Are you hearing ringing, buzzing, clicking, or any other sound or sensation in your ears? You may have a condition known as tinnitus. It’s a common condition, impacting about 10% of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Tinnitus can be frustrating because it can interfere with your hearing, concentration, work, sleep, and quality of life.
Here at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team have extensive experience diagnosing and treating tinnitus. Dr. Sharim would like to share some important information with you on this common hearing-related condition.
What is tinnitus?
If you have tinnitus, you may notice a sound in one or both of your ears. The sensation you hear may be low or high in pitch, it may be loud or soft, and it may come and go or be present most of the time.
Although tinnitus is commonly referred to as a ringing sound, people who have it may describe it as a roaring, whistling, hissing, or even a rhythmic pulsing.
Tinnitus occurs when the tiny hairs in your ears that transmit sound signals to your brain become damaged, leading them to work improperly. It may be caused by a variety of conditions, including one or more of the following:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Buildup of earwax
- Certain drugs
- Damage to your cardiovascular system
- Ear conditions such as Meniere’s disease, which can cause dizziness
- Exposure to loud sounds
- Fluid in your ears
- Muscle spasms within your inner ear
- Nerve problems in your ears or brain
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Pressure on your eardrum or eustachian tube
- Thyroid conditions
How do you treat tinnitus?
The first step toward treating tinnitus is investigating what may be causing it. Dr. Sharim and his team do this by conducting a thorough exam of your ears and your hearing. He'll ask you questions about your health history, medical conditions, and the medicines you take.
More than 200 different medications can have an impact on tinnitus, so it’s important to determine whether one of your medications is one of them. If so, the doctor who prescribes that medication may be able to adjust the medication or the dosage.
Sometimes, treating tinnitus is as simple as removing excess ear wax, treating a sinus infection, or draining fluid from your ears. Other times, treatment can be more complex. For example, if Dr. Sharim suspects your tinnitus is caused by a cardiovascular condition, he may refer you to a cardiology specialist.
When no cause is found, you may benefit from a specially designed hearing aid known as a tinnitus masker. This device generates white noise that helps block out your tinnitus and make it less likely to bother you. Background sound generators may also distract you from tinnitus sensations.
Need medical help?
If you’re experiencing tinnitus-type sounds or any other hearing problems, we can help. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharim and our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, contact one of our offices today.