Tinnitus is a common clinical symptom for audiology patients that’s often noticed as ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is the recurrent ear or head noise that usually lasts for more than five minutes and occurs quite frequently. This recurring noise happens without any external stimulation.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders stated that up to 10% of the United States population had experienced tinnitus in one way or another. This statistic shows that it is pretty widespread. According to Action on Hearing Loss, an international organization, one percent of all adult’s experience tinnitus, affecting their quality of life.
Impact on quality of life
Though the numbers on tinnitus may seem small, there are different ways the experience can affect your quality of life. The most common complaints about tinnitus include difficulty concentrating and communication, disruption of the sleep cycle, irritability, anxiety and depression. Although not all people who experience tinnitus have these issues, you must see an audiologist to discuss management strategies that will reduce the effects.
Types of issues
As mentioned earlier, tinnitus can affect your quality of life. We shall address a few of these issues and their possible treatments in this part of the article.
The average adult requires between six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to function correctly. Your sleep patterns greatly influence your metabolism and mental health. The constant hearing from tinnitus can disrupt your sleep. The sound seemingly increases at night when it is quiet, making it challenging to rest. A sound machine can aid your sleep in such a scenario as it will produce background noise that will drown out the ringing in your ears.
You may find it difficult to focus if you experience tinnitus. The ringing sound can get in the way of studies and accomplishing tasks, making it quite intrusive. The problem here is exacerbated when you are under stress. To overcome this effect, you should consult your audiologist to work out the best treatment form as there is no blanket treatment for everyone.
Treatment for tinnitus
Even though there is no absolute cure for tinnitus, several management strategies can help decrease its adverse effects. Some of these management strategies include using sound machines, as mentioned, and using hearing aids such as in the canal (ITC), behind the ear (BTE) and in the ear (ITE), which have masking features. Other proven management strategies include tinnitus retraining therapy and lifestyle modifications such as changing medication, quitting smoking and drinking and earwax removal.
Aside from these management strategies, researchers and scientists are working hard to find new and innovative ways to reduce the side effects of tinnitus. At the moment, other behavioral therapies have proved to decrease tinnitus perception.
But not all tinnitus management strategies will work as each individual has peculiar needs. The best option is to consult your audiologist and work with them to develop a management strategy that best suits your needs.
If you want to learn more about tinnitus, the management strategies, options and concerns about your hearing, you should contact an audiologist today.