Tinnitus is a symptom commonly described as hearing a ringing, buzzing, or static-like noise in the absence of external sounds. For some, it is intermittent, but for others, it is constant and significantly impacts quality of life.
It is widely known that tinnitus has no cure, however, there are ways to help manage it. Here, we’re going to look at why we say there is no cure, and how your audiologist can help anyway.
WHY IS THERE NO CURE FOR TINNITUS?
The first reason why there’s no cure for tinnitus is that it’s a symptom, rather than a condition. Tinnitus doesn’t have any one cause, nor does it occur in one specific way. Rather, it describes a range of experiences that can be caused by a range of issues, such as hearing loss, ear infections, excess earwax, etc.
DOES TINNITUS EVER GO AWAY?
Every person’s experience with tinnitus is different. Tinnitus can sometimes go away if the underlying problem is dealt with. For instance, if the ear canal is clogged with earwax, a professional ear cleaning could get rid of the problem entirely. But that same treatment wouldn’t work on tinnitus that’s caused by other issues, such as inner-ear hearing loss.
Most commonly, people with tinnitus learn how to habituate to it. The noise becomes so common to their brain, and with the right training, it effectively filters it out. The sound isn’t really gone, but it’s much easier for them to perceive and focus beyond it, making it have less of an impact on their quality of life.
HOW WE CAN TREAT TINNITUS
There are still plenty of treatments that can help manage both the physical symptoms of tinnitus, as well as the impact it can have on your quality of life. Here are some of the treatments your audiologist may recommend to help you habituate:
- Hearing aids with masking features: Tinnitus and hearing loss often co-exist. A hearing aid may help treat the hearing loss, allowing the wearer to distract away from the tinnitus. Additional masking features can play a sound that’s more accommodating and pleasant than the tinnitus.
- Sound machines: Also known as white noise machines, these are stand-alone devices often used at night for people whose tinnitus gets worse when they try to go to sleep. As with sound masking devices, their purpose is to make it easier to distract away from the tinnitus.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy: A type of therapy that makes use of technology such as sound masking devices and sound machines. It involves re-training the brain to regard the tinnitus as meaningless, thereby allowing the brain to more easily block it out.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN MANAGING TINNITUS
There may not be a definitive cure for tinnitus, but there are plenty of ways your audiologist can help treat it. We will be glad to help you learn more about tinnitus and associated management strategies. Get in touch with our clinic at 904-399-0350.