Tinnitus - Guide to treatment for ringing in the ears

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Are you suffering from Tinnitus?

Have you ever experienced ringing, buzzing or hissing in your ears? If so, you are not alone. Tinnitus is a common hearing complaint which affects 15-20% of the population. People with tinnitus experience ringing or other noises in one or both of their ears.
The team at Hidden Hearing can identify and treat this condition and provide you relief.

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Are you experiencing symptoms of tinnitus?

People with hearing loss nearly always present with tinnitus too. Fill out our form and a member of our team will get back to you shortly to book you in for a free hearing evaluation.

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Tinnitus is a common hearing complaint which affects 15-20% of the population. People with tinnitus experience ringing or other noises in one or both of their ears.

What causes tinnitus?

There are many possible causes of tinnitus. The most common cause is exposure to excessive noise, which damages the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. The ringing in your ears is the result of your brain trying to compensate for the loss of hair cells. 

Tinnitus is most common in people aged 40 year and older, with the likelihood of developing chronic tinnitus increasing in the older population. Many people who listen to loud music are also at a high risk of developing the symptoms of tinnitus.

Common causes of ringing in the ears include:

  1. Exposure to loud noise
  2. The natural ageing process
  3. Middle-ear infections
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Diabetes
  6. Negative reactions to medicines
  7. Neck or head injuries
  8. Hyperacusis (intolerance to noise)
  9. Other untreated medical conditions such as Ménière's disease, Otitis media (a middle-ear infection), etc.

    While tinnitus is a common health complaint, which even celebrities have suffered from, it is a condition which can be difficult to live with. 

What is pulsatile tinnitus?

According to the American Tinnitus Association, the ‘perception of pulsing sounds, often in-beat with the patient's heartbeat’ is known as pulsatile tinnitus.

This type of tinnitus is usually caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear, which can lead to conductive hearing loss when preventative action is not taken. The rhythmic sensation which is felt in the ear can be unsettling, and many patients with tinnitus may also be suffering from depression or anxiety.

Pulsatile tinnitus can have a variety of causes, some of which can be potentially life-threatening. Sources can include vascular malformations, abnormal cerebral pressures, and unique blood flow patterns near the ear. The condition can also be caused when a tumor is present in the ear, which is why it is essential to get a free hearing test if you are experiencing any symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus. Always contact your doctor if tinnitus occurs with other symptoms. 

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Experiencing symptoms of tinnitus?

Tinnitus (pronounced tin-ni-tus) is commonly caused by hearing loss or an ear injury. Tinnitus is associated with age-related hearing loss and people who are aged 60 especially could go on to develop tinnitus. Tinnitus is often experienced as a ringing in the ears that only you can hear, but it could also be any of the following sounds:

  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Whistling
  • Roaring
  • Ringing

People with tinnitus can also experience hearing loss.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Types of tinnitus

There are three types of tinnitus:

1. Subjective — the most common type of tinnitus, this is where only you can hear it.
2. Objective — when a doctor can hear the sounds when they examine your ears, this could be caused by a problem with the blood vessels, bones or muscles in your ear.
3. Pulsatile — the rarest form of tinnitus, in which people may hear noises in time with their heartbeat. 

How can tinnitus be treated?

While tinnitus is an uncomfortable condition to suffer from, there are a variety of treatments that can remedy, or off-set, its effects. Tinnitus can be treated in the following ways:

1) By removing wax from the ears
2) By treating blood vessel conditions
3) By fitting hearing aids - depending on the level of severity that the patient is experiencing.

Tinnitus maskers

Tinnitus maskers, or tinnitus noisers, can also be used to lessen the affects of Tinnitus. These are small white noise machines that work to "drown out" or overpower the internal sounds of your tinnitus. They can provide an effective treatment for tinnitus by cancelling out the sounds of tinnitus.

Tinnitus treatment and prevention

There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many ways you can manage it and reduce its impact on your life. The following management techniques can be rather effective in turning a potentially negative and emotionally charged sound (tinnitus) into a neutral presence.

Illustration of man doing yoga
Relaxation and mindfulness
Yoga and meditation have been proven to be particularly effective in relieving tinnitus.
Illustration of man with headphones
Sound therapy
Can help reduce the contrast between tinnitus and quiet environments.
Illustration of shield with an ear
Hearing protection gear
Protection (such as earplugs) can help prevent further hearing damage caused by loud noise.
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Hearing aids
Can make your tinnitus stand out less by amplifying sounds. Some devices have built-in sound generators.

Sound therapy can provide relief from ringing in the ears

Although sound therapy cannot eliminate tinnitus, it can be a helpful tool for managing the symptoms. With sound therapy, you listen to different, carefully selected sounds, which can help you feel that your tinnitus is reduced or temporarily gone.

It then becomes easier to move your attention away from your tinnitus. Plus, it helps you to focus on something more pleasant. You can find the sound therapy that gives you the most effective relief from ringing in the ears by working together with your hearing care expert.

Sound therapy can be provided through:

  • Tinnitus masking sound generator devices
  • Apps for tinnitus relief
  • Sound and sleep apps
  • Hearing aids with tinnitus sound therapy features

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Treating tinnitus with hearing aids

Hearing aids not only help with hearing loss, they simultaneously mask the sound of tinnitus by amplifying the sounds around you. This can result in reduced listening effort, a perceived reduction in tinnitus volume, and an improved ability to communicate with ease.

In addition, most of our hearing aids offer sound therapy sounds that are customized to your individual needs and preferences.

View a list of our hearing aids with tinnitus masking features:

Hearing aid brands and models

Tinnitus and hearing loss – do you have both?

Research shows that most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss without being aware of it, and many of them can benefit from hearing aids.

80% of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss

Hearing aids can help transmit more sounds into the ear and brain, thereby making the symptoms of tinnitus less bothersome. Moreover, improved hearing helps you to focus on sounds other than tinnitus, and for many people, this improvement is enough to experience relief.

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Consequences of untreated tinnitus

Some tinnitus sufferers become sensitive to places with constant talking or loud music, so they begin to avoid such social situations altogether. To others, it is so disturbing that a full night’s sleep can become difficult to achieve. Tinnitus, if left untreated, can lead to the following consequences:

  • Anger
  • Concentration problems
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to places with constant talking or loud music
  • Sleep disorder, insomnia

Some people are able to ignore their tinnitus most of the time, but leaving it untreated can have a negative impact on your life if it is experienced over extended periods of time.

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FAQ about tinnitus

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Written by: Barry Douglas, audiologist
I became an audiologist to help change lives and to show people how hearing aids can greatly improve their quality of life. My work affords me the privilege of meeting, diagnosing, and treating patients of all ages with diverse audiological conditions. Not only that, but I also form life-long relationships with patients who avail of Hidden Hearing's free aftercare services, which is incredibly rewarding.