Mario Hearing Clinics of Massachusetts

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Tinnitus

Are You Experiencing Ringing in the Ears?

Many people ask, Do I have tinnitus? The simple answer is, “If you hear it, you have it.” In the majority of cases the source of the tinnitus is unknown, though one common trigger is loud noise. If you have ringing or buzzing (tinnitus), we perform a thorough audiological examination with tinnitus testing and, if appropriate, refer our patients for medical examinations as well. These examinations often uncover a way to help with your tinnitus.

There are many treatments available to help you manage your tinnitus such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), sound therapy, amplification, and several others. In many cases a combination of treatments are needed to obtain relief; persistence and patience to find the right tinnitus management therapy for each individual.

What is Tinnitus?

Ringing in your ears.

Living with Tinnitus & Hyperacusis

Tinnitus, most often described as buzzing, hissing, or ringing in the ears, can be a very disruptive condition that can interfere with a person's daily life. Its perceived volume can range from very soft to extremely loud. According to a 2011-2012 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over 50 million Americans notice tinnitus. Of these, about 12 million have tinnitus which is severe enough to warrant intervention, and around 2 million are so seriously debilitated by their tinnitus that their day-to-day functioning is affected.

The reassurance by a physician that there are no serious medical problems allows most people to better cope with their tinnitus. For others, however, the persistent sounds can continue to be disruptive and stressful. These patients need help learning how to cope with the the constant sound of their tinnitus.

The exact cause (or causes) of tinnitus is not known in every case. There are, however, several factors which may contribute or even make it worse: hearing loss (of any kind), noise exposure, ear diseases, ear wax, certain medications, head and neck trauma, and many others. Of these, exposure to loud noises and hearing loss are the most commonly linked to tinnitus. When a hearing loss is present, sometimes hearing aids alone may offer relief to a patient.

Oftentimes another condition, hyperacusis, is experienced with tinnitus, though it can occur even if tinnitus is not present. Hyperacusis is a hypersensitivity to common, everyday sounds which are not bothersome to most people. Even the simplest of activities can be difficult due to the anticipation of how ordinary sounds will be perceived.

Past tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment techniques and oral products have proven to be unsuccessful with a very large majority of patients. Thanks to more recent methods which have been developed and advances in hearing technology, there is now new hope for the successful long-term management of ringing in the ears.