By Margaret Christiansen, Au.D., Audiology Consultants
If you hear ringing, buzzing, or chirping sounds in your ears, you are not alone. These sounds are known as tinnitus — an auditory condition that affects about 50 million Americans!
Tinnitus can be caused by many different factors, ranging from ear disease and medical conditions to diet and stress. Tinnitus often accompanies some degree of hearing loss. An important first step in addressing your tinnitus is to rule out any significant health concerns or medical conditions that may be causing tinnitus.
While there are no medications that have been proven to reduce tinnitus, there are certain common elements in our diet that can make ears ring. Everyday substances such as too much caffeine or sodium in your diet can cause tinnitus. Many medications have ear ringing as a side effect — even too much aspirin can make your ears ring! Lifestyle changes to promote stress relief, such as exercise or relaxation, may also prove to be beneficial.
We receive a lot of questions from patients about what they can do about their tinnitus. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each patient has a unique set of circumstances that needs to be evaluated. A comprehensive hearing test gives information about the general health of the ear and can alert the audiologist to any potential medical concerns that need to be addressed. A tinnitus evaluation can be performed, which is a series of tests that focus on measuring and evaluating your experiences with tinnitus. The results of the hearing test and tinnitus evaluation help to tailor a treatment plan made just for your unique situation.
For the majority of people with tinnitus, the ringing fades into the background and becomes a part of their everyday life. Unfortunately for others, tinnitus becomes a severe and disturbing problem. Tinnitus can cause feels of depression, anger, anxiety, and hopelessness. For some, it interferes with sleep, work, and social situations.
While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are treatment options that can provide relief. An audiologist who specializes in tinnitus treatment can help you reduce the perception of tinnitus and teach you how to manage the negative effects it can have on your life.
If you or someone you know is suffering from tinnitus, visit with an audiologist certified in tinnitus treatment. At Audiology Consultants, Dr. Margaret Christiansen has received specialized training to provide tinnitus treatment services. There is help. There is hope!
If you have any questions about this article or your hearing health, please feel free to contact Audiology Consultants at 563-355-7712 or visit audiologyconsultants.com.