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Tinnitus Management- Diagnosis and Treatment

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Dr. Treadway holds a national certification for Tinnitus Management, through the American Board of Audiology (CH-TM) 

Why do I have this noise in my ears?

Tinnitus is a common complaint.

You can pronounce it as “tin-NY-tus” or “TIN-a-tus,” but it’s still a “noise in your ears.”  And even though the precise cause of tinnitus is not always known, you are not imagining those sounds of ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, buzzing, and whining in your ears.

Your tinnitus might be at a very low level, whereas someone else’s might be very loud. Some people complain that the sound in their ears is worse at night, probably because the sound is more noticeable when the surroundings are quiet. Some people also find that their tinnitus is worse when they are tired and stressed.

So, exactly what is Tinnitus?

Scientists still don’t agree about what happens in the brain to create the illusion of sound when there is none, but tinnitus itself is not a disease.

It’s a symptom of a change or problem in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. And although you “hear” the sounds in your ears, the source is somewhere in the neural circuits of your brain that interpret sounds as they come to our ears. 

And what causes Tinnitus? 

Numerous conditions can cause or accompany tinnitus:

  • Side effects of medications - more than 200 drugs are known to cause tinnitus.
  • TMJ - chronic temporomandibular joint disorders have been associated with tinnitus symptoms.
  • Aging - tinnitus is sometimes the first sign of hearing loss as we age.
  • Sudden loud sounds - from sources like bomb blasts, fireworks, and gunfire.‍
  • Repetitive noise exposure - in occupations like factory workers, road crews, and even professional musicians.‍
  • Medical conditions - anemia, high blood pressure, thyroid abnormalities, sinus infections, migraines.
  • Substance abuse - smoking, lots of caffeine, alcohol.‍

And then, some people develop tinnitus for no obvious reason.  Usually, tinnitus doesn’t signal a serious health problem, but persistent and loud tinnitus can lead to fatigue, inability to concentrate, anxiety, or depression. (¹)

Are there management options that can help me?

Tinnitus does not have a cure yet, and there is no one treatment.  Our Hearing Center can help you find the best ways to manage and reduce your symptoms.

  • Tinnitus Activations Therapy / Tinnitus Retraining Therapy are management techniques that the Audiologist will discuss with you during your assessment appointment. 
  • Hearing devices often aid in the management of accompanied hearing loss in addition to having support programs. These programs are built specifically for you to help manage your tinnitus. 
  • Counseling - we provide techniques on how you can learn to habituate to your tinnitus. 
  • Sound generators – devices that emit soft, pleasant sounds, tones, or music to help mask tinnitus noise.
  • Extensive Case History - The Audiologist sits with you for an hour to review every part of your case history and how it could be contributing to tinnitus. 

Tinnitus Evaluation and Management

Becoming better educated about tinnitus will equip you with better ideas and resources to deal with your specific symptoms.  Dr. Treadway is also an active member of The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) which  has educational brochures, videos, books, and articles that can help you learn more about Tinnitus relief. https://www.ata.org/ 

We don’t want Tinnitus to keep you sidetracked.

Visit our Hearing Center to learn about your management options.

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