Effective Tinnitus Treatments in Los Angeles
Tinnitus can be a frustrating symptom of an underlying condition that can affect your quality of life. Learn more about tinnitus and the treatments available.
Tinnitus is a common symptom of underlying conditions
Some causes include infections, trauma, and hearing loss
Tinnitus retraining therapy is the most effective treatment
Other treatments can include hearing aids and medications
According to research in the journal JAMA Neurology, tinnitus is a condition that affects nearly 749 million people worldwide. Tinnitus can negatively impact your quality of life, making everyday tasks frustrating and difficult. If you suffer from tinnitus, there are treatment options available. Learn more about them today.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is when you hear ringing noises, buzzing, or hissing in one or both of your ears. These noises in the ear are not external, so other people cannot hear them.
Tinnitus is not a condition itself but a symptom of something else. It is usually associated with age-related hearing loss, circulatory system problems, or an ear injury.
Although hearing a ringing in the ears is the most common symptom, you can also hear other phantom noises, including:
The noises can vary in pitch, and you can hear them in one or both of your ears. The volume of the noises can also vary, with the sound being powerful enough to interfere with your concentration and your ability to hear external sounds. It can be present at all times, or it can come and go.
Causes of Tinnitus
There are a few common causes of tinnitus. One of the most common causes is hearing loss.
In your inner ear, there are tiny hair cells that move when you hear sounds. These hair cell movements trigger signals in the brain, and your brain interprets these signals as sound. If you have broken, bent, or otherwise damaged hair cells in your inner ear, they can send random electrical signals to the brain, causing tinnitus.
Bending or broken inner ear hair cells can happen as you age or in response to very loud sounds.
Ear infections or blockages can also cause tinnitus. If your ear canals get blocked with fluid because of an ear infection or from a wax buildup, the pressure in your ear can change. That can lead to tinnitus.
A head or neck injury can also cause tinnitus because it can affect the inner ear. Most of the time, injury-caused tinnitus only affects one ear.
Medications can also cause or worsen tinnitus. The higher the dose of the medication, the worse the tinnitus can be. Some of the most common drugs that can cause tinnitus are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), some cancer drugs, diuretics, antimalarial drugs, antidepressants, and certain antibiotics.
There are other less common causes of tinnitus, including:
Ear bone changes
Muscle spasms in the inner ear
Eustachian tube dysfunction
Blood vessel disorders
Head or neck tumors
Other chronic conditions can also cause tinnitus, including diabetes, migraines, anemia, autoimmune disorders, and thyroid problems.
Effective Treatment for Tinnitus
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is one of the most effective treatment options. TRT is an individualized program that combines sound masking as well as counseling from experts in the field to help you habituate to the noise. It is an excellent treatment for those suffering from moderate to severe tinnitus.
Habituation is the process of making you used to the noise you hear so that you no longer focus on it. It involves working with a specialist to change the way you respond physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally to tinnitus.
By also showing you how your auditory system works, the specialist can demystify tinnitus and help you change any negative thinking patterns you have about it.
There is then a sound masking component to treatment. The goal is to allow you to get used to the sounds you hear by wearing an earpiece that plays white noise at a level that is slightly below that of your tinnitus. The white noise can help decrease the contrast between external sounds and tinnitus sounds.
Hearing aids have proven useful for many patients who have tinnitus. If you have tinnitus because of age-induced or noise-induced hearing loss, hearing aids can be particularly helpful.
Some medications called lipoflavinoids show some positive results in treating tinnitus, though their efficacy has not been proven.
If medications that you take for other conditions are what cause your tinnitus, then finding an alternative option with your doctor might be the best option.
Get Tinnitus Relief at American Hearing & Balance
If you need tinnitus treatment in Los Angeles, you can turn to American Hearing & Balance, with locations in Los Angeles, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Torrance. Call now to schedule an appointment!