Most patients describe tinnitus as a ringing in their ears, despite the fact that no external sound source is present. However, tinnitus can present other unexplained noises, including:
Regardless of the type of noise caused by tinnitus, only the patient can hear it. It may be a low background noise or it might become so severe that it hinders a person’s ability to focus.
One rare form of tinnitus is actually audible to others. It is known as pulsatile tinnitus and presents as a rhythmic pulsing that is in time with the beat of your heart. Doctors can sometimes hear pulsatile tinnitus during an examination, at which point it is classified as objective tinnitus.
Perhaps the most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. When the hairs inside the inner ear are broken or bent, they can send random electrical impulses to your brain. An ear infection or blockage can alter the pressure in your ear, which also leads to tinnitus.
Head or neck injuries can also cause tinnitus. Severe head and neck trauma can damage the inner ear, which results in tinnitus on only one side. Some medications can worsen existing tinnitus, as well.
There are several treatments available, depending on the cause of your tinnitus. Some common treatments include:
Since tinnitus is often caused by damage to the inner ear, hearing aids can usually provide some relief. While hearing damage can never be reversed, these aids can significantly improve a person’s quality of life when dealing with tinnitus.
Habituation is an innovative treatment method that occurs over the course of multiple sessions. During each session, our auditory professionals guide you through a therapy session and play various relaxing sounds. In some cases, we can also program soothing sounds in your hearing aids to supplement in-office habituation sessions. The goal of habituation is to train your mind to ignore tinnitus sounds.
In some cases, tinnitus can be caused by allergy pressure. Having abnormally high pressure within your sinuses can affect the inner ear, ultimately resulting in irritation and the manifestation of tinnitus. By addressing the allergy symptoms, our staff can help you to find relief from tinnitus.
Habituation is a modern treatment option that has helped many patients find relief from tinnitus. It relies on relaxing sounds during short treatment sessions. Through habituation, our staff will assist you in slowly removing underlying obstacles.
During the session, our staff focuses on teaching you to change the way that you respond to sound. You will learn to react differently physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally.
When these sounds stop bothering you, it will be possible for you to ignore them altogether. However, habituation takes time. You must show a commitment to the treatment option and trust the process.
Patients that stick with habituation tend to see relief in stages. Usually, each day is a bit better than the previous session. Unfortunately, there will occasionally be days that involve two steps forward and one step back. This is okay – it is a normal part of the habituation process.
Long before you reach the finish line, you can expect to start seeing improvements. Most patients have an improved quality of life and report an easier time focusing on normal daily activities after treatment.
If you would like to learn more about this innovative tinnitus therapy, contact our office today. American Hearing and Balance offers a 30-minute habituation session for $65.00.