The Latest from Lincoln Hearing

Understanding Tinnitus

Posted in Hearing Health, Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus has been mentioned several times on this blog, but what exactly is it?
In this post, we’ll go over the causes and ways to manage if you are experiencing tinnitus.

In the Hearing Health menu, there’s a page on tinnitus where we go into detail about what it is and how to prevent it.

Click here to check it out!

Simply, it is the perception of sound that has no external source. Most of the time it can sound like ringing, whistling, buzzing, or humming.

The causes of tinnitus can vary. The most common causes are:

  • Exposure to loud noise, such as a concert or construction site. Most people have experienced a form of short-term tinnitus that usually goes away, but long-term exposure to loud noise can be damaging.  
  • Age-related hearing loss. Tinnitus is very common over the age of 60, as that is when hearing starts to worsen. 
  • Earwax blockage or ear infections. These can irritate the eardrum and can lead to tinnitus. 
  • Medications. Tinnitus can be a side effect of several kinds of medication. Some examples are ototoxic drugs such as ones used for cancer treatment, certain antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and some antidepressants. 

Some less common causes are head or neck injuries, inner ear diseases, TMJ disorders, stress, and even listening to loud music with headphones. If you notice persistent tinnitus, it is very important to see a healthcare professional. They can try to locate the source of the problem and be able to treat it.

There is currently no cure for tinnitus, despite what you may read online. But there are ways to manage it! Some ways to manage tinnitus are sound therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation/meditation, exercising, and a healthy diet. For individuals whose tinnitus has become a significant annoyance, there is also Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). This involves retraining the auditory system to accept the sounds of tinnitus, making them less noticeable.