Signs You May Have Tinnitus

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Signs You May Have Tinnitus

Peter Lucier, HIS

Have you heard a faint buzzing or ringing in your ears? That sound might be tinnitus. Tinnitus can’t be cured, but there are several treatment options that will make your tinnitus manageable, and let you leave the buzzing behind.

Tinnitus is Very Common

Tinnitus is a lot more common than you might think. In fact, the American Tinnitus Association estimates that 15% of Americans have tinnitus. That’s over 50 million people. Some people experience mild tinnitus that doesn’t bother them too much. Others may have severe tinnitus that’s a constant source of frustration and anxiety.

Despite how common it is, tinnitus can be hard to identify. No one else can hear the sound you’re hearing, so how can you tell if it’s tinnitus, or just a random noise?

The Signs of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a unique experience. After all, only you can hear your tinnitus. The most common sign of tinnitus is hearing sounds in the absence of any external noise. If you often hear sound when you’re in a quiet room, you probably have tinnitus. Tinnitus can sound like:

  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Screeching
  • Whistling
  • Static 
  • Humming
  • Whooshing

Your tinnitus could sound like any of these sounds, or even be a different sound you’ve never heard before. Tinnitus can affect one ear, or it can be present in both ears.

Causes Of Tinnitus

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss. The cells in your ear are easily damaged. When these cells are damaged you can experience hearing loss and tinnitus. Other causes can include:

  • A head, neck, or ear injury
  • An ear infection
  • Fluid in the middle ear or ear canal
  • Buildup of earwax in the ear
  • Meniere’s disease

Permanent vs. Temporary Tinnitus

You’ve probably experienced temporary tinnitus at least once in your life. You may have heard it when you took your earbuds out after listening to a loud album, or you stepped out onto the quiet street after leaving a noisy restaurant. That ringing in your ears was a direct response to the dangerously loud noises you heard. Usually, this tinnitus will fade after a few minutes or hours.

Permanent tinnitus, on the other hand, never completely goes away. You may not notice it for a few days, and you won’t hear it when you’re in noise. But whenever you’re in a quiet place you’ll hear tinnitus. 

Additional Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus doesn’t just affect your ears. There are a number of additional symptoms you may experience if you have permanent tinnitus. These can include:

  • High levels of stress or anxiety
  • Difficulty following conversations and having a hard time communicating
  • Trouble sleeping because the tinnitus sound keeps you awake
  • Increased fatigue and exhaustion
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Easily irritated and annoyed at family and friends

If you’ve noticed some of these symptoms, it may be a sign you have tinnitus. Pay attention to what you hear, and see if you can identify a ringing or buzzing in your ears.

Stress and Tinnitus

Have you been feeling more stressed lately? High levels of stress could be a sign of tinnitus. Stress and tinnitus are part of a negative cycle. When your tinnitus is worse, you will feel more stressed, and use more energy trying to ignore the sounds. And when you feel more stressed, the tinnitus becomes even worse.

Schedule a Hearing Test

If you have tinnitus, the first step to finding tinnitus relief is booking a hearing test. Tinnitus and hearing are often comorbid conditions, meaning they appear at the same time. If you have tinnitus, there’s a good chance you also have some hearing loss. A hearing test will show you if you have healthy hearing or if you have a hearing loss.

Treating Tinnitus

If you have tinnitus and hearing loss, it’s time to make a personalized treatment plan and decide how you will manage your tinnitus. The experts at Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast can help you discover all your options. One of the most effective treatment options for tinnitus is sound masking. Many different hearing aids feature built-in tinnitus therapy programs that will play masking sounds, making your tinnitus fade. You’ll be able to focus on tasks, enjoy conversations, and lower stress, all without worrying about your tinnitus. 

If you have been struggling with tinnitus, contact us today!

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