It’s scary when you start hearing ringing in your ears.
Are you losing your hearing? Will it get worse? How did it even happen in the first place? These are all common questions people ask when they experience the first symptoms of tinnitus. A condition affecting millions of American adults and children, tinnitus is characterized by ringing, throbbing or pounding in the ears. It originates from multiple sources and can come in different degrees of severity. If you have suspicions you’re starting to come down with this condition, consider looking below to learn more about your medical options.
This is not a replacement for a tinnitus evaluation, but a simple guide to help you learn more about tinnitus and how it can be handled in day-to-day life.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes strange noises in the ear, usually ringing or throbbing, and can range from being mildly uncomfortable to extremely debilitating. The two types of tinnitus are subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus — it’s estimated over 95% of all reported cases are of the former, with the latter considered extremely rare and unusual. Subjective tinnitus is hearing sounds where there are none, while objective is caused by other problems around the ear.
Who Gets Tinnitus?
People of all ages and backgrounds struggle with tinnitus. Studies have estimated as many as 15% of Americans (that’s over 25 million people) between the ages of 20 and 65 have high frequency hearing loss due to regular exposure to loud sounds — this can be caused by repeated visits to concerts without protection or construction work. By the time 2025 arrives it’s estimated over 900 million people around the world will be considered hearing impaired. When it comes to school-age children, around 15% are living with a degree of hearing loss as we speak.
Where Does Tinnitus Come From?
An audiologist can give you a tinnitus evaluation to determine whether or not you have the condition, what type and what methods are best suited to increasing your quality of life. Tinnitus can be caused by hereditary issues, constant exposure to loud noises and even chronic stress (the latter of which is known as pulsatile tinnitus and can be exacerbated or reduced depending on stress levels and diet). The U.S. Centers For Disease Control have released estimates stating 15% of the general public experience some form of tinnitus — that’s as many as 50 million people.
What Do Hearing Aids Do?
You may or may not benefit from the aid of a small hearing aid. Over 10 million people in the country use hearing aids on a regular basis to help them speak, enjoy music and more. The very first electric hearing aid was invented all the way back in 1898, with the first all-transistor hearing aid being pioneered a handful of decades later. Hearing aids are helpful for those with gradual hearing loss, but are considered generally ineffective for those born deaf. A tinnitus evaluation will give you a clear picture of the technology you will need to reduce your symptoms.
Should I Get A Tinnitus Evaluation?
If you experience uncomfortable ringing, constant throbbing or itching sensations in your ear, it’s possible you are in need of a hearing test. One out of every three people in the United States has some form of hearing loss and this number is expected to increase as tinnitus becomes more commonplace. A tinnitus exam will gauge your symptoms, check your health for possible contributors and provide you resources to help manage your comfort. You may need to change your diet, adjust your lifestyle or apply for a hearing device.
Tinnitus is frustrating, even painful, but it’s not forever — let a professional help you this year and clear up any remaining concerns you have.