Tinnitus: Is There a Cure?
Many people who experience tinnitus find it annoying, distracting, or even distressing. If there's a problem, there has to be a cure, and we're aiming to find it.
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Like many other conditions that affect the hearing, tinnitus can also affect your quality of life. Many people who have tinnitus claim that they find it hard to think, sleep, concentrate, or enjoy silence. Untreated tinnitus can wreak even more havoc on your life, leading to irritability, insomnia, and even depression.
With so many people struggling, audiologists around the world have been looking for solutions that might cure tinnitus, or at least lift some of the burden. However, in order to diagnose and treat tinnitus, the condition has to be studied and understood. If you have tinnitus, or know someone who does, this information might help you come up with some solutions.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is an issue that can take many forms. While most people characterize tinnitus as a “ringing” in the ears, the sound can vary between high-pitched buzzing or hissing, to low roars. The pitch and tone of the tinnitus depends on the person experiencing it. The volume and intensity of this sound can also vary, but cases of tinnitus are often always present.
Many people are capable of blocking it out, while others have to turn on music or white noise in order to sleep and focus. The louder your tinnitus, the less enjoyable silence becomes. In extreme cases, tinnitus can even limit your regular hearing, drowning out other sounds and making it difficult for you to understand others.
Contrary to popular belief, tinnitus isn’t a condition on its own. It’s actually a symptom of a larger problem: usually hearing loss or circulatory damage. Tinnitus can also be caused by injuries to the ear or ear canal. Before you can treat tinnitus, you have to figure out why someone is experiencing it. Discovering the underlying issue can help you decide on the best solution to the problem.
How is Tinnitus Caused?
There are a number of causes for tinnitus, but the most common is hearing loss. If you are experiencing tinnitus in both ears, and your doctor has determined that it’s subjective tinnitus, then chances are you might be suffering from a form of hearing loss. However, objective cases of tinnitus, the ones that your doctor can physically confirm, are usually caused by circulatory problems.
There are other causes of tinnitus, but these might be rarer. Tumors, earwax blockages, ear injuries, TMJ, and other blood disorders can lead to tinnitus in one or both ears. If you have not sought out a diagnosis for your tinnitus, it is recommended that you seek a doctor as soon as possible. They have the skills and knowledge necessary to officially diagnose you.
Once diagnosed, you can begin seeking solutions for your tinnitus. The treatment for tinnitus varies depending on what is causing it. If you are suffering tinnitus because of a medication or ear injury, your case should clear up in due time. For those who have TMJ-induced tinnitus, their condition might improve once they’ve treated their TMJ disorder.
That begs the question: for those who suffer tinnitus due to hearing loss, what kind of options are available for them? Can their tinnitus be cured?
Is There a Cure for Tinnitus?
Like many other conditions involving hearing loss, there is no surefire “cure” for tinnitus. The word “cure” has connotations that involve it being a one-time solution that completely solves the problem. However, there currently is no technology that can completely reverse hearing loss. The best we can do is prevent further damage, and offer solutions that will lessen the effects of tinnitus.
However, that is not to say that tinnitus cannot be effectively treated. Many people with tinnitus are able to find satisfaction with their treatment plans. This might involve hearing aids, tinnitus maskers, and other devices. These treatments can help improve hearing loss, or mask the sound of the tinnitus so you can focus.
While many people might feel discouraged by the fact that tinnitus has no “cure”, tinnitus is much like diabetes or other chronic conditions. While there is no clear solution, you do have options for treatment. Once you adapt to your life with tinnitus, it will become easier to deal with and ignore. Any treatment at all is better than going untreated.
In fact, going untreated can increase your chances of worsening your tinnitus. If you don’t use proper hearing protection, your hearing loss and tinnitus can get worse over time. It’s important to seek diagnosis early, and begin taking precautions when you’re around loud noises. On top of getting treatment and preventing further damage, early action can also help with tinnitus-related frustrations, depression, and anxiety.
How to Get Rid of Tinnitus?
While there is no sure-fire way to cure tinnitus, there are a number of solutions that might help you overcome your condition. These solutions will make life easier for you, so you can focus on what truly matters in your life. These devices can include hearing aids, white noise makers, and tinnitus maskers.
If you’re suffering from intense hearing loss, hearing aids can help you hear better again, and improve your tinnitus as well. Because you’re able to hear the world around you, your tinnitus will be drowned out. Some hearing aids also come with tinnitus maskers, which will provide noise that masks your tinnitus when you’re not speaking or listening to something. Tinnitus maskers work by providing a low-level, white noise, or other forms of sound that overpower the ringing or roaring in your ears.
Simple white noise makers can also be used while you’re sleeping, studying, or relaxing in your own home. If you think you might benefit from a white noise maker or tinnitus masker, try to drown out your tinnitus with various sounds around your house. For example, put your ear next to a running faucet. If the sound from the water drowns out your tinnitus, a masker or noise maker might be the best thing for you.
However, if your tinnitus stems from hearing loss, hearing aids might be your best option for treatment. They will solve more than your tinnitus, and give you a chance to hear better again. You might not even know what kinds of sounds you’re missing out on.
If you haven’t received a tinnitus diagnosis, or want to explore your options regarding maskers and hearing aids, seek out help. A doctor or audiologist will be able to give you the information and guidance you need to begin improving your life.