Frequently Asked Questions

You’re Not Alone
Over 40 million people in North America experience tinnitus. Current research suggests that the condition can be successfully treated with proper diagnosis and a management strategy that includes education and counseling. In some cases, the use of a hearing aid or a sound generator, as part of a 'sound therapy' approach may offer relief. Below information will help you answer some general questions about tinnitus, its causes, and options for management.

What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus comes from the Latin word 'tiniere', which means 'to ring'. It can refer to a ringing, buzzing, roaring, ticking, or any sort of sound heard by the individual, but with no external source. Neuroscientists describe it as a phantom auditory perception', and as a real phenomenon, can be successfully managed.

Who Is Affected By Tinnitus?

Everyone, regardless of their age or hearing status, has experienced tinnitus at some point. 70%-80% of people with hearing loss will experience some degree of tinnitus, but may not be bothered by it. From this group about 10% will experience tinnitus to such a severe degree it affects their quality of life.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Any condition that can affect our ears, hearing, or sense of balance can also cause tinnitus. Noise exposure is the leading cause of tinnitus. Over 90% of those with tinnitus have some degree of noise induced hearing loss. Whether it is the outer, middle, or inner ear, all areas can be thoroughly examined to ensure there is no medically treatable approach to eliminate or reduce tinnitus.

Some Known Causes Of Tinnitus Include
  1. exposure to extreme noise levels.
  2. high blood pressure.
  3. over production of ear wax.
  4. ear infections
  5. acoustic tumors
  6. underactive thyroid
  7. cardiovascular disease
  8. allergies
  9. degeneration of the bones in the middle ear
  10. age-related changes in the inner ear
  11. certain prescription drugs or other medications
  12. head/ neck disorders due to trauma

Can Tinnitus Be Treated?
Depending on the cause, it may be possible that tinnitus can be diminished or eliminated. For example, if the tinnitus is caused by an excess amount of earwax in the ear, then removal of the wax will generally lead to the elimination of the tinnitus. If a medical condition, such as an autoimmune ear disorder or metabolic disorder is the cause, then treatment with medication may offer relief. If it is a result of permanent hearing loss and there are no underlying medically treatable conditions, the solution will involve managing the tinnitus. There are various ways to manage tinnitus, such as changes in lifestyle, behavioral therapy techniques, education, and counseling. These approaches produce varied results amongst individuals. In some cases use of a hearing aid may offer relief.

What Is Sound Therapy?

Generally, it is recommended that tinnitus sufferers avoid silence because the difference between the silence and perceived tinnitus is most pronounced in quiet, which exacerbates the tinnitus. To avoid this effect, sound therapy is a technique that may help diminish (manage) the tinnitus. Through the use of sounds (tones, music, or nature sounds), produced through a table-top or an ear-level sound generator, silence can be avoided. The sound generator gives the ears a neutral stimulus to listen to, which may help relieve the annoying effects of tinnitus. In some cases, a "masker" can be used; in other cases, a sound generator maybe used.

Does Your Ear have 'Ringing' Sound? / What is 'Tinnitus'?
Tinnitus is sound perceived only by the patient that does not really exists or in any case does not come from the outside world. All kinds of sounds are described, from wind susurration to whistling kettles and jet airplanes.

What Can Be Done About It?
To be honest there is no one answers to it. Very often, no specific underlying cause for tinnitus can be identified. This implies that there can be no one operation for it. When damage of the hair cells in the inner ear is assumed the cause (i.e. for ex. After some noise trauma) the answer is no. These structures cannot be operated on.

Is Tinnitus Accompanied By Hearing loss?
Very often, yes. Many tinnitus - sufferers have some form of accompanying hearing loss, usually affecting the higher frequencies. To be certain, a high - frequency audiogram may be indicated. There are, however , many cases of tinnitus where hearing sensitivity is absolutely normal.

Will Tinnitus Improve When Patient Wears A Hearing Aid?
If it is accompanied by a hearing loss, then this is often the case. Therefore, we would definitely advise visiting an audiologist. The audiologist can advise you, whether a combination aid ( hearing aid + noiser) might make sense.