mask the effects of tinnitus. Specialized machines create noise in your surroundings and can be used at home, at work and while you sleep. These machines produce electronic white noise or other sounds like ocean waves, rain and birds chirping to distract patients from the sound of their tinnitus. Low-cost solutions like fans, air-purifiers, air-conditioners and humidifiers are also sometimes recommended for mild cases.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy—This sound therapy technique is the most scientifically and medically advanced option for masking your tinnitus. Retraining therapy uses specific, preprogrammed musical patterns at certain frequencies based on your individual case to redirect your hearing away from the noises caused by your tinnitus. Retraining therapy is always administered in conjunction with counseling.
- Hearing aids—Hearing aids are an up-close-and-personal form of white noise therapy. These devices can be inserted in your ears and turned up to a high volume, which masks tinnitus and distracting background noises. Since tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand-in-hand, hearing aids can offer more than one benefit to some wearers.
- Natural remedies or medications—Some patients report an improvement in their tinnitus after using some natural therapies or medications. Antidepressants, ginkgo biloba, zinc and niacin have helped some patients, although scientific studies have not come to any conclusive results about the usefulness of these products. In other cases, stopping or suspending the use of certain medications can relieve some cases of tinnitus.