What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ear. But every person who experiences tinnitus hears something unique to them — whistling, hissing, buzzing, pulsing, even a melody.

What they all have in common is they’re the only one who hears it.

For some, the sound comes and goes. For others, the sound is present 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And for many, it’s debilitating.


What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease — it’s a symptom. Usually, the sound is telling you there’s an underlying hearing issue caused by, for example:

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Exposure to certain medications or chemicals
  • Poor diet
  • Stress
  • Head Trauma
  • TMJ (a jaw joint disorder)

The hearing issue may be temporary or permanent, depending upon the cause and severity. Generated in the brain or inner ear, the true mechanisms that cause tinnitus are poorly understood.


What Are the Treatment Options for Tinnitus?

There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but there are ways to reduce its impact on your daily life.

Your symptoms are personal and unique, so your treatment plan will be, too. Treatment options include:

  • Hearing Technology. The top treatment for those who also have hearing loss. It can improve hearing ability and reduce the perception of your specific tinnitus noise.
  • Masking. A masker, which fits in the ear much like a hearing aid, produces low-level sounds to distract from the tinnitus noise. Bedside sound generators serve much the same purpose.
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. A combination of sound therapy and counseling, the process alters the brain’s neural signals and weakens the perception of tinnitus, allowing you to live your daily life far more peacefully.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A type of counseling that helps to change the body’s emotional reaction to tinnitus by altering negative thought patterns and helping to relieve stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there medications for tinnitus?
Almost all of the “surefire” remedies for tinnitus found on the internet are based on junk science, case studies, or no real evidence at all. But there are some things you can try that might help lessen symptoms, including: limiting exposure to loud noises, lowering your blood pressure, ingesting less salt, and limiting exposure to alcohol.
Can tinnitus be cured?
Current research by neurologists suggests that altering certain areas of the brain that respond to sound — or a lack thereof — may provide relief. Experiments to regrow broken hair cells have also been performed. Regrowth of hair cells means that hearing is restored, which prevents the brain from attempting to fill the void left by a lack of hair cells, ultimately ending tinnitus. Both theories are likely years away from clinical trials, which means a greater period of time until any possible cure hits the market. Curing tinnitus may be possible, but likely not in the near future.
Can tinnitus be directly measured?
Rarely. There is a form of tinnitus referred to as “objective tinnitus” that your doctor can hear. This is typically the result of a blood vessel problem, an inner-ear bone condition, or muscle contractions.
Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?
No. Tinnitus is a symptom of any number of conditions, including hearing loss.
Why is tinnitus worse at night?
In our daily lives, sounds around us typically mask tinnitus to some degree. At night, when things are quiet, there’s less noise and fewer mental distractions. If your tinnitus is stress-related, it’s also possible that the cumulative stress of your day has made your symptoms worse.

Ready to Get Relief From The Ringing?

Let us know, and our experts will be standing by.

Request an Appointment