Do you experience a phantom ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling or buzzing sound with no external sound source? This sensation, known as tinnitus, is a symptom rather than a disease itself, and it can be difficult to pin down the exact cause. Because of this, there is no cure for tinnitus; fortunately, there are a plethora of treatment options available to help manage the severity.
How Common Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus affects approximately 50 million Americans, which is 15% of the general public. Of this population, about 20 million struggle with chronic tinnitus that is burdensome, while around 2 million report debilitating symptoms.
Below are some popular audiologist-recommended treatment options for tinnitus.
Hearing loss and tinnitus are both caused by damage to the inner ear, usually thanks to loud sounds like at Familia Fest or IPL’s Downtown Freedom Fest, which means it is extremely common to have both conditions. Furthermore, hearing aids work by amplifying sounds, and the more the volume is turned up on your environment, the more it will mask and distract you from your tinnitus.
According to a 2007 survey by The Hearing Review, 60% of people with tinnitus reported some level of relief when using a hearing aid, while 22% reported significant relief.
Tinnitus maskers work by providing a pleasant or benign external noise that drowns out the perception of tinnitus sounds. Maskers are available in small in-ear designs similar to hearing aids or tabletop designs that stay in place. These devices can play white noise, pink noise, nature sounds, café sounds, music and more. Most people find that playing these sounds just louder than the perceived tinnitus sounds provides sufficient relief. The same effect can be achieved by turning on a TV, fan, humidifier or other noisy device.
One 2017 study found that masking is most effective when using broadband noise like white or pink noise, while nature sounds were much less effective.
While it may not always be possible to stop your tinnitus, you can learn how to stop having negative reactions to it with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that teaches you how to accept and improve your mindset about your symptoms.
CBT involves meeting with a therapist regularly, usually about once per week, to identify negative thought patterns and work to reframe them more positively. This treatment was developed for psychological problems like depression, but has been shown to be effective for people with tinnitus.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Indiana Hearing Specialists today.