Are you dealing with ringing in the ears? Find out what it might be.
The CDC predicts that over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. If you’ve been dealing with this issue it’s not something you should just ignore. While this problem may just be a minor annoyance for some it can also greatly impact a person’s quality of life. From the office of our Austin, TX, audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton and our balance physical therapist Dr. Collette Rhoden, learn more about this condition, what can cause it and when you should come in for a further evaluation.
What causes tinnitus?
The most common cause of tinnitus is long-term exposure to loud noises. You might be surprised to know that many sounds that we wouldn’t exactly deem loud or damaging to our ears actually are. In fact, the majority of those with tinnitus have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. As you might imagine, there are certain professions that can put you at risk for developing tinnitus. Some of those professions include:
- Construction workers
- Military personnel
Even a single exposure to a very loud noise could be enough to produce tinnitus. Besides loud noises, other causes of tinnitus include:
- An ear infection or blockage
- Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; antidepressants; aspirin)
- Meniere’s disease
- Some medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure; anemia; allergies)
- TMJ disorder
- Head or neck injuries
Sometimes certain habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking or consuming caffeine can also bring on a bout of tinnitus. If you have tinnitus you may also notice that your symptoms get worse when you are tired or under stress.
How is tinnitus treated?
How our Austin hearing specialists decide to proceed with your treatment plan will depend entirely on the cause of your tinnitus. For example, if a medical condition such as high blood pressure or anemia is to blame then you will want to work with a doctor to get your condition properly managed with lifestyle changes and medication. Some medications such as anti-anxiety medication have also been known to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
If tinnitus is caused by loud-noise exposure, then you may be given a tinnitus masker, which looks similar to a hearing aid. This device will emit an ambient sound to mask the ringing in your ears. Sometimes tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is also recommended. This therapy is extremely effective but can take anywhere from 1-2 years to complete.
If you are dealing with ringing in the ears and living in Austin, TX, it’s important to have your hearing evaluated by one of our specialists as soon as possible. Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin today to schedule a consultation with us.