Understanding Ringing in Your Ear
Many people experience a persistent ringing in their ears called tinnitus, a condition that affects roughly 20 percent of the American population. Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound when none is actually occurring. For some it is a minor nuisance but for others, a major impediment to their quality of life.
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing noise, but may also take the form of a buzzing, whooshing, roaring, clicking, hissing or whistling. Some tinnitus sufferers experience severe mental and emotional anguish. Side effects include fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability and memory/concentration problems.
Tinnitus isn’t a disease itself, but a symptom. As such, it can occur as the result of a number of conditions. These include hearing loss, noise exposure, head or neck trauma, high blood pressure, vascular disorders, heart conditions, ototoxic medications, benign tumors known as acoustic neuromas and impacted earwax. Sometimes the cause is never determined.
Roughly 90% of all tinnitus patients are diagnosed with some level of hearing loss. However, a significant percentage of sufferers notice their symptoms decrease when using assistive technologies like hearing aids.
Is Tinnitus Curable?
Although there is no known cure for tinnitus, the condition is manageable with proper treatment.
Sound therapy, for example, can help decrease the ringing sensation by stimulating specific regions of the brain’s sound processing system.
It’s also possible to habituate oneself to tinnitus through acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) – a type of psychological counseling.
However, diagnosis is the first step in effective tinnitus management. And this begins with a thorough hearing test performed by a licensed audiologist. Based on the results of these evaluations, it’s possible to choose the most appropriate treatment option.
Want Relief from the Ringing?
If you or a loved one currently suffers from persistent ringing in the ears, we may be able to help.
Many patients come to us with preconceived thoughts that nothing can be done to help the ringing in their ears. They arrive frustrated and powerless over the tinnitus that is “ruining their life.” 20% of the population has tinnitus, but only 10% of those have bothersome tinnitus that begins to affect their quality of life.
However, how loud or annoying their tinnitus is perceived is NOT permanent. Through specialized tinnitus management, we help these patients change the perception of their tinnitus so they are no longer bothered or disturbed by it with some patients reporting it goes away completely.
Dr. Kirsten McWilliams
Audiologist and Owner at The Hearing Solution, is board certified in Tinnitus Management by the American Board of Audiology.
After clinical rotations at Stanford and Kaiser, Kirsten completed her fellowship at UC Davis Medical Center and obtained her Doctorate in Audiology. She graduated top-of-her class from University of the Pacific, San Francisco and has over ten years experience in helping those with hearing loss and tinnitus.
To learn more about our approach to treating tinnitus, schedule a consultation with The Hearing Solution today by calling (916) 646-2471 or click the button below to request an appointment with one of our Audiologists.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound without an external sound source and is most often described as a high-pitched ringing or buzzing.
The condition actually originates in the area of the brain responsible for processing sound. When one is no longer able to hear that frequency, their brain works overtime to fill in the gaps.
Most people experience some type of high-pitch ringing in their lifetimes – usually after attending a loud concert or operating heavy machinery.