Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Some of the more common sounds reported are: ringing, humming, buzzing, and cricket-like.
It can also be a combination of sounds, and for many, the sound of their tinnitus actually changes. It can be constant or intermittent and is heard in one ear, both ears or in the head. Tinnitus is not a 'phantom sound'. There is real neural activity in your brain that you are hearing as your tinnitus.
There are many causes of tinnitus, and often the cause is unknown. Just about anything that can cause hearing loss can also cause tinnitus. The most common causes are:
Noise Exposure - e.g. from shooting or machines at work
A Natural Part of the Aging Process
Head Injury - e.g. from a car accident or fall
Side Effect of Medications - e.g. aspirin
Tinnitus is almost always accompanied by hearing loss. If you have tinnitus, you should have your hearing tested by a Doctor of Audiology. Some 30 million adults suffer from persistent tinnitus. For 12 million, the problem is severe enough that it impacts their everyday life. Because tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious disorder, it is important to have an appropriate health evaluation.
1 out of every 5 people report significant diminished tinnitus when using hearing aids that have been recommended for their hearing loss and programmed by a professional Audiologist. The best hearing aids incorporate digital technology that can narrow the band width of an external noise to help "mask" the internal sound of tinnitus, providing extreme relief to those with frustrating tinnitus.
Article submitted by Dr. Robin Fiscus, Doctor of Audiology
2635 Wheaton Way, Bremerton