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Tinnitus - What you should know
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears when no external sound is present. It affects 50 million (nearly one in six) Americans. Most describe the sound as ringing, though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring or chirping.
For some, tinnitus is mild or intermittent. For others, it’s severe and can have a profound impact on their quality of life. For everyone, finding tinnitus relief is important.
Did you know?
- Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss.1
- 1 in 10 American adults have experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.2
- Tinnitus is the leading service-related disability among U.S. veterans.3
What causes tinnitus?
The exact physical cause of tinnitus is not known, but several sources can trigger it or make it worse, including:
- Loud noises and hearing loss – Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
- Aging – As you age, those same cilia gradually deteriorate, which can lead to tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
- Ototoxic medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain.
- Hearing conditions – Disorders like otosclerosis and Ménière’s disease are known to cause tinnitus.
- Health conditions – Tinnitus can also be a symptom of health conditions like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stress and head injuries.
Is there a cure?
Currently, there is no known tinnitus cure. But according to the American Tinnitus Association, there are recommended ways to get relief, including counseling and sound therapy.
Proven tinnitus relief products are an effective part of any sound therapy. They utilize a customizable and comforting sound stimulus to soothe the annoying noises associated with tinnitus.
What should you do if you think you have tinnitus?
The first step is to visit a hearing healthcare professional for a clinical evaluation. Specialized tests are performed to diagnose tinnitus and different options can be discussed to find what is right for you.
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Learn more about Tinnitus at the The American Tinnitus Association.