Tinnitus Week

February 5-11 is Tinnitus Week. For the second year, the American Tinnitus Association has joined forces with the British Tinnitus Association, Tinnitus Research Initiative and TinnitusHub to help raise global awareness of tinnitus and how it impacts millions around the world. Your hearing loss specialists at PDX ENT are proud to be part of the solution by helping treat those in the Portland area with tinnitus.    

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus Week Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing in the ear when there is no noise actually present. It is technically a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than a disorder on its own. Hearing a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing at various pitches can all be signs of tinnitus. These sounds can either be heard all the time or may come and go. While most people only hear them in one ear, it is possible to have tinnitus in both ears. Additional symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
 

What types of Tinnitus are there?

There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective.
  • Subjective

    is the most common and involves tinnitus only you can hear.
  • Objective

    tinnitus is much rarer and can be heard by your doctor during an examination.
 

What Causes Tinnitus?

There are a number of conditions that list tinnitus as a possible symptom. The most common causes include:
  • Aging
  • Noise exposure
  • Infections
  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Diseases
  • Foreign objects in the ears
  For some, their Portland audiologist is able to determine the cause of their tinnitus. For these individuals, if their audiologist treats the initial cause, their tinnitus may go away entirely.

Treatments for Tinnitus

But for most, the exact cause will remain a mystery. For those individuals, their Portland audiologist will recommend one of the following treatment options:
  • White noise therapy

    . This popular treatment involves the use of white noise, which releases a distribution of random sound frequencies across the hearing spectrum. These sounds can help draw the brain’s attention away from the distracting background noise, allowing you to tune out the tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

    . This newer approach combines counseling and education with sound therapy. You’ll learn about your tinnitus, different strategies for coping and how to use low-level sound generators. These generators produce soft tonal patterns that encourage the brain to shift its focus away from the sounds associated with tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids

    . Most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, which means most already have a hearing aid. If you are one of these people, your Houston audiologist suggests simply turning up the volume. This can help mask distracting background noises.
  • Natural remedies

    . Some patients report positive results using gingko biloba, zinc or niacin, though clinical studies are inconclusive.
  • Even though tinnitus may not be curable, many report positive results through the use of one of the above treatment plans. Help us spread the word and raise global awareness of tinnitus by sharing this blog and using the hashtag #TinnitusWeek when talking about this event online. For more information on tinnitus treatments, contact your Portland audiologist today.