What is Tinnitus?

Western Colorado Hearing & Balance is skilled in the evaluation and treatment of tinnitus. If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, we urge you to contact our clinic today to schedule your evaluation (970) 549-4660.

TINNITUS (RINGING IN THE EARS) 
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 be constant or intermittent and is heard in one ear, both ears or in the head. Tinnitus can originate in the middle ear (behind the eardrum) or in the sensorineural auditory system.

THE MOST COMMON CAUSES ARE:

Many causes are unknown.
Tinnitus is usually accompanied by hearing loss, and sometimes accompanied by loudness hyperacusis (when moderately loud sounds are perceived as very loud). Some 50 million adults suffer from tinnitus (it can also affect children). 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, from an audiologist or physician.

IMPACT OF TINNITUS
Tinnitus affects people differently. The most common areas in which tinnitus has a direct influence are:

  • Thoughts and emotions. Some are annoyed, bothered, depressed, anxious or angry about their tinnitus. They think and focus on their tinnitus often.
  • Hearing. In some, the sound of the tinnitus competes with or masks speech or environmental sound perception.
  • Sleep. Many tinnitus sufferers report that their tinnitus interferes with them getting to sleep. It can also make it more difficult to get back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Concentration. Some tinnitus sufferers report that they have difficulty focusing on a task because of their tinnitus. This might include reading a book or the newspaper.

TREATMENT OF TINNITUS
For most tinnitus sufferers, there is no cure. There is no pill or surgery that has been shown to eliminate tinnitus in scientific studies that have been replicated and accepted by the healthcare community.

There are some important exceptions to this. Some forms of tinnitus, particularly middle-ear tinnitus, can be treated. Sometimes a medication can cause tinnitus, and stopping or changing medications can eliminate the tinnitus (check with whoever prescribed the medication).