Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no actual sound in the environment. It is typically described as a ringing sensation, however it also be described as a buzzing, hissing, crickets, cicadas, roaring and more. It might be constant or intermittent and might also involve a pulsing sensation.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom or side effect of some other medical condition- just as leg pain could be a sign of an underlying fracture. A number of health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus.

Common causes include:

  • Inner ear cell damage

  • Age-related hearing loss

  • Earwax blockage

  • Exposure to loud noise

  • Head or neck injuries

  • Other ear-related disorders

  • Medications, including some antibiotics, cancer medications, or water pills

  • Blood vessel disorders

Management Options

Tinnitus can cause anxiety, stress, and frustration for many people. This negative connection can cause a vicious cycle affecting regions of the brain such as the limbic system (emotions) and autonomic nervous system (physical reactions). When tinnitus is perceived, it can provoke emotions like fear or unhappiness which in turn can create physical reactions like stress and anxiety. Our goal is not to reinforce the tinnitus but to break the vicious cycle by using the process of habituation.

Technology Options

  • Ear Level Sound Generators- These devices look similar to hearing aids. They deliver sound to the ear to help mask the perceived tinnitus.

  • Combination Hearing Devices- These devices provide treatment for those who have hearing loss as well as tinnitus. They offer you the flexibility of using an ear level sound generator and hearing aid in the same device.

  • Sound Therapy- Add background noise to reduce the volume of your tinnitus. This may include music, turning on the television, media players, white noise, or box fans.

Tips for Reducing Tinnitus

  • Avoid complete silence.

  • Reduce your consumption of sodium and caffeine.

  • Reduce stress.

  • Keep busy (e.g. less time focusing on the tinnitus when you are occupied).