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Tinnitus 101

According to the U.S. National Health Institute, nearly 10% of Americans experience Tinnitus - that is about 25 million people. With Tinnitus, an individual hears a constant noise that no one else can hear. Often times it is a buzzing, ringing or even a swooshing sound. In recent years, different celebrities from actor William Shatner to musician Pete Townshend of The Who have shared stories about their own experience with Tinnitus. This added awareness is helpful, because just like with hearing loss people who have Tinnitus often remain quiet about it. Today let’s shed even more light on Tinnitus.

Tinnitus can be temporary or chronic. For example, have you ever left a concert and experienced a ringing or swooshing noise? This is a temporary form of Tinnitus and luckily most often it will resolve itself with rest and time. Tinnitus is both an audiological and a neurological condition according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) and is typically a symptom of another problem such as hearing loss and not an isolated condition.

Tinnitus sounds vary by person and the ATA describes them as follows:

  • Tonal - this is defined as a near-continuous sound that has a specific or well-defined frequency
  • Pulsatile - these types of sounds are often timed with the person’s heartbeat
  • Musical - this one is rarer but is defined as the perception of music or singing often times on continued repeat

No matter the type of sound, constant noise is not ideal for any person. Tinnitus can be very uncomfortable, distracting and frustrating. It interferes with the person’s daily life including sleep, work and family and social time.

While there is no cure for Tinnitus, there are successful treatment options now available. To get started, reach out to your hearing care professional for a full examination. Upon evaluation your hearing care professional will recommend possible treatment plans to relieve your Tinnitus symptoms.