Tinnitus is a challenging condition because you hear sounds that others don’t. It can affect one or both ears, remain constant or come and go, and even be so severe that it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sounds in your environment.
Fortunately, there’s good news — you can find relief.
Kevin Sharim and the Sharp Hearing Care Professionals team have four locations in Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Santa Monica, and West Hills, California. At each of our practices, you can receive a hearing evaluation and treatment for any ear problems, including tinnitus.
If you have tinnitus, here’s what you need to know about the condition and your treatment options.
If you have a ringing in your ears or other phantom noises, you’re not alone. This common hearing problem affects up to 20% of people.
Tinnitus can develop for numerous reasons, such as:
- Noise-induced or age-related hearing loss
- Ear infections, blockages in the ear canal, or other problems within the ear
- Neck or head injuries
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Chronic health conditions like allergies, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, anemia, or thyroid problems
- Injuries to nerves in the ear or areas of the brain involved with hearing
- Certain medications, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, some antibiotics, or antidepressants
For many people, the precise cause of tinnitus isn’t determined. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options if your symptoms disrupt your daily life.
Our team of experts can often diagnose tinnitus after reviewing your symptoms. However, we also perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation to look for its cause.
During the evaluation, we review your medical and hearing history and the medications you take. We examine the outside and inside of your ears using an otoscope. This device allows us to look for any issues that could affect your hearing, like structural problems, excessive earwax, signs of infection, or any damage to the eardrum or ear canal.
Finally, we test your hearing with state-of-the-art equipment — and the process is painless. You simply respond when you hear sounds and repeat words when you can hear them.
All of these steps help us gain a better understanding of your hearing and how to best manage your tinnitus symptoms.
Is there a cure for this condition? As you can see from the list of potential tinnitus causes, it really depends.
For example, if we determine that your symptoms develop because of something like excessive earwax or a certain medication, they often clear up from wax removal or prescription changes. Similarly, if you develop tinnitus because of noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, we can often ease your symptoms with hearing aids.
However, even if your tinnitus can’t be cured, treatment options can make symptoms more manageable. These options often involve masking or suppressing the sounds you hear in some way, such as white noise machines that make nature sounds or static to fans, air conditioners, and humidifiers.
Our team also offers masking devices that you wear in your ear like a hearing aid. When turned on, they deliver continuous, low levels of white noise to mask the sounds you may hear with tinnitus.
In addition to masking devices, other treatments for tinnitus include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
- Forms of counseling, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
There may not be a cure for your tinnitus, but we can make your symptoms more bearable.
If you hear sounds that others don’t, contact us to schedule an audiology consultation with one of our Sharp Hearing Care Professionals experts today.