Experiencing a ringing in the ears is a condition known as tinnitus. This noise does not come from an outside source, but instead is produced from your own ears and cannot be heard by anyone else. Tinnitus is fairly common and can have a negative impact on your daily life.
There are a handful of misconceptions often associated with tinnitus. Here are seven common myths about tinnitus and the actual facts behind them.
1. Nothing can be done about tinnitus
It’s often said that once you are diagnosed with tinnitus, nothing can be done to reduce the symptoms. However, there are actually many strategies that can help manage the ringing in your ears. Some of these options include:
The most common cause of tinnitus is noise exposure. Once you have tinnitus, it is always beneficial to protect your ears from loud sounds. Ear plugs or covers for your ears are good examples of easy to access protection.
Visiting an ENT physician and/or audiologist with experience and training in managing tinnitus will help you to minimize the effects of tinnitus. This person can also try to identify the cause of your tinnitus, which will help determine the best ways to treat it.
The way a person with tinnitus interacts with sound is a big part of how they experience the condition. Sound therapy can help minimize the contrast between the symptoms of tinnitus and the surrounding noises of everyday life.
Specialized Hearing Aids
There are specialized hearing aids designed to help manage the tinnitus. Hearing aids amplify natural environmental sounds to minimize the perception of ringing or buzzing in the ears. Hearing aids can also have specific programs with white noise or fractal tones that raise cognitive awareness and help the brain habituate to the tinnitus.
As with many other aspects of life, stress can make the symptoms of tinnitus worse. Taking the time to stretch, walk, practice breathing techniques, or do whatever helps you relax will be beneficial to your overall well being.
2. There are pills that can cure tinnitus
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for tinnitus. While some companies may try to sell you a miracle solution to your tinnitus, research has found that these medications or supplements have not been proven to cure the condition. The best way to manage the symptoms of tinnitus is through the previously discussed methods, such as sound therapy and counseling.
3. There is no connection between tinnitus and hearing loss
A study by the British Tinnitus Association has estimated that 90% of people with tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. In fact, it’s possible that there are those who don’t realize they have hearing loss. This is why it’s important to get your ears and hearing checked by professionals like those at Associates of Otolaryngology in the Denver, CO area.
4. Hearing aids can’t help with tinnitus
Hearing aids are actually one of the best ways to manage the symptoms of tinnitus. There have been many advances in hearing aid technology, and there are some designed to help specifically with tinnitus. In loud environments, these hearing aids can limit the volume of sound delivered into the ear. This is also helpful for those dealing with hearing loss, which is often accompanied by tinnitus. In quiet environments, the hearing aids will amplify sound in order to reduce the contrast between the silence and the ringing or buzzing in the ears.
5. Tinnitus is always temporary
Tinnitus can sometimes be temporary, like after a recent exposure to loud noise that leaves a ringing in your ears. However, there are other forms of tinnitus that display recurring episodes of symptoms or are altogether long lasting.
6. You can’t get tinnitus if you don’t listen to loud music
Loud noises are a common cause of tinnitus, but this doesn’t always come in the form of music. There are also other causes, such as an injury to the ear, an infection, or hearing loss.
7. Tinnitus is a new condition
Many of the treatments for tinnitus are a more recent discovery, especially considering all of the advancements in hearing aid technology. However, tinnitus is thought to be referenced by people dating all the way back to ancient Egypt. Even if there wasn’t always a specific name for it, tinnitus has been around for a long time.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are experiencing tinnitus or have more questions about the condition, our team at Associates of Otolaryngology can help. We have locations in Denver, Lone Tree, and Castle Rock, CO. To schedule a consultation, visit our website to fill out an online contact form.